Most Inspirational Moment
For us the hiking in El Chalten ranks amongst the "best of the best" in the world. The day walk to the Fitzroy viewpoint was absolutely sensational, with the trek to Cerro Torre base camp only marginally less so. Completing the W trek was also very satisfying. Finally, the extension to Iguassu Falls was an amazing way to end the holiday - very well managed and a great experience. Don't miss the boat ride!
Thoughts on Group Leader
Tomas is a "people person" with a big warm heart. He managed a large and varied group with great skill, and as a result everything worked well. The Chilean trek leader on the W trek set an erratic pace (very lengthy stops), spent a lot of time on his mobile phone and didn't allow people to walk at their own pace. We'd rate him as a leader as very average. In contrast the female leader in El Chalten, Aime, was exceptional - as good as any leader we've ever had. Only one negative for Tomas which I will repeat here since he didn't react positively to my complaint - it is highly dangerous for a guide to make lengthy commentaries whilst wandering around a bus travelling at 70 mph. He did this repeatedly and for long periods. He needs to know that it has cost him a nomination for "leader of the year" from us.
Advice for Potential Travellers
Pray for good weather! We were very lucky, as weather will likely make or break the trip given the cost and distances that need to be travelled to get to, and around, Patagonia. You need to be prepared for anything, at any time, as the local climate is notoriously changeable. This will also affect how the grading of the walking feels. Our weather was very mild, so the grade of hiking did not feel like a 5, but we could see how that could change. We'd recommend extending the trip to ensure you have time to recover from the lengthy flight and to see Buenos Aires - which is a lovely city - and also to visit Iguassu Falls on the optional Exodus extension. This was outstanding.
Big thanks to our group leader, Tomas, and to the rest of our group for being so sociable throughout.