• Puma in Chilean Patagonia | © Pie Aerts

Itinerary Summary

Duration
14 Days
Price
£14750
When
October
Destination
Argentina & Chile
Type
Small Group Safari
Duration Price When Destination Type
14 Days £14750 October Argentina & Chile Small Group Safari
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Big Cats of South America Conservation Safari

Track Argentina’s big cats, including the elusive South American puma, with expert guides, and spend time in Argentina's best kept wildlife secret, the Ibera Wetlands.

After arriving in Buenos Aires you'll have the day to explore before heading to the Ibera Wetlands. The Ibera Wetlands are known as Argentina's own Pantanal one of the best kept wildlife secrets full of biodiversity and unqiue animals including the maned wolf, pampas deer and a vast variety of birdlife. Then, fly to San Alonso Island to visit the Yaguaretés Breeding Centre, the heart of the Ibera Wetlands and find out more about the Jaguar Project there. After this you'll fly to Santiago, Chile before heading to the Chilean Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park where you'll track the elusive pumas with Awasi's Puma Foundation. Finally, adventure around Pucón, which offers a myriad outdoor activities, such as rafting, hiking, skiing, kayaking, and fly-fishing. 

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Explore Buenos Aires, Argentina’s colourful capital city
  • Spend time in Argentina’s best kept wildlife secret, the Ibera Wetlands, Argentina’s own Pantanal
  • Enjoy luxury comforts at Awasi Patagonia
  • Experience the amazing wildlife and stunning landscapes of the area
  • Track the elusive South American puma with expert guides

Embedded Video Overview

A 14 day small-group safari journey discovering the big cats of Argentina

from $18,880 per person sharing excluding international flights

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Buenos Aires

Today you’ll arrive in Buenos Aires. After being met by an &Beyond representative and transferred to your hotel, you have the rest of the day to spend at your leisure, getting to know the soulful birthplace of tango - Buenos Aires. The architecture, shady plazas and green open spaces of this iconic city leave visitors feeling that they are in Europe and not South America; it’s little wonder Buenos Aires is often dubbed the 'Paris of the Americas'.

Overnight: Park Hyatt Hotel

Day 2

Buenos Aires - Ibera Wetlands

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the domestic airport to connect with a flight to Posadas, gateway to Parque Nacional Ibera. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, 55km away.  Enjoy a refreshing welcome drink and lunch by the pool.

In the afternoon your hosts will tell you about the geographic location, biodiversity and landscapes that makes these wetlands so unique. You will also be introduced to the fascinating history behind the Rewilding Argentina Foundation: Iberá Project.

Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and adjust to your new surroundings, before going on a captivating night safari walk, where your hosts will highlight nocturnal wildlife, before having dinner around the campfire.

Overnight: Estancia Rincon del Socorro (B, L, D)

Day 3

Ibera Wetlands

After breakfast, you will head out in search of the largest canine in South America – the maned wolf, a threatened species. Unfortunately, the population of this wolf has been decimated thanks to a mistaken association with the mythical werewolf.

Afterwards, set out on a drive to Posada Uguay in Uguay Village, where you will hop in a kayak for a leisurely paddle to Fernandez Lagoon. Here, climb aboard a larger boat and sail between floating islands looking for alligator and other resident wildlife.

As the sun sets, enjoy drinks on the dock with fantastic views over the lagoon, before heading back to the ranch for dinner.

Overnight: Estancia Rincon del Socorro (B, L, D)

Day 4

Ibera Wetlands

After enjoying your breakfast, head out in search of the pampas deer. Less than 2000 are left in Argentina, with efforts being put in by The Foundation to translocate the deer in order to protect them.

Later, visit the Ibera Lagoon, which is a different type of lagoon to yesterday’s excursion, and Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. In 1983, when the provincial reserve was created, its economy migrated to tourism and today it is the pride of the local people, who have learned to conserve and care for their natural heritage.

Another boat trip brings you quietly within easy range of the animals that inhabit the lagoon, such as caimans, swamp deer and a vast variety of bird life. Enjoy a refreshing drink at the local Café de los Pájaros before sailing back to the ranch.

Overnight: Estancia Rincon del Socorro (B, L, D)

Day 5

San Alonso Island

This morning, you will fly to San Alonso Island to visit the Yaguaretés Breeding Center. The island is in the heart of the Ibera wetlands and has become a key site for the restoration of this eco-system. Thanks to the work of Rewilding Argentina, this ambitious reintroduction aimed at bringing back species extinct in Latin America, has turned its attention to that magnificent predator, the jaguar.

Listen to Les Carlisle and the scientists of Rewilding Argentina tell the fascinating tale of how the jaguar was brought back to Iberà as you explore the biological station and the breeding centre. Visit Yaguaretés monitoring centre and find out more about the Jaguar Project, before using GPS tracking to attempt to find one of jaguars in their natural habitat. Be captivated by the giant otter project and find out how the giant anteater is monitored using radio telemetry.

