Complete Chile - Extreme North to Extreme South

11birdPatagonian Forest Earthcreeper

Chile is a long and thin country, bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and the cold Humboldt current and to the east by the towering Andean mountain chain. Our tour will take us from the Peruvian border in the very far north of Chile, all the way down to the southern shores of Tierra del Fuego.

This tour will enable us to see a good number of Chilean endemics such as Moustached Turca, Crag Chilia, Chilean Seaside Cinclodes, Chilean Tinamou and Dusky-tailed Canastero, as well as a further 60 or so species that can only be found in the southern cone of South America and which are easier to find here in Chile than in Argentina. Other birding highlights will include Diademed Sandpiper-plover, 3 species of flamingo, Andean Condor and Burrowing Parrot.

Scenery-wise, we will take in the Atacama Desert, the Pacific Ocean, extensive wetlands and forests. We will see glaciers, the world’s highest lake, volcanos and rivers, the world’s driest desert and the spectacular Torres del Paine.

All this and without too heavy a schedule, since the travel links are good and our pace will allow us the time to enjoy the truly spectacular scenery as well as to see the wildlife.

DAY 0. 26th OCT ARRIVAL IN SANTIAGO
After arrival, we will transfer to Santiago’s airport hotel, where we will have dinner and our introductory meeting. Night in the Santiago airport hotel. D
DAY 1. 27th OCT. BIRDING THE ARICA VALLEYS
This morning we will take an early flight from Santiago to Arica on the Peruvian border.

Today we will be birding in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest regions on earth. There are a few small rivers which flow through this desert, carrying melt-water down from the Andes, and their well-cultivated flood plains form a rich oasis in this harsh environment.

Our most important target species today will be a trio of hummingbirds: the sturdy Oasis Hummingbird, the entertaining Peruvian Sheartail and the diminutive Chilean Woodstar. This latter is one of Chile's rarest and most threatened birds, whose world population is now believed to number no more than 2000.

We will also have our best chance today for the rare Tamarugo Conebill. Other birds that we might encounter during the morning include Peruvian Thick-knee, Pacific Dove, Croaking Ground-dove, Groove-billed Ani, Burrowing Owl, Andean Swift, White-crested Elaenia (the form here is sometimes split as Peruvian Elaenia), Vermilion Flycatcher, the local race of Bran-coloured Flycatcher (a strong candidate for a future split), Cinereous Conebill, Chestnut-throated Seedeater, Blue-black Grassquit, Slender-billed Finch and Peruvian Meadowlark.

After lunch in Valle de Azapa, we will bird along the coastline and at the estuary of the Lluta river. Our main targets here will be shorebirds and we might encounter Killdeer, Snowy Plover, American and Blackish Oystercatchers, Surfbird, Willet and a selection of gulls and terns.
We will spend the night in a comfortable hotel near to the ocean in Arica, enjoying dinner in a good nearby restaurant. B: L: D
DAY 2. 28th OCT. PELAGIC TRIP AND BIRDING ON THE WAY TO PUTRE
This day ́s schedule starts with an enjoyable 6 hours pelagic trip. Sailing into the Humboldt Current will allow visitors to spot many sub-Antarctic species of seabirds and warm water Petrels. During navigation it is possible to find Salvin's, Buller's and Black-browed Albatross, Northern Giant-Petrel, White-chinned and Westland Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Elliott ́s Storm-Petrel, Markham's Storm-Petrel, Peruvian Diving Petrel, Humboldt Penguin, Chilean Skua and Swallow-tailed Gull. Inshore species should include Red-legged and Guanay Cormorants, the splendid Inca Tern, Peruvian Boobies and Peruvian Pelican.

A tasty lunch at a restaurant on the beach will be waiting for the group after the pelagic trip. Later, with birding stops on the way, the plan considers heading to the arable areas outside Arica and then to the town of Putre. During this ride we will be searching for some specialties we may have missed yesterday.

