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King Penguins. Photo by Gina Nichol.CHILE II
Torres del Paine & Tierra del Fuego

                                CONDORS, PENGUINS & PUMAS
                               October 13 - 23, 2022

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

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Condors, Penguins and Pumas! Get ready for a Chilean wildlife adventure in this captivating country widely regarded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Stretching 2,670 miles north to south between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, Chile offers a stunning variety of landscapes, majestic scenery, and abundant wildlife. As one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, Chile has so much to see that most wildlife tours are lengthy and expensive. We are taking a different approach and have designed an affordable tour of a reasonable length that highlights the best wildlife areas of Chilean Patagonia - Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego.

Imagine seeing Condors flying above the rugged mountain peaks of the Andes, King Penguins “flying” in the waters of Useless Bay, and Pumas skulking under the massive towers of Torres del Paine!. This is your chance to experience the wonders of Chile!

Our itinerary will explore the sprawling steppes of Tierra del Fuego, spectacular glaciers and fjords, and the massive towers of Torres del Paine. We will immerse ourselves in Tierra del Fuego, a stunning area of unspoiled nature separated from the mainland by the Straits of Magellan (which we will be crossing more than once!). And we will see the stunning landscapes of Torres del Paine and marvel at the wildlife that calls this park home.

Join Sunrise Birding to experience the best birding and wildlife watching in Chilean Patagonia!

Photos: King Penguins, Useless Bay, Chile (Photo by Gina Nichol), Andean Condor (Photo by Steve Bird)


Day 1, October 13 • Travel to Santiago, Chile
Today is a travel day. Plan to fly to Santiago, Chile and arrive in the morning on Day 2 to connect with a flight to Punta Arenas. The international airport in Santiago is Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (Airport code: SCL). If you wish to arrive in Santiago a day or two early, just let us know and we can help with accommodation arrangements.

Ruddy-headed Goose (Photo: Steve Bird)

Day 2, October 14 •
Fly to Punta Arenas / Afternoon visit San Juan Bay

Be sure to be in Santiago this morning. Mid-day we will fly to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost city (Airport code: PUQ) and en route, we fly over seemingly endless Patagonian icecaps, deep fjords and the rugged peaks of the southern Andes. On arrival, we will bird by land along the Strait of Magellan looking for the endangered Ruddy-headed Goose (Photo: Steve Bird), Kelp Goose, Flying Steamer and Patagonian Crested Ducks, King and Rock Cormorant and Magellanic Oystercatcher. Overnight Punta Arenas (Dinner).


Magellanic Penguin (Photo: Claudio Vidal) Day 3, October 15 •
Boat Trip to Magdalena Island Penguin Colony / Drive to Torres del Paine National Park

This morning we will take a boat trip to visit Magdalena Island in the Strait of Magellan to see a Magellanic Penguin (Photo: Claudio Vidal) breeding colony. This protected area holds a huge colony of more than 150,000 individuals. In addition to the penguins, there are several other species of seabirds to see such as Imperial and Rock Cormorant, Dolphin and Kelp Gull, Chilean Skua and South American Tern. From the boat, we may see Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

Red-breasted Meadowlark (Photo: Gina Nichol)Later we will drive to one of the most stunning and beautiful places on the planet, Torres del Paine National Park. Along the way we will have the opportunity to visit some small brackish ponds that are ideal habitat for small flocks of Chilean Flamingo, the ubiquitous Upland Goose, Red Shoveler, the scarce Silver Teal, Chiloe Wigeon, Black-necked Swan and noisy groups of beautiful Black-faced Ibis. We will admire the changing landscape and observe how the strong winds have sculpted the vegetation of the Patagonian steppes. We also hope to see Cinereous Harrier and Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle hovering about in search of prey. Chilean Flicker, Red-breasted Meadowlark (Photo: Gina Nichol), Striped Woodpecker and Austral Pygmy Owl will be our target species around a patch of secondary woodland. We will scan the fast-flowing rivers hoping to find the remarkable Torrent Duck and search around some reed-fringed lagoons to see if we can find the elusive and recently re-discovered Austral Rail. Finally we'll arrive in the heart of this enormous and very special UNESCO World Biosphere site, where we will spend the next two nights. Night Torres del Paine (B, L, D)



Days 4 & 5, October 16 & 17 •
Exploring Torres del Paine – Puma searches

Torres del Paine National Park, recently voted the 8th Wonder of the World, features iconic vertical granite pillars (photo: Gina Nichol)

Torres del Paine National Park, recently voted the 8th Wonder of the World, features iconic vertical granite pillars (photo: Gina Nichol) rising more than 6500 feet above the Patagonian steppe and its azure lakes, emerald forests and radiant glaciers. Torres del Paine is indeed one of South America's finest national parks with unique bird life on offer and is perhaps the best place in the world to see wild Pumas.  The Paine Massif, a magnificent set of rugged peaks of granite and sedimentary rock, dominates the landscape of Torres del Paine National Park. The long-gone Indians of Patagonia gave it the name Paine, meaning “blue”, presumably referring to its remarkable color when observed from a distance. The contrasting mosaic of the towers, glaciers, lakes and forests will greet us we awake to explore the park.

