1. Day 1 Depart UK

    • Arrive Buenos Aires this morning at the airport and transfer to our hotel. There should be time for a birdwatching visit to the excellent Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, as extensive wetland in the heart of the city. Depending on water levels, the reserve can be teeming with wildfowl and a host of passerines.
    • Accommodation: Buenos Aires, 1-night on room & breakfast basis
    • Early this morning we take a flight south to Trelew, then travel onto Puerto Madryn and out onto the Valdes Peninsula, looking for burrowing parrots and other local specialities en route. Our base for the next three nights is a converted lighthouse in a superb setting, with its elephant seals and southern sea lions on the beach below.
    • A boat trip out into the Golfo Nuevo gives us a chance to get close to the southern right whales for which the area is famous.
    • Accommodation: Punta Delgada, Valdes Peninsula, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • We retrace our steps back to Trelew to catch a flight south to Ushuaia at the southern tip of South America -the uttermost end of the earth. 
    • Following in Darwin’s wake, we take a half day boat trip out into the Beagle Channel to see its seabirds and marine mammals; in the afternoon we can take a walk up to nearby Martial Glacier or go birding along the foreshore.
    • We should also have time to visit Tierra del Fuego National Park with its many animals that include guanaco and Andean fox, plus introduced species such as North American beaver and European rabbit. The 90 or so species of birds found here include kelp goose, torrent duck, austral parakeet, Andean condor, plus blackish and Magellanic oystercatchers.
    • Accommodation: Ushuaia, 2-nights on full board basis.
    • Today we head back to the airport to fly north to Calafate, on the shore of Argentina’s largest lake, Lago Argentino. Here we have two full days to explore the spectacular Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. We take a full day boat trip right up to the imposing 100-metre-high mouth of Spegazzini glacier. This is Andean condor country, and we hope to see these giant birds soaring seemingly effortlessly above the glaciers. 
    • On another day we drive out to the awesome Perito Moreno Glacier. At this time of year, the pale blue meltwater and blue and white ice is set off wonderfully by the flaming red of the Chilean firebushes. The national park holds some fine local bird specialities that include spectacled duck, austral parakeet, and austral pygmy owl, as well as a lovely range of flowers that include the lovely dog orchid. 
    • Accommodation: Ushuaia, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • We take another domestic flight to Buenos Aires for our last night in Argentina. 
    • Accommodation: Buenos Aires, 1-night on room & breakfast basis
    • We have a morning free in Buenos Aires before catching ann overnight flight back to London.
  2. Day 13 Arrive UK

Iguazú extension

    • A morning flight will take us north-east, to the Brazilian border and the renowned Iguazú Falls, perhaps the most dramatic of the world’s waterfalls. The falls lie within a national park, surrounded by humid subtropical forest, which offers superb tropical birdwatching, with tanagers, antbirds, toucans, manakins, parrots, motmots, trogons and tyrant flycatchers. 
    • Access to the falls is via a series of walkways leading right to the edge of the thundering water. We stay in a hotel on the Argentinian side of the falls and have more than two full days to explore the reserve, with excellent birdwatching right in the grounds of the hotel itself.
    • Accommodation: Iguazú Falls, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • We fly back to Buenos Aires to connect with an overnight flight back to the UK.
  1. Day 16 Arrive UK

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Most meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

We stay in mid-range hotels and lodges; all rooms have en suite bathroom

On the Valdes Peninsula, we spend three nights in a converted lighthouse, with elephant seals and southern sea lions on the beach below.

Accommodation in the Iguazú Falls extension is at a hotel on the Argentinean side of the falls, close to the falls and the reserve, with excellent birdwatching in the hotel grounds.

Meals

All main meals are included.

Birds

We will see a diverse range of birds, from Magellanic penguins in the wilds to Andean condors coasting over glaciers, and the dry-steppe inhabitants of Valdes Peninsula to the local specialities of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

  • Burrowing parrot
  • Andean condor
  • Lesser rhea
  • Patagonian canastero

Mammals

We can expect to see a unique range of mammals, from the hare-like mara amongst the grasslands of the Valdes Peninsula to the majestic southern right whale.

  • Southern right whale
  • Southern sealion
  • Blue whale
  • Mara

Flora

Diverse vegetation from the flowering cacti of Valdes to stunning mountain vegetation and flowers, including the dog orchid and the Chilean firebush, of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

By contrast, the Iguazi Falls extension trip takes us into subtropical forest.

Scenery

Patagonia is a wild and rugged country. Our journey begins in the windswept deserts of the Valdes Peninsula before heading south into the Andes where we find jagged peaks and awe-inspiring glaciers.  The optional Iguazú Falls extension takes us into tropical forests and spectacular waterfalls.

Walking

Our walks will be mostly easy, at Iguazú Falls there are steps down with handrails, and are taken at a slow pace, covering no more than five kilometres in one day day. A few trails can be rocky and uneven places.

Boat trips

Our itinerary includes three boat trips: two hours at Peninsula Valdes, three hours on the Beagle Channel, and up to six hours in Los Glaciares National Park, Calafate.

Photography

Photographic opportunities on this trip are good to excellent, especially seabirds, shorebirds, sea mammals and the diverse Californian scenery.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Buenos Aires – London. and domestic flights between Buenos Aires, Trelew, Ushuaia and Calafate.

Additional return flights Buenos Aires – Iguazú – Buenos Aires are included in the extension price.

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