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Like so many of our clients, Naturetrekhas always had a fascination for cats, and over the years we have playedan instrumental role in pioneering newtours in search of such iconic felines asTiger, Jaguar, Snow Leopard, Leopard andIberian Lynx, often in some of the mostremote and spectacular parts of the world.With the continuing success of our 'SouthAfrica - Just Cats!', 'Just Tigers!' and'Brazil - Just Jaguars!' tours, amongstothers, we have been on the look out forthe next 'big cat opportunity'. Havingmonitored sightings very closely, we arenow in the position to launch our latestspecialist big cat tour, 'Chile - JustPumas!'. Located in one of the mostbeautiful regions of Patagonia, the Torresdel Paine National Park has developed areputation as the best area in the world tosee Chile's apex predator, the Puma.Working alongside guides with over 25years' experience of tracking Pumas, thistour has been specifically designed to giveus the very best chance of seeing theseenigmatic cats amidst a truly stunninglandscape. While Pumas will be theprincipal focus of this tour, the abundanceof wildlife in southern Chile ensures anexciting supporting cast that includes hugeAndean Condors, herds of Guanacos,South American Grey Fox, Culpeo(Southern Red Fox), Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk, South Andean Deer andHairy Armadillo.Our holiday begins with a flight to Chile'scapital, Santiago, from where we willventure into the heart of the Andes insearch of our first afternoon of Chilean wildlife. In the skies above us we shouldsee our first Andean Condors as they soarmajestically amongst the high mountainsummits, and we'll also hope for otherAndean species such as MountainCaracara, Aplomado Falcon, White-sidedHillstar, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners, a variety of Ground-tyrants, Greater Yellow-finch, Grey-hoodedSierra-finch and the endemic ChileanTinamou and Chilean Mockingbird.Mammals, too, are possible including theendemic burrowing rodent, the Cururo.The following morning we will fly south tothe town of Punta Arenas beforeembarking on a scenic drive to Torres delPaine National Park. Journeying throughexpanses of open Pampas, we will stop enroute to enjoy flamingo-lined lakes and thefirst of many encounters with the herds ofGuanaco which will be a frequent sightduring this holiday. Torres del PaineNational Park is dominated by threestunning mountain peaks - the 'Towers ofPaine' - and we will stay deep in theheart of the park at the charmingly rusticHotel las Torres, situated at the foot ofMount Almirante Nieto. This hotel providesan ideal base for our daily (and night-time)wildlife excursions as it has excellentaccess to the park's main trails. With anabundance of large windows we'll be ableto enjoy the magnificent scenerysurrounding us from the hotel, while itsslate floors and log fires create a cosyambience that provides the perfect retreatat the end of each day's Puma quest.Working to an itinerary that will be dictatedby the latest Puma sightings, and guidedby expert trackers, over the following fivedays we will make day and night-timeoutings, exploring a variety of habitats andcovering multiple Puma territories withinthe park. At this time of the year, withgrowing cubs to feed, the hard-pressedfemales are more likely to be seen huntingduring daylight hours and with Guanacosa favourite prey, we'll keep a close eye onthe herds in the hope of spotting a huntingPuma. In particular we will explore theimmediate surroundings of our hotel,spotlighting at night, since it lies within aknown Puma territory. We will also ventureto the Puma hunting grounds on theeastern flank of the park, as well as to thearea comprising the northern coast ofSarmiento Lake, Laguna Amarga andLaguna Azul, which holds one of thehighest concentrations of Pumas in theworld. Our quest for Pumas in thisstunning landscape will bring us intocontact with a variety of other mammalsand birds. In addition to the ubiquitousGuanacos, we will hope to see the localSouth Andean Deer or 'Huemul',Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk and the twocanid species