Duration: 8 Days - 7 Nights
Location: Chiloe Island Chile
Special Info: From USD $1,995 per person
Darwin's route Chiloe Island Conservation Tour

Darwin’s route Chiloe Island – Black skimmer / Rayador (Rynchops niger)

 Darwin’s route Chiloe Island Conservation Tour. Discover the wonders that Charles Darwin saw on his journey to the south of Chile. Explore this fascinating territory of the Chilean Rainforest, and watch the same species of flora and fauna described by one of the Fathers of Modern Science.

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Alongside exceptional local guides you will assist in the collection of valuable data for understanding these ecosystems. You can record what you observe in your nature traveler log. This tour is for those who love nature and want to be protagonists of its conservation. During the course of eight days you can explore the hidden corners of Chiloe on foot and by water. You will visit the Senda Darwin Biological Station and the private conservation areas of Ahuenco Park and Coluco Lake where the pudú deer is abundant. In Chiloe fishing boats you will discover the coast of the island, where you can spot several species of mammals, shorebirds and seabirds, not to mention the Humboldt Penguin and the Magellanic Penguin.

Some of the most amazing migratory birds you can see in all its splendor is the Hudsonian godwit. This bird travels 14.000 km from Alaska to Chiloe Island.

The Audubon Society, along with local partners is beginning to address conservation needs. Their strategic plan involves educational programs and engaging landowners into Best Management Practices: watershed management and sustainable agricultural techniques. These initiatives spread awareness about the importance of coastal wetland habitats to migratory shorebirds and ensure that Hudsonian godwits and Whimbrels have a safe and sustainable wintering place for years to come.

*Click on Day Title to see the activity.

  • Day 1 Santiago – Puerto Montt – Ancud

    Arrival to Puerto Montt Airport and shuttle to Ancud. We can pick you up from a hotel (in Puerto Varas) or the airport in Puerto Montt. We’ll have a 1 hour transfer to ferry crossing – first birdwatching from ferry. Arrival to the village of Chacao which was where Spaniards arrived in 1567 (historical, cultural and natural history orientation). Our local guides greet us with a welcome dinner and a technical briefing about the tour.
    Accommodation at HOTEL ANCUD, 3* www.hotel-ancud.cl
    Meals: Lunch and Welcome dinner.

  • Day 2 Discover Chiloé Island – Birdwatching & Oyster Tasting

    We start our day driving through the countryside to Caulin cove (seaweed collection, birdwatching and oyster tasting). We’ll enjoy 2 to 3 hours of soft hiking while watching birds and other animals. Picnic lunch at the Biological Field Station of the Senda Darwin where we’ll learn about ongoing biological studies and do a short forest walk in search of the chucao- Southern Chile’s emblematic tapaculo. Depending on the studies being carried out, we will participate by collecting data to contribute to the scientific understanding of this ecosystem. Evening at leisure. Ask our guides if you need some local knowledge about dining in Ancud. Overnight in Ancud.

    Accommodation at HOTEL ANCUD, 3* www.hotel-ancud.cl
    Meals: Breakfast and Picnic Lunch.

  • Day 3 Penguins & Sea Mammals at Puñihuil Bay

    Today will be spent on the rugged Pacific Coast of the island – visiting the Puñihuil penguin colony, where Humbolt and Magallanic penguins nest side by side. We’ll explore this area by boat (30 min. to 45 min. boat ride on quiet waters). In addition to watching penguins, you can spot sea otters, sea lions and many other species of marine and shore birds. Later, we’ll have time to walk for about one hour and search the coastal forest areas and beaches for signs of the pudu – one of the smallest deer species and another of Chiloe’s emblematic animals. By late afternoon we’ll return to our hotel in Ancud. Evening at leisure.

    Accommodation at HOTEL ANCUD, 3* www.hotel-ancud.cl

    Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

  • Day 4 Birdwatching in River Chepu and Coluco Lagoon

    Full day to the Chepu River Valley where we will embark on a boat with local fisherman to bird watch at Laguna Coluco and among the sunken forest- reminder of the 1960’s earthquake that reshaped Southern Chile.  We’ll have lunch at a nearby farmhouse and afternoon walk in the forest of the Senderos de Chepu (in search of other forest species).  On our way home we’ll enjoy a traditional curanto pitbake made by señora Enriqueta. Overnight in Chepu Guest House.

