Patagonia April (Autumn) 2016



             Cuernos del Paine Over Lago Pehoe                         All Photos © Bill Ellzey

“A Patagonia Photo Safari… …Autumn in the Andes” April 18-May 3, 2016

Part 1: Unknown Patagonia, April 18-26 – $4,295

Part 2: Torres del Paine,  April 26-May 3 – $4,495






Patagonia in autumn is a landscape photgrapher’s dream come true. In the southern hemisphere autumn happens six months earlier, of course. I first visited Patagonia in 2008 leading this same itinerary.  It was expertly outfitted and guided by Salvaje Corizon, the Patagonia Guide Service.  Since then I’ve led trips with them in 2011, ’12, ’13 and ’15.

We explore the most varied locations in Chilean Patagonia at the most exciting time of the year. This is a two-part traveling workshop or, as we like to call it, a Photo Safari. Part I explores the central Patagonian region of Aysen, a zone of turquoise lakes and rivers, native beech forest and dramatic glaciated peaks —Unknown (and mostly unphotographed) Patagonia. For Part II we visit the Torres del Paine National Park, further south in Chile’s 12th region — a world famous collection of granite spires, glaciers and lakes. Below is the itinerary we will follow. And in the Portfolio section of this web site you can see many of the images I brought back from Patagonia photo safaris.

A Day by Day Itinerary

Part I: Unknown Patagonia

Day 1 (Monday, April 18)


Arrive at Coyhaique’s airport (in the nearby town of Balmaceda) by air from Santiago. Transfer to Coyhaique, the capital of Chilean Patagonia, and our hotel. Evening orientation and welcome dinner.

Day 2 (Tuesday, April 19)


A warm-up day, in the form of a day-trip photo excursion from Coyhaique to one of several remarkable nearby locations — the choice depending in large measure on the intensity of the region’s fall colors.

Day 3 (Wednesday, April 20)


Early morning departure for Cerro Castillo and Rio Tranquilo. Cerro Castillo (or Castle Mountain) is one of the most photogenic and spectacular peaks in all of Patagonia. We continue along an impressive river valley, past reminders of a volcanic eruption, and over a mountain pass surrounded by glacier-clad peaks. In the afternoon we drive along the western shore of Lago General Carrera, the second largest lake in South America, to the little village of Puerto Tanquilo.

Day 4 (Thursday, April 21)


From our lodge in Puerto Tranquilo, we visit the Cavernas de Mármol (or Marble Caves) one of the most spectacular and surreal landscapes in all South America. Then we continue around Lago Carrera, photographing the glaciers above the delta of the Rio Leones beneath Patagoina’s highest summit, Cerro San Valentin. After a full day we arrive at the Green Baker Lodge on the banks of the Rio Baker.

Day 5 (Friday, April 22)


Today we photograph along the Rio Baker. The Baker river is known to anglers for its world-class trout fishing, but is irresistible to photographers for its otherworldly blue color. En route to the Chacabuco Valley, site of the future, Patagonia National Park, we visit the spectacular confluence (waterfall and rapids) of the Baker and Nef rivers. Valle Chacabuco is such a rich environment that this day we only begin our photographic exploration of it, returning in the late afternoon to the Green Baker Lodge.

Day 6 (Saturday, April 23)


This morning we returm to the Chacabuco valley. This valley, part of the last great private ranch or estancia in Patagonia, has recently been purchased by the Patagonia Land Trust and is the core area of a large conservation/park project. The landscape changes dramatically into a series of pampas, grasslands and wetland ponds or mallines. Here we always encounter herds of wild guanaco. In the evening we return to Lago General Carrera, and check into Terra Luna, a lovely lakeside lodge near the little town of Puerto Guadal.

Day 7 (Sunday, April 24)

After pre-dawn and dawn photography of the high icefield peaks across the lake, we head off to explore the southern shoreline of Lago Carrera: plunging cliffs, transparent turquoise water, enchanting fundos (farms) tributary rivers and deep red autumn trees provide constantly varying photographic stimulation. We spend a second night at Terra Luna.

Day 8 (Monday, April 25)

Return by road to Coyhaique, photographing the Rio Murta valley, the beautiful Rio Cajon or Box River, a valley of dead trees smothered by ash and lava from Volcán Hudson, and final evening photo opportunities around Cerro Castillo before reaching Coyhaique for a gala farewell dinner.

Day 9 (Tuesday, April 26)

Departure from Coyhaique for home. Or, for those continuing on with Part Two of our Patagonian Safari..

