Fire and Ice


When I decided to go a little outside my comfort zone for my big 2017 trip, I did a lot of things I’ve never done before:

  • My first time to the southern hemisphere
  • First time overseas to not-Europe
  • First time on a group tour with people I didn’t already know
  • Most flights (12) on a single trip
  • Most extreme climate contrasts on a single trip (everything from hot and humid sub-tropical to cold and snowy mountains)
  • Longest trip ever (30 days)
  • Most expensive trip ever ($100,000,000,000.07, give or take)

It turned out to be a spectacular experience from start to end. Read about it in the blog posts below, and check out all the photos.

Photo Albums


I created a highlights album for those who are time constrained and don’t want to spend hours going through my hundreds of photos of interesting wildflowers and multiple views of the same mountain or lake or waterfall.

Top 100

For those who really want a deep dive, here are all my separate photo albums.

Santiago (42 photos)
Rapa Nui (141 photos)
Bariloche (138 photos)
Puerto Varas (122 photos)
Pargua (42 photos)
Chiloé (103 photos)
Punta Arenas (55 photos)
Torres del Paine (144 photos)
El Calafate and Los Glaciares (95 photos)
Buenos Aires (151 photos)
Yacutinga (98 photos)
Iguazu (85 photos)
Rio de Janeiro (228 photos)

Blog Posts


South America Bound! (2/11/2017) - I'm very excited about my next trip, which will take me to a new continent (my third after North America and Europe). I'm going to be spending four weeks visiting Argentina and Chile (with a brief jaunt into Brazil). I decided to try a tour this time, and I have mixed feelings about it. I more...
Rio Flying down (or across) to Rio (9/1/2017) - You know that feeling you get when you've planned a trip that includes a one-day jaunt into Brazil, and so you have to get vaccinations that cost over $300 and you have to pay an additional $265 to apply for a Visa? Yeah, me too... So I decided that as long as I have to more...
Worrying Worrying (10/19/2017) - I'm a worrier. I don't know why I'm a worrier, and I'm not going to worry about why, because I have enough other things to worry about. But here I am, just about two weeks from my next big trip, and I've got all these things I'm worried about. Will I pack efficiently? Will I more...
Bienvenido a Santiago (11/4/2017) - Remember when I said I am a worrier? Two weeks before I was set to leave on this trip, I fell and twisted my ankle. For a day, I couldn't walk, and I wondered if I'd have to cancel the trip. Fortunately, the ankle healed. Until I fell again last Monday on the same ankle. more...
Iorana (11/5/2017) - Sunday, November 5 We had a very early start this morning, departing from our Santiago hotel at 6:55 to get to the airport and fly to Rapa Nui. We flew on a 787 Dreamliner, my first time on this plane. Instead of window shades, they have buttons under the windows that allow you to darken more...
Where the airs are good (11/11/2017) - Thursday, November 9 By the time I got to sleep last night, I didn't really get to sleep last night. I was still on island time, two hours behind Santiago time, and then I was just restless. Plus, with a 5:00 a.m. wake-up, I kept checking the clock to make sure I wouldn't oversleep, in more...
Bariloche Bariloche and environs (11/14/2017) - Saturday, November 11 It was about a two hour flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. We checked in to our lovely hotel about a mile outside of town, and after we got settled we went back into town for a brief orientation walk with Federico. One of the things Bariloche is famous for is chocolate, more...
Back into Chile (11/16/2017) - Tuesday, November 14 As the crow flies it's only about 80 miles from Bariloche, Argentina, to Puerto Varas, Chile, but to drive around all the lakes took the better part of the day. And that was to our benefit, because we got some beautiful scenery all the way. It was remarkable how quickly the terrain more...
A Day in the Life (11/16/2017) - Thursday, November 16 Today was not about seeing beautiful scenery or learning about history or politics or economics or geology. Today was about people. Specifically, today was about the people of Pargua, a community of about 800 on the north shore of the Chacao Channel separating Chiloé Island from the Chilean mainland. We spent a more...
Los pingüinos (11/18/2017) - Saturday, November 18 This morning we have a 10:30 flight from Puerto Montt to our southernmost destination, Punta Arenas (literally "Sandy Point"), on the Strait of Magellan. To get to the airport we have to ride the bus a half hour to get to the ferry, then the half-hour ferry ride back to the mainland, more...
A One-Night Stand with Ferdinand Magellan (11/18/2017) - Saturday, November 18 We flew SKY from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas, a flight of a little over two hours. SKY is the budget airline of South America, and it felt like it. So it was good to get off the plane. We met Kris, our local guide, and got on our bus. On the more...
That feeling (11/20/2017) - Monday, November 20, 6:18 pm You have been on the go all day. Finally, you have a few hours in the evening to just relax. So you're sitting in the bar of the lodge, staring at the spectacular view. You have hundreds of pictures yet to download from your camera from the last two days more...
Sheep, Ice, and Money (11/21/2017) - Tuesday, November 21 We drove out of Torres del Paine this morning. We made a stop at the visitors center, where Kris showed us on a model of the park where we'd been and what we'd seen. And we had time for one final stop to admire the scenery of this stunning park. We also more...
Glacier and Birds (11/22/2017) - Glacier As Fede said when we departed this morning for the drive to Los Glaciares National Park, this is "the icing on the cake -- literally." I suppose it is literally "ice," but there's no literal "cake." Still, Fede's first language is Spanish. And lots of native English speakers get "literally" wrong. Anyway, we were more...
Puente de la Mujer Back to Buenos Aires (11/24/2017) - We flew back to Buenos Aires from Calafate on Thursday and returned to the same hotel where we stayed two weeks ago. It's hard to believe our time in Patagonia is over. But I'm happy to be back in Buenos Aires, a city that I love the more time I spend here. Return to Recoleta more...