|January 16||Fly to El Calafate in Argentina. Afternoon at the Moreno Glacier. Kau Yatun Hotel.|
|January 17||Drive to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Hotel Las Torres.|
|January 18||Full day exploring Torres del Paine National Park. Hotel Las Torres.|
|January 19||Full day to the southern part of Torres del Paine National Park. Hotel Rio Serrano.|
|January 20||Morning in the park and afternoon to Puerto Natales. Hotel Remota.|
|January 21||Spectacular Andean Condor photography and other attractions. Hotel Remota.|
|January 22||Morning to Punta Arenas for flights homeward.|
|January 23||Arrive home.|
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January 16, Wednesday: Fly to El Calafate, visit Perito Moreno Glacier
If you are traveling from our Antarctic Peninsula Expedition, after eating an early breakfast, clearing customs, and saying farewell to shipmates, transfer to the Ushuaia airport on a prearranged Rumbo Sur bus. Take the morning flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate. Otherwise, arrive in El Calafate at the prescribed time. See complete flight information. With clear weather there should be excellent views of the Cordillera with ice caps and glaciers below. After arrival in El Calafate, our wonderful guide, Claudio Vidal, will meet you at the El Calafate Airport.
Drop off your luggage at the Kau Yatun Hotel and Estancia and head out along the road to the famous Moreno Glacier, one of the few glaciers on this continent that constantly advances and recedes (at present, it is the only advancing glacier in Argentina). One huge vertical five-kilometer ice wall of this glacier sinks into the Canal de los Témpanos (Channel of the Icebergs), which connects an arm of Lake Argentino, called Rico, to its main body. Once every four to ten years, the Moreno Glacier fully crosses the channel forming a dam that causes an unusual rise in the waters of the Rico Arm. The pressure of the water will finally rupture the ice dam providing a spectacular show attracting hundreds of enthusiasts from around the world. The glacier was named after Francisco P. Moreno, a famous Argentine explorer who discovered Lake Argentino and is also well known as the father of the national parks in this country. The 1,770 acres (717,800 hectares) of Los Glaciares National Park harbors this amazing glacier plus another 47 huge glaciers. This park has been declared a Worldwide Natural Heritage Site.
Guanacos and Lesser Rheas are likely to be seen in this area between the town of El Calafate and the glacier. By watching carefully along the edge of rocky cliffs and up above the snow-covered peaks of the majestic Andes, the "Master of the Sky", the Andean Condor, should be visible. Other special birds inhabiting this region include Spectacled Duck and Magellanic Woodpecker. Enjoy the day along the splendid walkways at all levels in front of the glacier, enjoying also the different flowering plants at this season that thrive in the beautiful Nothofagus forest here. Have an excellent lunch at a restaurant within walking distance of the glacier. Return to El Calafate, a very picturesque town and take time for a stroll among all the little shops along the main street. Dine together at Kau Yatun Hotel and Estancia, located about six blocks from the main street of El Calafate.
Lodging: Kau Yatun Hotel and Estancia, El Calafate
January 17, Thursday: To Torres del Paine National Park
Drive south on the main highway to the turnoff heading west to the Chilean border, then through customs, which is about a 3 ½ hour drive on excellent roads. On the Chilean side, stop at several locations, plus enjoy a picnic lunch. In the national park the roads are gravel. The eastern corner of the national park commands incredible views of the towering peaks of Las Torres, the pinnacles from which the park takes its name. Keep an eye out for mammals and birds, including the ubiquitous Guanaco, flocks of Lesser Rhea, perhaps Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk (although fairly nocturnal), the two canid species present in the park -- South American Grey Fox and the larger South American Red Fox and others.
