Travel Notes: Still Swooning Over Patagonia

Few places have the power of Patagonia. It grabbed me as only two other destinations ever have (Greenland and the Gobi in Mongolia). All three share the following: they’re difficult to access, they have cold weather climates, they’re sparsely populated and most importantly, all are dramatically beautiful.

What’s so unique about Patagonia?

Patagonia is one of the most remote places I have ever visited. We flew 3 hours from Rio to Punta Arenas on our National Geographic jet. Then we switched to a smaller charter flight for a 30 minute flight to Puerto Natales. From there, we took a 2-hour bus ride to Torres del Paine National Park where, surprisingly, an absolute gem of a hotel, the Explora Patagonia awaited us. There are no towns or villages along the way. We spent 3 nights and 2 days in the park. Each day was filled with hikes and adventures, accompanied by our guides. One important observation: I saw not one piece of litter over the course of 3 days. Everything that is brought into the park is taken back out. It is pristine. Of all the places we have visited so far, Patagonia is the most eco and conservation-minded.

Scroll down for 5 highlights from this amazing Patagonia Experience.

1.The vastness of the landscape. Patagonia consists of 258 million acres of untouched wilderness spanning both Chile and Argentina. We visited only the Chilean side which is very isolated and difficult to access but worth every adversity you encounter to get here.

2.The wildlife – we saw at least 500 guanacos on one hike, plus foxes, pumas and lots of birds including condors and flamingos.
beautiful in isolation
But more often seen in huge herds
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle????
I didn’t get to see a puma but some of our fellow travelers did!!
3.The stunning Explora Patagonia Hotel (note: at least $2800 a night/per room, all inclusive)

The food was delicious, the wine and cocktails amazing (they even made me a penicillin!), the room amenities were wonderful, and everything is trucked in from Santiago once a week.

4.The staff.

Everyone from the guides to the restaurant servers and bartenders were first rate. Kind, caring, knowledgeable, attentive and fun!!

5. Unique Activities

From an amazing gaucho barbeque (lamb on the cross is a specialty) to horseback riding.

Explora maintains a stable of 29 beautifully cared for horses.
And before any of us were ready to leave, it was time to pack our bags and move on.
But look where I was invited to sit for our takeoff to Buenos Aires!!!
Adios for now.

A few more days in BA and then on to Iguazu Falls, our second to last stop on this expedition. Definitely not ready for this wonderful adventure to end.

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