Part II, The Torres del Paine

Day 9 (Tuesday, April 26)

Basically a transportation and arrival day. Some participants from Part One may be heading home, Those joining us for both parts of this Patagonian adventure will fly on south with us, to Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s 12th region, right next to the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego. And those photographers who are only participating in this second segment, will join us this evening in Punta Arenas.

Day 10 (Wednesday, April 27)


From Punta Arenas we drive north by van, pausing for a fresh seafood lunch in Puerto Natales, to arrive at the Torres del Paine in the afternoon. Check into the Hosteria Pehoe, a classic hotel on a small island (reached by a footbridge) in Lago Pehoe, directly beneath the famous Cuernos or “Horns” of Paine

Day 11 (Thursday, April 28)


Our day begins with a dawn shoot of the Horns or Cuernos, directly across the lake from our hotel. After breakfast, we head off by van to explore the center of the national park. We will spend a second night at the Hosteria Pehoe.

Day 12 (Friday, April 29)

Another day devoted to the spectacular peaks and lakes near Lago Pehoe. In the evening we drive to a new inn, the Hosteria Grey on the shores of Lago Grey.

Day 13 (Saturday, April 30)

500p-sm,.Id23a-017A boat excursion on Lago Grey takes us to the face of the giant glacier feeding this lake. It takes us right beneath the blue cliffs of thousand-year-old ice. We spend a second night at the Hosteria Grey.

Day 14 (Sunday, May 1)


Today, we once more change our base of operations, moving to the other side of the park, an area well known for its wildlife, especially guanacos and foxes that often seem to want to pose just beneath the most dramatic peaks. We spend the night at the Hosteria Los Torres.

Day 15 (Monday, May 2)


After a final dawn shoot, we pack up and head for Punta Arenas. An all-day trip to be sure, with more opportunities to photograph on the shores of Bitter Lake (Lago Amargo) as well as abundant wildlife, birds and dramatic beech forests en route to Punta Arenas.

Day 16 (Tuesday, May 3)

Departure by air from Punta Arenas.


These Patagonia photo safaris are limited to a maximum of eight participants. In many ways six is the perfect number, but every year it seems, one or two participants have to drop out at the last minute for pressing family and personal reasons. So for that reason we have set our target number at from 6 to 8 participants — with a maximum of 8. (Other photo tours to this part of the world typically set their group size at 12, 14 or more) The only downside of limiting the size of our group is that we will need at least four participants for each segment to cover our expenses. In the past, we have always had enough signups, even waiting lists.  We invite both film and digital photographers, however digital photography offers the best and most convenient opportunities for constructive critiques of work done during the workshop. You don’t have to bring a laptop but you should have some sort of storage device on which to store or backup images.  The laptop is best but they can sometimes push airline baggage weight limits. In addition to making photographs in the magnificent landscapes we visit there will be instruction on importing, editing, key wording and adjusting your images in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Participants are responsible for arranging their own flights from the US and elsewhere to Santiago, Chile’s capital. Your domestic flights are included in our package price, however participants must arrive in Santiago with enough time or, if you arrive earlier, be ready to make it onto the booked domestic flight continuing south.

If you are unable to take both Part One and Part Two, let us know well in advance in order for our outfitter-guides at Salvaje Corazon, to book the connecting flight(s) accordingly. Once in Patagonia, all your expenses on the ground are included (alcohol however is extra). The price of this Photo Safari is based on double-occupancy rooms; to guarantee a single room, we need to charge a single-room supplement of $400 for Part One (Central Ptagonia or the Aisén region) and $624 for Part Two (the Torres del Paine). Because this Patagonia Photo Safari is such a major commitment, I’d like to encourage any interested photographers to contact me directly, by phone, or by email for more detailed information. (see the contact info and links at the bottom of the page). In case I am traveling and temporarily out of contact, you can also email our terrific guide/outfitters at Salvaje Corazon.


To sign up for this trip, please call or email me and send a check for your trip deposit of $900 to:

Bill Ellzey Photographs
Box 362 Crestone CO 81131

We always ask for final trip payment 60 days before the trip starts. Our cancellation policy is standard for the travel and photo-travel industry. If for any reason you need to withdraw from this Photo Safari, please notify us at least 60 days before the start of the trip. At that time we will refund your deposit, less a $250 cancellation fee. But if notification of cancellation is made between 60 and 30 days before the start of the trip, we must retain the entire $900 deposit. If notification of cancellation is made less than 30 days before the start of the workshop there will be no refund as transportation and lodging will have already been made.


Bill Ellzey Photographs
PO Box 362
Crestone, CO 81131,USA
Phone: 719-937-7787