Patagonia: Tracking Pumas and Cruising the Fjords

Wildlife Adventures from Paine to Tierra del Fuego

Trip Level

The trip is Level 3, Moderate, with vehicle-based exploration and day hikes, hotel and lodge accommodations plus four nights aboard an expedition cruise ship. While this is not a hiking trip, it is an active adventure, and the shape you're in is an important factor in your enjoyment of your trip

Please note that your Trip Leader may make adjustments to the itinerary and hiking routes, depending on local weather and trail conditions.


The walking and hiking will be over relatively easy terrain, and during the 2.5 days of puma tracking when we find a puma we will remain in one area for some time to observe it. However, given that we will be outdoors in Patagonia and walking for many hours at a time, it can feel physically demanding, so you should be in good shape and have some endurance.


We time our trips for Patagonia’s ideal weather, which is from late November through March, when we can enjoy the mildest temperatures and 16 hours of daylight. November (spring) is blessed with wildflowers and March (fall) offers the start of spectacular fall foliage. With its deep southern latitude, you might expect Patagonia’s weather to be more “polar” than it really is. In fact, the austral summer temperatures are relatively moderate. During Patagonia’s summer months (November through March in the Southern Hemisphere), the thermometer rarely drops below 40°F and will usually reach into the high 60s and even low 70s during the day. Nevertheless, the weather is radically changeable. Rain, sleet, and snow can occur at any time—perhaps just a few hours before or after sunny skies and 70° temperatures.

The enormous, unbroken stretches of ocean to the west and south of the tip of South America leave the Patagonian Andes exposed to strong and persistent winds. Winds circling the globe between latitudes of 40°S and 60°S have little obstruction when they reach the tip of South America. Experiencing these winds is almost inevitable on any Patagonian journey. For most part, you can expect winds of 9 to 13 miles per hour, but they can occasionally gust much higher, quickly “cooling down” an otherwise pleasant day.

There’s a saying that in Patagonia that you can experience all four seasons in one day, so be prepared for quickly changing weather. The best defense is proper clothing and layering, and our Pre-Departure Booklet has a detailed list of recommendations for layering.


Four nights are on a 210-guest expedition ship, either the Ventus Australis or her identical sister ship, the Stella Australis. These vessels, specifically designed for Tierra del Fuego, let us explore in comfort amid the rugged fjords of the extremely remote Cordillera Darwin range. Meals on board are varied, with meat, pasta, soups, and vegetarian options, plus locally sourced items such as king crab or fresh-caught fish when available. Shore landings are made by Zodiac, with rubber boots and life jackets provided.


There will be one 5-hour driving day (Day 7) as we disembark and drive to our estancia in the outskirts of Paine National Park. Everyone should be prepared for bumpy, dusty road conditions, and all will have a window seat on our vehicle.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.