At the southern tip of South America lies an area surrounded by the South Atlantic on its east, the storm-ridden South Pacific on its west, and to its south the tempestuous, Antarctic-influenced "Southern Ocean." The land is Patagonia, a vast windswept semi-arid plateau that encompasses over one-third of Argentina and Chile. Little changed since its discovery by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, Patagonia is an immense natural reserve offering an array of alluring wildlife and scenic habitats to tempt the naturalist and outdoor photographer.
"The trip to Patagonia exceeded my expectations in every way! Simply stunning locations, and we were always at the right place at the right time—I've taken the best photos of my life! Our tour leader Jeff was fantastic, as was our guide Cecelia and everyone else involved. I wish I was headed out on another Van Os tour tomorrow!"
Comparable in size to Washington, Oregon and California, the flat temperate desert plain of Patagonia rises to meet the jagged granite spires of the Southern Andes. Verdant forests, fed by the meltwaters of an 8,000-square-mile ice cap to the west, surround pristine lakes that are considered to be among the world's most beautiful. Images of craggy snowcapped peaks lie reflected in the cold, blue water. Massive glaciers grind on their slow course, calving blue icebergs into jewel-like lakes.
Our Patagonia tour concentrates on panoramic landscape and wildlife imagery in two incredible national parks. We shoot in the spectacular mountainous region of the Andes at Los Glaciares National Park where we should have outstanding photo opportunities at the Fitzroy Massif (11,073 feet) and Cerro Torre (10,280 feet). In the Patagonian autumn, beech forests provide a fiery colorful contrast to the landscape.
The second photographic highlight is our days spent at the foot of the dramatic peaks of the "Towers" and "Horns" of Torres del Paine National Park. The tumultuous weather of the southern hemisphere's autumn season produces a wide variety of dramatic lighting conditions. We have plenty of time to photograph these magnificent mountains in the wondrous light of sunrise and sunset. At "Paine" we have reserved convenient accommodations at Pehoe Lodge for four nights, offering comfortable rooms, good meals and affording views of ineffable beauty. At Lago Grey we shoot pinnacles and peaks not seen from other areas of the park. Unwary Patagonian foxes and guanacos provide exciting wildlife photography experiences—and it is not uncommon to see condors, eagles and other birds of prey during our travels. We also organize a photo session of gauchos driving horses across grasslands.
Join us for a journey to a place called a "Living Eden" in a stunning documentary filmed for public television. The mountains of Patagonia provide some of the world's most inspiring scenic photography and are a destination all serious nature photographers should shoot at least once in a lifetime!
For more information on this trip, check out this trip report in the Photo Safaris blog.
Depart on overnight flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Day 2 (Apr 11)
Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer to our hotel. Afternoon visit to Costanera Sur Wildlife Preserve and Palermo Lake. (D)
We fly to El Calafate and drive to El Chaltén, located at the foot of the Fitzroy Massif, where we are based for four nights. Along the way we photograph spectacular steppe landscapes. After arriving at our lodge we drive along the west side of Las Vueltas River and visit a picturesque waterfall surrounded by incredible autumn-colored beech trees. (Morning snack at the airport on your own, LD)
The jagged spine of the Andes is the backdrop for this—one of the world's most magnificent wilderness areas. We are provided with awesome views of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre. Amidst these granite spires we should see Andean condors gliding effortlessly. Each morning we look for sunrise light on these spectacular massifs from different locations along Las Vueltas Canyon, shooting mountains, clouds and the rich colors of the austral autumn. (BLD)
Following sunrise photography, we drive to El Calafate. Afternoon photography at Laguna Nimez Wildlife Reserve, time permitting. (BLD)
Explore one of South America's most spectacular and active glaciers, the Perito Moreno, as it flows into the southern arm of Lago Argentino. Here we can closely observe great chunks of chill-blue ice calving from the glacier into the lake. (BLD)
We depart early for Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We drive a new scenic road traversing ranches, grasslands, forests and mountainous terrain. We arrive at Torres del Paine in the afternoon and start our exploration of this amazing national park. (BLD)
We have five full days in Torres del Paine where the famous and utterly captivating granite massif consumes our attention with the constant play of light across its sheer vertical walls. The compelling grandeur of these jagged peaks is complemented by the fiery colors of autumn foliage and by the abundant and relatively unwary wildlife within the park. (BLD)
After a morning shoot in Torres del Paine we drive to El Calafate and take a late evening flight to Buenos Aires. (BL, Dinner airport snack on your own)
Day 16 (Apr 25)
After a morning rest and lunch, we photograph a tango dance before departing to the international airport for late evening flights home. (BL)
Cecilia, our [in-country] guide, was worth her weight in gold! This trip was well worth the money. The tour leader and the guide worked together to get us to the best locations for the light and conditions. Mother Nature was kind to us on the wind and weather as well.
The scenic treasures of Patagonia have long been a photographic dream destination for me. The Joseph Van Os tour itinerary, tour leader Jeff Vanuga, local guides, tour transportation and lodging—all combined to make the tour an unforgettable adventure that exceeded all my expectations.
- Shoot the landscapes and wildlife of two of the most spectacular mountain photography destinations—Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks
- More than five full days at Torres del Paine in two different locations
- Capture soaring granite mountain peaks, massive glaciers and pristine lakes
- Prime time for austral fall colors of southern beech trees
- Photograph unwary guanacos, foxes and birds
Apr 10 - Apr 26, 2017
Fee: $7,995 from Buenos Aires, Argentina*
*Internal flights arranged at additional cost; approximately $600