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The Double Espresso Patagonia tailor-made tour

July 25, 2012

When a couple came to Tango Tours looking for “something a little different, with a tailor-made 4×4 tour, sleeping in luxury tents on a riverbank and beautiful estancias”, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to come up with a truly unique trip to Patagonia.

First up, let’s tell you a bit about amazing Patagonia. It’s huge! Patagonia includes five of Argentina’s 24 provinces, 11 of its 23 National Parks, three of its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all of its glaciers, oil, gold, whales, penguins, elephant seals, abominable roads and most of its spectacular views.

It has an area of 880,000 square kilometres, a third of the total area of Argentina, which in turn is the eighth biggest country in the world. Much of its length is bordered by the Andes mountain chain, where the highest peaks outside the Himalayas reach for the skies.

And the population is only about 1.5 million people, about 5% of the population of Argentina.

People from Europe don’t get to come to Patagonia every day. So, when you do come, you want to see as much as possible of what this incredible region has to offer.

So you can see why we enjoyed putting together the tailormade schedule for our “something different” couple.

 

Almost a fortnight of Patagonian delights

We named the tour Double Espresso Patagonia. The 10 to 12 day trip was designed to reveal the best of Patagonia, from the wonderful hospitality of its people to the indulgence of good old-fashioned pampering and including fine cuisine and world-class wines.

A flight from Heathrow brings you to Buenos Aires. You could spend many days exploring this vibrant city and why not? You’re here, so go explore!

The first few days are spent at the edge of the Andes behind the small town of Trevelin staying at “Home Base”. This is an amazing place with luxury tents and all manner of mod cons, some 30km from the nearest paved road and set on the shores of the deep glacial lake Lago Rosario. You could go out on horseback to explore the Andes or enjoy a huntin’ and fishin’ outing.

Over the next few days Jeremy Wood, a local guide, writer and expert in all things Patagonian, who will be your chauffeur, personal guide and Mr Fixit. He is one of the most sought after experts in the region and has a special relationship with Tango Tours.

You’ll stay in the wonderful Bayas Hotel in Esquel. If you would like to join Jeremy at his home for dinner one evening we’re sure he’ll be delighted to host you. And we bet he will break open his cellar of fine Argentinean wines for you to enjoy.

How about a trip on the Old Patagonian Express, Esquel’s narrow gauge steam train made famous by Paul Theroux’s book? And then a 4×4 trip down one of Esquel’s glacial valleys to look at some of the area’s major cattle and sheep farms? You might also enjoy going to the Chilean border for a traditional Welsh tea and in the evening, if you are still hungry, the restaurant in Las Bayas offers an excellent selection of regional specialities.

 

Beauty of Patagonia’s national parks

40._Rafting_options_2.JPG

A trip to this region should always include a national parks or two. The Los Alerces National Park covers an area of 2,630 square kilometres and is noted for its temperate rain forest (which is only present in seven regions of the world), lakes, rivers, glaciers, marine fossils and the largest population of the Alerce tree in Argentina, one of the longest living trees in the World.

Another day’s outing will see you following the route of the mighty Futaleufu River and crossing the Andes into Chile. You’ll dine on freshly caught Pacific salmon at the village of Futaleufu and tour the area admiring the dramatic scenery.

By now it’s around day eight of the tour! From here we head to Bariloche by the dramatic route! Esquel is in the rain shadow of the Andes and about 100 km north west of the town lies one of the most arid regions in South America. We drive north up Argentina’s famous Route 40 through the desert, eventually turning off just north of Esquel on the dirt track to the Indian village of Gualjaina.

Here you check into the little hostería of Mirador Huancache and then head to the wild canyons nearby through which flow the Upper Chubut, Lepa and Gualjaina rivers.

21._Country_near_Gualjaina_4.JPGGualjaina has one restaurant and one hotel so you will be quite a curiosity. This is indeed the wild west! After dinner, there is an amazing opportunity to see Patagonian skies at their best where there’s no light pollution and the Milky Way gleams like a bejewelled cape.

By now you might be imagining that you have seen the best of Patagonia but there is still more! On the final evening, before heading back to Buenos Aires, dine at Cassis, one of the region’s finest restaurants and winner of the Best Gourmet Restaurant in Argentina award two years running. It is owned by close friends of Jeremy Wood, so you can be assured a warm welcome – and the views will stay with you for years to come as you gaze over a private isthmus on Lago Gutierrez.

If you like the sound of this tailormade trip, or you would like Tango Tours to create a tour make to suit your aspirations please do contact us. We’d love to create your dream holiday to South America.

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