We Loved Our Trip To PatagoniaJanuary 30, 2014
We loved the trip and would barely change anything. All four hotels were amazing, and I think we were both glad that they were so different from each other and were situated in such different types of locales. All the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and personable. Our Chilean guide knows EVERYTHING about history and politics – and even started singing Broadway tunes on the way back from Vina Del Mar!
We liked that Bernardo, our Chilean guide, was with us each day because we felt there was continuity. He was very tuned in to our interests and needs, and he was very personable. We were walking down a street in Valparaiso and he saw an elderly woman walking into her home. He started talking to her and asked if we could see the inside, to get an idea of a typical home! (She and her husband even had a toy cable car in the house, and it turns out their son lives in SF!)
The only issue with the Ritz Carlton was that internet wasn’t included, and their public network was virtually unusable. For example, I could download only 3 pictures an hour! For a hotel of this caliber, we were pretty shocked.
We enjoyed Buenos Aires very much. The hotel and service there were amazing. We loved our guide, Cecilia. Our issues with Buenos Aires: the city tour should have been a full day, not a half – too much to see. And even as a half day, she dropped us off about 2:30, and there was no time for eating built into the day. I happen to be diabetic, but for anyone, going from 9 to 2:30 without a drop of food, seems a little weird. We also wish we had had another day there.
Ushuaia was breath-taking. Our drivers/guides were really good, but we had different ones each day. Los Cauquenes was fantastic. Although WiFi was included, it was terrible, and we kept getting dropped. Other than that, we loved our time in Ushuaia and, of course, the penguins!
Finally, El Calafate was also magnificent. We had different drivers/guides each day. Rich already told you we LOVED the hotel and town was walkable from there.
The first glacier trip, to Perito Moreno, was wonderful. When we got off the bus, everyone on the bus except us had a boat ride paid for. We didn’t really even know about it. Had we not paid for it, we would have just stood by the bus for a good hour or so with nothing to do. Fortunately, they were able to accommodate us.
The second glacier trip, the Gourmet one, was really amazing, although 9 hours on the boat was a bit too long. The food was fantastic, and they were able to accommodate my eating issues on the spur of the moment. This was a great addition to the trip.
One other suggestion for anyone interested in a similar trip. If there is any way to rearrange, so, for example, you could go from Santiago to Patagonia and work your way back to Buenos Aires, that would be better. The last day was kind of wasted because we had to fly early to Buenos Aires then wait hours for our next flight. And, of course, had we missed the first flight, we would have been screwed. In other words, the last day of a trip like this should be in BA, so it would just be a matter of getting to the international airport.
That’s it. Thanks for all your help,