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Torres Del Paine National Park
The best place to see Pumas and Cougars in the wild is Torres del Paine National Park. Due to an incredibly high density of pumas found in both the park and surrounding private estates, this has become the go-to location to photograph pumas in the wild. The fact that a Torres del Paine wildlife tour takes you through some of the most stunning mountain landscapes in the whole of South America is a huge bonus. The high density of pumas can be explained by a strong prey base, including their main food source, the Guanaco, which has a growing and stable population. Torres del Paine wildlife does not just consist of Pumas, you can also see other beautiful South American wildlife, such as the famous Andean Condors, Hog-nosed Skunk, Andean Deer and two species of Fox; the Culpeo Fox and the Chilla Fox. Our puma tracking tours in Torres del Paine are led by an expert local guide and we can organise private bespoke Torres del Paine National Park tours, as well as small group Puma tours with a maximum of 6 clients.
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Join us on a 7-day photography adventure focused solely on Chilean Puma sightings. Other animal extensions are available upon request.
Best time to visit Torres del Paine National Park?
A lot of companies promote the December to March period for their Torres del Paine wildlife tours, which roughly coincides with the summer months in Patagonia. From a Puma tracking and photography point of view, it also matches when the Pumas favourite prey, the Guanaco, gives birth to its young and therefore provides an increased food supply to the resident Puma population. However, this is also the most popular time for both trekking in Torres del Paine and for travellers looking for accommodation in Torres del Paine National Park, so accept that it will be busier and that you will need to pre-book your wildlife lodge in Torres del Paine and your Puma tour a long time in advance.
Here at Wildlife Trails we always like to think outside the box and if possible avoid the most crowded season for wildlife safaris in a popular destination like Torres del Paine National Park. Therefore we have focused on the ‘Spring Season’ in the park which covers the months of October and November. There is up to 15 hours of daylight in this season which makes photography of the Pumas easier and you have all the new life and blossoms which are part of spring. It also allows us to create the ultimate big cat safari in South America, which combines a Jaguar safari in the Pantanal with a Puma safari in Torres del Paine.
Torres del Paine wildlife – what are you likely to see?
There are some truly iconic animal species found in Torres del Paine and none more so than the stunning Puma. The type of Puma found here is the largest in Chile and because it has become habituated to a degree to the vehicles which pass through the park and private reserves, you have the chance for some amazing close-up encounters with this regal big cat.
With a wingspan of over 3 metres, the Andean Condor is one of the largest birds in the world and you have a great chance of seeing it soaring above the mountain landscape during your Torres del Paine wildlife tour. Everyone gets excited when you talk about Armadillos and although difficult to see and photograph there is a good population in the park. Darwin’s Rhea is an Ostrich type bird with grey colouring and is often seen in groups of 20 to 30 birds. Sightings of Geoffrey’s cat are incredibly rare as they are mainly nocturnal hunters and therefore only possible to see if you are driving at night. Colourful birds include the Austral Parakeet and the spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker with its vibrant redhead and black body.
Accommodation in Torres del Paine National Park. Best place to stay for Pumas?
When Puma tracking was still permitted in Torres del Paine National Park there were only a few accommodation options possible and they were all very expensive. Now we have seen a significant change as the Puma safaris are now happening on private land and ranches close to the National Park, so we expect more variety of accommodation in Torres del Paine to come onto the market as the local ranch owners realise the benefit of both protecting the Pumas and the wider environment so that all wildlife can thrive. Currently, we are recommending the Hotel Las Torres.