From the archives | This was a great trip!

John and I spent the first half of December 2016 traveling around Chile & Argentina, all the way from the centers of the countries to the far south in Patagonia. I’ve written individual posts on the hotels* and here’s a synopsis on the destinations we’ve visited. Most of my clients do this trip via ship — and you do get to see a little or a lot of Antarctica that way — but this is another awesome way to do it.  Probably my favorite trip ever.

Valparaiso | We wanted to overnight in Santiago on our way from the USA to Patagonia, so instead of staying in the city we decided to drive only another 30 minutes and go to the port city of Valpo, or Valparaiso.  And since I book a fair amount of cruises leaving from here it sounded like a great idea.  And it was.  We both really liked it — think Laguna Beach. It’s an arts community on the hills above the port, with galleries, great restaurants, cute cobblestone streets, and phenomenal graffiti covered buildings.  Pretty much every building is painted. Amazing!

Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine National Park |  This is all about nature and the vastness of the end of the world.  We were one town away from reaching the southernmost spot on Earth, save an island or two.  We had 3 full days to explore the area. We stayed The Singular, a stunning modern meets old factory design, with authentic small town service, great good, great wine and a bartender who makes a mean Piscola…. pisco and coke.
One afternoon we hiked to the top of a big hill to check out a group of condors.  That morning we rode the hotel’s bikes in Puerto Natales to check out this young persons outpost for hiking at Torres del Paine National Park.
Another day we took an excursion to Torres for a couple of hikes, and a lot of ‘just sightseeing’ and it really is spectacular. The mountains are huge, raw, and while there are other tourists, it’s nothing compared to the parks you’re probably used to in the USA.
And the 3rd day we boated up the fjord, including an absolutely amazing afternoon at the hotel’s own ranch (estancia) where we had an authentic BBQ, went horseback riding with views that were not to be believed, and saw a sheep shearing demonstration to boot.  This one of the my favorite days of the trip.

El Calafate | You can either fly out of Puerto Natales back up to Santiago, but if you want to go to Buenos Aires you have to do so from the Argentinian side, so luckily we went to Eolo near El Calafate  (an amazing lodge) and flew from there to Buenos Aires.  And El Calafate doesn’t disappoint as it’s home to the Moreno Glacier, one of the great natural sites I’ve ever seen.

Buenos Aires | Evita is still big business here, but you should speak with some of the locals to get their opinion of her. We did and learned a lot. We did the obligatory tango show, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Read my ecstatic review of Rojo Tango.  The food in the City was great, from steak to empanadas to flan to the Malbec (which isn’t just from Mendoza by the way). And our visit to their small and minimalist museum, MALBA, was educational and aesthetically pleasing. The cafe and store are top quality too. The Park Hyatt Buenos Aires and Four Seasons Buenos Aires are two of the top hotels in town.

We also drove about 2 hours west of town to a ranch for our last night. Would highly recommend this and this particular estancia, La Bamba, had some fantastic food and beautiful design. And a lot of gorgeous horses to pet, and ride.  It’s the perfect relax after a long trip.

 
*The Singular Patagonia (in Chile)
Eolo (Patagonia in Argentina)
Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
Four Seasons Buenos Aires
Estancia La Bamba de Areco (near Buenos Aires)
Piscola (the cocktail)

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