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Review of Odysseys Unlimited Patagonian Frontiers trip with Stella Australis


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Jazzbeau, Thank you for your detailed review and for the photos.  I took the exact same trip (minus the Iguazu Falls portion) with Smithsonian Journeys, which used Odysseys as its tour provider.  Ivan was our tour director also, and Pato and Francisco were our local guides in Torres del Paine as well.  I could tell many stories about those three!  They are good friends, and their friendship enlivened the experience for those of us who were touring together.

 

I loved BA, and the tour provided a good orientation to set up a future independent visit.  I also ate at Piegari (found it myself), and watched a very important futbol game there, and this added some interesting local perspectives.

 

I was not as impressed with the Australis cruise experience as I’d hoped to be, given all of the glowing reviews elsewhere.  All of us in our 20-person group thought the food was mediocre at best (most entrees had one or two ingredients too many), with the exception of breakfast croissants that were divine, and a beautiful raspberry juice.  But my group was complaining a lot about the food.  I really liked the enormous floor to ceiling window in my room.  I thought the expedition staff were a bit green, and I thought the zodiac boarding wasn’t quite as smooth as I’ve experienced on other expedition ships.  (It was “ok”). Overall, I’d give the cruise a 3.5 on a 5-point scale.

 

Our weather (December) was a bit better than yours was.  (Although it had been 100 degrees in BA.). We landed at Cape Horn, a highlight, and while it was raining when we arrived, the weather cleared eventually.  The penguins were a delight.  I found the Chilean fjords to be somewhat less “impressive” than those of Norway.  (But it’s always wonderful to be in fjord country!)

 

The (non-cruise) highlight for me was Torres del Paine, wow.  So beautiful, and rainbows everywhere.  Just wow.  And the Rio Serrano Lodge was really great, the food, accommodations, service, location, views, everything.

 

and then - I became a Covid kid - my first-ever experience of it, and the second person in my group to get it.  Quarantined in Santiago, and it was a really sad feeling to be suddenly and abruptly isolated from the group.  Smithsonian/Odysseys had suggested that people might want to bring along Paxlovid, which I had done - so at least I was taking the same measures that I would have, had I been home.  It was a mild case, I recovered well, and my departure home was only delayed by one day.  Ivan stayed in touch periodically, while I was recuperating.  The hotel accommodations (Pullman Vitacura) were very comfortable, the staff were helpful given the quarantine situation, and I had blazing fast internet service, so I was well connected with folks back home.

 

Odysseys does a good job, this was my third tour where they were the operator (all of these were through Smithsonian Journeys, which adds some additional enrichment features to the overall tour programs.).
 

I wouldn’t suggest to someone that they not do the Australis cruise … but in my experience (as well as that of the others in my group), expectations weren’t quite met.  But I’m glad I did it - it just wasn’t the highlight of the trip that I thought it would be -

 

Again, I really appreciated your photos, and especially the mentions of Ivan, Pato, Francisco.  Thank you for taking the time to prepare and post your review.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Enjoyed the reviews and pictures and appreciate all of your hard work on the CC boards.

 

Eva Peron was buried in Recoleta Cemetery in a heavily fortified crypt in the Duarte family mausoleum in the 1970s. The voyage of her body after her death in 1952 is very interesting and at one time she was buried in Italy. Juan Peron is buried in Buenos Aires in a different cemetery.

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14 minutes ago, CynthiaP said:

Eva Peron was buried in Recoleta Cemetery in a heavily fortified crypt in the Duarte family mausoleum in the 1970s. The voyage of her body after her death in 1952 is very interesting and at one time she was buried in Italy. Juan Peron is buried in Buenos Aires in a different cemetery.

Thanks for the correction.  Another guide lied to me!  But the story about his hands being stolen by grave robbers and held for ransom is apparently true.

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