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2019 Pumas of Patagonia Photo Tour

Hosted by: Max Waugh - View Profile
May 4 - 11, 2019
Torres del Paine National Park

Come face to face with the Americas’ most elusive major predator: the puma!

The Wild Pumas of Patagonia photo tour will take you to heart of puma country in the rugged mountains of southern Chile.  You’ll have an opportunity to track wild mountain lions in their natural environment, photographing them amidst the rolling hills and dramatic peaks of the southern Andes.

Thanks to a team of expert guides and trackers, our chance to get puma photos is virtually guaranteed.  Our experienced tracking team has become familiar with many of these cats over the years, so they have insight into the different cats’ territories and behaviors, which only increases our chances of encountering a puma in the wild.

This week-long photo tour will be based both in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine and on private land bordering the park.  Thanks to an agreement with the land owner, our guided tour group will have greater flexibility to explore the estancia neighboring the national park, which gives us even better chances to see and photograph pumas up close.

In addition to pumas, we’ll be on the lookout for other wildlife and landscape photo opportunities during the week.  Other potential species include:

  • Guanaco
  • Gray fox
  • Culpeo
  • Austral Pygmy Owl
  • Andean Condor
  • Chilean Flamingo
  • Darwin’s Rhea
  • Humboldt’s Hog-Nosed Skunk
  • Large Hairy Armadillo

Tour Participants Must Be in Good Shape!

During my 2016 and 2017 trips, we walked a lot. As much as fifty miles in a week, in fact. The terrain itself is not particularly challenging, but sometimes we had to hike out 2-3 miles to a cat. Do that all day for a week straight and it adds up!

The land in this region is covered in low scrub and rolling hills. Occasionally we may be forced to go up and down steeper hillsides, some covered in pebbles or skree that make footing a little more uncertain. But overall, this is not “technical” hiking. On the other hand, we are carrying our camera gear the whole time!

Hauling big lenses over several kilometers off and on throughout the week and potentially going up and down hills requires good balance and a fair level of fitness. Anyone who joins this adventure MUST be physically fit and prepared to carry their equipment over longer distances, potentially. If we encounter a cat that allows us to follow or walk with it, participants must be able to keep up. Otherwise, you’ll only get tail photos!

On certain occasions, our guide may urge members of the group to abandon their “big” lenses in favor of lighter zoom lenses that make hiking and walking easier. It’s very important to properly assess your physical condition and know what you’re capable of hauling around both during leisurely flat walks and slightly more strenuous climbs or faster paced pursuits. If you are able to keep up with a moving cat, the photo opportunities can be incredible.

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