Highlights of Southern Patagonia – trip of a lifetime!
I’m a detail person and planner by nature and have always planned my own vacations, and some have been quite complicated. I don’t mind pouring over websites and figuring out all the options. Therefore, this was a big step for me to use a travel specialist – mainly because I’ve read Wendy’s work for years and really wanted to give it a try. So for sure, the big question is… “was it worth it to use a travel specialist, and potentially pay more money?”. The answer is “Yes!”.
We chose to go to Argentina and Chile over this past Christmas. Wendy recommended Jordan, and we started with him and then worked all details out until departure with Amanda. It was an excellent trip and we had the best time. Everything went smoothly and we had no issues. Our itinerary was Buenos Aries for 2 nights, Ushuaia for 2 nights, Australis Stella explorer cruise for 4 nights, Patagonia for 4 nights, Santiago 1 night, Easter Island 4 nights, Santiago 1 night.
The benefits of this travel specialist:
-to start, I don’t think I would have found/known about Australis and I don’t know if I would have figured out an itinerary to also get Easter Island in
-I had friends who were in BA last May and there was an airport rotating strike, and I knew going through a Travel Specialist, who hooked me up with Exito for air, would totally be on it, if something like that happened to us – the peace of mind over the holidays knowing we would be taken care of, is priceless
-we had a lot of flights, and moving, and knowing that at each airport/arrival would be a sign with our names to ensure we got to the next spot – no figuring out taxis on our own
-I feel like because of their relationships, we were secured the best rooms in our categories, everywhere we went
-it was our honeymoon #3 (we got married in February) and everyone knew and presented us with a token, including a bottle of wine and personalized note on Jordan’s company letter head at Easter Island
-due to the ongoing “unrest” in Santiago, they pre empted any possible situation and moved us from a potential hot bed area to the Ritz Carlton Santiago, club floor (we shared this with other travelers, who had used travel agencies, but none of those took care of their people in this manner as ours had)
-overall, we felt special, and taken care of and relaxed and isn’t that how everyone wants to feel on vacation!
Special shout out to:
1. Australis Stella, Ushuaia to Puerto Natales
-we loved this mini cruise, and the zodiac excursions, and seeing the glaciers, and getting to go to Cape Horn (a bucket list item for my husband), and penquins
-the staff were excellent, the excursions great, and the food and wine REALLY good
-Christmas dates are not full, and we were only 120 on a ship that could do 180, so it felt very personal and intimate
2. Patagonia Camp
-although we were not looking forward to a 5 hour drive transfer, it really was only 4 hours each way, with a bathroom stop, and went by really fast, we also were picked up where the cruise docked, immediately and did not have to wait, it turned out to be a private transfer as we were the only ones
-the food and wine were outstanding
-Jordan had really stressed getting a yurt with the jacuzzi and he was so right, it was awesome, and not all of them have, and other people were sad they had not booked one
3. Easter Island
-we cannot rave enough about the ceviche on this island, during our stay it was tuna, huge, glorious chunks of tuna! overall, the food was very good on island, all the restaurants were good, who knew?
