Robin & Steve Russell (United States)
Backstory: We had already booked a multi-week tour (Tour 1) through another company. Then we saw the fantastic Deep Patagonia trip from Patagonia-Argentina.com. We loved it, so we booked Deep Patagonia. We planned to go on one tour after the other. Then, six weeks from departure, Tour 1 was cancelled. We were devastated... I emailed Fernando immediately after hearing that Tour 1 cancelled. He called me minutes later and asked for the Tour 1 itinerary. Within days, he had compared the itineraries of both tours, removed overlaps, and created a new end-to-end itinerary. We were ready to go - and then everything was efficiently scheduled, reserved, and organized.
The new plan was infinitely better and more diverse than the original. And, we later recognized that he had scheduled just the right amount of time at each stop to truly experience it, while balancing the length of the trip overall with all the places on the itinerary. That is an art born of experience. Our detailed daily itinerary included vouchers and instructions for multiple hotels, two airlines (five flights), various forms of transportation, many airports, and two countries. Fernando coordinated all transportation (we did not rent a car), all hotels and registration/payment for daily tours and activities. Everything went smoothly. We asked to stay in locally owned, well-rated hotels; each hotel we used was a smaller property with a good location and excellent service. Finally, although we traveled independently, we never felt alone. The few times we had questions, we sent Fernando a quick message. His responses were consistently timely, complete, and accurate.
We started our trip in Santiago, Chile, moved to the lakeside town of Puerto Varas, and then to the Torres del Paine National Park. The all-inclusive Hotel Lago Grey in the Park was glorious in every detail, from its setting near the lake, to the fantastic food, to the daily excursions. The excursions and guides are world class. We then moved to Argentina. El Chalten is perfect for hiking and viewing the breathtaking Mt. Fitzroy.
El Calafate offers everything for travelers - restaurants, markets, banks, nightlife... and incomparable sightseeing. The Perito Moreno Glacier is awe inspiring. (The best views of the glacier are from the catwalks on the top/side of the cliffs.) New core memory: We were standing in Tierra del Fuego, a place we'd only seen on maps. We were breathing the cleanest, purest air on earth, and we were looking through crystal-clear channel waters.
Lastly, we moved to the bustling port town Puerto Madryn, gateway to Tombo and the Valdes Peninsula. We walked along wide catwalks suspended a few feet above big groups of 17'' high, adorable Magellan Penguins.
We ended our trip by spending @ a week in Buenos Aires. Our boutique hotel was perfectly situated for exploring the city. There is no end to the variety of food, drink and entertainment offered by the Paris of South America.
Robin & Steve Russell