A combined Southern Argentina and Southern Chile trip starting in Trelew Argentina in a super comfortable large van. Throughout the trip veru good hotels will be used. No camping on this option. The trip is run together with the budget alternative, but when they are camping you will stay in a comfortble hotel and eat at excellent restaurants.
Though the comfort on this trip is very high, remember that the days are long in the summer in Patagonia. Be prepared for some long drives and to catch up with some sleep on these.
Guide: Fabrice Schmitt (2006), Gunnar Engblom (2003) or Kini Roesler.
Day 0. Arrival to Buenos Aires. Transfer to 4 star hotel.
Day 1. Otamendi-area. Curve-billed and Strraight-billed Reedhunters main target. Also Possible Dot-winged Crake and Diademed Tanager. If time permits we will visit Ribera Norte reserve in the afternoon which is good for Plumbeous Rail, Giant Wood-Rail, Grey-Necked Wood-Rail, Rufous-sided Crake, Spotted Rail, Red-and-white Crake, Checkered Woodpecker and Scarlet-headed Blackbird. Night in Buenos Aires.
Day 2. Some birding at Costanera Sur in the afternoon. Black-headed Duck is the main target here.
In the afternoon (around 4 PM) we shall leave for San Clemente del Toyo. Day 3. San Clemente del Tuyo-Punta Rasa. Punta Raso area. Olrog´s Gull, Hudson?s Canastero, Bay-capped Wren-Spinetail etc. Night in San Clemente del Tuyo.
Day 4. Campo del Tuyo. Good for Painted Snipe, Southern Screamer and Aplomado Falcon. Greater Rhea should be seen this day. Drive to Tres Aroyos to be in better position the next day.
Day 5. Tres Arroyos ? Bahia Blanca area - our main birding spot this day ? with Long-tailed Meadowlark, Crested Gallito, White-tipped Plantcutter, Chaco Earthcreeper , Ash-breasted Cuckoo and Spotted Nothura. Then drive to Viedma for an overnight stay.
Day 6. Birding near San Antonio Oeste. Long-tailed Meadowlark, Crested and Sandy Gallito, White-tipped Plantcutter, Chaco Earthcreeper , Ash-breasted Cuckoo and Spotted Nothura. Night camping at the excellent ACA campside just south of Puerto Montt. If any of the above species are missed we may chose to stay yet for another morning in the San Antonio area.
Day 7. Drive to Peninsula Valdes. Birdwatching on the peninsula we will look for White-throated Cachalote, Band-tailed and Scale-throated Earthcreepers, Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail, Sharp-billed and Patagonian Canasteros, Rusty-backed Monjita, Gray-bellied and Lesser Shrike-Tyrants, Patagonian Mockingbird, Patagonian Yellow-Finch, and Carbonated Sierra-Finch. Good hotel in Puerto Madryn.
Day 8. Full day birding on Peninsula Valdes. This morning we also explore the Valdez Peninsula. Apart from the birds which will include Chubut Steamer-Duck and Elegant Crested-Tinamou and an array of seabirds, our main concern here will be mammals. South American Sea Lions, Elephant Seals. Mara, Guanaco and Southern Right Whales on our boat ride later in the morning. Additional birding in the afternoon for the birds mentioned above. Night in Trelew.
Day 9. In the morning we will visit the enormous colony of Magellanic Penguins at Punta Tombo. En route there is a good site for Band-tailed Earthcreeper. Continue to Comodoro Rivadavia. At shore we saw 31 Snowy Sheathbill in December 2003. NIght in Comodoro Rivadavia.
Day 10. Early drive Puerto Deseado for a day visit to Isla Pingüino ? the only place on the South American continent where Rockhopper Penguin is breeding. Macaroni Penguin has attempted to nest there so that is another possibility. In the Puerto Deseado estuaries the largest concentrations of waders in Argentina can be found. In the afternoon and evening drive to Puerto San Julian.
Day 11. Drive early to Gobernador Gregores and on to Stroebel Plateau for Hooded Grebe. In the pm we will search for White-throated Cachalote, and Patagonian Tinamou. We shall stay at the rustic but very charming Hacienda Angostura with possibility of seeing Austral Rail in the marsh in front of the house. Very good home cockling.
Day 12. Early AM we shall be looking for Austral Rail near Hacienda Angostura. The rest of the day travel to Calafate on the gravel Rt 40. In the afternoon we will visit Parque Nacional de los Glaciares and look for Magellanic Woodpecker, Patagonian Tyrant, White-throated Treerunner and Magellanic Tapaculo. Hotel in Calafate.
Day 13. Parque Nacional de los Glaciares - Cerro Castillo (Chile). Yet another morning at Parque Nacional de los Glaciares. The scenic glacier should not be missed. It is truly spectacular. Drive to Cerro Castillo at the entrance of Torres del Paine NP, Chile. Chocolate-vented Tyrant should be seen on the way and there is yet another locality for Patagonian Tinamou en route. NIght in guesthouse Hosteria Pionero in Cerro Castillo.
Day 14. Parque Nacional Torres del Paine (Chile) all day. Full day exploring Torres del Paine NP, Chile. Picturesque. Andean Condor, Magellanic Woodpecker including some night driving to look for Puma. Night Hosteria Pehoe. (For a surcharge you may instead stay at luxurious Explora nearby.)
Day 15. Birding the outskirts of Torres del Paine NP. Drive to Punta Arenas. Near Punta Arenas Good spot for Ruddy-headed Goose. Hotel in Punta Arenas
Day 16. Ferry to Porvenir. We will cross Magellanic Straight to Tierra del Fuego on a ferry. Seabirds will be plentiful including Common and Magellanic Diving-Petrel. Driving to San Sebastian on the other side of the Chilean/Argentinian border looking out for Magellanic Plover, Lesser Rhea, Chilean Flamingo, Black-necked Swan, Andean Duck, Dolphin Gull, Austral Negrito. Night in Rio Grande.
Day 17. Rio Grande-Garibaldi Pass-Martial Glaciar-Ushuaia. We´ll be looking for Austral Canastero and Cordilleran Snipe at Cabo Peñas. On the way to Ushuaia we stop at the Garibaldi pass for en route to search for White-bellied Seed-snipe and Yellow-bridled Finch and additionally at Martial Glaciar later in the afternoon if we have failed. Hotel in Ushuaia.
Day 18. We will check additional sites around Ushuaia, such as the rubbish dump for White-throated Caracara and Tierra del Fuego National Park. In the afternoon we will do a boat trip on the Beagle Channel. Overnigh at Hacienda Haberton, which will also give us some insight of the hardships of the first colonists to the area.
Day 19. Birding near Hacienda Haberton and later a trip on the Beagle channel to a colony of Magellanic Penguins. On rare occations other Penguins are present here as well, such as King and Gentoo Penguins. In the afternoon we will drive to Rio Grande via the Garibaldi pass again for an additional attempt on White-bellied Seedsnipe, if necessary. Night in hotel in Rio Grande.
Day 20. Drive to 1:a Angustura ferry to Punta Delgada. The strikingly beautiful black and white Comerson?s Dolphin is often seen here. If time permit we will visit the Pali Aike National Park for Black-throated Finch, Chocolate-vented Tyrant, Rufous-chested and Two-banded Plovers and another chance for Austral Rail. NIght in hotel in Rio Gallegos.
Day 21. Should any of the above species been missed ? except Austral rail ? they are all possible just driving an hour on the road towards Cabo Virgenes. In the evening you fly back to Buenos Aires from Rio Gallegos to connect with international flights.