-seeing the Moai was also a bucket list
4. Los Cauqueness Resort, Ushuaia
-we loved it here, our room, 101 was awesome, the large picture window with the full on ocean view was unbelievable, we even had an amazing sunrise from our bed
-the dinner in their restaurant was our favorite meal from our entire trip
-we loved their sheep skin throws over the chairs décor, that we bought 4 from their gift shop and managed to squeeze into our luggage
-we also enjoyed their outdoor jacuzzies in their spa and would have had massages had we had time
5. Ritz Carlton Santiago – Club Floor
-we didn’t really care about going to BA or Santiago, we just had to for the flights, BUT this hotel’s club floor is fabulous! We spent a lot of time and really enjoyed ourselves – wine, beer, full breakfast, full lunch, appies – even ordered room service dinner to be delivered there on our late arrival night and they gave us a late checkout complimentary
Notes to just know:
-Jordan had suggested a twin bed cabin on Australis in a certain category (versus the 1 bed) as it cost less but the same great location (mid ship, 3rd deck) – he was right
-Australis is very international, out of 120ppl there were 19 countries represented, we were the only Canadians
-Patagonia Camp is majority US travelers, with us Canadians and some British
-Santiago airport is a bit disjointed, for business class to Easter Island there is a separate check-in on the 4th floor, tucked away, and then you join everyone else for security
-BA, Palermo area felt very safe to walk around
-people poo pood Ushuaia, but we really liked it there, in their own right – great scenery and excursions and good food, we did a little bit of trinket/souvenir shopping but didn’t have much time
-the weather in Southern Patagonia and Easter Island were everything every day – windy, sunny, rainy, grey, humid – the saying was “if you don’t like the weather right now, wait 20 minutes and it will change” and all the advice for layered clothing is true
-Patagonia camp, you are hiking every day that you are there, and you need to decide on your way back from your current hike, what you are going to hike the next day, as you need two yurts to want the same hike, so you may not always get the hike/excursion you want
-friends had said take US, Amanda said take local currency… Amanda was more right, although we did have to dip into US for our Easter Island tipping as we had run out of Chilean
-speaking of tipping, it’s still my biggest pain when travelling – it’s the sneaky “service charge” that is sometimes on a bill that sometimes goes to the server and sometimes not, I felt that we way over tipped sometimes and unfortunately under when I tried to figure out the exchange of Canadian to US to their currency :-(
-Eastern Island basically has 3 tours that all tour companies offer, 2 x 1/2 days and 1 full day, the only thing they didn’t seem to cover was sunrise / sunset and nighttime, which you can get with a separate company (we did not do), BUT we did pay a taxi 40,000 Chilean (around $70 Canadian) to take us to the 15 moai for sunrise one morning – unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and it was too cloudy to get the amazing photo we’ve all seen, so we recommend trying the first morning you are there and keep going until you get – it was also very easy to rent a car for the day if you preferred, we were just lazy
-it wasn’t an inexpensive trip, and the destinations were on par with Vancouver Canada (where we live) pricing, which was surprising for me as I thought it would be less, BUT we are doing touristy things, so they get you ;-)
Many thanks to Wendy,Jordan and Amanda! PS the lovely touch of sending our final itinerary with luggage tags and lip balm was great and we used and thank you for the matcha tea set!
What an experience.
Jordan and his team Krista did excellent job for us. Krista did the day to day planning and she’s the star. We did almost 3 weeks trip to Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro to spend the new year’s eve, back to Buenos Aires, El Calafate, Torres del Paine, and Santiago.
Exito also did a great job to book us the internal flights, so we saved a lot of time on this trip, specially we could get the flight from Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales to Santiago, which is not available all year round.
Hotels choices were great within great locations in every city. We requested to include few days in Rio in this itinerary (which we know they are Patagonia specialist) and turns out they arranged it very well too. They provide a nice guide who took care of us well. We got the room we wanted at Belmond Copacabana Palace where we can see the fireworks perfectly. The also advised us on few other hotel options with vary pricing, but at the end it was our decision.
For the Argentina and Chile side, no doubt they gave us excellent enthusiastic guides for us. They were all experienced guides and drivers. They booked us at the restaurants in Some cities (including the Tango show).
Since we stay at Awasi Patagonia, a private car and guide were provided for us and it was great. The activities are carefully chosen depending on our interests and physical conditions. We had 3 days of excursions and we explore Patagonia in different ways on each day. First, by hiking to see some of the great viewpoints. Second, by boat to explore the national park that was arranged perfectly just for us (no one else around). And third, we explore the area by horseback riding with the local gaucho.
In Santiago, they kept monitoring the situation in the city due to the protests. For safety reason, one week before our departure, they informed us that they need to relocate us to another hotel in the safer area to avoid any unpleasant experience. They moved us to Ritz Carlton Santiago, which is a nice hotel in Las Condes area. The guide in Santiago managed to bring us around to see the situation in the capital, brought us to explore Valparaiso and had a late lunch in the vineyard at Casablanca Valley, where we did the wine tasting and had excellent wine pairing lunch.