Fly back to your hotel for dinner and enjoy the night at your own leisure.

Overnight: Estancia Rincon del Socorro (B, L, D)

Day 6

Ibera Wetlands - Santiago

This morning after breakfast you will be driven to Posadas Airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon your arrival you will be driven to the international airport for your flight to Chile. Arrive in Santiago, check into the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport Hotel and enjoy an afternoon of rest.

Day 7

Santiago - Patagonia

After breakfast, head back to the airport and board your three-hour flight to Punta Arenas, the gateway to Chilean Patagonia. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, you will be met and taken on a five-hour road trip to the lodge. Enjoy plenty of opportunities to stop and observe flamingos and other birds along the Patagonian Steppes. Awasi Patagonia is situated inside a private reserve neighbouring the Torres del Paine National Park, from where you can enjoy imposing views of the surrounding peaks and Lake Sarmiento.

Overnight: Awasi Patagonia (B, L, D)

Days 8-10

Puma Tracking (Awasi)

Over the next 3 days you'll follow your own private puma tracking expert in search of the most elusive of the world's big cats. Having created an 11,000 acre private reserve bordering Torres del Paine National Park, Awasi's Puma Foundation has established a protected biological corridor ensuring that Patagonia's native inhabitants - Pumas, Guanacos, Foxes, Condors and more - recover their lands, so often lost to sheep farming and over-grazing. Thanks to this incredible conservation initiative, there has been a dramatic increase in the puma presence in the area, as well as in the numbers of Geoffroy’s cat, previously thought to be extinct. You'll convene of an exact schedule with your guide who will drive you in your own private 4x4 to ensure you make the most of your time here. Packed lunches mean you will be out in the field for long days of wildlife exploration, each day returning to your comfortable lodge for a delicious dinner and relaxing evening.

Overnight: Awasi Patagonia (B, L, D)

Day 11

Patagonia - Pucón

This morning you are transferred back to Punta Arenas airport for your flight to Puerto Montt. Meet your driver upon arrival and transfer to your hotel.

This afternoon, enjoy a scenic river excursion, gliding along the clear waters toward Villarrica Lake. This tranquil excursion showcases pristine rolling mountains and native forests, whilst allowing you to observe water birds, and even trout and salmon darting through the river below. End with delicious picnic snacks before returning to the lodge.

Cuisine plays an important role in the &BEYOND Vira Vira experience. Relish a fusion of Chilean and ancient indigenous recipes, all created with the freshest seasonal ingredients, paired with the perfect wine for each dish.

 

Overnight Accommodation: &Beyond Vira Vira

B, L, D

Day 12

Pucón

Today is all about food! After a delicious breakfast, step into another culture with a fascinating visit to Doña Rosario’s ruka (house) in the local Mapuche community. Embracing traditional ways, watch her roasting organic wheat the way it has been prepared for centuries, and enjoy her delicious home cooked fare. From here, meet Sandra Rojos and have the opportunity to visit her factory and watch her working the loom.

In the late afternoon, enjoy a tour of the organic vegetable garden with Damián, learning about the fruits and vegetables grown here, all bursting with flavour. These bring the farm-totable concept alive to create the most delicious dishes. Help him pick the very produce he will use to make your dinner. Following which, head across to the ruka, an additional venue with an interactive kitchen, used for private group dining, www.andBeyond.com where Damián will do a cooking demonstration while preparing your dinner.

Overnight Accommodation: &Beyond Vira Vira

B, L, D

Day 13

Valdes Peninsula - Buenos Aires

Considered the adventure capital of Chile, the area around Pucón offers myriad outdoor activities, such as rafting, hiking, skiing, kayaking, and fly-fishing. There is, however, far much more to this multi-faceted destination. Among its many natural highlights are bubbling thermal springs and gorgeous national parks. Volcanoes, mountains, and lakes create one of the most beautiful natural sites Chile has to offer, and the ancient Mapuche territories are a wealth of unique traditions and culture. Activities are centred on nature and adventure, with treks and horseback rides of various durations, as well as explorations of the nearby Villarrica volcano, visiting its labyrinth of tunnels, or even reaching the summit. There are also several cultural activities, aimed at revealing the secrets of the region or more relaxing activities. What better than sitting in a hot pool of thermal spring water, a glass of red wine in hand, and looking out across a backdrop of mountains, forests, and volcanoes? Later that afternoon, enjoy a private tour of the on-site cheese factory (quesería).

Overnight Accommodation: &Beyond Vira Vira

B, L, D

Day 14

Pucón - Depart Santiago

After your breakfast, you will be driven to Temuco Airport for your flight to Santiago. Wave a fond farewell as your incredible impact journey in South America comes to an end.

TRIP DETAILS

DATES AND PRICES

This safari is a small group safari and has a minimum group of 8 for travel. 

Single supplement is available for £3,835/USD $4,910 

Guanaco in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Keith Ladzinski

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