Chile – Chiloé, Juan Fernández and Easter Islands
This exciting itinerary takes us from the temperate rainforests of Chiloé to endemic-rich Juan Fernández and Easter Island with its famous ‘moai’.
After a day spent in the high Andes, our visit starts on the Juan Fernández islands, whose ancient volcanic origins are evident in their rugged hills and towering oceanic cliffs. Here we explore the wildlife-rich forests – enjoying fantastic views over the dramatic landscape, and having an opportunity to experience the rich marine life with a pelagic boat trip.
Next we visit Chiloé Island, with its outstanding natural and cultural heritage. We have plenty of time to explore the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest looking for forest animals including rare mammals, frogs, lizards, and many colourful birds. Our time on Chiloé will include a visit by boat to see a breeding colony of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins as well as an opportunity to visit some of the fantastic 18th century wooden churches.
A tour of the islands of Chile would not be complete without crossing the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the remote, volcanic Easter Island. Here we have time to learn about the fascinating cultural history of the island – visiting some of its most dramatic archaeological sites, as well as several of its islets by boat, to search for seabirds.
Our itinerary is designed to introduce the breath-taking diversity of wildlife of Chile’s islands. We will also have the opportunity to find out about its diverse and rich cultural history, from the Easter Island cults to colonial society, all set amongst the landscapes that captured Charles Darwin’s imagination.
28 October – 14 November 2018
Laurie Jackson with local guide
Single Room Supplement – £TBC
Return flights to Santiago. Local transport including internal flights. Fifteen nights’ accommodation, full board.
Refreshments. Entrance fees for optional sightseeing. Gratuities. Travel insurance.
Chile has been one of our favourite destinations since we first visited in 2004.
Day 1 – An evening flight takes us to Santiago via Madrid – arriving Day 2
Day 2 – We will head up into the Andean foothills and the El Yeso Valley, famous as one of the easiest places to find the bizarre Diademed Sandpiper-plover and other mountain birds, including the endemic Crag Chilia.
Day 3 – We fly to Robinson Crusoe (two hours), the only inhabited island of the Juan Fernández archipelago. A boat ride (90 minutes) will then take us towards Cumberland Bay with plenty of time to get settled in to our hotel and explore the local area.
Day 4 – Today we explore Juan Fernández National Park an area of high floristic diversity. We will look for the endemic birds of the island – Juan Fernández Firecrown and Juan Fernández Tit-tyrant, as we head to a coastal lookout to enjoy breath-taking views.
Day 5 – We take a boat trip from Cumberland Bay hoping to encounter the endemic Juan Fernández Fur Seal along with some of the world’s rarest petrels and shearwaters.
Day 6 – Our return from Juan Fernández, we will head to El Padre Bay by boat before our return flight to Santiago.
Day 7 – This morning we fly to Chiloé Island, driving south to the magnificent Tepuhueico reserve for the rest of the day looking for mammals, frogs and reptiles that live in these woods.
Days 8-9 – We have the unique opportunity to spend two days exploring the pristine Tepuhueico woodlands, part of the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest. We hope to encounter rare mammals including the critically endangered endemic Darwin’s Fox, and endemic birds including Black-throated Huet-huet, Chucao, Patagonian Tyrant and Green-bakced Firecrown.
Day 10 – We visit the maritime temperate rainforest within Chiloé National Park, an area which opens to the vast Pacific and was visited by Charles Darwin in 1835.
Day 11 – Today we visit the wild west coast of the island – taking a short boat trip to see one of the few mixed breeding colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins. Following lunch we will visit the picturesque towns on the eastern coast.
Day 12 – Before our flight back to Santiago we visit the mudflats of Caulin Bay, which has important populations of Hudsonian Godwit along with many other shorebirds.
Day 13 – This morning we fly 2,300 miles over the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island. Upon our arrival, we will explore the village of Hanga Roa and experience our first encounter with the iconic ‘moai’ stone statues of Rap Nui..
Day 14 – Our day will include visits to some of the most dramatic and distinctive sites of Rapa Nui, as we head towards the volcanic crater of Rano Raraku. We will see the largest Moai ever built and Ahu Tongariki the largest ceremonial site on the Island.
Day 15 – Undoubtedly a highlight of our visit to Easter Island, today we visit the ceremonial site of Orongo, set in the huge caldera of the extinct Rano Kau volcano. In the afternoon we take a boat trip towards the three volcanic islets off the southwestern tip of the island, where we should see a number of seabirds.
Day 16 – We have time this morning to visit the local craft market and antrhropological museum before returning to Santiago for one final night before our return to the UK (arriving Day 18).
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.