NatGeo Patagonia trip

Jan 28th, 2015, 08:44 AM
  #1  
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NatGeo Patagonia trip

As a present to myself for one of those birthdays with a zero in it, I took a NatGeo trip to Patagonia. It could not have been more fun! We had exceptionally good weather, except for a rainy day in Buenos Aires.
http://www.nationalgeographicexpedit...ia-tour/detail

I have never done an escorted tour before, and wasn't crazy about the idea of the cruise part of this trip, but decided this was the only way I could do this. I do not reqret the decision: we had lots of opportunity to chose how we spent our days, and spent minimal time being bussed around.

We spent very little time in cities, but had a a taste of Buenos Aires at the beginning, and Santiago at the end. I was welcomed to BA at a GTG dinner with avrooster & MarnieWDC. How nice to meet you both, and spend an enjoyable evening!

After BA, we flew to Ushuaia, and spent the day seeing Tierra del Fuego National Park before boarding our ship.

We were incredibly lucky that the weather allowed us to do all the scheduled disembarkments, and I'd have a hard time deciding which was best: Cape Horn, Aguila glacier, or Magdalena Island (180,000 penguins!) I'm not really a water person, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Zodiac rides to shore. Food on board was good if not great, and they made me a birthday cake to share with the group.

After leaving the ship, we traveled to Torres del Paine NP by bus--5 hours, the last hour or so on gravel roads (as were ALL the roads within the park). Worth every minute and bump in the road, awesome, awesome place. While we were there, there was no wind. This is apparently very rare in Patagonia, as are mountains unobscured by clouds.

We were given choices every evening for half day or whole day excursions in the park the following day, in 9-person vans with a guide, most of which met in the hotel lobby at 9 am, very civilized. Viewed condors, rheas, guanacos, glaciers, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, fossils...very enjoyable.

After we left TdP, we bussed back to Punta Arenas for a flight to Santiago, and a tour of the city and vineyard before returning home.

I really can't say enough good things about this tour. The guides went out of their way to make sure things went smoothly, and there was always a plan B, if there was a reason Plan A wasn't possible. Would happily travel with them again.
elberko is online now  
Jan 28th, 2015, 09:14 AM
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A beautiful area and what sounds like a gret tour. Glad you got to meet Marnie and AV.
yestravel is offline  
Jan 28th, 2015, 10:09 AM
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It sounds like an amazing trip!
semiramis is online now  
Jan 28th, 2015, 10:15 AM
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What a great present to yourself elberko!
jubilada is online now  
Jan 28th, 2015, 12:18 PM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip. Patagonia is on my short list of places to visit soon.

Glad you had a great time.
panecott is online now  
Jan 28th, 2015, 02:24 PM
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Sounds like a fantastic birthday trip! I will definitely be checking this itinerary as I plan my own trip to Patagonia + Atacama in Nov/Dec.
inspiredexplorer is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 05:34 AM
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Sounds wonderful, Liz!

In the small world category, was there a speaker about Antarctica aboard?
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Jan 29th, 2015, 05:50 AM
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TDudette, no, we had no Antarctica talks on the ship, or elsewhere on this trip.
elberko is online now  
Jan 29th, 2015, 06:21 AM
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How long was the trip?
Dianedancer is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 06:27 AM
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13 days
elberko is online now  
Jan 29th, 2015, 10:18 AM
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I am extremely jealous.
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Jan 29th, 2015, 10:43 AM
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Thank you, colduphere.

If you can't make fellow travelers jealous then really, what's the point?
elberko is online now  
Jan 29th, 2015, 11:24 AM
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So glad you enjoyed this trip!
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 02:53 PM
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The trip sounds just wonderful! I am so glad you enjoyed it so much. What an adventure!
The FB photos are amazing!
Challiman is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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Bookmarking for weekend reading!
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Feb 7th, 2015, 06:09 PM
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That's so great that you had such good weather luck,and got to see everything. It sounds like the tour was really well managed too. So glad you got to go on this trip.
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Feb 8th, 2015, 05:15 AM
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Toucan2, one of our guides is a biologist, and has a specific interest in birds. We had running commentary on birds during excursions. No warblers, though.
elberko is online now  
Feb 8th, 2015, 06:59 AM
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Very cool elberko. It's so nice to have knowledgeable people like that around.

I double-checked, and warblers don't go that far south. They might get an occasional vagrant, but Brazil is about as far as that particular family goes. I'm sure they have other small birds that are similar.

I imagine the shorebirds and waterfowl were pretty amazing. It just sounds like such a great trip.
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Feb 8th, 2015, 07:59 AM
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It really was! The experts weren't just knowledgeable, they were also personable and entertaining. Not always the case with guides.
elberko is online now  
Feb 10th, 2015, 09:09 AM
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Did the company contract with Fantastico Sur (Las Torres lodges)in Torres del Paine? At the time I went, Fantastico Sur had the bird experts, I even bought their little guide (no warblers). I took one guided trip out of the Las Torres Lodge, because it was the least expensive way to get to Glacier Grey. Their guide was very good and very handsome!

They have a related company, FSExpeditions, that you can book directly for wildlife and photography expeditions.

http://www.fsexpeditions.com/guides/index.php

http://www.fsexpeditions.com/guides/index.php
mlgb is offline  

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