Patagonia Pumas

Walk with big cats

    • Guided walks with pumas each day
    • Breathtaking mountain vistas at every turn
    • Guanacos, flamingos, rheas, and more
    • Stay at a beautiful lodge
    • Support puma conservation
    • 8 Days / 7 nights

Step into the wild heart of Patagonia and embark on a journey unlike any other — a rare and thrilling opportunity to walk among majestic big cats. Here, in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in a realm where extraordinary pumas roam freely against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, vast windswept plains, and pristine turquoise lakes. To be in such close proximity to these powerful predators is an experience that is both exhilarating and humbling. 

This unique destination captures everything I dream of in a wildlife adventure. The thrill of traversing the rugged terrain on foot and experiencing intimate encounters with one of the world’s most iconic animals. The opportunity to capture breathtaking photographs of these elusive creatures set against stunning natural backdrops is a photographer’s dream come true. And to witness the intense drama of pumas in pursuit of their prey, the swift and elegant guanacos, is a spectacle of nature’s raw beauty and power.

I invite you to join me on this extraordinary journey, where every step taken in the presence of these awe-inspiring pumas creates memories that will last forever. Together, we will walk paths that few have tread, and experience moments that few have witnessed, forging a connection with the wild that will stay with you long after you leave Patagonia.

Tour Dates:

* 2025: Feb 22—Mar 1 (full)

* 2026: Coming soon!

Tour Leader: Zac Mills

Group Size: 6

2025 Price: $8,495 USD

Price includes: All meals, accommodation, and transport

Accommodation: Shared

Start/End: Puerto Natales, Chile

Fitness Level: Active

Interested? Contact us now

13 + 15 =

WATCH OUR VIDEO

REASONS TO CHOOSE THIS TOUR

Walk with pumas: The only place in the world where you can walk in close proximity with a big cat. Walking with them in their natural habitat provides a rare opportunity to observe these magnificent animals up close and personal, something that few people ever get to experience.

Experienced guides: Our team of seasoned guides knows these lands intimately and will always ensure we are in the best position for an exceptional puma experience.

Spectacular scenery: You’ll be surrounded by majestic mountains, rock formations, turquoise lakes, and rolling hills, offering endless opportunities for breathtaking photos and unforgettable moments with the pumas.

More wildlife: You’ll also encounter graceful guanacos, elegant flamingos, and majestic rheas. Keep an eye out for foxes, condors, and more as you explore the stunning landscapes of this wilderness paradise.

Conservation donation: As part of this tour, we make a donation to Panthera’s Puma Program, which works to protect and conserve puma populations across their range. Your participation helps contribute to the long-term survival of pumas in the wild.

ITINERARY

The tour departs from Puerto Natales, Chile, easily accessible via a direct flight from Santiago. Please plan to arrive in Santiago a day before the tour begins. If you need any assistance with your flight arrangements, please let us know.

Day 0 • Arrive in Santiago, Chile

Our photo tour starts in the beautiful city of Santiago, the capital of Chile. Accommodation for this evening is not included in the price of the tour. Recommend options include: XXX

Day 1 • Flight from Santiago to Puerto Natales

After a roughly three-hour morning plane journey, we touch down in Puerto Natales. Once we’ve landed, we’ll be greeted and whisked away on a picturesque 90-minute drive to our hotel nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park. Upon reaching our destination, we’ll indulge in a delicious lunch before embarking on an afternoon of landscape photography, seeking out flamingos, and with any luck, catching a glimpse of a majestic puma!

Day 2-6 • Pumas!

Over the course of the next five days, our routine will be marked by early mornings and late evenings, dedicated entirely to exclusive setting of the private Leona Amarga ranch. This extraordinary location stands as the sole place on Earth where one can walk alongside majestic big cats in such close proximity. Each day will unfold with two four-hour sessions: one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The hours in between will be respectfully designated for the solitary enjoyment of the big cats. During this interlude, we’ll enjoy a hearty lunch, allowing ourselves time to rest and recharge. Depending on the group’s energy levels and enthusiasm, we may also venture out to explore additional sections of the national park, further immersing ourselves in its breathtaking beauty.

Day 7 • Torres del Paine

We’ll reserve one final half-day to bask in the splendor of Torres del Paine, savoring every last bit of its natural wonder. As the late afternoon approaches, we’ll embark on our journey back to Puerto Natales, where we’ll indulge in our last dinner together, reminiscing over the unforgettable experiences and beauty we’ve encountered throughout our adventure.

