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Puma Safaris


Encounters with the Pumas of Patagonia

Wild Patagonia in the heart of winter; snow tops the surrounding mountains and the air is cold. Winter is the best time to see these elusive cats, they stay lower which makes them more accessible, and as a bonus the park is quieter. Pumas have a lot of nicknames that they have gained throughout the years, including mountain lion and cougar, and can be found around the Americas.

During a puma safari in Patagonia, you can explore ancient caves and see impressive rock formations. The wildlife here is incredible, with sightings of the mighty Andean condor, upland geese, southern caracara, flamingos and much more. Pumas are crepuscular and, therefore, most active at dawn and dusk when they typically hunt, so be prepared for some early starts to your day.

Where do Pumas Live?

CHI Sl Chile Puma Credit Pie Aerts

When is the Best Time to see Pumas?

Puma tracking can be done in Patagonia year-round with the different seasons offering different experiences:

  • Summer (October - April): The Patagonian summer is the most popular time to visit the region to take advantage of the best weather. The days are long with up to 17 hours of light a day in December, with a good chance of clear, bright skies. This tends to be the busiest time of year for visitors to the park, especially people trekking, which can make the pumas a little more cautious, opting to hunt high in the mountains.
  • Winter (June - August): Moving into the Patagonia winter it gets very cold and the weather inhospitable. The pumas follow the guanaco herds down to the areas below the snow line, and there is a better chance of undisturbed sightings in the winter, although the conditions can be tough. This is a particularly good time for photography, with snow covered backdrops. The snow cover also offers the opportunity to track prints and there is virtually nobody else in the park; just you, the mountains and the cats in what is sometimes referred to as silent season.
  • Spring (September - November) and Autumn (March - May): These are good months to visit the region to see the colours of spring flowers and autumnal foliage.

Where is the Best Place to Stay to see Pumas?

Offering a range of options from beautiful boutique hotels to ranch style wineries and luxury eco-camping, there is something to accommodate all tastes. The below properties are some of our Patagonian favourites:

  • Awasi Patagonia: This Relais & Chateaux property is built to complement its natural surroundings, Awasi Patagonia consists of 14 stunning modern lodges perfectly integrated into the stunning landscape of Chilean Patagonia. Located in a private reserve spanning 4,500 hectares, this lodge is a haven for those wanting to escape modern life and get in touch with nature. Each villa also comes with a private guide and private 4x4 vehicle.
  • Eco Camp Patagoia: Eco Camp prides itself in being Chile’s first fully sustainable accommodation, complete with green technology. The camp is comprised of a network of geodesic domes.
  • Explora Patagonia: Part of the Explora brand that was voted “World’s Leading Expedition Company” at the 2019 World Travel Awards, this striking lodge sits astride Salto Chico Falls and the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoé. Facilities include a spa, saunas, massage rooms, outdoor Jacuzzis and a heated indoor pool.

Chile Puma Close Up

Sue Watts


The snow underfoot sparkled so brightly I felt like I was trampling on a carpet of diamonds. Under crisp blue skies, the beauty of Patagonia’s winter – its lakes, glaciers, mountains and rivers – revealed itself in every direction. But that would have to wait. We knew a puma and her cubs were close: if we were quick, we might just catch our first sighting of South America’s iconic and most elusive big cat.

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  • Pumas are solitary animals and so it is very unlikely to see more than one at a time unless it’s a mother with cubs or a pair mating.
  • Found in mountainous regions, ranging from the Rockies in Canada all the way down to the Andes reaching the southern tip of Chile and Argentina. Being so widespread in many different countries and cultures, Pumas have lots of names including; mountain lion, cougar, and even panther.
  • Pumas are well suited to mountain environments with their warm coats of fur, a thick, long tail for balance, and lengthy muscular hind legs perfect for jumping and climbing. Pumas have been recorded leaping 18 feet up into the air and even further horizontally. Being slower than the majority of its prey, a puma needs to stealthily get within striking distance; then use those powerful hind legs, to pounce on its prey and deliver a fatal bite to the neck.
  • Pumas will live in any habitat that offers cover which assists in their ambush style of hunting.
CHI Sl Chile Puma Credit Pie Aerts


Most travel companies predominantly sell trekking trips in Torres del Paine, whereas our primary focus in this destination is wildlife. There are guides who operate using less than ethical practices that interrupt the pumas natural behaviour; we strictly only work with genuine experts who use traditional, non-disruptive tracking methods and operate non-obtrusively and with respect to the wildlife and natural environment. We know the region well and our team have spent time tracking pumas in Chile.

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