After this intensive birding day, we will spend the night in the beautiful town of Putre. With an altitude of 3.500 m a.s.l. (11.483 ft) Putre will be the gateway for next day’s adventures at the high elevation Andean ecosystems. B : L : D
DAY 3. 29th OCT. FULL DAY AT LAUCA NATIONAL PARK
Today will be spent exploring Lauca National Park, a place of outstanding natural beauty. Here, the towering snow-capped volcanos of Pomerape and Parinacota soar to over 6,300 metres and reflect themselves perfectly in the deep blue waters of Chungara and Cotocotani lakes. The highlight for us will be lake Chungara, one of the highest altitude lakes in the world, which holds hordes of birds including Silvery Grebe, Puna Teal and Giant Coot, along with ducks and often Andean Gulls.

On our way up to the lakes we will search the high-altitude bogs for the stunning and difficult to find Diademed Sandpiper-plover. Other birds we will hope to find today will include Puna Rhea, Andean Flicker, White-winged Cinclodes, Black Siskin, Puna Tinamou, Puna Ibis, Andean Goose, Mountain Caracara, Andean Lapwing, Puna Plover, Andean Avocet, Puna Miner, Puna and White-fronted Ground-tyrants, Andean Negrito, White-winged Diuca-finch and White-throated Sierra-finch. We will also be looking for flamingos and with luck we will be able to approach close enough to identify three species here: Chilean, Andean and Puna. In the late afternoon we will return to our hotel in Putre and stroll out to another local restaurant for dinner. Second night in our hotel in Putre. B: L: D
DAY 4. 30th OCT. BIRDING IN PUTRE AND RETURN TO ARICA
This morning will be spent exploring around the village, where we might see Bare-faced Ground-dove, White-throated Earthcreeper, Yellow-billed Tit-tyrant, Canyon and Dark-winged Canasteros, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Cream-winged and White-winged Cinclodes, Streaked Tit-spinetail, D'Orbigny's and White-browed Chat-tyrants, Chiguanco Thrush, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Golden-billed Saltator, Black-hooded and Ash-breasted Sierra-finches, Greenish Yellow-finch, Band-tailed Seedeater and also maybe Ornate Tinamou and Spot-winged Pigeon.

We will then drive slowly down the winding mountain road back to Arica, looking for any birds that we may have missed on the way up.

We will return to the same hotel where we stayed on previously, taking our dinner in a restaurant near the ocean. Night in our comfortable hotel in Arica. B: L: D
DAY 5. 31st OCT. BIRDING AROUND ARICA AND FLIGHT TO SANTIAGO
In the early morning of this day we will visit for a final time the Luta river estuary. After this we will take our flight back to Santiago. Night in Santiago at the Santiago airport hotel B:L:D
CENTRAL CENTRAL CHILE
Like only four other places in the world, all central part of Chile has been classified as a Mediterranean Region because it has Mediterranean Climate (rainy and cold winters and very hot and dry summers). Due to the high rates of biodiversity and endemism. The Mediterranean region of Chile has been classified as one of the 25 Hot Spots in the world with priority for its conservation.
DAY 6. 1st NOV. BIRDING AT FARELLONES AND VALLE NEVADO
This morning we will drive up into the Andes to Farellones, where, amongst fantastic scenery, we will be looking for Crag Chilia, Dusky Tapaculo, Greater Yellow-finch, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners and White-sided Hillstar, amongst other Andean birds. Massive Andean Condors should be soaring above (and sometimes below!) us, with hopes of Variable Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle and Mountain Caracara.We will also do some birding at lower elevations, where we will be looking for the endemics - Chilean Tinamou, Moustached Turca, White-throated Tapaculo and Dusky-tailed Canastero.

