PHOTO: Guanaco Surveys its Domain in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Guanaco surveys his domain from a hillside in Torres del Paine national Park in the Patagonian region of Chile

When my tour van entered Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonian Chile, our guide enlisted us as wildlife spotters. She ticked off some of the species we might see. The Patagonian Puma is the most sought after sighting, however they are reclusive and usually stay far away from the only road through the park. But if we had sharp eyes we might spot one of two varieties of fox; the small, endangered Huemul deer; Andean Condors; Southern Crested Caracaras (a large bird of prey); the Patagonian Mara (a large rat-like creature); and the Patagonian Armadillo. “Oh, I almost forgot the Guanaco,” she added dismissively.

Two minutes later we cruised past a couple of Guanaco, a close relation to the llama and part of the camelid family. I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough and was frustrated that the driver hadn’t stopped. It didn’t take long to learn why. Not half a mile further, we drove directly into a whole herd of Guanaco. “Quietly and slowly,” our guide advised as we climbed off the van. Some of the Guanacoes hid behind bushes, munching on ripped-off branches. Some milled about in packs, nervously watching our every move. The bolder ones casually strolled down the highway past our van. I snapped away merrily, capturing loads of close-ups of the adorable mammals. But my favorite shot was this solitary Guanaco, standing on a hillside as if surveying its domain.

If you enjoyed this mini-story, you may also be interested in my featured article discussing whether it is safe to visit Santiago, Chile, or another about the town of Puerto Natales, gateway to Torres del Paine National Park.

13 thoughts on “PHOTO: Guanaco Surveys its Domain in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile”

  1. I’ve enjoyed paging through your blogs. I envy all the place that you’ve been able to visit! I also chased guanaco in Torres del Paine and since we were in a rental car, I had greater freedom to stop whenever the opportunity presented itself. I was particularly looking for shots of guanaco with the magnificent mountains in the background. Take a look at my website I’ve also included a link to your website on my resources page.

    • Hi Tom: What a lovely comment; thank you very much. I did take a look at your site and was impressed with it. I don’t often add new links to my resource page, but in your case I decided to do so because I liked what I saw.

  2. Great photo! The more I read about it and see photos like yours, the more I want to visit there. Chile seems like a country that has yet to make it onto most travelers’ radar, though I know a couple of people who have already visited there. It certainly is on my wish list!

  3. I love this photo. We saw loads of them along the roads in Southern Peru. We were on a moving bus so the photos did not come out well. They have such lovely faces. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

  4. This brings back memories of hiking in Patagonia in 2014. The smoke stack mountains were amazing, the night skies brilliant and the hike into the French Valley had wind we’d never experienced. We hikers were knocked off the trail like bowling bins but emerged unscathed.


Leave a Comment