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Photographing Torres del Paine

Patagonia Photo Expedition

Nature & Wildlife
Custom Expeditions
Land-Based Expeditions
Photographing Torres del Paine

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Patagonia Photo Expedition

Join local nature photographers on a landscape and wildlife photography tour to Patagonia’s most iconic regions. Photographers of all skill levels discover the best of Patagonia on this exclusively-designed, photo-oriented journey. While savoring accommodations at both nature lodges and historic guest houses, learn during our photo workshops and natural history interpretation, document fascinating wildlife encounters, and experience the comfort of traveling in a small group, with a maximum size of eight participants.

Daily Itinerary

Patagonia Photo Expedition

  • Day
    1

    Punta Arenas, Chile / Magdalena Island / Torres del Paine National Park

    After meeting your guide in Punta Arenas, cruise to Magdalena Island, set within the mythical Straits of Magellan. This protected area is home to a huge Magellanic penguin colony of more than 150,000 individuals. The penguins inhabit every available spot of the island's surface, and with little fear of humans, we’re sure to get incredible up-close shots of these often comical birds. Besides the penguins, several other species of seabirds, including imperial and rock cormorants, dolphin and kelp gulls, Chilean skua and South American tern nest here. Take a hike to explore Magdalena Island’s imposing cliffs and into the center of the island, ending at the conspicuous lighthouse which is now the ranger station. South American sea lions often patrol the coast looking opportunities to catch a distracted penguin.

    En route to Torres del Paine National Park, observe how the strong westerly winds have sculpted the vegetation of Patagonia’s grassy steppes. Stop along the way for photography and wildlife observation, where we might spot Andean condor, guanaco, southern grey fox and Patagonian skunk while enjoying our first contact with the sub-Antarctic southern beech (Nothofagus) forest, the world's southernmost woodlands.

    In the picturesque coastal town of Puerto Natales, enjoy gorgeous vistas of the Chilean fjords and groups of stunning black-necked swans feeding along the shoreline. From here, we have splendid views of the range, and if it’s clear, of the Paine Massif in the distance. Join our Patagonia tour guide for a sunset photo session. Spend three nights Hotel Rio Serrano or similar. (L,D)

    Oxalis Eneaphylla
  • Day
    2

    Torres del Paine National Park

    The omnipresent Paine Massif, a magnificent set of rugged peaks, formed of granite and sedimentary rock, dominates the landscape of Torres del Paine National Park. Rise early today, and set up at the best location to photograph the Paine Massif at dawn—concentrating on the horns and Paine Grande peaks, located in the southern face of the Massif. Then explore the southern and western regions of this huge national park. The contrasting mosaic of towering mountains, glaciers, wetlands, steppes and forests is a photographer’s delight. Hike into the southern beech forest, to search for a diversity of plants and animals. Observe Magellanic woodpecker, Austral parakeet and, if we are lucky, the shy south Andean deer. Lake Grey is certainly one of the highlights of the day, where colossal icebergs become stranded on the southern shore of the lake after a long and slow journey from the glacier front. From this shore we will board our boat, cruising through the icy waters of the lake towards the impressive and actively calving front of the glacier. Grey is one of the nearly 50 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 in all of Patagonia. The front is full of crevasses and the colors of the solid glacial ice varies from white to deep indigo. The glacier is flanked towards the east by impressive granite walls which are part of the Paine Massif, and towards the west, by the eroded, low summits of the older Andes. During the cruise, enjoy a refreshing glass of Pisco sour containing hundreds- possibly thousand-year old glacial ice! This evening we will have again an optional photo outing at sunset. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    3

    Torres del Paine National Park

    Again this morning we will have an early start in order to photograph the Paine Massif illuminated by the sunrise. In the right light, the mountain base turns orange, often with dramatic lenticular clouds moving fast above the peaks. Explore the alkaline ponds and reed-fringed lagoons located in the eastern part of the park. There are approximately 120 species of birds and nearly 500 species of plants in the park, a number of which are very interesting subjects for observation and photography. During the southern spring and early summer (mid-October through late January), the myriad of flowers that bloom in these magnificent landscapes are an unforgettable sight. After dinner, photograph the mountains and clouds, this time at sunset. (B,L,D)

    patagonia photos torrent duck
  • Day
    4

    Torres del Paine National Park / Puerto Natales

    From the lookout at the eastern corner of Sarmiento Lake, take in some of the most incredible views of the towering peaks of Las Torres. As we explore the area, you may observe herds of guanaco, a relative of the camel, the curious-looking lesser rhea and graceful Andean condor gliding over the landscape. This morning we will visit the eastern side of the park and enjoy the views of one of Paine River’s impressive waterfalls and if it’s clear, the fabulous Paine Massif from Lago Amarga. During the afternoon we will visit Mylodon Cave Nature Reserve. This outstanding natural formation consists of a massive cave carved by the waves of an ancient lake. The cave was used as shelter for a large array of long-gone Pleistocene mammal species, including the giant ground sloth or Mylodon. Learn more about the paleontology of the area from our guide, and visit the informative interpretation center. We then have the rare opportunity to explore other minor caves at Benitez Hill. These smaller shelters, fairly easy to explore, were primarily used by pre-Columbian humans, who reached these latitudes several thousand years ago. The trail goes through southern beech woods, with great chances of seeing raptors and soaring condors, and when the Chilean firebush is in bloom, entire hillsides become covered in scarlet. Overnight at Weskar Lodge or similar. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    5

