Focus on Brazil


Brazil is a vast country with several distinctly different biomes. Discover them all with Focus Tours: Brazil

Focus on Argentina

The 8th largest country in the world, Argentina offers a wealth of experiences. From the subtropical rain forests of Iguazú Falls to the high Andes. Discover more with Focus Tours: Argentina 

Focus on Bolivia

Bolivia, nestled between Brazil, Peru, Chile and Paraguay, is the poorest and least developed country in South America, but also biologically and culturally the richest, safest and friendliest. Discover more with Focus Tours: Bolivia

Focus on Chile

Chile is the only truly temperate country in the Neotropics, and occupies more degrees of latitude than any other nation worldwide. Perhaps it is not surprising that Chile offers several extremes of the natural world. Discover more with Focus Tours: Chile

Site Search

Jaguar Tours

The northern Pantanal is the richest area in the world for spotting Jaguars in the wild and, our naturalist guides are some of the best. Together with our boatmen we can take you into the best areas for jaguars and many other creatures. Read more about Jaguar Tours.

Bird Watching Tours

Douglas Trent is a scientist, bird watcher and wildlife photographer and his be operating Bird Watcing Tours for around two decades now. The tour possibilities in South America are many. Read more about Bird Watching Tours.

Wildlife Photography Tours

Douglas Trent is a wildlife photographer and guides groups of professional, or enthusiastc amateur, photographers and film crews on focused wildlife tours. Read more about Wildlife Photography Tours 

Funding Conservation

 

A percentage of our profits has been funding in-country conservation projects since 1981. They directly benefit the local communities we visit and, when possible, are self-sustable, generating benefits long after our initial donation. Your visit will benefit you, the environment and your hosts.

SANTIAGO AND SURROUNDING REGIONS: The High Andes to the Ocean



Nearly 70% of Chile's 13.6 million people live in the capital city of Santiago and other cities in surrounding heartland. Coastal cities such as Viña del Mar are reminiscent of smaller coastal cities on the California coast. West of Santiago are some of the most impressive mountains and views in the Andean range. In the summer time these mountains are nearly abandoned, while they support a bustling ski industry in the Austral winter. The world ski record for speed was established at the Portillo resort. Another resort high above Santiago is so close that with a pair of back-country skis one could ski from there to the city in a day or so, and it would almost all be downhill! The Termas de Cauquenes hot springs spa situated in a forest in the foothills is an excellent place to stay while exploring the surrounding wine country, not to mention for the special birds that can be found even on the hotel grounds. In surrounding regions, one can find the bizarre and unique parasitic Black-headed Duck, attractive Red-backed Hawk and others. A visit to the Burrowing Parrot Reserve is a necessity. Rare and endangered, this parrot digs extensive burrows for nesting and roosting. With its communal nature, long wings and tail, it looks more like a small macaw or large parakeet than a parrot. We are also likely to see the endemic Moustached Turca, a strange, open country tapaculo, the shy Chilean Tinamou, handsome Black-faced Ibis, local White-sided Hillstar, incredible Giant Hummingbird and many others.

One other thing of interest to birders is a pelagic trip from Chile's largest seaport -- the Valparaíso harbor. Just 10 miles out we hit the edge of the Humboldt current, and in the early morning the calm waters are used by a variety of pelagic birds looking for a morning meal. We could see birds ranging from Black-browed, Buller's and Salvin's Albatrosses to a number of petrels, diving-petrels, storm-petrels, shearwaters, and others. Closer to shore, we could find the Peruvian Booby, Peruvian Pelican, Guanay and the unusual Red-legged Cormorants and a number of gulls and terns. A boat trip here has the potential to be one of the most rewarding pelagic experiences you'll ever have.

The Los Cipreses Reserve is near the lovely resort setting of Termes de Cauquenes, with its popular hot water springs resort. The reserve is the stronghold of the widely hunted Burrowing Parrot. This colorful and interesting parrot actually digs deep into the ground for roosting and nesting purposes. It differs from other New World parrots also with its long, macaw-like tail and the fact that they are communal ground feeders which prefer grass seed. It is this seed eating behavior that leads farmers across Chile and Argentina to try to eliminate it, and it is increasingly hard to see outside this reserve.

We recommend 4 to 5 days in the region before heading south.