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FarSouthExp at iGoTerra
FarSouthExp @ Fat Birder / WAND


Chiloé Wildlife Adventure 

Exploring the Magical Green Island 

 

Chiloé is a land of myths, legends and history, with countless and outstanding natural and cultural riches. It’s still a well-kept secret located across a channel south of Puerto Montt, in Chile’s Lake District, in the north-western corner of Chilean Patagonia. We will dedicate five full days to explore the fascinating and enigmatic Chiloé; this island and associated archipelagoes will reveal their unique natural and cultural riches, from penguins to otters, from elusive tapaculos to raucous parakeets, from dolphins to sea lions. We will look for the least-known and endangered species of the island including Southern River and Marine Otters, Kodkod Cat, Pudu Deer and the scarce Darwin’s Fox. Depending on the season (between December and February), we will enjoy of great opportunities for whales and dolphins in the exposed western coast of the main island.

 6-day trip from Santiago de Chile. 2018: Nov 9 – 14

 

Darwin's Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes), Chile Island, Chile © Far South Exp

Darwin's Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes), Chile Island, Chile © Far South Exp

 

This green island is filled with picturesque countryside and maritime landscapes, colourful stilt houses, fishermen’s boats and wooden churches in scattered villages and small towns nestled among the fields and rolling hills; everything framed in beautiful and dramatic natural settings, a place where people still build houses, churches and boats using the materials and ancient techniques passed from one generation to the next, and live off fishing, collecting seafood and farming cattle and sheep and growing crops like potatoes, of which this island is one of the main centers of origin and dispersion in the world, with dozens of varieties grown here.

 

OVERVIEW

Overview

 

Marine Otter or Chungungo (Lontra felina), Chile Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

Marine Otter or Chungungo (Lontra felina), Chile Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

 

Itinerary in Brief (6 days, 5 nights)

Day 1 • Flight to Puerto Montt (or Castro) – Ferry to Chiloé Island – Boat trip off Puñihuil

Day 2 • Boat trip off Chiloé Island – Caulin Bay

Day 3 • Boat trip Chepu River – Drive to Tepuhueico

Day 4 • Tepuhueico Park

Day 5 • Tepuhueico Park – Drive to Castro

Day 6 • Flight back to Santiago

 

Trip Highlights

• In-depth visit to Chiloe Island, its natural history and culture.

• Visit up to five of the famous wooden mission churches of the archipelago.

• Visit Puñihuil, a breeding colony of two penguin species.

• Boat trip from Puñihuil to Metalqui Island (weather permitting) with great chances for whales (Blue and Humpback) and seabirds.

• Traverse Chepu river in search of Black-necked Swan and the endangered Huillin (Southern River Otter).

• Explore the secluded and pristine woodlands of Tepuhueico Park of fascinating and poorly known mammals and birds.

 

ITINERARY

Detailed Itinerary and Activities

 

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), Chile Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), Chile Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

 

Day 1 • Flight to Puerto Montt (or Castro) – Ferry to Chiloé Island – Boat trip off Puñihuil

We start our journey from Puerto Montt airport (or Castro), depending on your preference and/or flights availability. Later, we will drive southwards to the ferry across the Chacao Channel; this short 30-minute ride offers great marine wildlife viewing opportunities and is likely we can see pods of Peale’s Dolphin, groups of South American Sea Lion and a great array of seabirds including Southern Giant Petrel, Sooty and Pink-footed shearwaters, Imperial and Red-legged cormorants, Peruvian Pelican and South American Tern. Once in the island, we’ll take a scenic drive to the little fishermen’s cove of Puñihuil, where we’ll board a boat to the nearby islets that are home to several species of seabirds and marine waterfowl like Rock Cormorant, Kelp Goose and Flightless Steamer Duck, and especially, the only known mixed colony of both Humboldt and Magellanic penguins. Marine mammals like South American Sea Lion and Marine Otter are regulars here as well. Overnight at Puñihuil (Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

 

Blue Whale (Balaenoptera muscles), off Chile Island, Chile © Jordi Plana, Far South Exp

Blue Whale (Balaenoptera muscles), off Chile Island, Chile © Jordi Plana, Far South Exp

 

Day 2 • Boat trip off Chiloé Island – Caulin Bay

For the morning we will have arranged a special boat excursion towards the wild west coast of the island, facing the Pacific Ocean. This time we will spend more time at sea to have more opportunities for wildlife and aim to the impressive Metalqui Island. Pygmy Blue Whales, one of the races of the world’s largest living animal, are often seen from December until March. Humpback Whales are often spotted here as well. We also have other great pelagic prospects such as the poorly-known Subantarctic Shearwater, which probably nests in this rugged, densely forested coastline. Metalqui is well known to hold a very large breeding colony of South American Sea Lion. During the afternoon, we will visit the mudflats of Caulin Bay, an important stopover for flocks of migrating shorebirds which holds an important part of the world population of Hudsonian Godwit, a truly long-distance champion that winters here and in other extensive bays of Patagonia together with Red Knot and a variety of other shorebirds. Black-necked Swans are usually seen here at large numbers.

