Some final thoughts on Argentina and Chile

We’re now back in Canada after a great time, primarily in Patagonia of Argentina and Chile.  We were so thoroughly pleased with our tour company (Say Hueque).  Everything that they did was extremely well arranged.  We were met at every airport by a private driver with car, many of them English speaking.  The only minor glitches we experienced (the very late pickup for the Tango show for example) were not their fault.

Here’s our ranking of the tour spots we did, in order from best to worst.

1. Perito Moreno glacier:  I’d expected a small glacier similar to what we’d seen in New Zealand.  Instead we were presented with a massive glacier ending in the water, so that it creaks, snaps, and calves routinely.  You can get so close to it that it one of the best views of a glacier I’ve ever seen.

2. Bariloche: The town isn’t really all that spectacular, but the lakes are very pretty backdropped by the Andes mountains.  What made this place so special was the fabulous treatment we got from our guide Federico of Kawen Adventure Company, including the best gourmet box lunch we’ve ever eaten on a hike.

3. Andes boat crossing: Though it’s a long day, with an early start in Bariloche, and a late finish in Puerto Varas, it’s a beautiful way to go from Argentina to Chile.  The Andes mountains surround the lakes.  Particularly spectacular is the view of Orson Volcano from Lago Todas del Santes.

4. Ushuaia: The town isn’t much, but we enjoyed two things in particular — the tour of the penquin colony, and the hike along the Beagle channel followed by “canoeing” in a rubber raft.  The Beagle Channel cruise was also very pretty.

5. Iguazu Falls: They are a spectacular falls.  Can you compare them to Niagara?  I think Niagara is nicer because of the volume of water over the falls, but the French people we met at our cabana in Iquazu thought otherwise.  In any case, they are very, very beautiful.  The Devil’s Throat in particular is an extremely violent torrent of water plunging over into a choked off channel.  San Martin Falls isn’t as violent, but you can get a better view of it from the Argentine side.  The boat ride under the falls was pretty wicked and wet!

6. Torres del Paine: I liked this least of the places we visited in Patagonia.  The Paine Massif is spectacularly beautiful, especially the Cuernos del Paine, and the three Torres del Paine themselves.  However, I think it is often overblown.  It is a beautiful mountain, but no more beautiful than others I’ve seen.  And the price of the hotel is certainly absurd for the nature of the view.

7. Buenos Aires: What else can I say – it’s a big city.  Not my idea of fun.  Like any big city it has both extremely fancy and rich, and very, very poor slum areas.  It was ok to see it once, but I’d certainly try to avoid it if I ever went back to Argentina.




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