Tourism is a powerful tool that contributes directly to fulfilling our efforts to conserve wildlife and ecosystems present at Estancia Cerro Guido. We have the great challenge of ensuring that our tourist activities are different from other types of tourism and that we can effectively coexist with all species present at the ranch.
For tourism to truly be a conservation tool, we have developed a comprehensive view that considers specific aspects of the dimensions of sustainability. For this, our team works hard in the planning and execution of concrete actions that allow balancing tourism, livestock and conservation activities.
We believe that the development of sustainable tourism implies being based on essential pillars such as respect for nature, appreciation of traditional knowledge, education and awareness of visitors and the promotion of a deep sense of belonging of those who work and live in the Estancia.
Our purposes in working together with the tourism area are: Promote an attitude of responsibility and environmental awareness for the community and tourists, demonstrate that it is possible to reconcile productive activities with nature conservation with concrete and realistic actions, and finally, promote educational initiatives and awareness of the environmental value for the human being.
The main objective of the excursion is to provide a tourist experience based on nature and regional culture, demonstrating that the coexistence between livestock and wildlife is possible. The existing excursion consists of carrying out a defined circuit based on the possibility of sighting Pumas. As the sighting is not a guarantee at the moment, according to the search results of the same day - a task carried out by the team of trackers - the itinerary may be modified.
On the first day they are given an explanatory talk about the project and in particular the wildlife conservation project. This talk includes protocols in case of sighting and basic rules during the excursion. It is important to consider that the protocols are for the safety of both passengers and animals. If we have appropriate behaviour and maintain respect for the fauna we are helping to conserve and taking care of the entire ecosystem. Being able to observe and to be a part of this without interfering, in addition to living a unique experience.
The puma is not a predator of the human being, but nevertheless if certain behavioural criteria are not maintained, it could instinctively react as a predator. Our guides and trackers have been trained to handle these types of encounters in a very professional and respectful manner.
- Approach distance: The minimum distance that we can be from the pumas will depend on whom this is (individual sighted), the geographical conditions, the size of the group and other variables that the tracker will have to evaluate at all times but this will never be less than 40 meters.
- Respectful behaviour. It is very important to understand that the basis of our way of working is based on the adequate reading of body language by a specialized tracker, which requires the cooperation of the entire group to achieve an adequate group state and thus carry out a harmonious and respectful encounter of a wild puma. In the same way, the guide must be attentive to the animal's body language to properly interpret its state and thus avoid disturbing it or altering its natural behaviour. As general advice, we can say the following: Be silent or speak in a very low voice when in the presence of a cougar. Do not make sudden movements or yell. Do not stop if you are at the same height as him. Do not turn your back. Do not eat at the sighting site unless the guide allows it.
- Small groups: Although each puma is different in its way of reacting to people, it is clear that for most of them large groups are more invasive than small groups. That is why we have defined a maximum group of passengers of 4 people.
- Minimum age: The minimum age to participate in a Puma watching expedition is 14 years or 1.2m tall.
- Appropriate clothing: Apart from the general considerations that must be taken to carry out an outdoor exploration in Patagonia, it is important to mention that to facilitate the experience of respect and harmony with the environment, it is recommended to wear earth-coloured clothing that does not generate noise when walking or with the wind.
- 05:00 hrs. (Summertime, it changes according to the season of the year): Departure from the hotel or a meeting point with the trackers is established, which is the red gate in the "Condorera". Trackers are introduced and binoculars are given to passengers. The passengers will each have a binocular and will be able to help in the search for the puma. The route begins on section 1, below the Condorera with some stops to look outside the vehicle. Then we go to section 2, above the Condorera.
- 07:00 hrs: Breakfast above the Condorera, if there is a lot of wind, a more protected place is sought. Then section 3; walking above the Condorera to the camera trap. Review of the camera trap with the trackers, guide and passengers. Then section 4, walking through the black forest towards the viewpoint of the scale, where the car will be waiting. Finally section 5, from the viewpoint to the third ravine by car and stopping at certain places to observe. A short walk is made at the beginning of the forest to observe from there.
- 10:00 hrs: Return to the hotel and rest
- 16:30 hrs: Visit to the “Puma house” to receive information about the project, in terms of scientific results, identification of pumas, anecdotes of the trackers, videos, etc.
- 18:00 hrs: We go by caravan to Sierra El Toro. We start the hike and make two stops before reaching the forest to look from there. Once in the forest, there is a 45-minute walk approx. where one of the camera traps is checked.
- 20:00 hrs: Upon reaching the car, passengers are given their food. Then we go down to the last viewpoint, which is down with a view of the Sierra and Lake Sarmiento, where there are large groups of Guanacos.
- 22:30 hrs: End of the excursion.
On the slope of the imposing Cerro Guido, we rescued the houses built by the pioneers in 1920 so that you can live a unique and warm experience in a place where time stands still to give you tranquillity and calm.