Alto Andino Nature ToursPuna Rhea in Parque Nacional Lauca, Chile

                              Guide service in northern Chile:  Birds, Wildflowers, Natural History

Naturalist guide service in Chile's Lauca National Park and Atacama Desert, since 1994.  

Focus on birds, wildflowers, mammals, natural history, pre-Hispanic & Aymara culture.  

For those with rental cars, Alto Andino provides guide service by the day or multiple days. Barb joins your group in Arica, Putre, or Iquique.  Guide service is conducted in English or Spanish.  


naturalist guide service in ChileAbout your guide: Barb Knapton grew up in Hoquiam and Quinault Lake, Washington, the area of the Olympic National Park. For many years she lived in Kodiak, Alaska, and fished commercially for  salmon, herring, halibut, and crab. Seasonal fishing alternated with winters living in cabins and barges located on remote islands (Afognak, Raspberry, Shuyak) of the Kodiak archipelago. Barb earned a BS in Biological Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993 and has lived in Putre, Chile, since then. She opened northern Chile's first Natural History tour agency in 1994.   

Digiscoping birds, gardening, and flower photography are Barb's main hobbies, in addition to collecting books which deal with the natural history of the Andes. She maintains an extensive database of bird observations for the extreme north.  Her other 2 long-term projects are 1) compiling a photographic catalog of the wildflowers of Chile's 2 most northerly regions, and 2) composing a roadside site guide for wildflowers from Arica to Lauca National Park, ie 0 masl to 5,000 masl. 

Barb Knapton with Dad and Grandpa in Hoquiam Washington Barb thanks her Dad, Ken Knapton, for fostering her life-long love of nature.     

from left:    Grandpa, Barb Knapton (the one without gills),
Dad.  Hoquiam, Washington. 

Articles and Honors


National Geographic Adventure Magazine suggests Barb's tours in northern Chile.  

Pájaros para turistas, El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile, jueves, 28 de Octubre 2004. Starts on the front page, BK is described as one of the pioneers of birdwatching tourism in Chile.    

BK chosen to be one of the judges of Arica's first Science Fair, sponsored by Chile's National Commision of Scientific Investigation and Technology of Chile CONICYT-EXPLORA
Defensora de Patrimonio Natural   Arica, Chile
Defensora de Patrimonio Natural   Alto Andino honored by the Minister of Culture and the Council of National Monuments of Chile.

Gringa Migratoria  Tourism 123 on-line interview.  The reporter got a few things mixed up, but basically an informative interview. 

Alto Andino workshop to encourage birding and conservation in Arica

Alto Andino Nature Tours in the news (Chasquis):  Aves en la mira

Northern Chile's first course in Ornithology (30 hour course, spread over 2 weeks) is designed and taught by BK  for Putre's young people.  Surprise guest was Alvaro Jaramillo (Birds of Chile author) who just happened to be in the village.  Sponsored by FOSIS and the Cámara de Turismo Andina Aymara de Parinacota.  Alto Andino donates 15 copies of "Birds of Chile" to students and interested local people.

VII Neotropical Ornithological Congress and VII Congreso Chileno de Ornitología.  BK attends this 6 day conference at the Termas de Puyehue, Chile.  Alto Andino Nature Tours donates USD 300 to allow a young Chilean student to attend the congress.  

“Recuperación del Picaflor de Arica” desarrollado por la Unión de Ornitólogos de Chile, el Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero con el apoyo de la Municipalidad de Arica.  BK volunteers 6 days of field work and donates the use of a 4X4 pickup for this first-ever census of the endangered Chilean Woodstar, Eulidia yarrellii.  The woodstar has been recorded a few times in nearby Peru, but so far the breeding population is thought to be centered in the transverse valleys of the Region of Arica y Parinacota (Region 15).   

Range extension: the Rufous-webbed Tyrant is found by BK in Chile's scarce Polylepis tarapacana, first six sightings within Chile.  Knapton, B. E. 2002. A new bird for Chile: the Rufous-webbed Tyrant Polyoxolmis rufipennis, potentially breeding within the province of Parinacota, Tarapaca Region. Boletin Chileno de Ornitología 9:37-41. 

BK takes course at the Universidad de La Serena, Chile, over Atacama Desert flowers, or "Flora del Desierto Florido". 

In a public ceremony on  world tourism day, or "Dia Mundial del Turismo"  the Municipality of Putre recognizes Alto Andino Nature Tours for BK's contributions to rural tourism in northern Chile.  

I Congreso Internacional de Ecología y Conservación de Bosques de Polylepis, BK attends this 5 day conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Article about BK published in the  Revista del Domingo, Santiago "El Mercurio", Chile's largest newspaper. "Hija del Sol Luminoso"

Chile Booth at the British Birdwatching Fair in Rutland, 4 seasons. 

Slide show at the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival (Homer, AK) over birds of the High Andes of Chile. 

Itineraries:  birding   nature   wildflowers   cruise ship shore birding       Birds & Fauna:   resources    area birds    Puna Rhea   Diademed Sandpiper-plover   Giant Conebill   Torrent Duck   James' Flamingo  Andean Lapwing   Andean Deer  Hornby's and Markham's  storm petrelMountain Parakeets    Wildflowers:   flora    Lauca's extreme alpines   Atacama wildflowers    alpine cushion bogs      Unique places:   PN Volcán Isluga    Ramsar Site Salar de Surire    Putre     Details:   guiding    home    FAQ    reservations   altitude    planning   Blog: Andean Desert Gardening & Village Life

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