Thursday, July 28, 2011


Explora en Patagonia – 80 Américo Vespucio Sur; 011-56-2-206-6060 or 866-750-6699;

(includes Chubut, Neuquen, Rio Negro, Salta, Santa Cruz & Tierra del Fuego Provinces)

Sights & Sites
Los Alerces National Park – Villa Futalaufquen (28 kms west of Esquel); 011-54-294-547-1020.
Old Patagonian Express – 620 Sarmiento (1st Floor, Dep’t B); 011-54-294-545-0882;; known locally as La Trochita; only narrow-gauge long distance train in existence & world’s southernmost railway; runs form Esquel to Nahuel Pan volcano.

Pueblo Alguero
Bahia Bustamente – National Route 3 (Milepost 1674); 011-54-297-1-5625-7500 or 011-54-11-5032-8677;; private sheep farm, sprawling over 210K acres, set on eastern coast; welcomes up to 18 guests at time; includes private petrified forest.

Rio Senguer
Hostaria Huente Co – Pueblo Brondo, on Rio Union 87 (90 kms outside Rio Senguer, on south side highway); 011-54-297-448-0420;; beautiful; gourmet restaurant.

Sights & Sites
Lake Colhue Huapi – off RA 26; dinosaur bones have been found on its western banks.
Petrified Forest – RA 26 (19 miles outside Sarmiento); 011-54-297-489-8282; scattered along colorfully striated, vast badlands are conifer & palm tree trunks deposited here 75M years ago when area was tropical river delta; regardless of season, bring jacket (wind cools you down quickly even in bright sunlight).

Caballadas Lodge – Lanín National Park; 011-54-911-6122-6430;; 100K acres; beautiful accommodations; notable for fly-fishing.

Villa La Angostura
Las Balsas Hotel – Bahia Las Balsas; 011-54-294-449-4308;; stunning location; best suite is El Muelle.

El Casco Art Hotel – Avenida Bustillo, km 11.5; 011-54-29-4446-3131;; ask for Nahuel Balcony Studio or Quiros Suite because, among other things, they have lake views.
Llao Llao Hotel & Resort – Avenida Ezequiel Bustillo, km 25; 011-54-29-4444-8530;; Canadian-style resort built of cypress timber with larch roof; between 2 Alpine lakes; excellent food; some rooms have stone fireplaces.
Fenoglio – 1200 Avenue Bustillo; 011-54-294-442-2170 or 011-54-29-4442-0009;; finest chocolates; alfajores (Argentina’s signature sandwich cookie).

Colome Estancia – Los Fresnos 430 (Upper Calchaqui Valleys); 011-54-387-439-4009;; 9 rooms; restaurant; gardens, reading rooms, terraces & outdoor activities.
Sights & Sites
Colome Winery – Los Fresnos 430 (Upper Calchaqui Valleys); 011-54-387-439-4009;; visitor center, James Turrell Museum (Hess family art collection).

La Merced Chica
House of Jasmines – Ruta Nacional #51; 011-54-38-7497-2002;; 7-suite House of Jasmines, actor Robert Duvall’s 120-year-old, 300-acre ranch in Andes Mountains’ shadow; on foot or horseback, guests free to roam Edenic grounds, overrun with aromatic roses, orchids & jasmine; inside, white-on-white adobe casitas with wrought-iron, 4-poster beds; try granita made with region’s signature wine, Torrontes.

Santa Cruz
El Calafate
Bars & Nightclubs
Glacio Bar – Santa Cruz 9405 (at Museo del Hielo Patagonico); 011-54-290-249-7912;; world’s 1st glacial ice bar.
Los Notros – Provincial Route 11 (km 70); 011-54-290-249-3510 or 877-999-0680;; expensive but beautiful.
Sights & Sites
Museo del Hielo Patagonico – Santa Cruz 9405; 011-54-290-249-7912;
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares – Route 40;; 011-54-290-249-1005; where Perito Moreno Glacier is; world’s only stable glacier.

Puerto San Julian
Expediciones Pinocho – Avenida Costanera Mitre (at Calle 9th de Julio); 011-54-296-245-4600 or 011-54-296-245-2856; run by marine biologist team; this is where Magellan landed, where Charles Darwin gathered data, etc.

Far End Rivers Lodge – Maria Luisa Estancia (far outside Ushuaia); 011-54-11-4312-6707;; 180 kms south of Rio Grande.
Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa – De la Ermita 3462 (Barrio Bahía Cauquén); 011-54-290-144-1300;; on Beagle Channel.
Sights & Sites
Cerro Castor – Ruta 3, km 26; 011-54-2901-499-301;; ski resort.
Tren del Fin del Mundo – Ruta 3, km 3042; 011-54-2901-431-600;; train.

Sights & Sites
Marble Caves (Las Cavernas de Marmol) – Coyhaique (south from Coyhaique by 300 kms);; most famous attraction in Chilean Patagonia; Marble Cathedral & Marble Chapel; worth special trip.

Hotel Natura Patagonia – 011-56-65-972-116;; swiss-style hotel.

