Ian and Christine – Chile & Falklands (Feb 19)

Thank you Jules and Mags for organising another great holiday to Chile and this year we got to The Falkland Islands! Having to come home early last year we thought that we’d try again and that lightening doesn’t strike twice….and then Mags phoned less than 24 hours before we were due to leave the house … One of the benefits of having a great travel agent is, that when the hotel you’re booked into in the Atacama Desert (one of the driest places on the planet) is flooded and the guests have been evacuated, another hotel is arranged before you know that there is a problem! 

Overlooking El Tatio. Getting ready for a hike

Having visited Chilean Patagonia last year, we decided to head north to the desert. Totally different, but both have amazing geology and stunning scenery. Explora Atacama is a lovely hotel, the staff were all friendly and the guides very knowledgeable.

Our stay in the Elqui Valley was busy, but the hotel was very relaxing. Our driver and guides were excellent. The tour included a visit to an observatory, of which there are many in the valley due to the quality of the air. It was very informative and the skies were clear, and fortunately it was a full moon and not just any moon, but a supermoon! The next day we went to a solar restaurant for lunch, where the heat of the sun is used to cook with!

Lunch cooked by the sun

FIGAS plane

Summer in the Falklands

We arrived in the Falklands to a stiff southerly (from the Antarctic) and woke the next morning to the sight of snow on the mountains. Welcome to a Falkland Island summer! Fortunately we had packed some warm layers.

After clearing the local grass landing strip of sheep, we took a small plane to Sea Lion Island. Our first sight of penguins was from our room at the lodge. The lodge was warm and well organised. After a tour round the island in a 4 wheel drive to show you the basic sights, you were then free to roam at leisure. Lots of penguins, elephant seals and a few sea lions.

King penguins

We also saw the HMS Sheffield memorial, one of the many such memorials to the lives lost in 1982. It was great to spend some time with our daughter in Stanley. She had a car for the day, so we had a visit to the lighthouse, where there is another memorial, this time for the Atlantic Conveyor. The sun shone for our last day in Stanley.

Gentoo & TWJ Balloon tag!

We finished this incredible holiday with a few relaxing days in Santiago which is a lovely city with lots of history (not all good), some really great restaurants and, obviously, delicious wine! And LATAM flights were excellent.

Local refreshments!

Thank you to Travel with Jules for this holiday and also for last year when we needed to cut short our trip and get home quickly. New flights were sorted out in a couple of hours, another benefit of a good travel agent.

  • Our highlights:-
  • The Grey Glacier (last year’s trip to Patagonia).
  • Clearing sheep off a runway, herding them using a landrover.
  • Trekking at 14,000 feet in the Atacama Desert.
  • Lunch cooked by the sun in the Elqui Valley.
  • Being in The Falklands for Sophie’s 30th birthday.

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine 

Elephant seals

How close can I get?

Gentoo penguins

Rockhopper penguins

Stanley Cathedral with whale bones

HMS Sheffield memorial

 

Christine and a cactus!

View from Explora Atacama

Elqui Valley

Stanley