We should return to our hotel in Santiago in time to enjoy a relaxing evening there, taking dinner at a different local restaurant and having a little more time than usual to savor the excellent local wines! Night at our hotel in Santiago B: L: D
DAY 7. 2nd NOV. FULL DAY ON THE COAST
Today we will set off very early, heading for the coast. Once at the coast we should see a wide variety of species, including the endemic Seaside Cinclodes, Black-necked and Coscoroba Swans, 3 species of coot, Spot-flanked Gallinule, the rare Black-headed Duck, Plumbeous Rail, Lake Duck, Great Grebe, Many-colored Rush-tyrant, Wren-like Rushbird and other ducks and grebes.

At the Maipo estuary we will be looking for a variety of gulls, Black Skimmers and a number of terns, including the rare Snowy-crowned Tern. We also have a chance here to see the beautiful White-tailed Kite, along with a good number of other shore and marsh birds. The marshes will give us a chance to see the recently-described Ticking Doradito and the noisy endemic Dusky Tapaculo. Leaving the estuary, we will drive gradually north up the coast, stopping for lunch and at various birding sites along the shore. Arriving in the historic port city of Valparaiso, we will check in to our comfortable hotel where we will be spending the night. B: L: D
DAY 8. 3rd NOV. PELAGIC TRIP OFF VALPARAISO AND COASTAL BIRDING
Early this morning we will sail out of Valparaiso port on our second Humboldt current pelagic, this time sailing some 12 miles out into the ocean. During our pelagic we will have the chance to see several species of albatross including Salvin's, Black-browed, Buller's, Northern, Southern Royal and Chatham Island. Tubenoses are a main feature of this pelagic and we will be hoping to encounter Southern Fulmar, Masatierra and Westland Petrels, Peruvian Diving-petrel and the more numerous White-chinned Petrel and Northern Giant Petrel. Wilson's Storm-petrels (local sub-species) will "foot-patter" close to the boat and we often see large numbers of Red Phalaropes. Other species should include Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, Kelp Gull and South American Tern.

After the pelagic and a good lunch in a fish restaurant in the harbor we will continue birding this time towards to the north of Valparaiso to look for the scarce and elusive Stripe-backed Bittern and any other species we might have missed the day before. Return to Santiago. Night in Santiago. B: L: D
DAY 9. 4th NOV. THE YESO VALLEY AND THE HIGH ANDES
Today we will make an early start (to miss the rush hour traffic!), heading south and east from the city, driving up the very scenic Maipo valley and out on the mine road to the Yeso dam and beyond. At 2,500 meters altitude we will stop at a particular bog which is a favorite site for what is arguably Chile´s number one target bird-the rare and very unusual Diademed Sandpiper-plover.

We will also bird the lower reaches of the valley, looking for the endemic and very beautiful Crag Chilia and the fast running Moustached Turca. We will see a variety of Sierra-finches and furnarids here, the latter group including Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners and Scale-throated Earthcreeper. Ground-tyrants will be everywhere, including Rufous-naped, White-browed, Ochre-naped, Cinereous and Spot-billed.

Our best views of Andean Condor will probably be here in this valley and Torrent Ducks are regular on the streams. One of the hummingbirds we will be looking for up here is White-sided Hillstar and we also have a chance for both Black-billed and Great Shrike-tyrants, as well as Grey-breasted Seedsnipe. After what is often voted as being the most scenically spectacular day of the tour, we will return to our hotel in Santiago for a second night. B: L: D
DAY 10. 5th NOV. COLBÚN LAKE AND VILCHES
We will drive towards the south to get to Talca and then continue our trip to Colbún Lake. Still in the Mediterranean Region our main targets will be the large, spectacularly colourful and very noisy Burrowing Parakeet and beautiful Spectacled Duck. Hopefully we will also find a good number of other interesting ducks and grebe species and an opportunity to see Spectacled Tyrant and Andean Gull. We will then make a short trip to the north to spend the rest of the day and the next in the magnificent Altos de Lircay National Park. At dusk we will look for the hard to see Rufous-Legged Owl before spending the night in a quiet and comfortable forest lodge in Vilches.
DAY 11. 6th NOV. ALTOS DE LIRCAY NATIONAL PARK
Located in the southern border of the Mediterranean Region, this park is in the ecotone (transition area between two biomes) between the Temperate Rain Forest and the Mediterranean Region. Usually an ecotone appears on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities or ecosystems. Because of this, in Altos de Lircay it is possible to observe the occurrence of species of Nothofagus forest. While walking along trails participants will be amazed with the spectacular mature Nothofagus trees as well as ferns, mosses and forest bird species that are unique to the southern cone of South America. oday will be spent exploring the extensive forest of the Altos de Lircay National Park, located in the Andean foothills.
In particular we will be listening for the nasal scolding of Chile's least-known Tapaculo, the Chestnut-throated Huet-huet. This is, perhaps, the least-often found Chilean virtual endemic on most tours. We will also be looking for more Nothofagus forest specialties, such as Austral Parakeet, the plump Chucao Tapaculo (with its explosive voice), Magellanic Tapaculo and Patagonian Sierra-finch. This will also be our first opportunity to see the truly spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker, which is quite common here. There is also an outside chance of seeing the rare and difficult-to-find Chilean Hawk.