Overall, they did a great job for us and would like to thank Jordan and team, specially Krista who made our trip exceptional.
We just got back from our 14 day trip to Argentina and Chile and Jordan and his team at Knowmad, including Krista and Grettel at Exito knocked it out of the park. We had an incredible time and were amazed that our very busy trip, with 6 domestic flights and several ground transfers, went flawlessly. That never happens right? And it all came together on a fluke because as usual, we were late to the planning party. When I called Jordan at Knowmad, we got lucky and they had a cancellation at the place we wanted to stay at in Torres del Paine. They built our trip around that and it was awesome. We were as far north as Iguazu Falls (both Brazilian and Argentinian sides) and as far South as El Calafate, Chile. We wanted to see the Perito Moreno Glacier and they arranged a Kayak trip. Incredible way to experience the calving. Patagonia Camp in Torres del Paine was unique and wonderful. We ended with 3 days of wine tasting, cooking and horseback riding in Mendoza, at a beautiful hotel. Our guides were wonderful and every transfer was flawless.
I was going to end with that I was really concerned that maybe we had bitten off too much on this trip and in order to see what we wanted in 14 days, we had to fly on 6 domestic flights. There were numerous transfers etc. But it was planned flawlessly and every transfer and flight worked out and we never felt overwhelmed. We could not have planned this trip on our own and totally relied on and appreciated the effort that Knowmad put into it. It was a trip to be remembered. We will use them again and do recommend them to anyone. Great experience!
Argentina and Chile (Buenos Aires, Iguazu, Mendoza, El Calafate, Torres del Paine and Santiago)
14 day trip for a family of 4
Jordan’s team is very knowledgeable about the area which was very helpful in planning the trip. Many of their recommendations for activities, hotels and guides were also good. There were a few issues that came up. First, they are not available to help you during your trip and you have to rely on the local in country guides they set you up with. This was really disappointing as we traveled during the Christmas Holidays when many of their customers book trips but yet no one from the organization was available to help us when the inevitable questions come up during the trip. The level of service from those in country providers is hit or miss. Also, one of the hotels was not nearly up to standard we expected and paid for as a five star hotel.
Jordan and his team arranged an amazing trip for us, Oct 21-Nov 6 ,2019. From Buenos Aries, El Calafate, Tierres del Paine, and finally Mendoza, our experiences were wonderful. Never a glitch, topnotch guides and drivers were the norm. Highlights were Tierra Patagonia, a serene ecoresort that was superb on every level. Jordan knew this was a perfect fit for us. Also the horseback ride in the Andean foothills outside Mendoza was a beautiful day. And his team was quietly keeping track of us the whole time – thoughtful and reassuring. Jordan is so invested in his clients’ experience, and this committment makes him and his team members really stand out!
My daughter and I had a great trip to Chile, planned by Jordan and his team. They planned everything in a seamless way and all of the connections worked perfectly. I don’t believe that we could have planned that on our own. We especially loved Patagonia, where we stayed in a wonderful lodge, Awasi, where we had a private guide and driver. Also great was the Awasi lodge in the Atacama desert, but the Patagonia lodge was our favorite because it was a huge room with a gorgeous view of snow-capped peaks. We also experienced a wonderful WOW moment in the Chilean wine country. We were able to have a wine tasting with a wine maker, who had a lot of interesting things to say, and afterwards ate a delicious lunch on the terrace of the winery, where the chef came out and explained each dish to us.
Our only problem with the trip was that it took two whole days to get from the Atacama desert to Patagonia, and a whole day to get back to Santiago. If we had waited until November for the trip we could have explored flying to and from a more convenient airport. The more convenient airport is not available in October, as I understand it.
This fabulous and memorable Patagonia adventure for about three weeks would not be possible without Jordan’s knowledgeable guidance and expertise of the region. We loved our six days at Explora (inside Torres del Paine NP) fully immersed and engaged with plethora of fun activities and adventures. It was my first time horseback riding! With legendary views and encouragement support from our guide and gauchos – it was a success! Tequila – my horse – was kind to me.
