• 13 Days from
    $5998 p/p in USD
  • departures icon
    Departures
    Jan, Dec
TRAVEL PARTNER

Swoop Travel

  • Antarctica
  • Arctic
  • Argentina
  • Chile
Destinations

Destinations

Argentina, Patagonia,

Tour Type

Tour Type

Small Group

Safari Standard

Safari Standard

Mid Range

Tour Overview

A penguin enthusiast’s dream, spend time observing and photographing four of Patagonia’s penguin species; King, Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper and Magellanic, with expert guides and in beautiful nature reserves and islands. Also be on the lookout for whales, sea lions, elephant seals and fantastic birdlife. All logistics and accommodations are covered from start to end.

General Information

  • Safari types:
    Birding Safari, Coastal Safari, Wildlife Safari
  • Getting around:
    Transfer Vehicle
  • Start/end:
    Start/end in Buenos Aires

Trip Highlights

  • Visit Isla de los Pajaros and be amongst Magellanic penguins before sailing past an island with a South American sea lion colony
  • Take a boat trip to reach Penguin Island and spend time watching rockhopper penguins, you may also see feeding sea birds and dolphins
  • A drive to Camarones, a fishing town dedicated daily to guarding the entry to one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the Chubut province, Cabo dos Bahias
  • Visit the Peninsula Valdes Nature Reserve, home to the largest population of southern right whales in the world
  • See the king penguin colony of Bahia Inutil

RATES – USD / GBP PER PERSON

From USD 5,998 / GBP 4,629 per person based on double occupancy

Single supplement of USD 828 for those who request single accommodation

What's Included

  • 11 nights accommodations at 4 hotels or lodges with breakfast and taxes included
  • Private transportation throughout the tour
  • Services of local English speaking naturalist guide from November 27th until December 7th and his/her expenses and flights
  • At Buenos Aires you will have an English speaking local city guide
  • National park and nature reserves entrance fees
  • Meals mentioned and detailed in the itinerary
  • Activities mentioned in the itinerary, the order may be altered according to weather conditions
  • Several boat trips: to Isla Pinguino, on the Ria Deseado; on The Beagle Channel to Isla Martillo

What's Excluded

  • Internal and international flights
  • Tips to drivers and local guides
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Personal expenses and equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Disclaimer

  • This itinerary is owned and delivered by ‘Swoop Travel
  • All prices are ‘From’ and may vary at the time of booking
  • Display price is usually based on two people sharing
  • Swoop Travel‘ reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
  • All itineraries are subject to availability

Day by Day Overview

Arrival in Buenos Aires and group transfer to the hotel. Spend the afternoon touring the most vibrant city in Argentina and seeing the highlights of Buenos Aires.

Accommodation: Buenos Aires

Fly to Comodoro Rivadavia where on arrival you are driven south to Puerto Deseado. Check in to the hotel for 3 nights. In the afternoon you will take a boat trip to view the tiny Commerson’s dolphin, the nesting red-legged cormorants (40% of the population of this species of cormorant in Patagonia nests here). You will disembark at Isla de los Pajaros to see Magellanic penguins and nesting blackish oystercatchers, sail past an island with a South American sea lion colony and look out for other marine birds such as snowy sheathbills, several species of gulls, terns, skuas and giant petrels.

Length of excursion: 3.5 hour drive
Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Accommodation: Puerto Deseado

Today’s boat trip is a little bit longer, out of the inlet to reach Isla Pinguino (Penguin Island). Here you will spend plenty of time watching rockhopper and Magellanic penguins. Skuas are the main predators while upland geese and shore birds stop at the island and you may see feeding sea birds and dolphins when sailing to the island or back to mainland.

The southern rockhopper penguin is the smallest of the crested penguins, you will watch them come out of the sea and hop from rock to rock at a very close distance. A nearby smaller island has nesting South American terns and a colony of South American sea lions. If the wind catches up black-browed albatrosses will fly close to you. The views of the coast will be recognised by those participants who are familiar with Conrad Martins drawings that illustrated Darwin’s voyage.

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch
Accommodation: Puerto Deseado

This is a boat excursion that takes approximately 6 hours to a spot halfway up the estuary from Puerto Deseado followed by a hike up a hill to a lookout point. During the nautical part of the excursion, you may see small penguin and cormorant rookeries and be accompanied by some Commerson’s dolphins. Passengers may disembark on the beach where the Hoorn, the smallest ship of a private Dutch survey expedition commanded by Willem Schouten accidentally caught fire while undergoing caulking and was abandoned in December 1615.