Day 8 • Flight from Puerto Natales to Santiago

We’ll rise early and you will catch the early morning flight from Puerto Natales back to Santiago, marking the conclusion of this truly majestic adventure.

Puerto Natales

WHAT’s INCLUDED?

• Photography instruction
• All accommodation from Puerto Natales

• All meals and drinks
• All permits and fees

WHAT’s NOT INCLUDED?

• Flights to Puerto Natales
• Accommodations before/after the tour
• Travel medical insurance (required)

THE HOTEL

Experience the charm and comfort of Hotel Estancia El Ovejero Patagónico, where rustic elegance meets modern convenience in the heart of Patagonia. Nestled amidst breathtaking landscapes, this serene retreat offers cozy accommodations, warm hospitality, and a unique cultural experience. Enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lush valleys, indulge in exquisite local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of the region.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY?

4:30am: breakfast

5am: depart for pumas

5:45am: arrive at Laguna Amarga

10:30am: back to hotel

1pm: lunch

3pm: depart for pumas

3:45pm: arrive at Laguna Amarga

8:30pm: back to hotel

8:45pm: dinner

 

* Actual times may vary and depend upon weather conditions. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How many pumas will I see?

Pumas are spotted on most days, and during my one day in February, I encountered five different individuals: Peteka and her two kits, a subadult, and the alpha male, Dark. However, it is nature, and sightings can never be guaranteed.

What other wildlife will I see?

In addition to pumas, we will see numerous guanacos, a favorite food of the pumas, as well as rheas, which resemble ostriches. With luck, we may also spot Chilean flamingos and armadillos. And if we’re fortunate, we might even catch a glimpse of the majestic Andean condors and elusive foxes.

What will the weather be like?

In February, Torres del Paine typically experiences warm and pleasant weather, with daytime temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). However, Patagonian weather can be unpredictable, so it’s advisable to be prepared for sudden changes. Expect occasional rain showers and strong winds, especially in the afternoons. It’s essential to bring layers of clothing, including waterproof outerwear, to stay comfortable throughout the day.

How do I get to Puerto Natales?

Commercial flights are available from Santiago on Latam Airlines.

What focal range do you recommend?

Every focal range from 24-600mm can be of value. The wider perspectives are great to showcase thee incredible mountain scenery around the pumas. Tighter compositions work great for portraits and for those times when we are further away. There are so many compositional possibilities that having a variety of focal length options will serve you well.

What's the bathroom situation?

Each hotel room is equipped with its own private bathroom for your comfort. However, once we venture into the realm of the pumas, restroom facilities will not be available.

Will there be cell service or WiFi at the camp?

Near our hotel, you’ll find reliable cell service and excellent Wi-Fi connectivity. However, as we delve into “pumaland,” be prepared for exceptionally limited cell service.

More Questions?

Send us an email and we’ll be happy to arrange a time to chat through everything with you and answer any questions you may have.

HOW STRENUOUS IS THE HIKING?

The hiking involved in trekking with pumas in Laguna Amarga can be moderately strenuous. Trails may feature varying terrain, inclines, and rugged paths, requiring a reasonable level of fitness. It’s advisable to be prepared for extended periods of walking and to wear appropriate footwear and clothing. However, the pace is typically adjusted to accommodate the group’s abilities, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all participants.

Our approach is designed for inclusivity, and we take pride in ensuring that the pace of the hike is comfortable for everyone. We understand the significance of the experience and encourage you to relish each moment. To further enhance your enjoyment, we incorporate frequent breaks, allowing you to catch your breath, absorb the breathtaking surroundings, and immerse yourself in this special ecosystem.

PUMA FACTS

Population Density: Torres del Paine has one of the highest densities of pumas in the world, making it an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts hoping to catch a glimpse of these elusive cats.

Solo Hunters: Pumas are solitary hunters, typically stalking their prey alone rather than in packs. Their stealth and agility make them formidable hunters, capable of taking down prey much larger than themselves.

Excellent Jumpers: Pumas are known for their remarkable jumping abilities, capable of leaping distances of up to 6 meters (20 feet) horizontally and 5 meters (16 feet) vertically. This agility aids them in ambushing their prey and navigating challenging terrain.

Variety of Prey: While guanacos are a primary food source for pumas in Torres del Paine, they are opportunistic hunters and will also prey on animals such as hares, foxes, and occasionally domestic livestock when other food sources are scarce.

Cub Development: Puma cubs are born blind and helpless, relying entirely on their mother for care and protection. They typically remain with their mother for up to two years, learning essential hunting skills before venturing out on their own.

