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Report 1754: A Trip to Argentina and Chile

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2008

Trip Description: A five week trip round South America starting from Buenos Aires, to Ushuaia, Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine, Chilean Lake District, Atacama Desert finishing in Santiago.

Destinations: Countries - South America

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 9: Initial Planning and Ideas - Boring but Essential to Get the Holiday Right

photo by Michael

Penguins are on the Ďmust seeí list of all visitors to Patagonia

We spent five weeks traveling through Argentina and Chile in October and November 2008.

We both hit 60 and started thinking about places we would like to see but never thought we would ever get to. The list got longer and more exotic. Patagonia was high on Michaelís list, Eleanor fancied Tierra del Fuego. We bought the guide books and soon realised Patagonia is big - very big. Parts of Chile sounded very attractive too (but Easter Island was banned by Michael.) This wasnít a holiday we could arrange by ourselves. Pre-packaged tours didnít appeal as they either took us to places we didnít want to go or didnít take us to places we did.

We wrote to three UK Travel Agents specialising in tailor made holidays to South America with our list of ideas now whittled down to Ushuaia, Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine, Navimag, and the Chilean Lake District. The only one who seemed to be listening to us and prepared to arrange what we wanted rather than what they did was Audley Travel based in Witney. We went to talk to them and spent several hours talking through what was possible and the different options. This was a worthwhile investment of time as it meant Audley began to understand us and our expectations and we quickly realised some of our ideas were unworkable or not delivering what we hoped. We had initially dismissed the Atacama Desert (hot and we donít like heat) but it kept coming back to intrigue us. We decided we would probably never be in that part of the world again and as it would be different to anything we had seen we decided to add it on and were very glad we did.

We flew Iberia as they were a lot cheaper than British Airways so this meant flying via Madrid.

The final itinerary looked like this.

  • Fly London-Madrid-Buenos Aires
  • Day in Buenos Aires
  • Evening flight to Ushuaia for some sights in Tierra del Fuego
  • Fly to El Calafate for Los Glaciares National Park
  • Coach to Chile at Cerro Castillo then transfer to Torres del Paine
  • Transfer to Puerto Natales then to Navimag Ferry to Puerto Montt
  • Puerto Varas with a hire car
  • Fly Puerto Montt-Santiago-Calama then transfer to San Pedro de Atacama
  • Fly Calama-Santiago for a few days
  • Fly Santiago-Madrid-London

We wanted to take our time so planned three to five nights at each place. We had time to explore by ourselves and car, driver and guide for day trips.

More information and all our photographs can be found on Michael's website. See under Photo Albums link in the sidebar.

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