Arrive at Hotel Las Torres in the afternoon to enjoy this incredible setting on the eastern side of these famous peaks for which the lodge is named. The rugged peaks of the Paine Massif, including the three Towers, are famous for their beauty. The towering spires of the massif are white granite intruded into black sandstones. Evenings are a great time here for photographing sunsets and the dramatic cloud formations
Lodging: Hotel Las Torres on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park
January 18, Friday: Full day in the northeast of Torres del Paine National Park
From the lodge at Las Torres, "The Towers" or "The Horns" of the Paine massif, as the striking peaks are called, are spectacular to see in the first light of morning, when conditions are right. The mountain base turns orange and the scene becomes very dramatic with peculiar lenticular clouds moving fast over the peaks. Las Torres on the eastern side enjoys the clearest weather in the park due to being in the lee of the peaks. The trails around Las Torres are great for short walks into the Nothofagus forest or up into the hills beneath the Towers. The central bands of exposed granite on the Cuernos del Paine strongly contrast with the dark topos of sedimentary rock. Torrent Ducks are often encountered at the bridge on the trail up to the waterfall if you wait patiently for them to appear. They feed up and down this beautiful stream that is perfect habitat for them. Some of the lakes, such as Sarmiento Lake east of the lodge, have huge tufas (calcium carbonate) lining the shores, where possibly Chilean Flamingo are visible with binoculars. The park has 15 birds of prey breeding here, including Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle and Rufous-tailed Hawk. Other birds to encounter in this part of the park are Darwin's Rhea, Black-faced Ibis, and both swans and ducks. Today on the eastern side of the park enjoy the views of one of the impressive waterfalls of the Paine River. The Guanco photography is fantastic, as herds of these very graceful relatives of the camel are frequent on the eastern open plains of the park and can be approached easily due to their trust of people. Their main predator, the Puma, is very difficult to encounter during daylight hours, but it is a possibility.
Lodging: Hotel Las Torres on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park
January 19, Saturday: Full day to the south of Torres del Paine National Park
This huge national park comprises 600,000 acres (240,964 hectares). The long-gone Indians of Patagonia used the name "Paine," meaning blue, presumably referring to its remarkable coloration when observed at a distance. Tragically a recent fire, set accidentally by a backpacker in late December 2011, burned for many days into January of this year and destroyed large sections of the southern beech forest in the national park. Today drive south through this big burn area. Tonight we will overnight at Hotel Rio Serrano in the south, which has not been impacted by the burn that occurred to the north of this hotel and to the south of the lodge at Las Torres. Photograph the beautiful Paine Massif from a scenic overlook on the way to Lago Grey, one of the highlights in Torres del Paine. We are able to drive across the entire foothills of the Andes here to the edge of the main Cordillera at Lago Grey where a glacial tongue of the South Patagonian Icecap terminates in the lake generating a myriad of small icebergs. Icebergs are stranded on the southern shore of the lake after a long and slow transit from the glacier front. Grey is one of the nearly fifty outlet glaciers that originate from the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the world's third largest after Antarctica and Greenland, and is one of the most beautiful and colorful glaciers in all Patagonia. The glacier is flanked to the east by impressive granite walls, which are part of the Paine Massif, and on the west by the eroded and low summits of the older Andes. The Magellanic Woodpecker, Austral Parakeet, and the shy Andean Deer are beech forest species to watch for. The Nothofagus forest around the hotel at Rio Serrano was spared from the recent fire and is very beautiful with all the forest residents, such as Thorn-tailed Rayadito and other delightful birds.
Lodging: Hotel Rio Serrano in the south of Torres del Paine National Park
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January 20 - 21, Sunday - Monday: To Puerto Natales and surrounds
The wonderful open sweep of sea and mountains around Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound) where the waters of the Pacific penetrate the Andes to the shores of the little town of Puerto Natales will be our destination today. We'll spend most of the day in Torres del Paine National Park, then drive south to the Puerto Natales area. Stop at delightful little Lago Sofia nestled in the foothills of the Andes just north of Puerto Natales, which is very picturesque. There is a lot to see and do in this area, including Andean Condors that have communal roosting sites on the surrounding cliffs. It is quite remarkable to see Andean Condors at sea level and soaring just above you. Waterfowl species, including many ducks and geese, are abundant along the edges of the lakes. On our way, we will see an array of Patagonian bird specialties, such as Tawny-throated Dotterel. Our lovely and unique hotel, Hotel Remota (meaning remote), is located just south of Puerto Natales along the sound. It has a wonderful ambiance featuring Chilean natural resources, arts and crafts, especially beautiful native woods with very interesting textiles. Having two nights at Remota will be a very special experience where we can enjoy the lovely spa, swimming pool and fantastic meals
Lodging: Remota, south of Puerto Natales
January 22 - 23, Tuesday - Wednesday: Drive to Punta Arenas to connect with flight to Santiago and homeward
After breakfast, depart with Claudio for the three-hour drive to the Punta Arenas airport to fly to Santiago for connections homeward now scheduled to depart at 3:50 PM on Lan 80. Most likely arrive home on January 23. Lunch and dinner on your own today. See complete flight information.