    Accommodation at Chepu Guest House

    Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch and Dinner

  • Day 5 Chepu River – Ahuenco Park

    Get ready for your first probable encounter with a Pudu, the smallest deer in Chile. We’ll visit the private conservation area of Ahuenco Park, where there is a collaborative project with the fishermen of Chepu River. We’ll hike a rather flat and easy trail that goes alongside the coastline. During 3 hours we’ll cover a little less than 9 km, walking on a coastal trail. Here, you will meet the local park ranger “José Vargas”, a native Huilliche man that will lead our expedition in this area. By visiting this Land Trust you will be donating USD $50 (included) for conservation actions in the area. Lodging at Refugio Ahuenco. The refuge is very basic, but cozy and warm, with an incredible beachfront location. It is equipped with 12 single beds and 2 shared toilet, a wood-fire cooking stove and a big table to enjoy great meals and long conversations.

    Accommodation at Ahuenco Refuge www.ahuenco.cl
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

  • Day 6 Ahuenco Park

    Today we will explore the trails of the dense Chiloe forest, the habitat of the pudu (the chances of spotting the deer are high). The hike takes between 3 to 5 hours, depending on how deep you want to explore the rainforest. In general, the trail is not difficult, mostly flat with some obstacles like dead trees. Here, we will support the research of this deer by documenting the location, time, and behavior of our sighting. We can also volunteer to help with the maintenance of one of the park trails. Lodging at Refugio Ahuenco.

    Accommodation at Ahuenco Refuge www.ahuenco.cl
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

  • Day 7 Ahuenco – Dalcahue – Castro’s Conservation Wetlands

    In the morning we’ll hike for 3 hours until arriving at river Chepu and leave Ahuenco Park. Then, we’ll go explore a very important conservation wetland area near Castro, the capital city of Chiloé Island. On our way to Castro, we’ll visit the nearby fishing port of Dalcahue for lunch in their market where we will also learn about local aquaculture and the effect of salmon and mussel farming (Chile is the world’s #2 producer of both) on local wildlife and the local economy. Later, we’ll visit the nearby Putemun wetland area – part of a conservation program being run by the WWF, The Nature Conservancy, Audobon Society and Manomet.  It is home to the largest population of Hudsonian godwits in the world (during the S. Hemisphere migration from Alaska) among other species. Here we’ll walk for about 1 hour, enjoying the views of the bay and the birds. Finally, we’ll stay overnight at a very special hotel in Castro.

    Accommodation at PALAFITO 1326 Boutique Hotel, www.palafito1326.cl
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Farewell Dinner.

  • Day 8 Wooden Architecture of Chiloé Island – Puerto Montt Airport

    In the morning we’ll have a 9:00 AM departure before departing toward the fishing village of Quemchi and the nearby birding area surrounding the Aucar Island – known locally as the Island of Sailors Souls for its cemetery. We’ll walk the 500 meter footbridge to the island and also have the opportunity to study the flora planted by a former priest of the local chapel who made the small island into a botanical garden of native species. We’ll have lunch in Quemchi before driving up the coastal road to the ferry ramp that will take us back to mainland Chile. Arrival in Puerto Montt airport or Puerto Varas at approximately 17:30. End of services.
    Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.

    Please Book your domestic flight not before 7 pm.

  • ◦ If you are interested in this tour, please send us an email to info@amity-tours.com.
    ◦ Rate per person, USD $3,725 based in double occupancy. Single Supplement USD $390
    ◦ Group rates based on 10 people, USD $1,995 per person based in double occupancy.
    ◦ We can confirm this tour with a minimum of 2 clients.
    ◦ Let us know you are interested and we will email you our booking form.
    ◦ All our programs can be modified according to your requirements or your needs.
  • ◦ Professional tour guide.
    ◦ Private transportation.
    ◦ Accommodation at 3* hotels, guest house and refugio.
    ◦ Meals as per itinerary (07 breakfasts, 02 picnic lunches, 06 lunches and 05 dinner).
    ◦ Gratuities at restaurants and hotels.
    ◦ Accidents insurance
    ◦ All activities according to the itinerary: birdwatching, sea mammals watching, soft hiking, boat ride, ferry crossing, volunteer nature conservation activities.
    ◦ Entrance fees and USD $50 donation for conservation actions in Ahuenco Park

