Iguazú Falls – Argentina vs. Brazil

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Iguazú Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Almost twice as tall as Niagara Falls and only rivaled by Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, the jaw-dropping Iguazú Falls leaves even the most seasoned travelers in awe (and yes, I’m talking about us). The 82-meter-high cascades of foaming water span an incredible width of 2.7 kilometers. At any one time, there are between 150 and 300 falls depending on the water level. Witnessing the power and noise of the falling water shrouded in perpetual mist is an unforgettable experience, an experience made even better by the incredible Continue…

The Guarani Missions of Argentina and Paraguay

San Ignacio Mini

A trip through South America, as spectacular as it is, can often feel like one long story of conflict and open war between the continent’s native peoples and European colonists. Even today, there is a very palpable tension between these groups.

So as we were passing through northern Argentina along the border with Paraguay on our way to Iguazú Falls, we were happy to discover a slightly different story. In the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries entering the area took a rather unique approach to conversion. They set out to create what some have termed a “Utopian” blend of native and European culture in methodically constructed communities referred to as Continue…

Esteros del Iberá

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Gliding through the shallow waters of the lagoon, our motorboat cut through a floating island of purple water hyacinths before coming to a sudden stop. In the distance, we could hear the loud squawking of a southern screamer. We scanned the sprawling floral carpet of blooming vines and water plants for life. Just as Tony leaned over to photograph a baby caiman hiding between the flower petals, our guide Javier pointed at a set of giant antlers peeking out from behind a tuft of tall reeds. The marsh deer moved quietly along the shore, its orangish fur glowing in the morning sun. As Javier pushed the boat back with a paddle, a capybara sprang up from its hiding place and stared us down as we Continue…

5 Top Mendoza Highlights

Mendoza wine tasting

After leaving Valparaíso and crossing back over the Andes mountain range into Argentina, we stopped to explore the bustling town of Mendoza before moving on to Buenos Aires. In the shadow of the mighty, snow-covered Andes surrounded by picturesque vineyards, Mendoza is probably most familiar to wine connoisseurs and mountaineers. Tony and I definitely fall somewhere in between – we do like ourselves a good glass of wine, and we clearly love those peaks. While both wine tasting and day hiking are obvious choices in and around Mendoza, there are some other cool activities that visitors might want to consider when passing through the region. Continue…

The Llao Llao

The beautiful Llao Llao Hotel

There aren’t too many travelers who arrive at a 5-star luxury resort by public transportation. So when our bus from Bariloche stopped right outside the famous Llao Llao Hotel, Tony and I were the only passengers to get off. It was love at first sight. Without a doubt, this was one of the most gorgeous settings imaginable. The luxury hotel was built on a ridge between two lakes and backed by the sharp granite peaks of Cerros López and Trenador. This was a side of Patagonia we hadn’t seen. Gone were the subpolar forests of the south and the dry desert steppe of the east; instead, we stood in a dreamy Alpine wonderland surrounded by soaring mountains and lush evergreen cypress and coihue forests. We couldn’t wait to Continue…

Punta Tombo and Península Valdés

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You’ve seen the videos, a killer whale surfaces behind the waves and slowly approaches a desert beach. Unaware of the encroaching danger, a seal pup strays away from its mother and cluelessly frolics at the edge of the surf. Suddenly, the massive orca lunges up onto the golden sand and tears the pup into the water. This is the wild coast of northern Patagonia!

Yes, Argentina’s southern province is a scenic powerhouse boasting glaciers galore, rocky peaks, powder-blue lakes, and thousands of kilometers of desert steppe, but it also doubles as one of the planet’s best wildlife destinations. While much of the world has its eyes on popular locations such as the Galapagos, Komodo or the Serengeti, naturalists in the know are exploring the lesser-known coasts of northern Patagonia. Two of the region’s more spectacular sights are the famous orca hunting grounds on Península Valdés and the world’s largest Continue…

Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park North

Tony backed by Mt. Fitz Roy

The sun filtering through the half-drawn curtains of our bus was a good omen. More than ever, Tony and I needed the weather gods to be on our side. We had traveled hundreds of kilometers to the northern reaches of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares just to be wowed by Argentina’s most famous and picturesque granite peaks, Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. As we drove along Viedma Lake toward the tiny town of El Chaltén, the fluffy clouds above started drifting apart revealing circular patches of blue sky and, to our excitement, bits and pieces of the Fitz Roy Mountain Range ahead.

Was this going to be our lucky day? It seemed like Patagonia’s notorious weather was taking a nap – at least for now. We dropped off our luggage at the Lunajuim Hotel in El Chaltén, quietly sneaked out of town as to not awaken the bad weather gods, and rushed up the trail for Laguna Capri. It was only a few hours until sundown, but we were determined to reach the lagoon from where we hoped to see Mount Fitz Roy in all its glory. We knew it was a bit of a gamble Continue…

Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park South

Perito Moreno Glacier

I know exactly what you are thinking, more glaciers? Yes, it’s true, our recent adventures in Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego feel like the ultimate tour of the world’s greatest ice flows. Hey, it’s the far south – that’s what people come to see, right? And we are just getting started. Our latest destination is the superstar of Patagonian ice, the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier. Located in the southern reaches of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in southwestern Argentina, the Perito Moreno Glacier is famous for its very active calving as well as the ability to get up-close and personal with all the action. And while Perito Moreno might steal the spotlight, there are several other up-and-coming starlet glaciers that will literally take your breath away.

Most travelers and ice adventurers base themselves in the small town of El Calafate, 80 km east of the national park. While the artisanal chocolate and ice cream shops along the town’s main drag are a definite plus, it’s really the natural setting on the shores of Lake Argentino which makes El Calafate stand out. The beautiful grey-green lake is Argentina’s biggest body of water and is thought to be Continue…

Los Cauquenes

Los Cauquenes spa

Thomas and I were sitting in the dining room on the Via Australis chatting over breakfast with Milton, a surgeon from Brazil, when the steward suddenly appeared at our table and announced, “Sirs, your driver is here to take you to Los Cauquenes Hotel.”

Milton looked quite impressed.

Yes, after a cruise to Antarctica and a second cruise through the islands of Tierra del Fuego, a traveler needs a bit of luxurious rest and relaxation Continue…

Expedition Patagonia on the Via Australis

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In one of our most incredible travel days on record, we stepped off our 11-day cruise returning from Antarctica, walked across the Ushuaia dock, and checked in for our 4-day cruise through the isles of Chilean Tierra del Fuego. Yes, two adventure cruises in one day does seem a bit over the top to us as well, but – hey – what better way to start our adventure across Patagonia?

Cruceros Australis offers a variety of expedition cruises through the isolated islands of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. It’s a vast region of untouched bays, glaciers, mountains and unique subpolar forests. This region closely resembles what Antarctica must have looked like millions of years ago before it was covered with ice. Cruceros Australis is also one of the only options for landing on Cape Horn, the most southerly point in South America. While Cape Horn is a major destination for geography aficionados, most people have no idea just how hard Continue…