Schouten, a partner in the survey venture, continued south with the Eendracht, the remaining vessel of the expedition and shortly thereafter discovered Cape Horn, the southernmost promontory of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago that marks the southernmost passage between the Atlantic and Pacific. It was a stormy day with poor visibility and Schouten didn’t realize that the promontory was on an island; he thought it was the end of the continent.

Length of excursion: 6 hours by boat
Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Puerto Deseado

Drive north to the city of Camarones. Nearby was the very first Spanish settlement in what today is known as Argentina. In 1535 Simon de Alcazaba y Sotomayor founded the city of Caleta Hornos, lasting only a few weeks. Today Camarones is a fishing town, dedicated mainly to guard the entry to one of the most beautiful Nature Reserves in the Chubut province, Cabo dos Bahias. From here to the south there are over 100 islands, home to more than 13 species of seabirds and 2 species of marine mammals that find these waters rich in food for their chicks and pups.

Length of excursion: 7 hour drive
Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Accommodation: Camarones

Visit the incredible Nature Reserve of Cabo dos Bahias on the coast of southern Chubut Province. Dedicate the morning to exploring these volcanic rocks pushing through the sedimentary basements, home to a large Magellanic penguin colony.

After enjoying a box lunch at the Nature Reserve you will drive north to magnificent Puerto Madryn on the shores of Golfo Nuevo. Upon arrival you may have some time to explore the city and the beach. Walk a short distance for a fresh sea food dinner; mussels, clams and scallops are gathered locally.

Length of excursion: 4 hour drive
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Puerto Madryn

Today there is a visit to one of the most abundant Nature Reserves in Patagonia, Peninsula Valdes, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. This Provincial Nature Reserve is home to the largest population of southern right whales in the world, visiting the coast between May and the beginning of December. Along the coast there are also several colonies of different species of sea birds including Magellanic penguins, Dominican gulls, terns, cormorants and many shorebirds which visit the sandy beaches. Southern sea lions, elephant seals and the occasional orca are some of the marine mammals you may see.

Depending on the time of your visit you may choose to travel to the north or south of the Peninsula in order to observe and enjoy the wildlife present in the area. The southern end of the Peninsula is home to a large population of southern elephant seals, mainly found in Sub-Antarctic islands. Guanacos, maras, rheas, foxes and many other terrestrial wildlife are very common on our visits here during our long journeys on the typical Patagonian gravel roads.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Puerto Madryn

Fly to Ushuaia and time permitting visit Tierra del Fuego National Park, the only national park in Argentina where you find forest in contact with sea. Discover the sub-Antarctic beech forest with its different ecosystems – evergreen forest, deciduous forest, peat bog – and walk several short trails looking at birds, Indian middens and different fungi.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Accommodation: Ushuaia

You’ll start early today heading east for Harberton Ranch, the first ranch on the island of Tierra del Fuego, given to the Anglican Missionary Thomas Bridges in recognition of his work. Once you arrive you will take a short boat trip to Hammer Island or Isla Martillo where Magellanic penguins and gentoo penguins nest. Gentoo penguins do not burrow into the ground as Magellanic penguins do, they build a nest with rocks. They have orange bills and head patches of white feathers which are individually distinct. Their feet range in color from pink to orange to red. The small colony on this island has been increasing and some austral summers a few king penguins have come to the island to molt. Enjoy a home-made lunch with incredible views and finally visit the Acatashun Museum, an amazing collection of whale and sea mammal skeletons.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Ushuaia

Depart the southernmost city in the world to head north, crossing three different mountain ranges, viewing Lago Escondido and Fagnano to reach a transition zone where low deciduous beech is the only tree present and finally gives way to the grasslands of the northern part of the island. You can try and find a few special birds such as Magellanic plover and an endangered goose as well as possibly finding herds of guanacos.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Rio Grande

Today you leave early in the morning in order to clear Argentine and Chilean customs and reach our very special destination of the day, the King Penguin colony of Bahia Inutil. King penguins have a marked auricular and brighter orange patch than emperor penguins; they are slimmer and have a bare tarsus. It has one of the most unusual annual cycles of any of the penguins. It takes 14 months to rear one chick. Chicks are covered in brown down and fast during the winter months. Return to Rio Grande for an evening flight to Buenos Aires.

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch
Accommodation: Buenos Aires

Explore the city on your own and enjoy this free time in the capital of Argentina. Perhaps visit the Colon Opera House, the MALBA art museum or any of the other attractions of the city. In the afternoon transfer to the international airport for your flight back home.

Meals: Breakfast

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