present in the park, SouthAmerican Grey Fox and Culpeo. AndeanCondors are a relatively common sighthere, and we should get some close viewsof these magnificent birds. Other avianhighlights may include Darwin's Rhea,Black-chested Buzzard, Crested Caracara,Cinereous Harrier and MagellanicWoodpecker.After enjoying five full days exploring thisspectacular landscape we will begin ourreturn journey to Punta Arenas and fromthere to Santiago, where we'll share onelast evening in the city, exchanging ourpersonal highlights of this very special trip,before flying to London the followingmorning. For those who wish to extendtheir stay and explore the wildlife of thisexciting region further we can offer a widechoice of options, including whale-watching off Chiloe Island (in search ofBlue Whales especially), the wildlife andbirds of the Atacama Desert, and tours toEaster Island.Chile - Just Pumas!An 11-day wildlife holiday in search of the Pumas of Torres del Paine National Park, plus awonderful variety of birds and other mammals in a spectacular setting.Thursday 14th March - Sunday 24th March Cost: £3,995Thursday 4th April - Sunday 14th April Cost: £3,995Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationCHILOEISLANDPUERTONATALESPUNTAARENASTIERRADEL FUEGOMAGELLANSTRAITSTORRES DEL PAINENATIONAL PARKSANTIAGOARGENTINAPACIFICOCEANPACIFICOCEANOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Arrive Santiago;afternoon wildlifeexcursion, AndesMountains.Day 3Fly Punta Arenas;transfer Torres delPaine. Day 4/8Daily wildlife excursionswithin Torres del PaineNational Park.Day 9Drive Punta Arenas; flySantiago.Day 10Depart Santiago.Day 11Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable tourist hotel in Santiagoand wilderness lodge in Torres delPaine; both have private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingGrade A/B. Mostly easy day walks;some (optional) more strenuouswalks. Night-time spotlighting inTorres del Paine National Park.FocusPumas, other mammals and birds.LeaderEnrique Couve.Single room supplement£550.ExtensionsA wide range of extensions isavailable on request. Please call Danon 01962 733051 to discuss optionsand for further details.Web quick search: CHL03201PumaTorres del Paine National ParkGuanaco

The topography of Chile is one of themost extraordinary of any country inthe world, a ribbon of land stretchingover 4,000 kilometres from the aridAtacama Desert in the north to the sub-Antarctic islands of the south. Nowheremore than 180 kilometres wide, thecountry is separated from neighbouringArgentina by the high mountains of theAndes which create some of the mostspectacular mountain scenery in SouthAmerica. Thanks to this unusualgeography, and a comprehensivedomestic airline network, it is possible tovisit a wide range of habitats within theconstraints of a 17-day holiday and thisexciting tour effortlessly exchangesAndean snow-line for the seabird filledwaters of the Pacific, before travellingsouth to explore the wild coastline andbeech forests bordering the Straits ofMagellan at the very tip of the continent.As we move from one stunning vista toanother, the quality of the birdwatchingmatches the magnificence of thelandscape and the holiday bird list is likelyto include such sought-after species asAndean Condor, Inca Tern, Andean Avocet,Magellanic Plover and the peculiarDiademed Sandpiper-plover.Our tour begins in the Chilean capital,Santiago, but we soon leave the sprawlingcity behind and fly to Arica, a coastal townin the north of the country. Boobies andcormorants occur here in large numbersforming one component of a fine selectionof seabirds and shorebirds, that furtherincludes the local Band-tailed Gull and thebeautiful Inca Tern. Temporarily forsakingthe coast we then travel into the mountainsto spend a few days exploring the veryscenic Lauca National Park, which nestlesamid the snow-capped volcanoes of thealtiplanoat an elevation of between 3,000 and 6,000 metres. The leisurely drivefrom Arica will take us through asuccession of vegetation zones, thelandscape initially sparsely vegetatedapart from scattered cacti but becomingprogressively more verdant as we increasein altitude. Andean