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Payments and Cancellations: All reservations require a deposit due at the time of making the reservation. Upon receiving your deposit and reservation form, we will send trip materials with additional information to help you prepare for your safari. Until the final payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person. This fee may go toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip's departure date. There are no refunds given after the final payment due date. We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between now and the date of travel.
|Cost per Person|
|Trip cost, double occupancy||$3,250|
|Deposit - to reserve each space||$500|
|July 1, 2012 - second payment||$500|
|September 15, 2012 - final payment||remaining balance|
|• All costs listed above are per person.
• For reservations made after the second payment date, the deposit and second payment will be due with registration.
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To Make a Reservation: Please contact us (there are many methods of contacting us) to assure space availability and to let us answer your questions. Then, print our reservation form, fill out one form per person, and post it to us in the mail with your deposit. Or fill out our handy online information request and we will send you more information.
|Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
20800 Kittredge Road
Saratoga, CA 95070
|Toll Free: (800) 527-5330
Fax: (408) 741-0358
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Leader: Claudio Vidal lives in Punta Arenas and is a biologist and keen observer of all Patagonia wildlife. His areas of expertise include pelagic birds and marine mammals occurring in the Humboldt Current. He has published many books with lovely photos on different regions of Chile. He is also knowledgeable about the botany of Chile. One of his main concerns is saving habitats in Southern Chile. He is a very experienced leader, has a great sense of humor, lots of energy and is co-owner of Fantastico Sur located in Punta Arenas. We are fortunate to have him as our guide on this excellent extension.
If you are traveling from our Antarctic Peninsula Expedition, you should book the following flights when you book your flights for the Antarctic Peninsula:
Jan 16, Ushuaia (USH) to El Calafate (FTE), AR Flight 1890 (11:50 am – 1:15 pm)
Jan 22, Punta Arenas (PUQ) to Santiago (SCL)*, LAN Flight LA80 (3:50 pm – 7:20 pm)
*Connect to flights homeward from Santiago, most likely an overnight flight.
Travel Insurance: Emergency Medical Insurance is optional, but encouraged, for this tour. Read about travel insurance and our recommendations and requirements.
Trip Materials: Detailed information about your specific tour will be sent to you after you make your reservation with us. These trip materials include information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, packing, etc. Please take a moment to read this important informtation upon receipt.
Conditions: We have a strict non-smoking policy - smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours. We try to spend as much time in the field as possible, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience. Travel to remote places is exciting, but understanding and accepting the risks, both medical and logistical, are important. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but due to the fact that we often travel to locations far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this trip. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your tour deposit and signed reservation form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants. For all tours that are ship-based, please note that although we cannot guarantee a request for a specific cabin, we do guarantee that you will be in a cabin of equal or greater value specified in your reservation.
Mailing List: If you would like to be on our mailing list or request information, please use our online information request form or contact us to give us your name, address, email address and phone number. Please note we will never share your personal information with anybody!
Responsibility: Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris, Saratoga, California, act only as agents and shall not be responsible or become liable for any delay incurred by any person in connection with any means of transportation, nor for the loss, damage, or injury to person or property by reason of any event beyond the control of the agency or default of such agency suppliers. We reserve the right to cancel the tour prior to departure in which case full refund will constitute full settlement to the passenger. No refund will be made for any unused portion of the tour unless arrangements are made at the time of booking. All rates are based on current tariffs, exchange rates and fuel prices and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited. Baggage is at the owner's risk.
Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris is registered as California Seller of Travel #2063050-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris is a participant in the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC). In event of a client canceling where a refund is applicable in accordance with the schedule above, or in the event that CES needs to cancel the trip, all payments for transportation or travel service not provided to the client shall be promptly refunded, unless the client instructs us otherwise in writing. All client payments are deposited into a trust account in accordance with California law. If for any reason a valid refund is not forthcoming, the client may request reimbursement from the TCRC within six months of the scheduled end of the tour. Please feel free to ask us for more information.
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