Viva's own Jo Saunderson travelled South to discover the beauty of Patagonia. Glacier trekking, mountain adventures and more ...
I had the great pleasure from the 11 to 27 October, 2016 to escort a Viva Expeditions small group experience to Buenos Aires and Patagonia. Folks came from all over the North and South Island and had an amazing attitude about travelling in South America. During the trip we were blessed with amazing weather which the locals kept reminding us as we had no rain at all in Patagonia which made the experience and the pictures even better.
Our trip started with an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is a fascinating, vibrant city – it would be easy to spend a week in BA and still not see all the main sites. In a city of millions, it’s very spread out, with many different neighbourhoods in particular the colour suburb of La Boca. We experienced a variety of accommodation which would suit all budgets. A city tour is a must to get a handle on the tempestuous history and the layout of the city. This can be done privately, or seat in coach or for those who like to be more active the half day or full day cycle is highly recommended. In Buenos Aires we had a fabulous time at The Argentine Experience, where we learned to make Empanadas and taste delicious wines. At El Querandi we enjoyed excellent tango show & dinner a wonderful way to finish our amazing adventure.
After Buenos Aires our next stop was El Chalten. This small village offers stunning mountain and lake vistas. Numerous walks in the area can keep you active for days, plus there is the opportunity of being able to do an ice trek on Viedma glacier. A highlight for me. :) The hike we did was Laguna De Los Tres, which included 20kms of walking through snow and ice to reach to the viewpoint, Mount Fitz Roy. This is a great trek for everyone that loves outdoors and a good challenge.
A three hour drive from El Chalten is the town El Calafate which is the closet town to Perito Moreno Glacier a fabulous accessible place to walk around the boardwalks and see the ice cravings a truly amazing site. The tour guides during our time in El Calafate were super-efficient energetic, and full of great information.
The drive from El Calafate in Argentina to Puerto Natales in Chile took us about 5-6 hours. A cute little fishing town. We stayed in The Singular, an amazing 5-star hotel. This was definitely a highlight for all of us as we had all inclusive package with 3 course meal and different activities, such as guided cycle tour, kayaking, horseback riding and other excursions.
Our last stop before returning back to Buenos Aires was at Torres del Paine National Park, a true hiker’s paradise with spectacular area of mountains, glaciers and lakes. We did a 3 hour walk to Nordenskjold lake and a full day hike to Base de las Torres, where magnificent views can be seen at the top. We also cruised to Grey’s glacier where we got a taste of the Patagonia winds.
A friend made the comment to me that the pics I was posting were so cool that she now has Patagonia on her radar it is an exciting part of the world to visit and highly recommended for everyone. Adios Patagonia and BA!
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