Jordan’s recommended curated activities were a smashing hit. All our private guides were exceptional and highly personable. Same with all transfers except for one (20 mins. late in Bariloche).
Thank you Jordan and Kayli for a truly meaningful and engaging Patagonia adventure. We loved the grand majestic peaks of TdP, the impossibly bluest hues of Perito Moreno to the imposing snow capped volcanoes and stunning glacial lakes surrounding the Lake Districts of Puerto Varas and San Carlos de Bariloche. Perfect trip and memories of a lifetime…!
Jordan and his team did a great job planning our trip to Chile with less than 90 days leeway. I told him where we wanted to go (Valparaiso, Lake District, and Atacama), how much time we had, and what our budget was, and he made it happen. His hotel recommendations were great and lived up to the advance billing, the tours he set up for us in and around Valparaiso were fun and rewarding, and he set our trip up where we had little to do but pack our bags and enjoy. Just as we literally were leaving to the airport in NY he emailed that our hotel in Atacama had been shut down by record rains/flooding but not to worry, he had found a comparable replacement — and he was right. Explora Atacama was great and we never missed a bit. Jordan was knowledgeable about everything we needed to know and having his affiliated agency book all our flights made our trip so seamless and worry-free that we truly could escape and relax on our vacation. Jordan and his associates were responsive to all of my questions and requests and made our trip most memorable. I would not hesitate to refer anyone wishing a fabulous vacation in Chile to Jordan and his agency.
I contacted Jordan in mid- November 2018 to organize a surprise birthday trip for my husband to Chile with a focus on Easter Island and stop overs at a Casablanca Valley vineyard and a night in Valparaiso. Since it was rather last minute with the birthday in early December, I was concerned that what I was asking for would not be possible because of availability. However, Krista, my point person, was brilliant: she gave me lots of great options, took me through all of them in detail and ensured that this was an incredibly easy and stress-free trip to organize. She was professional, fun to work with and very responsive and I always got off the phone with her with a smile on my face and confident that I was in good hands. The trip was hugely successful and my husband was both surprised and delighted. Highlights of the trip were meeting the people who looked after us – all very warm, friendly and knowledgeable, the unexpected surprise experiences along the way, like the graffiti lesson in Valparaiso and Wendy’s fabulous WOW moment on our trip to Easter Island. It began with a private guided walk through fields, caves and coastline and ended with music, pisco sours, delicious bites, a presentation of a book on Rapa Nui, birthday cake and a sunset overlooking the moais and the ocean. It could not have been more perfect! Thank you for this unforgettable moment and we were wowed.
Jordan’s staff was a pleasure to work with — both during the planning of the trip as well as during the trip itself. They were responsive, courteous and on the ball. The trip was a smashing success. We loved Chile and every aspect of our trip was well conceived.
My family and I just returned from 2 weeks in Chile which we booked with Jordan Harvey. We spent half the time in the Atacama Desert and the other half in Chilean Patagonia, two of the most amazing and diverse places on earth. Jordan and Kayli were so wonderful, taking into consideration the wishes of our family (we traveled with 3 adult kids), being that the kids wanted some technical hiking and climbing, while we wanted trails where we could walk and enjoy the wildlife and awesome scenery (we even saw a puma in Patagonia!!) Jordan suggested Tierra hotels, which I can’t say enough great things about-from the accommodations (esp the otherworldly blend-into-the-scenery hotel Tierra Patagonia), to the guides who were great fun and knowledgeable, to the food, to the absolutely phenomenal service in each place. One of my sons is gluten free and we all agreed that the staff in the hotels were 100% attentive to his diet, more than anywhere we have seen before! During the Patagonian portion of our trip, we had an opportunity to see the Explora hotels—since Jordan and I had had a few discussions about the hotels, I had to agree Tierra was the best choice for us as Jordan advised. He also suggested staying in the Larrastia neighborhood in Santiago which he was 100% correct about since it was full of life and great wine bars. All our transportation, from in-country flights to private vans were on time and attentive. Both Jordan and Kayli were immediately responsive when an unusual amount of rain had closed some of the attractions in Atacama the week before our trip, and were in touch with people on the ground in Chile. They were also very helpful as well when it came to packing the right clothing-especially important since the weather in Atacama was hot, and that in Patagonia was windy and much colder. Can’t say enough good things about Jordan and Kayli- thanks for a trip our family won’t ever forget and thanks to Wendy’s WOW list!