Condor, Peruvian Thick-knee, Torrent Duck and GiantHummingbird are just a few of thespectacular birds likely to be encounteredduring this picturesque ascent. In scenesthat seem to epitomise the high Andes, weshould also find domestic herds of Alpacaand Llama on the mountain slopestogether with smaller parties of wildVicuna, Guanaco and Viscacha. LakeChungara, inside the park, is one of thehighest lakes in the world and full of suchinteresting birds as Giant Coot,flamingoes, Andean Gull, Andean Avocetand many other high-altitude waterbirds.We will visit the lake and the nearbymountain village of Parinacota beforebeginning our descent to the coast,stopping along the way for any interestingroadside birds.The nutrient-rich coastal waters of centralChile rank as one of the most outstandingareas for seabirds in South America andwe will undertake a short pelagic outingfrom our next destination, the port ofQuinteros. The variety of seabirds isalways unpredictable but with the likelyappearance of albatrosses, shearwaters,petrels and skuas we are assured aninteresting voyage. Before returning toSantiago we will explore the oakwoodlands of La Campana National Parkwhere six of the nine endemic birds ofChile may be found.A flight to the southern town of Osorno will be followed by a drive through a wild landscape of blue lakesand towering volcanoes to spend twonights near the Puyehue National Park.This is an area much beloved of skiers butfor us the attraction will be the southernbeech forests surrounding our hotel, wherea number of Andean specialities such asChucao Tapaculo and Black-throated Huet-huet await our discovery.Flying south over glaciers and mountains we finally arrive at PuntaArenas, the last major habitation in Chile,on the shores of the Magellan Straits. This wild and beautiful region enjoys acapricious climate, exposed as it is toweather fronts blowing in from Antarctica,but calm sunny days are not as rare as thelatitude suggests and we will hope forplenty of these during our visit! In thesesouthern climes we have a whole newrange of birds to see including suchhighlights as Magellanic Penguin, Southern Giant Petrel, Magellanic Plover,Kelp Goose and Flightless Steamer-duck.An excursion across the Straits ofMagellan to Porvenir in Tierra del Fuegowill be an unforgettable experience,enhanced by a wealth of bird sightings,superb scenery and the appearance ofmarine mammals such as Commerson'sDolphin and Southern Sea Lion. Anovernight stay in Porvenir will furtherincrease our chances of seeing the diverse mix of seabirds, wildfowl, wadersand specialised land birds characteristic of this unique southern extremity of the continent. We fly back to Santiago after savouring the ornithological delights of the south butone last experience awaits as we pay abrief visit to the high mountain slopes ofthe Cordillera de los Andes near thecapital. Here this immensely varied tourconcludes amid a typically magnificentlandscape frequented by DiademedSandpiper-plover, seedsnipe and manyother high-altitude birds.ChileA 17-day birdwatching tour visiting coastal and montane habitats from the arid north to the sub-Antarctic south of this beautiful country.Saturday 3rd November - Monday 19th November 2012 Cost: £4,595Saturday 2nd November - Monday 18th November 2013 Cost: £5,225 Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Santiago.Day 2Santiago.Day 3Arica.Day 4Putre.Day 5 Lauca National Park.Day 6/7 Quinteros.Day 8Santiago.Day 9/10Puyehue National Park.Day 11Punta Arenas.Day 12Porvenir.Day 13Punta Arenas.Day 14/15Santiago.Day 16Depart Santiago.Day 17Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable tourist hotels, mostwith private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingB. Birdwatching walks only, but atsome locations altitude may causewalks to feel more strenuous thannormal.FocusBirds.LeaderMario Mosquiera.Single room supplement£595.Web quick search: CHL01202Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryLAUCA NATIONAL PARKARICAPUTREQUINTEROSPUYEHUEPUERTONATIONAL PARKMONTTPUNTAARENASTIERRADEL FUEGOPORVENIROSORNOLA CAMPANA NATIONAL PARKANDESSANTIAGOARGENTINAPACIFICOCEANPERUDiademed Sandpiper-ploverGuanacos