Santiago-Humboldt Extension: Nov 15—20, 2017

Andes, Wetlands & Albatross Galore!

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Price: $1,995
Departs: Santiago
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (11.1 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker, a senior member of the VENT staff, has led VENT tours since 1993 throughou...


Fernando Diaz

Fernando Díaz, or “Feña,” showed a special interest in birds that ...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover— Photo: Andrew Whittaker


This exciting extension to our Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour explores the stunning avifauna and spectacular scenery close to Santiago, from snow-covered Andean Mountains to rich coastal marshes and estuaries (with the highlight being a fantastic half-day pelagic trip in the rich waters of the Humboldt Current). Many regional endemics, range-restricted species, Humboldt Penguin colony, and albatrosses galore. Outstanding scenery and great spring flowers assured, as well as excellent photographic opportunities.

In close proximity to the Chilean capital, Santiago, the mountains and coast of central Chile boast an alluring mix of breathtaking scenery and fine birding. From sea level to above tree line, this part of Chile abounds in natural wonders and endemic wildlife not accessed as easily in other parts of the country.

This optional extension to our Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour will appeal to those who want to see more of Chile beyond what is offered on the main tour, and to those who seek a shorter stand-alone trip. Our excursions will take us from the coast to the spectacular snow-capped Andean Mountains in pursuit of a host of range-restricted birds. Remarkable species like Andean Condor, Humboldt Penguin, the enigmatic Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, South American Painted Snipe, Gray-breasted Seedsnipe, Inca Tern, White-sided Hillstar, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, and several neat endemics including Crag Chilia, Moustached Turca, Dusky Tapaculo, Dusky-tailed Canastero, and Seaside Cinclodes are representative.

Moustached Turca

Moustached Turca— Photo: Andrew Whittaker

We’ll visit the Andes right outside Santiago for the chance to see birds of the foothills and higher elevations, seeking an array of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, miners, earthcreepers, ground-tyrants, and sierra-finches. Our travels will take us to the breathtaking El Yeso Valley with textbook perfect Andean scenery in a tremendous glacial valley serving as a backdrop to equally spectacular montane birding. Here we seek out an array of neat birds including Giant Hummingbird, Chilean Flicker, Creamy-rumped Miners, ground-tyrants, and colorful sierra-finches and siskins. Another exciting and very contrasting day of birding will find us exploring the extremely rich Maipo Estuary (one of Chile’s most important coastal reserves) and the Laguna Cartagena Marshes for a variety of exciting coastal birds associated with both saltwater and freshwater ecosystems, such as Stripe-backed Bittern, the recently described Ticking Dorodito, dazzling Many-colored Rush Tyrant, rare Great Shrike-Tyrant, endemic Seaside Cinclodes, and, among a great variety of wildfowl including both Black-necked and Coscoroba swans, the bizarre parasitic Black-headed Duck and, with luck, even Black Rail. We will also visit an active Humboldt Penguin colony.

However, the “creme de la creme” will be a pleasant (optional) half-day offshore boat trip into the Humboldt Current, renowned as one of the world’s most productive waters, simply teeming with life. Our objective will be locating a stellar mix of seabirds unique to the southern Pacific Ocean. Many majestic albatrosses, up to 5 or 6 species, are possible including such greats as the Salvin’s Albatross, immense “Northern” Royal Albatross, and beautiful Buller’s Albatross, as well as Peruvian Diving-Petrel, Humboldt Penguin, and an assortment of shearwaters and storm-petrels. On shore we will appreciate the stunning Inca Tern, localized Gray Gull, Red-legged Cormorant, Peruvian Pelican, and many others. The marine mammal viewing can also be very good here with chances for the unique looking Sperm Whale, Dusky Dolphin, Marine Otter, and giant South American Fur Seal among others.

High quality meals and excellent accommodations; on short drives we travel from sea level to treeline; walking and birding conditions very easy; half-day pelagic trip (optional); warm to pleasant spring weather expected throughout.