Over the next two days, we will have a busy schedule of outings to search for pumas. We will inspect the immediate surroundings of our hotel as well as the known puma hunting grounds on the eastern side of the park. This area which includes the northern coast of Sarmiento Lake, Laguna Amarga and Laguna Azul, is well known for holding one of the largest concentrations of pumas in the wild. To see a Puma (Photo: Steve Bird) against this magnificent mountain backdrop is a memorable wildlife spectacle. In the company of our guide and puma tracker, we will look for pumas at a prudent distance and view them with the help of binoculars and spotting scopes.


Puma searches will be mainly in the early morning. In between, we will do some birding and wildlife watching on the eastern side of the park. We’ll look for Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Black-necked Swan, Chilean Flamingo, Spectacled Duck, Magellanic Woodpecker, Austral Parakeet, Chilean Hawk, White-throated Treerunner, Patagonian Sierra-Finch and Common Diuca-Finch among others. Two nights Torres del Paine (B, L, D)


Guanaco (Photo: Gina Nichol)

Day 6, October 18 • Torres del Paine National Park / Sierra Baguales
Today we will bird the Sierra Baguales range and the high desert habitat (3000 feet). With multicolored peaks as the backdrop, we will likely see Guanaco (Photo: Gina Nichol), a camelid native to South America, Darwin’s Rhea, and Andean Condor. Along the road, in the scrubby gullies, we will look for interesting passerines such as Patagonian Mockingbird and Gray-bellied Shrike-Tyrant. As we continue exploring this montane habitat, we might find the local White-throated Caracara, Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, Rufous-banded Miner, Cinnamon-bellied and Ochre-naped Ground-tyrants, Patagonian and Greater Yellow Finches and the stunning Yellow-bridled Finch.

We will also bird the piedmont and sub-Antarctic Southern Beech forests where we will look for Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner, Austral Parakeet, Austral Blackbird and the striking Magellanic Woodpecker, one of the largest in the world. If we are lucky, we will see the shy Andean Deer or Huemul. Overnight Puerto Natales (B, L, D)


Day 7, October 19 • Pali Aike Road / Straits of Magellan / Tierra del Fuego
Today we will cross the wind-swept steppes of mainland Patagonia in search of several of its specialties including Least Seedsnipe, Tawny-throated Dotterel, Common Miner, Band-tailed Earthcreeper and Chocolate-vented Tyrant. Large herds of camel-like Guanaco should be common and we’ll keep an eye out for other mammals including Southern Gray Fox, Patagonian Hairy Armadillo and Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk.


Coscoroba Swans (Photo: Steve Bird) Driving south, we will take a ferry crossing a narrow stretch of the Strait of Magellan giving us another opportunity to see some pelagic birds plus groups of the small, but beautiful Commerson's Dolphin. We will visit the coast and search for species such as Magellanic Oystercatcher and also take a look at a breeding colony of Rock Cormorants. Chilean Flamingo, Upland and Ash-headed Geese, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans (Photo: Steve Bird) and Silver Teal are all possible sightings along with waders such as Baird’s and White-rumped Sandpipers and Wilson’s Phalarope at the roadside wetlands. We will truly enjoy our day exploring the beauty of this 'big sky' open country. Night Porvenir (B, L, D)


Day 8, October 20 • Tierra del Fuego: Useless Bay for King Penguins / Baquedano Hills
Flightless Steamer-Duck (Photo: Gina Nichol) Today we will explore the huge Bahía Inútil - Spanish for Useless Bay - for a wealth of seabirds, waterfowl and other shorebirds. Though the bay was “useless” as a port, it offers great birding. We will concentrate on finding Flightless and Flying Steamer-Ducks (Photo: Gina Nichol) and Kelp Goose as well as King, Imperial and Rock Cormorants.

En route, we’ll be checking the meadows and fields for the endangered Ruddy-headed Goose as well as raptors including Variable Hawk, Aplomado and Peregrine Falcons. Magellanic Great Horned Owls nest in some of the ravines that we will pass by, and there might be a chance of spotting this, the largest of the Central and South American owls.