After a full day’s birding in the forest we will return to our Vilches lodge and again dine in the excellent restaurant there. Second night in our Vilches forest lodge. B: L: D
DAY 12. 7th NOV. CERRO ÑIELOL AND TEMUCO
We will set off early this morning, heading to Temuco, making selected stops along the way. One of our stops today will be at the Santa Elena lagoon, south of Chillan, where we will look for Ticking Doradito, along with other lake specialties.

We will spend the end of the afternoon birding at Cerro Ñielol, where the possibilities will include Black-throated Huet-huet, Rufous-tailed Hawk, Des Mur's Wiretail, Chucao Tapaculo, the near endemic Slender-billed Parakeet and Ochre-flanked Tapaculo.

We will then spend the night in Temuco, walking out to a good local restaurant for our well-deserved dinner. B: L: D
DAY 13. 8th NOV. ARAUCARIA FOREST
This morning we will head off to explore the very beautiful Conguillío National Park. In this fantastic higher altitude Nothofagus and Araucaria forest, with excellent mountain views, we will look for the recently-split Patagonian Forest Earthcreeper, as well as Flying Steamer-duck, Magellanic Tapaculo, Austral Parakeet, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, White-throated Treerunner and other forest species.

After a full day's birding we will drive to Temuco airport to take the short evening flight to Santiago, where we will spend the night in our comfortable airport hotel. B: L: D


PATAGONIA



DAY 14 9TH NOV. BIRDING AROUND PUNTA ARENAS
This morning we will take the early flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile’s most southerly city.Upon arrival we will bird on the coast near the city, looking for Flying and Flightless Steamer-ducks, Magellanic Oystercatcher, Imperial Shag, Upland Goose, Two-banded Plover, Chilean Skua, Dolphin Gull and the tiny Austral Negrito. In the afternoon we will drive to the Estancia San Juan where the very rare Ruddy-headed Goose breeds, before heading back to our hotel in Punta Arenas where we will spend the night, dining out at a nearby shoreline restaurant. B: L: D
DAY 15. 10th NOV. TIERRA DEL FUEGO AND KING PENGUIN COLONY
We will take the early morning ferry crossing (2.5 hrs.) to Porvenir, which is the main town in the North-West sector of this mythical island at the end of the world, Tierra del Fuego. We should see scores of Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic Diving Petrel, Chilean Skua, Black- Browed Albatross and Peale ́s dolphins. We will spend the afternoon birding in visiting Laguna Verde and Laguna Santa Maria. Bird species the next couple of days will be Ashy- Headed and Upland Goose, Two- Banded Plover, Magellanic Plover, Chilean Skua, Short- Billed Miner, Tawny-Throated Dotterels, Flightless Steamer-Duck, Black-necked Swan and Crested Duck.

