Before going to Torres del Paine, I dreamt of the mountains.
I never expected to see so much amazing wildlife, I actually never imagined so many animals to living in the mountains, but there are. During our time in Torres del Paine National Park, we went on a small group tour around the park which stopped at the most amazing views. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the geology, history and wildlife of the park. It was the very best way to see the park during winter as the trekking routes are closed during the winter season (if you do want to trek any of the park, you have to hire an individual guide to take you!)
We were extremely lucky to see a vast range of animals on our trip, so much so that it almost felt like a Patagonian style safari! Of course, these animals are all completely living in the wild and so it really depends on the day as to whether you may see them, or not!
Guanacos are a type of llama and Torres del Paine is full of them. They look so cute and actually run pretty fast. It was especially lovely to see them as they were enjoying walking around in yesterday’s snowfall and we were just meters away from them.
We spotted three flamingoes drinking from the water from afar and then were able to get pretty close to them without them flying away.
Condors are the Chilean national bird and they certainly are special. They have a wingspan of 2m and they glide through the air – you barely see their wings move. Before visiting Torres del Paine, I had seen a few condors when trekking in Cerro Castillo (also in Patagonia) and on a few treks around Santiago too and I’d probably say I’ve seen about 12 in total over my more than 2 years in total of living in Chile (we actually saw 7 at one time in June!) So who could believe it when we saw fifty (yes!!!) at one time in Torres del Paine. It’s a bit gory, but condors are scavengers so the 50 condors were actually waiting on the rocks and taking it in turns to eat a dead guanaco… only until a fox turned up and the condors all top flight, which was pretty amazing. The closest ones to us were only a few meters above our heads – amazing! We then saw two other foxes come and eat the dead guanaco too.
We were lucky to spot this as this ostrich type bird went sprinting into the distance. We then saw a few more of them a couple of days later when we left the park and were on a bus in Punta Arenas.
I still can’t believe I am writing this. I knew that pumas live in Patagonia – everyone tells you this! But, the chances of seeing them are just so low that I the thought never even crossed my mind. Our tour guide had seen two before in a few years of doing tours (!) So my heart skipped a beat when he shouted out “puma” and our van quickly stopped only for us to see the puma run into the long grass. We saw it’s cute face popping out and then it run away. It really was an incredible sight, and we felt so so lucky to have seen a puma in its true natural habitat!
Which animals would you like to see in the wild?
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