El Yeso Reservoir

Metropolitan Region, Chile

El Yeso is a reservoir located in the heart of the central Chilean Andes mountain range 98 km south east of Santiago. This huge reservoir located in one of the deepest valleys of the Maipo river (the main river in central Chile) is highly recommended place to visit.

El Yeso is situated in majestic mountainous landscape, 3000m above sea level, and possesses diverse high altitude flora and fauna.

During the trip participants will enjoy the landscape as we make strategic stops to look for endemic bird species: Chilean Mockingbird, Moustached Turca, White-throated Tapaculo, and the spectacular Crag Chilia. It is also possible to observe Andean Condor, Variable Hawk, several species of miners, Greater Yellow-finch, Grey-hooded Sierra Finch, South American Snipe, Torrent Duck and the rare Diameded Sandpiper Plover. The landscape also harbors much endemic vegetation including: Quillay (Quillaja saponaria), a unique Chilean cactus (Echinopsis chiloensis), Chagual (Puya chilensis) an Andean bromelid, Maitén (Maitenus boaria), Litre (Lithrea caustica) and the Andean Olivillo (Kageneckia angustifolia) a species which only grows at these high altitudes. On the way we will go through small villages in the Andean foothills.

This full-day programme includes: private transportation from Santiago, snack, lunch, drinks, and an experienced ornithologist guide. This programme is highly recommended for birdwatching of endemic species and photography .

Daily departures from Santiago are available during spring and summer.

Difficulty: None.


6:30 am Leave Santiago.

9:00 am Stop at the town of El Ingenio to observe birds and have a snack.

10:00 am Continue on route to the reservoir with several stops on the way to observe birds (including a stop to look for the Crag Chilia), vegetation, and the small towns on the way.

12:30 pm Arrival at the dam for lunch.

2:00 pm Walk through the surrounding areas, including the bogs, to observe the local fauna (it is here that we may see the Diameded sandpiper plover) and see the scenery. This is a good time for taking pictures!

3:00 pm Begin the return to Santiago, with a last stop in the area of Las Melosas to look for the spectacular Torrent Duck.

6:00 pm Arrive in Santiago.