PUMA CONSERVATION

Pumas are among the most misunderstood and vilified animals on the planet. Their range extends from Alaska in the north all the way to Patagonia at the southern tip of South America. These elusive and rarely seen apex predators play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem balance, yet they are often portrayed as threats to livestock and human safety. A deeper understanding of their behavior, ecology, and role in nature reveals their essential contribution to the health and diversity of ecosystems. Despite being listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN due to their wide distribution, pumas face significant threats such as habitat loss, fragmentation, and poaching. Conservation initiatives aim to address these challenges and ensure the long-term survival of these iconic predators while maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Panthera’s Puma Program plays a crucial role in supporting puma conservation through four main goals: 1) filling knowledge gaps about pumas, including their range-wide distribution, abundance, and ecological contributions; 2) addressing habitat fragmentation to ensure the interconnectedness of puma populations; 3) reducing both legal and illegal hunting and trapping that threaten puma population integrity; and 4) mitigating human-puma conflict while fostering greater human tolerance for these essential predators.

PUMAS ON THE BIG SCREEN

The pumas in this region have gained international fame by starring in several high-profile wildlife documentaries. They have featured prominently in the BBC’s acclaimed series Dynasties II, which showcases the intricate family dynamics of various animal species. Additionally, they have captivated audiences in Netflix’s Our Great National Parks, narrated by former President Barack Obama, highlighting the beauty and significance of protected areas around the world. These remarkable big cats also took center stage in Bertie Gregory’s Animals Up Close on Disney+, offering viewers an intimate look at their lives and behaviors.

HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH PUMAS

Our puma photo guide is coming soon!

We also provide optional 1-1 Zoom sessions before the tour, detailed prompts and guidance when we are in the field, and optional post-processing sessions after your tour. We will do everything we can to help you become a better photographer!

PHOTO GALLERY

EXTEND YOUR STAY

Things to do from Puerto Natales

  • Visit Magdalena Island: Take a boat trip to Magdalena Island to witness one of Chile’s largest colonies of Magellanic penguins. 
  • Whale Watching Tours: Embark on a whale-watching excursion to spot humpback whales and other marine mammals in the nutrient-rich waters around Carlos III Island. 
  • King Penguin Park: Travel to Tierra del Fuego to visit the King Penguin Park, home to a colony of king penguins, the second-largest penguin species. 

Things to do from El Calafate

  • Visit Perito Moreno Glacier: Witness one of the most famous glaciers in the world, known for its dramatic ice calving. Walk along the viewing platforms for spectacular views and take a boat tour to get close to the glacier’s towering ice walls.
  • Explore Los Glaciares National Park: Discover the stunning landscapes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the southern Andes and numerous glaciers. Enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, and breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, and glaciers.

MEET YOUR GUIDES

Zac Mills

As a wildlife photographer, traveler, and former World Bank economist, Zac brings a different perspective to wildlife conservation. He founded the Wildlife Collective to help others become better wildlife photographers and to use their voice for conservation. With leadership roles in several conservation organizations, Zac knows first hand that working together with like-minded individuals can make a difference. A certified guide and bear lover, Zac hopes to entertain you with stories from the wild, inspire you to get involved in conservation, and to become the best wildlife photographer you can be.

JOIN US FOR A TRIP OF A LIFETIME!

14 + 6 =

Why Our Photo Tours Are Different

Experience

The essence of life lies in its experiences, and it is our unwavering mission to gift you the very best of them. We strive to craft our tours with care and authenticity, making each adventure a vibrant chapter in the story of your life.

Conservation

All of our tours have a conservation focus. We will learn about the challenges facing our primary subject and ongoing conservation work. Plus, every tour makes a donation to a conservation partner.

Locations

We take you to the world’s most amazing wilderness destinations, carefully selected for their unparalleled beauty and chosen based on our commitment to providing guests with the very best wildlife experiences.

Photography Focus

We welcome all levels of photography and provide optional photography sessions before, during, and after the tour. With our hands on learning, you are going to leave our tour as a better photographer. Ask us anything at anytime!

Small Groups

We believe that small groups give the best wildlife expereinces. We do not exceed 6 clients per guide, and in most tours, the ratio will be even smaller. This ensures that you get the personalized attention that you deserve.

Best Guides

We work with the world’s best wildlife guides, who also happen to be our good friends. They are experienced, keep us safe, and put us in the best possible position to have the best wildlife experience.