  • ◦ International and local flights .
    ◦ Extra beverages & cocktails.
    ◦ Laundry.
    ◦ Reciprocity fees for VISA in Chile.
  • ◦ We run this tour under a private departure request. In this case you set the dates.
    ◦ This tour is available between October 2016 and April 2017 (except in February).
  • + MORE INFO

    DIFFICULTY

    Intermediate: A reasonable level of fitness is required, as these conservation tourism trips can require sustained endurance levels, hills and longer days. These conservation tours are appropriate for all people and suitable for older adults in good health with overall good mobility, who are comfortable participating in up to 5 hours of physical activity per day. These tours may include hiking of moderate intensity at an easy pace, sometimes with steep and/or uneven trails, with obstacles such as wet logs, branches and muddy areas. All our guided tours include natural interpretation and focus on the history, volcanology and the native flora and fauna of the wilderness areas.

    PACKING TIPS

    We advise you to bring clothing for warm and cold weather; also including a rain poncho and knee-high rubber boots (you can also buy them here for a low price). Include base layers, hat, windbreaker, gloves, sneakers, a waterproof jacket and any other waterproof item, sunglasses, bathing suit and sandals. Bright color clothing is NOT recommended. Don’t forget your camera!

    Clothing to go birding in should be comfortable, which will encourage you to stay in the field longer. Non-restrictive garments in lightweight fabrics are often preferred, and dressing in layers allows for changing temperatures throughout the day without interrupting the birding. Clothes should be well worn in so there will be no chafing or blisters.

    FOOD

    Food in Chile is great and healthy. Likewise, it is one of the highlights of this tour. Great wine, fresh and flavorsome produce, seafood and all kinds of meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb and wild boar) will be part of the daily menus. We are prepared to cater vegetarian, pescaterian and gluten free food, however if you are vegan you may have to be flexible because in Chile we have very limited vegan options. Unfortunately, kosher food is not available.

    HOTELS

    As indicated in the program or similar.

    INSURANCE

    Any policy you purchase should, at the very least, cover trip cancellation, loss of baggage, accident/life coverage, travel delays, and non-refundable airline tickets.

    Carriers for travel insurance include World Nomads, Travel Guard and Travelex. You may also consider insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation. Search the web to find the best deal that suits your needs – read the fine print –

    VISAS

    Visa to enter Chile: No advance Visa application is needed for entry into Chile.  Australian and Mexican citizens entering Chile for tourism purposes will be charged a $160.00 processing fee payable on arrival. Cash and credit card accepted. USA, Canada, and New Zealand citizens no longer need to pay the reciprocity fee ($160.00) to enter Chile. A valid passport is required  travelling as a tourist for 90 days.

    VEHICLES

    Modern van or minibus according to group size. Air-condition.

    ITINERARY MODIFICATIONS

    Slight itinerary modifications might occur due to weather and or road conditions, or force majeur.

    CURRENCY

    In Chile, the local currency is called “Peso”.

    The current exchange rate is $1 USD = $650 Chilean Pesos (CLP).

    Travel checks are not convenient because only few places accept them and the exchange rate is 10% lower than dollar bills. Most credit cards are accepted at shops, restaurants and hotels. The most common cards are Master Card, Visa and Dinners Club. American Express is less commonly accepted that the others. There is no need to bring a large amount of cash; there are ATMs almost everywhere we go on the tour. The maximum amount of money that you can withdraw per day is equivalent to $300.000 CLP.

    For up to date information we suggest you visit the website www.xe.com/ucc/

    GRATUITY

    In Chile, the gratuity for hospitality services is normally 10% of the bill. People usually tip in restaurants, hotels and the local staff of guides. You shouldn’t tip taxi drivers, baggage carriers and bar tenders, they do not expect any tips. At the end of the trip gratuity for the crew for a job well done is highly appreciated. We encourage you to use your discretion and tip according to the caliber of service you receive. As a guideline, the industry standard is $120 dollars per person, per guide.

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