Chile & Peru: In the Wake of Humboldt & Darwin: Mar 25—Apr 11, 2016

Aboard the Sea Adventurer

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Departs: Puerto Montt, Chile
Ends: Guayaqauil, Ecuador
Tour Limit: 20
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (8.9 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez has been birding and illustrating birds since childhood, a dual passion that d...

Your VENT leader is guaranteed to go on this departure.

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Lauca National Park

Lauca National Park— Photo: Jenny Kemp


A journey along South America’s west coast visits Chile and Peru, offering a fine selection of birding and natural history opportunities and excursions for sightseeing and culture.

From the forest-clad slopes of the Andes to the waterless Atacama Desert, the west coast of South America boasts some of the planet’s most remarkable geographic diversity. For this departure, we’re partnering with Zegrahm Expeditions on a 2,500-mile journey along the coasts of Chile and Peru to discover the wealth of natural and cultural splendors that characterize the rugged western side of the South American continent.

At the heart of this voyage is the opportunity to cruise the waters of the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current, which supports an amazing concentration of seabirds, fish, and marine mammals. In particular, these waters offer some of the best pelagic birding in the world, with chances for a range of albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm-petrels, and more. We expect encounters with such Pacific Ocean specialty birds like Chatham and Salvin’s albatrosses, Westland Petrel, and Markham’s Storm-Petrel among many others. Meanwhile, the marine mammal viewing is on a par with the birding where up to half-a-dozen species of dolphins and several species of whales are possible.

Inca Tern

Inca Tern— Photo: Jack S. Grove


Off the ship, numerous Zodiac excursions will bring us in close range to plunge-diving Brown and Peruvian pelicans, sleek Blue-footed and Peruvian boobies, and elegant Inca Terns, and to beaches covered in South American Fur Seals and South American Sea Lions.

Among this program’s many highlights are the chance to embark at Chiloe Island, with its scenic dunes and beech forests; cruise amid some of the world’s most wildlife-rich waters; explore Lauca National Park, a geographic marvel of volcanoes and glacier lakes; and call at the coastal cities of Valdivia and Arica, the latter lying in the heart of the unique Atacama Desert.

Those who like to mix their natural history pursuits with historical and cultural activities, or who travel with a non-birding partner or spouse, will be glad to know that the cultural heritage of this region is equally rich. Optional excursions include visits to ancient ruins, such as the pre-Columbian site of Chan Chán in Peru, and to quaint colonial towns featuring historic architecture and vibrant markets.

All travel and meals aboard a very lovely small adventure-cruise ship; trip themes include wildlife viewing and birding, history, and optional cultural excursions; Zodiac cruises, shore landings, port visits, and on-board lectures.