“Patagonia … why would you want to go all the way to the end of the world?” asked my father-in-law, incredulously.
“Why wouldn’t we?” I said. “Breathtaking landscapes, unforgettable excursions and luxurious accommodations – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
And so we went, my husband and I, on Quasar Expedition’s 8-night Jeep® Overland Safari through Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. Designed for those who want to experience the raw, natural beauty of this area without having to “rough it,” the journey exceeded all expectations.
Exploring this remote region entails traversing bumpy, unpaved roads, which is why Quasar partnered with Jeep® to ensure comfort and luxury extends to every element of this trip, including the drive. Having seen tiny rental cars and large tour buses attempt to navigate these roads, I can assure you the Jeep® Rubicon is the only way to go. Each vehicle is fully equipped with a satellite phone and GPS Ranger®, a multimedia tour guide system and navigational aid that delivers on-demand, location-based content on every step of the adventure.
Patagonia is paradise for the outdoor enthusiast or photographer and Quasar offers activities for all interests and activity levels. For me, the highlights of the trip were found in the national parks. A day at Los Glaciares is incomparable. Seeing the imposing Perito Moreno glacier for the first time and then ice-trekking on the glacier itself was absolutely mind-blowing. I still don’t think I fully comprehend the enormity of this blue beauty. In Torres del Paine National Park, I highly recommend hiking to the base of the towers – not an easy trek, but certainly worth it for the glorious views and the sense of accomplishment.
Regardless of the activity you choose, what really makes the excursions special are Quasar’s expert guides. Funny, personable and insightful, their passion for Patagonia is unquestionable. By the end of the trip, they seemed more like old friends than tour leaders and it was hard to imagine not seeing them every day and hearing their familiar voices on the radio.
Our adventure began and ended at The Singular Patagonia in Puerto Bories, Chile. Without question, this is one of my favorite hotels…ever…so much so that it’s hard for me to accurately convey how special this place is. This beautifully-restored former cold-storage plant preserves its historic significance while catering to the needs of the modern luxury traveler. The food is outstanding, particularly the fresh seafood offerings. There is no better spot to cozy up at the end of the day than by the lounge’s massive wood-burning fireplace.
Once in Argentina, we experienced two very different lodging options. The 7-room hosteria Alta Vista sits on 70,000 acres and provides an authentic look into life on a working estancia. Gracious innkeepers Federico and Tamara welcomed us like family into their “house.” During our stay we enjoyed home-cooked meals and learning about life as a gaucho on the largest sheep farm in the area. The morning horseback ride up the mountain for a preview of Perito Moreno Glacier was a truly memorable experience.
Just minutes away is Eolo, a 17-room Relais & Chateaux property. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the expansive valley, there are stunning views from every window at this ultra-relaxing spot. We only had one night here, but I could’ve easily settled in for days. This is the place for sampling the area’s phenomenal wine offerings.
Back in Chile, we enjoyed two nights at Tierra Patagonia, a masterpiece of wood and stone designed to blend into the landscape of the Patagonia steppe. Situated on the banks of Lake Sarmiento, every area of the hotel offers breathtaking views of Torres del Paine National Park. Following a day of hiking, I completely indulged at UMA spa. Here I watched baby lambs scamper around without leaving the comfort of the heated indoor pool.
Breathtaking landscapes? Yes. Unforgettable excursions? Check. Luxurious accommodations? Without a doubt. Once-in-a-lifetime? Hopefully not for us…we can’t wait to return! The question is…when will you go?