The main target of our visit to this scenic part of the island is the only continental King Penguin breeding colony (Photo: Gina Nichol). This splendid species congregates year-round on this site and in the past few years they have successfully bred here.

King Penguin breeding colony (Photo: Gina Nichol)

On our way back to Porvenir, we will explore the shrubby slopes and moorlands of the Baquedano Hills, searching for specialties such as Rufous-chested Dotterel, Austral Canastero, and the stunning White-bridled Finch. Overnight Porvenir. (B, L, D)


Day 9, October 21 • Laguna de los Cisnes / Ferry to mainland / Punta Arenas
Magellanic Plover (Photo: Steve Bird)Today we will visit some alkaline lagoons and ponds east of the village. Our target here will be the local and rare Magellanic Plover (Photo: Steve Bird). This enigmatic wader looks more like a little dove than a shorebird and is often seen ‘scratching’ in the mud with its bright pink legs as it forages. Other birds of the area should include Two-banded Plover, Wilson’s Phalarope, the abundant White-rumped Sandpiper, Short-billed Miner and the ubiquitous Austral Negrito.


We will then take a 2-hour ferry journey crossing the mythic Strait of Magellan. During the crossing we hope to see a variety of tubenoses such as Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Cape and White-chinned Petrels, Sooty Shearwater and Magellanic Diving Petrel. Other seabirds possible include Chilean Skua, Kelp, Dolphin and Brown-hooded Gulls and South American Tern. Possible marine mammals include the common South American Sea Lion and playful pods of Peale’s Dolphin. Overnight Punta Arenas (B, L, D)


Day 10, October 22 • Punta Arenas / Fly Santiago and connecting flights home
Today we transfer to Punta Arenas airport after breakfast. End of the trip. (B).

Day 11, October 23• Arrival to home airport

Torres del Paine National Park. Photo by Gina Nichol.

Plumbeous Sierra Finch. Photo by Gina Nichol. CHILE! Condors,
Penguins & Pumas

October 13 - 23, 2022
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!    Registration Form>

TOUR PRICE: $5295.00 per person/double occupancy based on 8 passengers from Punta Arenas, Chile (Airport code: PUQ).

Deposit: $1000 per person.  Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Single Supplement: $695.00 per person (subject to availability)

Included in cost: Group airport transfers, private transportation during the tour, all accommodations, meals beginning with dinner on Day 2, professional guide services, local guides, local park and reserve entrance fees.

Not included: Cost does not include roundtrip airfare to and from Punta Arenas, Chile, passport/visa fees, insurance, departure taxes, items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, or gratuities for porterage or personal services.  Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.

Transportation/Travel Planning: You will be responsible for making your travel plans to Punta Arenas.  We have a flight agent that can help if needed. Information will be forthcoming about timings for arrivals and departures.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour:

1) Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected] to confirm availability and hold your place.

2) Review the Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)>

3) Complete the Registration & Release Form (pdf)> and mail it with your deposit of US$1000.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC within two weeks to secure your place. 

>Download & print the Registration Form (pdf download).
Instructions are on the form.

Reservations are held with a paid deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.

Final payment is due May 13, 2022.  Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees).  Please inquire.


Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you consider purchasing a travel protection plan to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected in case of delay, injury or illness prior to or during a tour. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss and Delay, Emergency Medical Transportation, Pre-existing Conditions, and more.


There are many trip insurers. Here are two options to consider:

CSA Travel Protection
CSA offers coverage for pre-existing conditions if you purchase your policy before making your final payment for a tour.
Please be sure to use Sunrise Birding's producer code: 20201123
when purchasing your policy.
Insure My Trip is a web site that allows you to compare trip insurance plans
to find the right plan for you.


  • Insurance policy requirements vary and the timing of your purchase can affect coverage. Some insurance providers require that for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a policy must be purchased within 7-14 days of booking. Others, like CSA, offer policies that cover pre-existing conditions as long as the policy is purchased prior to making your final payment for the tour.

  • Trip insurance policy premiums may be non-refundable, but they may be able to be amended or transferred. Check with your insurer. It is important to be sure that the tour is sufficiently subscribed to operate before you purchase trip insurance.

  • Pay attention to coverages provided by your policy. Be aware of the requirements of country or destination can change, so check often. Some policies are now offering Covid related coverages so check with your insurer.

  • US medical insurance plans (including Medicare) often do not provide coverage outside the US. The US State Department strongly advises Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Consult with your insurer prior to your trip to ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider directly or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Be sure to get and keep all documentation of any expenses incurred.

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Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected].com 
Phone: 203.453.6724