Photographs on these pages were taken during a visit to Chile in November 2017. The trip was guided by Rodrigo Reyes of Birdwatching Chile.
The starting point for the tour was Santiago and the first day was spent in the mountains close to the city as a result of a delayed flight from London. The following day a flight took us north to the city of Arica close to the border with Peru. Arica provided a base to explore coastal locations as well as the Azapa Valley before we transferred to the town of Putre via the Lluta Valley. After exploring the area around Putre and acclimatising to the altitude we ventured up to Lauca National Park and Lake Chungará at 4500m at the foot of Parinacota Volcano.
From the north of the country we flew back to Santiago and drove up into the Maipo Valley to explore the Yeso Valley, staying at Cascada de las Animas. Excursions to Cartagena and Laguna El Peral for water birds and La Campana National Park, together with Cachagua and Posada del Parque produced a good extension to the list of birds and animals photographed. A pelagic trip from Quintero had to be abondoned due to adverse weather conditions denying us the opportunity to extend our list of sea birds.
From Central Chile we made our way south to Puerto Montt, staying in Puerto Varas as a base for a day trip to Chiloé Island and a visit to Puñihuil Penguin Colony. An almost abortive visit to Alerce Andino National Park was only rescued by ignoring the closed sign, resulting from a strike by the park rangers.
The final parts of the trip took us further south to Punta Arenas to explore Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. The day trip to Tierra del Fuego to see the King Penguin colony almost ended badly as the return ferry service was suspended due to high winds and only restarted at 2230 h, delaying our return to the hotel until the early hours of the morning. From Punta Arenas we drove north through Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park. The good news was that the mountains were clear when we arrived, the bad news was that the wind speed was 120 km/h and it was almost impossible to stand up and certainly photography was challenging. High winds seem to be a consistent feature of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego and indeed Punta Arenas is listed as the 4th windiest city in the world. Our return involved flights from Punta Arenas to Santiago followed immediately by the 14 hour return flight to Europe.