Written by: Martin & Denise Pick
Item reviewed: Argentina and Chile Tour
Maria met us at the Buenos Aires airport; lovely woman. The Hotel Ayres was very nice, nicely located; very friendly staff; breakfast a bit weak. The Recoleta area a perfect place to be; seemed much nicer than the rest of Buenos Aires. The Tango show was great. The trip to Colonia was very nice; a laid back, charming place where we easily passed the day. The guide there was very informative.
The trip to Bariloche was our 1st experience with LAN, which we consistently found to be excellent; on time, courteous staff, professional, clean, well maintained airports and airplanes. Bariloche was wonderful; hotel Cacique Inacayal 1st rate; they gave us a wonderful room overlooking the lake; went for a swim BRRRR- cold; best breakfasts of all. Town was very nice; we had a nice Valetine supper in a nearby restaurant however the hotels restaurant was 1st class too. Tours very interesting; got some great pictures. The trip across the lakes was a highlight; an unending vista of unfolding scenery; each more more dramatic than the last. Puella was a nice break; a little late when we finally got to Puertto Varas but well worth it. On to Santiago; my favourite city; Hotel Atton el Bosque- perfect and the surrounding El Conde area simply great- very sophisticated.
Went to the Mercado centrale; had an excellent ceviche. Valpraiso and Vina del Mar I found uninteresting; too crowded and simply one building after another piled upon one another. The final stop by the seaside was the best; I'd recommend a trip up or down the coast rather that the beach area there. Lunch in Valparaiso was interesting :Arab Club; I'd be curious to its origin. Trip to Santa Cruz was wonderful; guide knew his stuff and the stops were very interesting; The owner of Santa Cruz must be something; if you don?t know the story should find out. Anyhow; he has 28 kids. Museum there very interesting.
Trip to Calama went well- by the way need to mention Catia; welcoming guide; she was the best of all; a wonderful, warm woman. Easily met at Calama and off to San Pedro; this was the most interesting part of the trip. San Pedro was like stepping back into the 60s full of hippies; expected to hear Beatles music. The tours were all captivating and the scenery stunning; The patches of vibrant green in the scalded desert were dramatic. Two other guides provided excellent service at San Pedro; André and Sebastien both were very helpful; knew their stuff. Hotel Terrantai while adequate rooms were very small and crowded although - again staff very helpful and warm. Last stop; Mendoza; while the city wasn't too impressive the surroundings and trip to Uco (an option I asked our Guide for) was fantastic. You need to include visits to Los Clos dos Siete vineyard; a marvel. Desert to wine; amazing. Finally long day home; again LAN airline; perfect. In closing Clara; the one outstanding element we found in the entire trip; both Argentina & Chile; were the people. Wonderful, warm, friendly, helpful, sincere; I simply cannot find enough adjectives.
Thanks for making this a memorable trip for Denise & I,
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