Overnight at Puñihuil (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

 

Southern River Otter or Huillin (Lontra provocax), Chiloé Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

Southern River Otter or Huillin (Lontra provocax), Chiloé Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

 

Day 3 • Boat trip Chepu River – Drive to Tepuhueico Park

Early in the morning we will head exploring the rural communities of the northern part of the island. Our destination is the picturesque Chepu River, a scenic watercourse bordered by lush and dense forest and clear waters that are home to a critically endangered species, the Southern River Otter or Huillin, which we’ll attempt to see by taking a boat trip. The fairly large reed-fringed pond of Coluco is a also wonderful wetland habitat; we will enjoy here seeing large numbers of nesting waterbirds such as Black-necked Swan, Chiloe Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Red-gartered Coot, Brown-hooded Gull and Snowy-crowned Tern. We will also have chances to spot Coipo (a large rodent related to Capibaras), Osprey and passing flocks of the endemic Slender-billed Parakeet. Later we will drive to the magnificent Tepuhueico Park, a private reserve where we will spend the next couple of days exploring the lush Valdivian humid forest, looking for stunning wildlife. Mammals like Pudu Deer, and several frogs and lizards that live among moss and fern-covered tree trunks of these dense, lush woods, provide excellent chances for both wildlife and macro photography, as the miniature forests of lichens, fungi and mosses are home to a whole world of insects, amphibians and other tiny creatures living on the damp soil and old, fallen trees.

Overnight at Tepuhueico (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

 

Rufous-legged Owl (Strix rufipes), Tepuhueico, Chiloé Island, Chile © Enrique Couve, Far South Exp

Rufous-legged Owl (Strix rufipes), Tepuhueico, Chiloé Island, Chile © Enrique Couve, Far South Exp

 

Day 4 • Exploring the forests of Tepuhueico

Early in the morning we will start exploring the imposing Tepuhueico, a private reserve where we’ll spend the whole day looking for wildlife. The pristine Tepuhueico woodlands are part of the unique ecosystem known as Valdivian Temperate Rainforest. Tepuhueico has the reputation of being a highly reliable place to see the critically endangered Chilean endemic Darwin’s Fox. A few hundred individuals of this fox survive in the ecotone between the dense temperate forests and the coast. We will have interesting walks in search of Darwin’s Fox, Pudu Deer (the second smallest deer in the world) and the Kodkod or Guigna (a very rare woodland cat). While searching for this array of enigmatic and poorly known mammals, we find several endemic birds of the Patagonian woodlands such as Black-throated Huet-huet, Chucao, Ochre-flanked and Magellanic tapaculos, Patagonian Tyrant, Des Murs Wiretail, Chilean Pigeon, Magellanic Woodpecker, Chilean Hawk and Green-backed Firecrown.

Overnight at Tepuhueico (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

 

Exploring the lush woodlands of Tepuhueico Park, Chiloé Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

Exploring the lush woodlands of Tepuhueico Park, Chiloé Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

 

Day 5 • Tepuhueico Park – Castro

We will spend most of the morning exploring Tepuhueico. Later we will drive east to reach the picturesque towns in the protected eastern coast. Here we will concentrate in studying the cultural features including the famous stilt houses set right on the muddy shores and the wooden churches of the surroundings. During the afternoon we will visit up to five churches, all representatives of the colonial wooden construction whose architecture was inspired by shipbuilding, a skill most old-time islanders mastered. The churches we will potentially visit include those located at Dalcahue, Achao, Quinchao, Castro and Nercón. These wooden remarkable temples are regarded as World Heritage Sites and represent the legacy of the Jesuit missionaries who explored these intricate archipelagos in the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Overnight at Castro (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

 

“Palafitos” or stilt houses, Castro, Chile Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

“Palafitos” or stilt houses, Castro, Chile Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

 

Day 6 • Flight back to Santiago

This trip ends after breakfast with a transfer to Castro airport. Optional transfer back to Puerto Montt on request (Breakfast).

 

DATES & RATES

Dates & Rates

 

Departures from Santiago de Chile.

 

Scheduled Departures


Chiloe Wildlife Adventure
Trip Code CHL14
Trip Length 6 days, 5 nights
Dates 2018 Nov 9-14
2019 TBA
Price per person (USD) TBA
Single Supplement (USD) TBA
Trips are guaranteed to depart with a minimum of 4 participants. Maximum group size 10 participants.

 

Private Tours

This trip is also operated as a customized, private trip, with a minimum of 2 participants. You Choose the Date! (Available from September through May). Ask for rates!

 

What the trip includes/excludes

The above price is per person in USD, based on double occupancy. All payments are in US Dollars.

The trip price includes: All accommodations, meals and guide services as stated in the itinerary, private ground transportation during the tour, boat trips to Puñihuil and Metalqui islands and Chepu river, ferry fares, and park entrance fees. Tipping for restaurant service is included.

The trip price excludes: Domestic flights, tipping for drivers and local guides, travel insurance, entrance tax to Chile, excess baggage charges, private excursions, à la carte dishes, snacks, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.

 

GALLERY

Photo Gallery

 

Guiña (Leopardus guigna), Chiloé Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

Guiña (Leopardus guigna), Chiloé Island, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

 

BOOK NOW!

Tour Registration

 

To book this tour, please complete our online registration form. We will process your booking form and will send you (within 24 hours) a note with space confirmation and a deposit invoice with payment instructions. The deposit amount is US$ 500 per person. Full payment of the tour fee is due 90 days prior to tour departure.

NOTE: Inquires received on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays will be replied during the following working day.

 

Cancellation Policy

Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.

Refunds are made according to the following schedule:

• If cancellation is made 120 days or more before departure date, the deposit less US$ 200 is refundable.

• If cancellation is made between 120 and 60 days before departure, the deposit is not refundable, but any payments covering the balance of the fee will be refunded.

• If cancellation is made fewer than 60 days before departure date, no refund is available.

This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:36