Des Murs’ Wiretail
Patagonia has 7 natural regions to explore: Subantarctic forest, Patagonian Steppe, Monte Eegion (endemic to Argentina), High Andes, Southern Wetlands, Central valley of Chile and the southern cone Coast.
The forest, in turn, has 4 types: the patagonian Cypress forest, the Araucaria forest -only here-, the typical Southern Beech forest (Nothofagus sp.), and the cold Valdivian Rainforest. This itinerary is also the only one that allows you to see them all.
In its Lakes District, Patagonia presents the greatest biological diversity, and there is no other possible trip where all its natural ecosystems can be connected, as you can see at the map. In around 500 km you can explore this area thoroughly, where 90% of its 400 bird species and all its diversity are concentrated.
This itinerary allows us looking for birds, as well as unique mammals, cultures, and landscapes that still remain wild.
Day 0. Arrive in Buenos Aires, welcome dinner and resting after the trip. Night in Buenos Aires.
Day 1. In the morning we will take a flight to Patagonia, arriving in Neuquén (1200 km from Buenos Aires). There, at the entrance of Patagonia, we’ll go to birding through the scrubs environment in a natural region called “Monte”, knowing the first Patagonian species, such as Austral Thrush, Burrowing Parrot, Tufted-Tit-Tyrant or Black-faced Ibis.
After lunch and we’ll leave through the Monte, birding and looking for typical species like Lesser Rhea, White-throated Cacholote and Elegant-crested Tinamou.
Arriving in Zapala surrounded by arid environments, and during the afternoon we’ll visit places around to find the most common birds there, such as Chiguanco Thrush and Upland Goose.
Night in Zapala.
Day 2. A full day in this small Patagonian city, where we'll be birding in some lakes around, with a lot of highlights such as Chilean Flamingo, Red Phalarope, Austral Negrito, Black-necked Swan, Silver Grebe, Double-banded Plover and Creaste Duck.
Night in Zapala.
Day 3. This morning we will cross from the Monte towards the Patagonian Steppe and head south towards the Collón Cura Valley. This valley will be one of the points with a larger number of spices, including Rusty-backed monjita, Variable Hawk, Many-colored Rush-Tyrant or Band-tailed Eremobius. Picnic in Collón Cura. In the afternoon, we'll have opportunities for the Andean Condor.
It will be a day of many kilometers but with many stops and new species (a total of 250 km).
Night around in Junín de los Andes (with upgrade option in a Lodge in an Estancia).
Day 4. From there we’ll go inside the National Park to find one of the most ancient forests of the world. Still alive from dinosaur time, the Monkey-puzzle Tree (Araucaria) forests still survive in a small area, protected for the original people of Patagonia: the mapuches. We’ll visit this area and learn about the first species of the forest, including the Great Shrike-Tyrant, Chilean Swallow and Austral Parakeet.
Night in San Martín de los Andes.
Day 5. This day we’ll stay around the town. In the morning we’ll visit Rosales Lake to meet Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Chilean Pigeon and Ashy-headed Goose, and in the afternoon we'll go up to Chapelco Hills, where are amazing views in the top of the mountain and birding opportunities, including Des Mur’s Wiretail, Magellanic Woodpecker and several ground-tyrants, looking for the first Patagonian Tapaculos.
Night in San Martín de los Andes.
Day 6. In the morning we’ll visit a local reserve, a wetland with species such as Cinnamon Teal, Wren-like Rush-Bird and several species of herons and wader birds.
After lunch, we'll leave the city through "7 Lakes" road, birding in the dense forest, inhabitant of the Magellanic Woodpecker, heading to Villa La Angostura, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi.
Night in Villa La Angostura.
Day 7. Thus, we'll take the international road crossing The Andes through one of the most beautiful crossings to Chile: Puyehue Path, and take a direct road to the pacific coast. This day we will have a long journey of 220 km and our point of arrival will be Bahia Mansa, a small fishing village, still unknown to tourism. On the trip we’ll look for the Chilean Mockingbird, the Slender-billed Parakeet and the new species at the other side of the Andes.
Night in Pucatrihue, at the sea coast.
Day 8. Birding in the coast, with 3 different places: Maicolpué, Bahía Mansa and Pucatrihué. If sea conditions permit we will try to enter offshore to view seabirds: several species of cormorants, oystercatchers, gulls, boobies and pelicans. This is a nesting area of two Penguin species: Magellanic and Humboldt Penguins.
If the conditions allow, we’ll try to make an oceanic trip.
Night in Pucatrihue.
Day 9. We will return to the central valley, on the west side of the Andes Mountains, still in Chile, to reach Puyehue National Park, where the Temperate Rainforest is located. There we can see 4 species of Tapaculos, the Patagonian Sierra Finch and the White-throat Treerunner in a magnificent forest where it is possible to walk.
This is a very active volcanic zone, the fire belt of South America. A possible extra activity will be to take a Thermal Bath outside or inside.
Night in Puyehue.
Day 10. The environment of this National Park is unique in Patagonia, with a very humid cold forest and the opportunity to see the most remote species of the forest. After lunch, we will go uphill to the top of the mountains. If the day allows it, perhaps we can see the ring of fire of the active volcanoes, and walk in a crater in search of the Yellow-bridled Finch and Plumbeous Finch, among Miners and Ground-Tyrants.
Night in Puyehue.
Day 11. Crossing again the Andes, during the morning, and arriving to have lunch at Villa La Angostura. Bordering the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, with Steamer-Ducks and Silver Grebes, heading to the city of Bariloche. In the afternoon we’ll try to find the Bicolored Hawk and the Plain-mantled Tit-Spinetail. We’ll be a day of dramatic landscapes and we’ll be able to stop everywhere we want.
Night in Bariloche.
Day 12. Again we will have the opportunity to ascend the mountain, and take advantage of the ski resort (closed at this time) to use the lifts and try to reach some of the high restaurants (where we’ll have lunch). Depending on the month, it could be snowy, and depending on the conditions it will be possible or not to walk in it. In any of the situations, we will be able to find the high altitude species, even with snow they are usually concentrated around the mountain refuges, among them the Mountain Caracara, Patagonian Seedsnipe and Rufous-banded Miner.
Day 13. Last birding morning before leaving for Buenos Aires, looking for the last species to find. We will say goodbye to Patagonia, and we will take the 2-hour flight to Buenos, with the option to combine with international flights or more recommended: a last farewell dinner and night in Buenos Aires, to avoid any delay between domestic flights.
Optional night in Buenos Aires.
Day 14. Transfer to the International Airport. Departure and return.