Small Orca Photo Safari

Orca Tour – Small photo safari through Patagonia’s wild south

Who is not familiar with the wildlife documentaries featuring the orcas at the world’s renowned hunting beaches at the peninsula of Valdés. Each year during the months of March and April the whales, also known as “beach hunters”, showcase their sophisticated hunting skills as they pursue young Southern sea lion pups playing on the beaches of the peninsula. The so-called “attacking channel” is not open to the public. Exceptionally photographers and film teams with a special permit issued by the Argentinian government are allowed to take pictures and videos of the orcas while lying in the recess. The attacking channel is only 50 meters wide which is why the number of participants is limited. For this program we have chosen the best travel time which is when the sea lion pups are in the process to wean from their mother. During their first swimming attempts they blithely play in the water. Not knowing yet what an orca is for many of them this game will be their doom. The channel is the area which the orcas use most in order to patrol and to hunt. Sometimes the whale may only be 20 meters away from the photographers.


Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Trelew

Arrival at the airport in the evening where you are welcomed by your guide. Drive to 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.

Day 2 to 7: The orcas of the Península Valdés

Early morning approximately one-hour drive across the peninsula to set up our equipment at the attacking channel at Punta Norte. You have to arrive there three hours before the highest level of high tide and stay there another three hours after the high tide. During this period the travel group is in contact with the researchers of the orca-project and with the nature conservation authority of the province of Chubut. When orcas are sighted by the observers, the researchers of PNOR (Punta Norte Orca Research) receive the details of the animals’ locations by radio. Then the individuals will be tried to identify. From the beach you observe the activities of the orcas. 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 are using their spectacular hunting techniques to catch a pup off the beach which is called an “intentional stranding” by researchers. At days when the orcas do not show up near the hunting beaches or when the weather and sea conditions prevent the animals from hunting, alternative programs are offered. Often you can also meet the other residents of the Patagonian coast at Punta Norte such as foxes, armadillos, various sea bird species, herons and turkey vultures. The huge colonies of sea lions, which count during that season approximately 1,000 pups are also spectacular. A visit of a local fishing village is also planned. Overnight at The Paradise Hostería. (B)

Day 8: Departure

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

Travel dates

24.03.2018 – 31.03.2018 (sold out)
31.03.2018 – 07.04.2018 (sold out)
07.04.2018 – 14.04.2018 (sold out)
14.04.2018 – 21.04.2018 (sold out)

23.03.2019 – 30.03.2019
30.03.2019 – 06.04.2019

Rates

3,990 USD* per person in a double room
500 USD for single supplement

*Rates for film teams are calculated separately. Please contact us for further details.

Rates include

  • 7 nights in a double room at The Paradise Hostería including breakfast
  • All transfers from/to airport Comodoro Rivadavia/to airport Trelew
  • German guide and English speaking local guides
  • Photo permit of the province of Chubut for the attacking channel at Punta Norte with ranger
  • Visit of the orca project in Punta Norte
  • All excursions as stated in the program
  • National park fees
  • All excursions as stated in the program
  • Group size: minimum 8, maximum 8 participants

Rates exclude

  • Flights to/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

Booking notes

  • Registration with documentation of the photo equipment. The booking can only be confirmed after authorisation of the equipment by the National park authorities.
  • 20% deposit of the rate on booking (non-refundable)
  • 30% deposit of the rate from 120 days prior to departure (non-refundable)
  • Final payment 6 weeks before departure (non-refundable)

For inquiries and bookings please click here.