We just returned from a fabulous trip put together by Jordan and Kayli to Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia. Everything they arranged for us there was six stars. The accommodations they recommended were in secluded and dramatic settings, with superb food and incredible personalized service. The scenery was breathtaking and the guides selected by them for us made sure that we saw it all. Each guide, as I had requested, was also a photographer who helped me tremendously in improving my skills as to what pictures to take and how to take them. I also note that we planned this trip late for us to get into the places that Jordan had suggested, but somehow Jordan (surprising even himself) was able to get it all to work. I highly recommend Jordan and his team.
Jordan and his colleague Amanda were both easy to work with and accommodating of my wishes. The proposed itinerary worked well in practice and contributed immensely to our overall enjoyment of the trip. The suggested hotels worked perfectly for our needs, smaller, boutique establishments with character. The guides he arranged in Santiago, Easter Island and particularly in Mendoza were all excellent. We particularly enjoyed the company of Anna in Mendoza.
Amanda was particularly helpful at the detail level, while Jordan looked more at the big picture. As it should be and as I expected. We would be delighted to have Jordan and his team organize any future visit the region.
My wife and I are back from our first trip to South America, visiting Chile and Argentina. We worked with Jordan and his team to put together a trip that mixed hiking, wine tasting, and big city tours. They did a flawless job organizing the somewhat complex itinerary and provided outstanding guides and drivers in every venue ( which is always critical on these trips). As expected the high-end hotels were excellent but the “boutique” hotels they selected also were great and interesting to visit. For sure, anyone visiting this area should stay at Awasi, even though pricey. The wine tastings that were arranged in Mendoza were well done and our boutique hotel at a vineyard there (Finca Adalgisa) was fun with good wine and a great cooking class. All around a great trip with a good mix of outdoor adventure and luxury touches.
I’m happy to note that our 17-day South American trip planned by Jordan Harvey and his staff (Chile’s Pucón and Puerto Varas followed by Argentina’s Bariloche, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires) was delightful. This is the latest of several trips (at least New Zealand, Hawaii, British Columbia and Eastern Europe) organized for us by your recommended experts. Wendy, you may recall that you helped us switch early on in our South America planning from Maita to Jordan.
Like a lot of professionals who have led or run organizations, we have high expectations and are detail oriented. At the same time, we think that travel should be great fun, we love meeting people, and have established persisting relationships through travel over the decades with people around the world.
Here are some of the things I’d note about Jordan and his team:
— MOST IMPORTANT: RELIABLE JUDGEMENT: Jordan and I initially had a long conversation discussing our style, hopes and (some physical) limitations, and those ideas were beautifully realized in the selection of locations, lodging, activities, and guides. Although such discussions are pretty typical when planning a trip, sometimes details aren’t noticed, are misinterpreted, or aren’t weighted properly by travel planners. Jordan’s choices were pretty much exactly what we were after given our taste, range of experience and budget. In my opinion, this ability to accurately “read” clients is arguably the most important characteristic of a travel planner.
— RESPONSIVENESS: Jordan and Krista, his administrative assistant, were immediately on top of things that we perceived as problems during planning or that arose during the trip itself. For example, we had difficulty scheduling a meal for New Year’s Day in Mendoza for a variety of reasons: because most places were closed for the holiday; the fact that establishments in that region tend to take a very casual attitude toward longer-term (like six weeks…) planning; and the (bordering on comic) expense of being transported on New Year’s. Krista made numerous contacts over months to arrange what became a lovely cooking demonstration and meal at a vineyard, with transportation at about one-third the originally quoted price. We also have relatives whom we wanted to visit spread through Buenos Aires and she was able to arrange private transportation that was punctual, convenient and cost less than the standard taxi services.