A trip to Bahia Inútil to see a colony of magnificent King Penguins. In the afternoon we will be looking for Rufous-Chested Dotterel, Chocolate-Vented Tyrant and Cinnamon-Bellied Ground-Tyrant before returning to our lodge in Cerro Sombrero.
DAY 16. 11th NOV. BIRDING THE STEPPES AND DRIVE TO PUERTO NATALES
We will bird our way to North-East of the Tierra del Fuego island, where we will take our ferry to mainland (Punta Delgada). This is a shorter ferry crossing with the great chance of seeing Commerson ́s Dolphin, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel and White- Chinned Petrel, and other seabirds. Back on the mainland we will make a stop at Buque Quemado because there is a great chance of seeing variety of waterfowl, including Silver Teal, Rosy-billed Pochard, Chiloe Wigeon, White-cheeked Pintail, Coscoroba Swan, and variety of shorebirds. We will continue our trip to Puerto Natales and will look for Darwin's Rhea, Austral Canastero, Chocolate-Vented Tyrant, Band-Tailed Earthcreeper, Common Miner Patagonian Yellow-Finch and White-bridled Finch. We will spend the night in our hotel in Puerto Natales.
DAY 17. 12th NOV. TORRES DEL PAINE AND SIERRA BAGUALES
Today we will make an early start, heading for the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. The park is famous for it’s amazing scenery, but it is also rich in bird and mammal life. We will be birding the eastern side of the park, looking for waterfowl on the lakes, whilst on reed-fringed pools we will be hoping to find the recently re-discovered Austral Rail.
Other birds that we might encounter here will include Cinereous Harrier, Dark-faced and Cinnamon-bellied Ground-tyrants, White-throated Caracara, Yellow-bridled Finch and Patagonian Mockingbird. Guanaco, Patagonian Skunk and Gray Fox are some of the mammals that we may see. This is also the best place in Chile to see Puma, but daytime sightings are extremely rare.

Leaving the National Park, we will take the road to Sierra Baguales, looking for Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Patagonian and Greater Yellow-finches, Andean Condor, the very rare Gray-bellied Shrike-tyrant and a variety of ground-tyrants. We will then head back to Puerto Natales and our hotel, walking out for dinner to a nearby restaurant where the carnivores in our group will hopefully be able to sample the famous Patagonian specialty of Cordero al Palo!! We will then spend a second night in our hotel in Puerto Natales. B: L: D
DAY 18. 13th NOV .PUNTA ARENAS AIRPORT
Sadly, this is the last day of our expedition. We will drive back to Punta Arena’s airport where we will take our flight back to Santiago and connecting international flights B.
NOTE PRICE EXCLUDES:

Internal Flights (Santiago-Arica-Santiago, Temuco-Santiago, Santiago-Punta Arenas- Santiago. About 600-700 USD)

Customer Testimonials

Debbie and Joe Hilaire - Canada

From the moment we stepped off the plane in Chile, we were provided with an exceptional birding experience. Fernando Diaz was brilliant, taking care of us with confidence and skill. From the hotels, to the food and transportation, all was of a very high standard. The scenery and wines of Chile were the icing on the cake. Each day brought new and fantastic birds, never missing any. I have found over the years that my best birding experiences have been with the people who live and bird these places every day. You cannot go wrong by choosing an outfit like …Manu Expeditions…. and a guide like Fernando. I could not have asked for more.

Richard Wolfendale - USA

Absolutely astounding scenery - incredible birds, great wine and the tour leader was a gem.
This is a birding trip of a lifetime!

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Comments

Absolutely astounding scenery - incredible birds, great wine and the tour leader was a gem.
This is a birding trip of a lifetime!

From the moment we stepped off the plane in Chile, we were provided with an exceptional birding experience. Fernando Diaz was brilliant, taking care of us with confidence and skill. From the hotels, to the food and transportation, all was of a very high standard. The scenery and wines of Chile were the icing on the cake. Each day brought new and fantastic birds, never missing any. I have found over the years that my best birding experiences have been with the people who live and bird these places every day. You cannot go wrong by choosing an outfit like …Manu Expeditions…. and a guide like Fernando. I could not have asked for more.

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