Marilyn and Steve, along with their friends Tom and Betlyn, just returned from a customized adventure exploring the top sites of Patagonia. Beginning in Santiago, they continued on to a luxurious and active jaunt in Torres del Paine at Explora Lodge, glacier viewing in El Calafate, sunset sailing in Bariloche and finishing in Buenos Aires with time to catch a live jazz show and test out their tango skills! Marilyn recounts their experience below.
“I am just now getting a moment to write about the trip…Bottom-line: it was fabulous!
The concept of crafting an itinerary and identifying where and how much time you spend is really the way to go - I just cannot imagine being “captive” on a scheduled tour anymore! Meeting the local guides at each stop was a real treat - Jorge in Santiago, Fernanda in Buenos Aires, Marissa in Bariloche, Pilar in El Calafate, and of course the Explora guides - all were fantastic, each different personalities with lots of local expertise. The fact that we covered a lot of territory with five internal flights was mitigated by all the wonderful experiences and the anticipation of “what’s next?” We never had any problems, and always picked up on time and escorted professionally. My husband was leery of being gone for so long - but he was quite happy with the outcome and how the whole trip came together. And a special callout on helping us with the jazz clubs in Santiago and Buenos Aires. Both were great experiences - very different and very local. Just what we liked! Thanks!
We chose to work with Wildland Adventures because of your National Geographic rating plus actually dealing with your staff- superb!
Some specific highlights:
• Palermo Soho was the perfect spot for us in Buenos Aires - what a super district! A great choice. The Nuss Hotel was perfect for us!
• Bariloche was “over the top” - the boat ride plus violinist, hikes, mate picnic - really, you exceeded expectations on that one!
• El Calafate was in the midst of a glacier “rupture” while we were there so that really made for lots of excitement. Thanks for planning that one….otherwise am not sure that the stop would have been worth the three days (including travel etc).
• Explora was, what can I say, so special. It was perfect! The hikes, barbecue, guides, horse rides - amazing! The WIND was amazing but we pushed through it all!
• We loved going to each city and being met with a great guide, a large van for the 4 of us, and having different experiences along the way
Thought I would pass on a key learning as well:
— We short-served ourselves in Santiago by not having more of our guide, Jorge, and more exposure to the city and its environs. We probably did not get enough of Santiago but that was "on us" as we were trying to cut costs. Also I think you diplomatically mentioned that the Ritz location was not what you would recommend, and I think you were right. But we were enticed by being able to stay there for free - and I admit, after a grueling 10 day Peru trip prior to our Wildland experience with a more commercial company (there were some 39 people on that trip!), the luxury was very welcome.
Thank you so much for working with us - it was one of the best trips ever!
Keep in touch!
Marilyn & Steve”
Your Patagonia guru,