Pretour Day 1 – Arrival in Buenos Aires
Meet for an evening meal if your flights allow to discuss our Iguazu Falls birding pre-tour. Night in Buenos Aires.
Pretour Day 2 – Flight to Iguazu
After breakfast we catch a morning flight to Iguazu. We arrive to the airport and we’ll head straight to the national park where most of the action is, including lunch. We may have our first glimpse of Toco Toucan in the parking lot and any number of other Atlantic rainforest specialties. This habitat is only a remnant of a once-vast forest and therefore many of the species we’ll encounter are endemic or difficult to find elsewhere. The Argentine side of Iguazu hosts a large, contiguous tract of intact Atlantic rainforest in a subtropical climate.
The falls themselves are a large, spectacular network of various cascades, some of which almost don’t seem real. We’ll choose one of numerous trails that best suits afternoon photography and wildlife viewing. Today we just get a taster of what these falls are all about. In the evening we’ll drive into town and enjoy a patio dinner at a quaint restaurant featuring some classic Argentine fare: beef and wine. Night in Puerto Iguazu.
Pretour Day 3 – Iguazu National Park
We’ll spend a full day exploring Iguazu National Park where over 350 bird species have been sighted, not to mention being the home of jaguars and other cats. We'll see other interesting wildlife such as the Argentine Tegu lizard and overly friendly coatis and monkeys too. Birds are abundant and include such Atlantic forest beauties as Surucua Trogon, Swallow-tailed Manakin, Green-headed Tanager, Blond-crested Woodpecker, and Black-fronted Piping-Guan. But none is more emblematic of the falls than the Great Dusky Swift, seen powering over and around the impressive cascades themselves. As for this magnificent spectacle, Iguazu Falls really is a must-see and we will be right in the heart of the action. Today we’ll explore at least two trails that lead us over the top or below the falls and coincidentally past some spectacular birding and photographic areas. When we don’t want to walk, there is a small train that can take us around the park.
Back in town, we’ll visit some excellent hummingbird gardens where Black Jacobin and Swallow-tailed Hummingbird can be found, among others. There is also a small wetland to explore. Night in Puerto Iguazu.
Pretour Day 4 – Urugua-í Provincial Park
Today we’ll travel farther afield, leaving the Iguazu Falls area to explore another large parcel of forest to the south, within Urugua-í Park. The commute will allow us to see some of the countryside of Misiones province.
Near the park headquarters we’ll choose a trail where we can enter the forest on the lookout for more exciting birds. One of these is the mysterious Spotted Bamboowren, which has recently been deemed a relative of the tapaculos (after variously being grouped with wrens, antbirds, and gnatcatchers). Either way, it’s another sought-after Atlantic forest endemic! Others that can be more easily found include Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Robust Woodpecker, White-browed Warbler, Tufted Antshrike and Rufous Gnateater. With much luck, we could encounter something rarer like the Helmeted Woodpecker or Bay-ringed Tyrannulet. Anything could lurk around the corner here, including mammals such as Jaguar, South American Tapir or Giant Anteater!
If road conditions and time permit, we may also explore the Karadya reserve, which offers a slightly different suite of flora and fauna. Night in Puerto Iguazu.
Pretour Day 5 - Route 101
A final morning on an excellent secondary road nearby the airport gives us a chance to clean up on some other interesting birds and wildlife. Harpy Eagle has been recorded here in recent years but for regular birds it is a particularly good location for Ochre-collared Piculet, Pavonine Cuckoo and up to five species of foliage-gleaner! Ocelot has been sighted in previous years. Before our afternoon flight back to Buenos Aires we may have a chance to view the falls one last time. Dinner and night in Buenos Aires.
Pretour Day 6 - Buenos Aires
This morning we are back in Buenos Aires for a relaxing breakfast before the main Patagonia Wildlife Safari tour starts later in the afternoon. You have the morning to explore downtown Buenos Aires. Lunch on your own.