— INTERACTIVE EASE: I found Jordan and Krista very easy to relate to verbally and digitally. They always seemed to easily grasp what I wanted and were timely in addressing all issues.
— QUALITY OF GUIDES/TRANSPORTATION: We have traveled extensively and have cultivated, formally and otherwise, a good bit of historical, artistic and cultural experience/knowledge. Because I love expanding my knowledge base, it bothers me when I feel that I may know more about his/her subject than a guide or when he/she is repeatedly unable to address topical questions. The guides arranged by Knowmad were top-notch in terms of both professionalism and scholarship, and very consistent with our style, and the character of the associated transportation and the drivers’ ability to work well with the guides was exactly what I expect from a quality planner. Example: We were usually short of cash because the banks that we visited, especially in Argentina, limited the amount that could be withdrawn from an ATM daily and per visit (apparently related to older currency stabilization laws/regulations that had never been modified). The guides/drivers were both aware of the withdrawal rules and had a circuit of ATMs that they’d weave into the plans for adventure activities.
In sum, we were delighted with Jordan and Krista and would engage them again for South American travel without hesitation.
Jordan Harvey and his team organized our holiday trip to Chile and Patagonia for our family. He asked all the right questions beforehand and custom designed the perfect vacation for our very active family. We missed our connection on the way home and his team member Krista bent over backward. She helped find flight alternatives, furnished us with hotel options, helped plan the following day’s activities and kept in constant contact. She’s a true gem. I would not hesitate to recommend Jordan and his team to anyone planning travel to Chile & Patagonia.
I knew I could work on planning a trip with Jordan after our first phone conversation. He listened to my interests and then provided some suggestions. I truly felt he knew the area we wanted to travel and could provide a great deal of feedback on hotels, itineraries, etc. What I don’t want when planning a trip is a “cookie-cutter” itinerary…Jordan didn’t do that. We had a fabulous ten day trip to Chile and everything went smoothly. His drivers, guides, etc. were all great. I definitely would recommend Jordan and his team for travel in South America.
Great trip. We loved Jordan’s choice of the Explora lodges at both Easter Island and the Atacama Desert. It fit our description of a “land cruise” – the ability for us to spend time together as a family and yet allow different family members to choose different activities during the day depending on our preferences and energy levels. For example in Atacama, one day I went along with a guide for a walking historical tour of San Pedro, my husband and daughter took a bike ride through a beautiful valley and our son hiked with a guide to a mountain top at 18,000 feet!
Jordan of Knowmad Travel was charming, responsive and creative in planning our trip to Chile in February of this year. We were a group of four people with varying degrees of physical ability and diverse interests that ranged from hiking to culture, to meeting local people, appreciating the environment and satisfying our appetite for good food and wine.
Jordan, with much of our input, organized our stays at remarkable resorts in both Chiloe and at Vira Vira in Pucon. The experiences at those places combined all our interests and provided us with extraordinary guides, memorable activities, and excellent food and wine. We got to see the Pablo Neruda houses in Santiago and Valparaiso and were impressed with the guides who accompanied us, some of whom became friends. In addition, when one of our group had her purse taken (with her passport) on the first day in Santiago, Jordan’s team and our guides made sure that we could continue our trip; got in touch with the embassy; took our passportless friend to the embassy before we left for home and got her a temporary passport in an hour. They were totally supportive and helpful.
They should go to the top of your WOW list. Thank you for introducing us to Jordan.
A small group of us just returned from a two-week vacation in Chile (late January to mid-February 2017) arranged by Jordan Harvey and his staff. It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken, thanks in large part to the careful planning and attentive service of the Jordan and his staff. We traveled to southern Chile, Chiloe, and then returned to central Chile to visit Valparaiso and the wine country. All of our destinations and hotels were first-rate, as were the guide services. On top of that, I lost my passport while traveling and Jordan’s staff was very supportive, helping me through the process of getting a replacement. I would definitely use him again on any future vacation to South America.