Hope you enjoyed your Christmas holiday!
I just wanted to write and thank you again for all your assistance in putting together a fantastic trip for us. Everything went just as we hoped and as planned. At each place you arranged we were expected and made welcome. There were never any hassles.
I understand why you had suggested another night in Pucon; the Antumalal hotel was delightful and we barely scratched the surface of the things to do in Pucon. But we also thoroughly enjoyed our time in Puerto Varas. I only wish we could have stayed longer in the Lakes District.
The Stella Australis cruise was certainly a highlight of the trip. One we would not have missed (even though it caused us to shorten our time in Pucon). And the stay at the Awasi and Torres del Paine was just amazing! The weather could have been a bit more cooperative – but if one is stuck inside on a rainy evening, it is certainly the place you would want to be “stuck.” We did have clear weather long enough to see the majestic views, get in a couple hikes and some great birdwatching.
There were 2 minor inconveniences that I wanted to mention, just for your future reference. First, we disembarked the Stella Australis at about 8:30 am. Our flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate wasn’t until 4pm. We discovered that the ship does not have any facilities, or arrangements with others, for storing luggage. The ship suggested the tourist office, which sent us to a nearby hotel, who sent us to private facility that was closed, etc. Luckily, the manager at the Canal Beagle Hotel took pity on us and some other passengers and allowed us to store our bags for several hours at his hotel. I recognize that this is not something you could have prevented, and I will be sending my comments directly to the cruise line, but just wanted to mention so you can prepare others. I would think this is a common problem that could be simply rectified by the Australis company.
The second item involved the glacier hike excursion in El Calafate. First, let me say that we thoroughly enjoyed this excursion and would highly recommend it to others. The only problem was in the information we were given. When we checked into the hotel, we were provided a confirmation packet that outlined what we should wear, and stated that the excursion did not include the park entrance fees and any food. (This same information was also reflected in the voucher you provided.) What was not made clear in the information given was that food needed to be brought in – there was no place to purchase anything to eat. As most people seemed to have brought food, perhaps we misunderstood, but I think this should have been more clearly stated in the information packet.
As I stated these were merely inconveniences – we made up for our lack of lunch with a superb dinner that night at Buenos Cruces restaurant in El Calafate! Please feel free to use us as a reference any time.
Thank you again and have a very Happy New Year!