PUERTA NATALES (includes Palena & Puerto Varas)
Awasi Patagonia – Tercera Barranca; 011-56-2-2233-9641;; 12 villas, styled to look like ranching outposts; in private reserve next to Torres del Paine National Park.
Eco-Camp Patagonia – Torres del Paine National Forest; 011-56-2-923-5950 or 800-901-6987;; guests sleep in geodesic domes that resemble igloos & are engineered to withstand area powerful winds; stars visible through dome panels; base from which to explore lakes, monumental glaciers, mountains & waterfalls.
Hotel Salto Chico – Torres del Paine National Forest; 011-56-2-206-6060 or 866-750-6699;; 50 rooms; modern & pretty luxurious; most stupendous views of any hotel in world & rave reviews; on Lake Pehoe, minimum 4-night stay; horseback riding, trekking & swimming (in heated pool); excellent food & barbecues.
Singular Patagonia – Puerto Bories (km 5.5 north); 011-56-6-172-2030;; sleep in former abattoir; this 57-room heritage hotel is in former frigorífico (cold-storage plant) built in 1915; original external brickwork intact; funicular takes guests soundlessly down from hotel entrance (tannery & herding pens) to reception (glass cube suspended above British-made pipes, pulleys & pumps; horseback forays on neighbouring estancias, bike blustery coast, or chug up Last Hope Sound in 16-passenger motor launch; ample rooms decorated with Edwardian good taste (mahogany writing desks, brass lamps & sepia prints).
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa – Ruta 9, intersecting with Ruta &156 (at Torres del Paine National Park, 1 hour outside Puerta Natales); 011-56-2-361-7000, 011-56-2-263-0606, or 800-829-5325;; desert-&-glacier-scapes associated with striking architecture; exterior mimics old fossil, “prehistoric animal beached on lakeshore, like those drawn by Charles Darwin,” per architect Cazu Zegers; 40-room hotel, with Lake Sarmiento & Torres del Paine National Park mountain views; tailored excursions include climbing, horse-riding & walking; spa with indoor swimming pool & outdoor Jacuzzi.
Sights & Sites
Park Pumalin – 299 Klenner (Puerto Varas, administrative office); 011-56-6-525-0079;; in Palena (extending from southern Hornopirén to few miles south of Chaitén); 317K native forest hectares; private nature reserve; extensive trail infrastructure with visitor centers; consists of 2 areas.
Torres del Paine National Park – Porteria Sarmiento (from Puerto Natales’ north exit, go 23 kms and take right turn-off); 011-56-6-123-8581;; national park encompassing glacier, lake, mountains & river-rich areas in southern Chilean Patagonia; popular hiking destination with clearly marked trails; among country’s most spectacular national parks; world biosphere reserve (declared by UNESCO in 1978); Guanacos are among park’s most common mammals; others include foxes & pumas; also home to endangered Chilean Huemul; breeding populations of 15 bird of prey species, including Andean Condor, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, Rufous-tailed Hawk, Cinereous Harrier, Chimango Caracara, Magellanic Horned Owl, Austral Pygmy-owl, Chilean Flamingo, Darwin’s Rhea, Coscoroba Swan, Black-necked Swan, Magellanic Woodpecker, Magellan Goose & Black-faced Ibis.

Sights & Sites
Lago Todos Los Santos – take ferry from Petrohue from Peulla; surrounded by volcanoes.

Awasi – 4 Tocopilla; 011-56-5-585-1460 or 888-880-3219;; 8 cottages in cozy circular layout; rough-hewn wood ceilings, native grass roofs, adobe walls, bright colored, Andean fabrics; stone floors; bar made of local river rocks; simple but good meals; go springtime (September-December); book #5, circular bedroom with tub and 2 showers (1 on outside in private patio); price includes private driver and guide.
Hotel de Larache – Americo Vespucio Sur 80, Piso 5; 011-56-2-206-6060 or 866-750-6699;; luxury hotel in desert center; full hotel and adventure experience with horse stables and serious observatory for region.
Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa – Camino Sequitor S/N (Ayllu de Yaye); 011-56-5-555-5976, 011-56-5-555-5977, or 800-829-5325;; family-owned property, steps from San Pedro de Atacama, in ultra-modern, stone structures; bordered by ancient algarroba and chanar trees; 34 rooms in natural beiges and browns; spa; can arrange sunrise excursion to El Tatio geyser, rock-climbing lesson in Socaire, and/or mountain top picnic.
La Casona – Caracoles 195; 011-56-55-851-004;; try pastel de loco and/or pino del horno (empanada); good desserts, too.
El Charrua – Tocopilla 442 (near Caracoles corner); 011-56-55-851-443; 6 tables; pasta.
Sights & Sites
Cejas and Chaxa Lagoons – Salar de Atacama; known for large numbers of world’s 3 species flamingos.
Chiu Chiu Church – Chile’s 1st church; built in mid-1600s.
Talabre – small village on jagged ravine’s high rock walls; petroglyphs.
Tatio Geyser – El Tatio Geyser Field; best to be there early in morning when cold air creates impressive mist clouds around water.
Volcan Lascar – area’s most active volcano.

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