- At the Viedma Glacier,watching a large iceberg roll over just in front of our boat, and resurface, cobalt blue and sparkling, as the water poured off it. One of the most beautiful sights we've ever seen.
- Reaching our goal at the base of the Towers of Paine, and seeing them soaring, cloudfree, in front of us: worth every step of the way.
- Battling through 56kph wind and seeing guanacos silhoutted against the T.o.P Massif: iconic Patagonia!
The schedule: a lot of early starts and full days. Not much free time for sightseeing, especially in B.A. - and leave the heavy books at home.
Money: Don't expect to change money in a bank - the travel schedule doesn't allow time. Travellers' cheques "seriously annoying" (Hugo) Take some Arg. $ from UK for small items, and change your US $ as you go. The official rate is currently approx Arg $ 4.90: US $1, but everyone is happy to get US $ and shops/hotels will change at Arg 5-7 : US $1.
We found the spending money estimated in Exodus trip notes quite adequate.(cf Food, below)
Food: Lunch often a picnic snack on the road. For dinner a steak/ lamb grill and salad between 2 is plenty, the portions are v. generous. Don't expect much fruit or veg. on this trip unless you buy your own.
Clothes: Buenos A. hot and humid - take light clothes.Also for Iguazu if you go there. Elsewhere "dress like an onion", but none of us wore our thermals. Windproofs and close-fitting hats essential - many of us bought Bufffs, or cheaper El Chalten versions. Floppy sunhats will blow away.
Contact lenses: if you wear hard lenses take an alternative eg presciption sunglasses - or closefitting goggles. The duststorms are very gritty, both in town and in the mountains.
Mosquitoes: you WILL get bitten around the Refugio . Take antihistamine as well as repellent.
Ushuaia: Consider asking for a Channel view upgrade when you book. It's the end of the road, and the view is beautiful.
Iguazu Falls extension: the trails open at 8am and close at 5pm. Very crowded. If you can be at the start of a trail at 8am (and if staying at the Sheraton you can do this before breakfast) you may have a blissful hour entirely to yourself. If meeting a guide, ask for an early start.
Insurance : you will be asked to state whether you are insured for helicopter evacuation. Not all of us were, but it's worth checking: on the long treks you're a long way from the nearest hospital.
Above notes on clothing and weather refer to a trip in early Feb.
Optional:In additon to the Glacier and Beagle Channel boat-trips, we had an enjoyable visit to La Usina estancia, near El Calafate, including an amazing lamb "asado".This also left several hours for the bird reserve in El C in the afternoon at Lake Nimez. Well worth a visit.
In B.A. a group of us went, on Hugo's recommendation, to the Esquina Carlos Gardel tango show - beautifully done and much enjoyed by all.
We can recommend all of these options.