    Pali Aike National Park / Tierra del Fuego / Porvenir

    Depart Puerto Natales, driving across the wind-swept steppes. Arrive at the undulating landscapes of Pali Aike National Park, its many extinct cinder cones break the uniformity of this vast, big-sky country. Some of the intriguing species we may find include least seedsnipe, tawny-throated dotterel, chocolate-vented tyrant and the colorful white-bridled finch. Take a short ferry ride across the narrowest portion of the Magellan Straits, where we expect to see the delightful Commerson’s dolphin playing in our wake. Drive along the scenic shores of Bahia Inutil, Useless Bay, to a private nature reserve that protects a small breeding colony of king penguins. The penguins are present here year-round, due in part by the bounty of the surrounding sea. We have ample opportunities to observe and photograph the penguins from a safe distance, so as not to disturb their natural behavior. Spend tonight at Yendegaia House in Porvenir, or similar. (B,L,D)

    King Penguins in Patagonia
  • Day
    6

    Porvenir / Tierra del Fuego / Straits of Magellan / Punta Arenas

    Continue exploring the wind-swept steppes, rolling hills and lush temperate forests of Tierra del Fuego. Sheep-farming stations, locally known as estancias, are interspersed amidst these picturesque and colorful landscapes dominated by dramatic skies. In the small town of Porvenir, photograph and learn about the wildlife and history of Chile’s southernmost city. Visit the nearby alkaline pools which play host to waders such as sandpiper, plover and Chilean flamingo. Later we’ll explore the coast to see some of the many shipwrecks that have fallen victim to these infamous seas. Return to Punta Arenas by ferry. Spend tonight at Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar. (B,L)

  • Day
    7

    Depart Punta Arenas

    Transfer to the airport for independent flights home. (B)

Things to Know

What gear should I pack for my Patagonia tour?

Our experts recommend you to have a nice body camera and quality lenses. In Patagonia you can have literally the four seasons in a few minutes. Also this often brings clouds that add beautifully the scenery.

Do I need to bring a tripod and monopod?

Yes, for stabilization and comfort, especially during sunrises and sunsets. Monopods are useful for some short walks or hikes, they are perfect for stabilizing your frame while being lightweight and easy to carry. In this case, you can find different options in different brands with excellent quality. The essential thing here to focus in on the retractable single leg of it to be soft and steady. This will give you perfect balance in the middle of any trail at any moment. As you know such a pristine and wild place as Patagonia you never know what is coming next, an amazing lenticular red cloud on the sunset or a puma crossing on front of you. Long zoom lenses are also helpful.

Accommodations

Hotel Rio Serrano

Hotel Rio Serrano

Hotel Rio Serrano is nestled just outside of Torres del Paine National Park and commands superb views to the Cuernos. Each spacious room offers stunning views as well as heating, fans and private facilities. Cosy public areas offer free WiFI and incredible vistas. 


Hotel Diego de Almagro

Hotel Diego de Almagro Punta Arenas

Each room at the Hotel Diego de Almagro features free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, cable TV and a telephone. Diego do Almagro’s restaurant offers traditional Chilean and international cuisine. While here, Patagonia tour guests can also relax in the hotel's pool, sauna and Jacuzzi.

Weskar Lodge

Weskar Lodge

Patagonia's Weskar Lodge is situated on a hill overlooking the beautiful Last Hope Sound. All rooms and the restaurant offer a great view over the bay and the Andes Mountain range. In the outer areas of the lodge you can find breathtaking views of the fjord, a terrace and a backyard sheltered from the wind. Inside the lodge, savor a relaxing atmosphere while enjoying a living room with a rustic fireplace, a reading room, a bar with sea view, lounge and a small craft store. WiFi internet is available in public areas, free for all our guests.

Wildlife

Puma

From: $3,398 per person
Duration
7 Days, 6 Nights
Guest Capacity
8 Guests
Trip Type
Land

Trip Highlights

  • 2017 Departures: November 17, December 16
  • 2018 Departures: February 10, February 24 (with Chicago Photo Class), April 14, October 13, December 15
  • Enjoy multiple opportunities to photograph the iconic peaks of Torres del Paine, with sunrise & sunset excursions to capture the dramatic play of light on the Paine Massif.
  • Search for a variety of Patagonian wildlife—Andean condor, Chilean flamingo, Magellanic woodpeckers, southern grey fox & guanaco.
  • Visit two breeding penguin colonies for fantastic shots of comical Magellanics on Magdalena Island & majestic kings of Bahia Inutil.
  • Cruise on beautiful Lake Grey, filled with glittering icebergs of all shapes & sizes for impressive, up-close views of Grey Glacier.
  • Discover tips & tricks on how to capture stunning photos—from landscapes to wildlife.