Patagonia & Travel Vision Journeys

By Donna Pyle
This item appears on page 28 of the November 2017 issue.

A few days after commenting to a friend, “We have no idea where we’re going to travel next year,” the October 2016 issue of ITN arrived, and on the “Tours” page a photography tour was mentioned called “The Best of Patagonia,” offered by Travel Vision Journeys (Arlington, MA; 781/646-3377 or 800/866-7314, travelvision
journeys.com)

A young puma on a lakeshore in Chilean Patagonia. Photo by Donna Pyle

After a little research and reference checking, my husband, R.C., and I signed up for their Feb. 7-16, 2017, tour. 

I had been wanting to do an itinerary like this for years. I could never get excited about visiting Argentina to hang out in Buenos Aires watching the tango. This trip focused on Patagonia and photography, and it took us back to southern Chile, which we had loved 20 years earlier.

We paid $14,000 to Travel Vision, which covered nine nights’ accommodations, a professional photographer coaching us, a professional puma tracker in Torres del Paine National Park (Chile), van transportation, drivers and guides in Argentina and Chile, most of our meals and transportation to/from airports. There were four other Americans in our group. 

We visited El Chaltén, Argentina (a mountain-climbing mecca), photographing Mount Fitzroy and surrounding glaciers and waterfalls. Perito Moreno Glacier (Argentina) was a special treat, as it is one of very few glaciers in the world still advancing, plus the geography is such that you can view it both by boat and by land. We did both. 

In Torres del Paine, in addition to viewing the spectacular scenery, we had a special “mission”: photographing pumas. Our tracker found them for us on all three days.

The first day, they were in the sunshine but in fairly deep bushes. The third day, we saw them with a kill, but it was late in the day and difficult to take photographs. On our second morning, however, we were lucky enough to find some cubs playing on the lakeshore in brilliant sunlight. What a treat!

Other wildlife was abundant: guanacos and foxes plus rheas, kingfishers and many other birds. 

Accommodations in Argentina were in pleasant, but not luxurious, hotels. In Chile, at EcoCamp Patagonia (Barros Arana 166, Puerto Natales; www.ecocamp.travel/en), we stayed in luxury tents that had been permanently constructed with wood supports and canvas walls. The tents were heated, with private baths/showers, big beds and plenty of space.

I would say this was a magnificent trip. Some ability to hike was required, but there were no “forced marches.”

DONNA PYLE
Boulder, CO