Orca Nature Safari

Orca tour – Nature safari through Patagonia’s wild south

The Orca Camp & Explorer is one of our expedition programs developed specifically for young people to experience nature in an intensive and personal way. We created a package for students, graduates, postgraduates, young at heart and adventurers which is affordable and focuses on combining wildlife, nature and science. For many years Patagonia Project has been organising this trip to places which are usually reserved for international top photographers and film teams. In Punta Norte at the Península Valdés you observe the unique hunting behaviour of the Orcas. On the beach up to 13 of the local Orcas (currently there are listed 24 animals) prey on young see lions and elephant seals. You identify the animals by photo and video id-recording and analyse the collected information later together with the scientists. The project tour takes place exactly at the climax of the hunt which is closely connected to phases of the moon, water level and the first swimming attempts of the young sea lions.


Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Comodoro Rivadavia

Arrival at the airport in the afternoon or in the evening where you are welcomed by your guide. Drive to the south to Puerto Deseado. Overnight at Hotel Los Acantilados.

Day 2: Boat safari in the course of Ría Deseado

During high tide boat expedition to the shallow river. There you have the opportunity to observe many sea birds and the Commerson’s Dolphins, also called Skunk or Panda Dolphins due to their black and white colourings. With a size of about one meter they are one of the smallest species among whales and dolphins in the world and can only be found in two geographically separate areas in the Southern Hemisphere. As of late there have also been spotted Chilean Dolphins in the river. On the way you stop at Bird Island where colonies of sea gulls, cormorants and penguins breed. Overnight at Hotel Los Acantilados. (B)

Day 3: Safari by car along Ría Deseado

You drive along the course searching for nice landscape themes, wind trees and erosion valleys. If you are lucky you meet owls and foxes in the canyons and visit nesting sites of cormorants along the steep faces of the stream course. Overnight at Hotel Los Acantilados. (B)

Day 4: The Island of Rockhopper penguins

You visit of the Island of Penguins which is about 20 km away from the coast and which accommodates the northernmost and only accessible colony of Rockhopper penguins. Apart from around 60,000 Magellanic penguins there live also elephant seals, sea lions, skuas, cormorants, Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins. Bird lovers will be happy, because until now there could be observed 136 different species. Especially the Grey cormorant with its steel blue eyes is of outstanding beauty. Those rare animals nest on the cliffs of the river bed. On the Island of Penguins there are also the remains of a 18th century sea lion factory and the centennial lighthouse. Each year only 200 tourists are allowed to visit the island. Overnight at Hotel Los Acantilados. (B)

Day 5: Drive to Sarmiento

You leave the coast and drive to the interior of the country. Today’s destination is Sarmiento, a village in the middle of the pampas. On route you stop at viewpoints along the coast and of course always when animals are crossing the way. Overnight in Sarmiento. (B)

Day 6: The petrified forests of Sarmiento

Around 20 km away from Sarmiento there is a breath taking nature park. Winds formed an erosion landscape where petrified trees and volcanic eruptions make fantastic themes. A special permit allows a hike in the areas of the national park that are usually closed to the public. Together with a ranger you enjoy the indescribable landscape. Overnight in Sarmiento. (B)

Day 7: Drive to Península Valdés

After a comfortable breakfast you head to the north to peninsula Valdés. On the way you visit the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio in Trelew. Here you marvel at the Argentinosaurus Rex and other great exhibits. In the evening arrival at Puerto Pirámides. You stay at The Paradise Hostería. The small, cosy rooms all have modern bathrooms with hot and cold running water. There is a good restaurant in the hotel where breakfast is also served. There, you can already possibly see the whales jumping in Golfo Nuevo. (B)

Day 8 to 14: The orcas of the Península Valdés

Early in the morning you drive approximately one hour across the Península Valdés scientists of PNOR (Punta Norte Orca Research) at the lookout station at Punta Norte. There you remain three hours before the high tide until another three hours after high tide in order to be able to observe the activities of the orcas. Thereby you experience the work of the scientists of the orca project and of the nature conservation authority of the province of Chubut closely. Several observers have taken position along the coastline and are scanning the ocean through their binoculars. When orcas are sighted an announcement is made via radio. Afterwards the animals are identified. It is a unique highlight when the orcas practice their hunting techniques. Very often you can watch the orcas patrolling the beach in order to check if young sea lion pups are playing in the surf. What everybody is really waiting for is the chance to observe the orcas when they use their spectacular hunting techniques to catch a pup off the beach which is called an “intentional stranding” by researchers. Besides the orcas and the large colonies of sea lions which are nursing their young pups at this time of the year, you are often able to see various other coastal residents at Punta Norte such as foxes, armadillos, various sea bird species and turkey vultures. At days when the orcas do not show up near the hunting beaches or due to weather conditions, alternative programs are offered. This includes the visit of a local fishing village and a beach with see elephants. Overnight at The Paradise Hostería. (B)

Day 15: Departure

In case of high tide in the morning you again observe the orcas from Punta Norte. Transfer to the airport Trelew in the evening. (B)

Travel dates

10-03-2018 – 24-03-2018
16-03-2019 – 23-03-2019

Rates

2,990 USD per person in a double room
600 USD for single supplement

Rates include

  • 4 nights in a double room at Hotel Los Acantilados including breakfast
  • 2 nights in a double room at a hotel in Sarmiento including breakfast
  • 8 nights in a double room at The Paradise Hostería including breakfast
  • All transfers from airport Comodoro Rivadavia/to airport Trelew
  • German guide and English speaking local guides
  • 7 days Whale Watching
  • All excursions as stated in the program
  • National park fees
  • Group size: minimum 8, maximum 12 participants

Rates exclude

  • Flights to Comodoro Rivadavia/from Trelew
  • Bus transfers between international and national airport in Buenos Aires
  • Meals not mentioned in “Rates include”
  • Insurance (We strongly recommend a travel cancellation insurance and a travel health insurance.)
  • Gratuities

Notes

  • All transfers and nature observations are realized together with the participants of the Orca Photo Safari.
  • Please be aware that the excursions depend on the weather conditions and are therefore not guaranteed.
  • Accommodation and itinerary may change without prior notice due to unexpected circumstances.

For inquiries and bookings please click here.