Mirador Condor

During our trek to the Towers, I asked Rafa what's his favorite spot at Torres del Paine National Park. Little did I know that he would actually be bringing us there himself, on this gorgeous windless afternoon, to the Mirador Condor. This wasn't part of EcoCamp's regular walks but Rafa sure knows how to surprise his guests. The Mirador, as the name suggests, is a viewpoint for condor sightings but it's actually more than that - up there in that rocky peak is a panoramic view of the whole Paine massif.

One hour hiking up . . .
. . . hoping to see the condors.
 Lake Pehoé
A grand view of the Paine massif

Our van dropped us off on a roadside overlooking the fantastically turquoise Lake Pehoé. For about an hour, we walked straight up to the Mirador, not knowing whether condors would actually show up. Their cliff side nests were clearly visible, marked by their whitish poop. As we walked higher, the granite towers and horns of Paine re-emerged, rewarding us with a completely different perspective. At the the top, we simply found ourselves breathless - I wasn't even sure if it was from the walk, the view or both.

Rafa spots condors

Rafa had another reason to be happy being back up there: the weather was sublimely beautiful, nothing like his last visit when he said he could barely stand in the howling winds! And because of this great weather, we further stretched our luck when the main stars did show up. Not just one, not two but three Andean condors, a family composed of an adult male, female and their juvenile offspring. These enormous birds of prey glided majestically close enough to us, probably curious to find people standing atop their dwelling. During that half hour we stayed up there, the birds made a truly unforgettable show.

Condors mate for life: a male & female flying close to Cerro Paine Grande
A juvenile condor flies above Lake Pehoé
Condor's nest

Andean condor is pretty much an iconic bird in all of South America, even prominent in the coat of arms of Chile, Bolivia and Colombia. While their cousins up north, called the California Condor, are a bit longer measured from beak to tail, Andean condors are much heavier and have larger wingspans (that can spread  to about 10 feet), making them the largest birds of prey in the world. They feed on carcasses, that's why they're called vultures. In the vast steppes of Patagonia, Andean condors have enough carrion to feast upon. Wildlife abounds here, after all - and that's coming up in the next entry.

Two lakes 
The descent to the other side
At the end of our Mirador traverse


  1. whoa. ang gandaaaaa.

  2. It's amazing how several colors can be combined by nature in one shot (fourth photo). ;)

  3. oh wow! more wow! and even more wows!

    awesome shots of birds flying over. place is simply stunning in photos, what more when you're really there. shots looks so much like the ones that i see in Outside magazine.

  4. ang ganda ng mga kuha mo parekoy...Condors...awesome man

  5. wow! awesome color of the lake! magnificent view!

  6. Hi Nomadic! This is fabulous!! My trip to Patagonia and Torres del paine is planned for more than ten years, when I finished reading the whole Chatwin... Till now I never managed to get there; but one of these days I'll do!! Superb pictutes you have here!!

    Blogtrotter Two is in the Valley of Kings waiting for you!! No photos allowed inside the tombs, sorry… Enjoy and have a great week!

  7. the views are simply spectacular. nature at its best.

  8. amazing shots! amazing lake! i like the lake photos,the waters looks like that of Mt.Pinatubo's crater and yeah,with the condor flying above it, perfect!

  9. paborito ko na ang uwak after seeing it on top of changbai san. eto, baka maging paborito ko rin ang condors pag nakabisita dyan:)

  10. Wow! Condors are vultures pala. Buti di sila nang aatak ng tao.

    The best ang mga photos.

  11. Lawstude,
    sobrang ganda talaga.

    it's spring time so the colors were even more intense with all the blossoms.

    dong ho,
    you read Outside too, oh great! that's my first magazine subscription when I moved to the US.

    seeing condors while flying were one of my unforgettable wildlife experiences.

    the color actually reminds me of the tropical waters in the Philippines with its gorgeous beaches.

    I know you'll make it there - you're a globetrotter for sure. Will check your latest entry.

    Photo Cache,
    Hope you make it there too, Maria!

    I've only seen pictures of Pinatubo's crater and the color of the water do look very similar. Hope to visit Pinatubo someday.

    Z Joya,
    condors are not particularly beautiful but they look so majestic while flying.

    Di naman. Or else, we wouldn't be able to stand atop the mirador which houses their nest.

  12. Napansin din pala ni Ms.Jo yun. But yes ang ganda ng dating if its mother nature who combines green, red, white and blue in one setting (4th and 5th pics).

    Galing!! Pang postcard ang dating!

  13. this is a dream place to go. meron mountains, perong snow. ano pa ba hahanapin mo. It's one of the memorable place na napuntahan mo am sure.

  14. OMG. Your photos are amazing. No, make that AMAZING.

  15. You must have walked tons in this trip. That's one trek that I want to do sometime!

  16. BlogusVox,
    thanks for being too keen on the details. nothing can really beat mama nature when it comes to colors.

    it was in my bucket list for a long time kaya masaya ako at natupad na yun.

    thanks very much for the compliments!

    not as much as I really would want to hehehe. the walks weren't really killer ones, except perhaps during the trek to the towers.


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