Sunday, March 23:
After a quick breakfast at our hotel we loaded up the car and headed to Salto Grande, just a quarter mile past where we’d parked the previous day for our boat ride across Lago Pehoe. The winds were blowing fiercely, but the air was warm’ish as we made our way the few hundred yards to the viewpoint overlooking Salto Grande.
Saturday, March 22:
I woke early’ish and went for a short walk along the Rio Serrano to see if there were any morning birds a’wing. It was clear and mild, with fantastic views of Torre Grande.
View from outside our hotel
Friday, March 21:
We woke early-ish, packed, and ate a light breakfast. While the others got ready, I walked down to the waterfront to do some morning birding, and was glad I did, as the light was favorable and plenty of birds were out.
Black-necked Swan / Cisne de Cuello Negro
Thursday, March 20:
We woke early and checked out of Kau Yatun, a little sad to be leaving this lovely hotel and its staff, but we had an early bus to catch, and after settling the bill, they called us a taxi to the bus terminal (note to anyone considering taking the bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales – you have to bring your passport when you buy the ticket, and you should really buy them in advance, as they often fill up). Boarding was uneventful, and we settled in for the long, long ride.
Out the bus window, somewhere on RN40 in Argentina
Wednesday, March 19:
We woke up Wednesday morning, breakfasted in the dark due to a power outage, then I walked around Kau Yatun’s grounds and enjoyed the lawn birding, which in addition to the South American Snipes, Upland Geese, and Southern Lapwings, included a few Ashy-headed Geese (LIFER!), and a Bar-winged Cinclodes (LIFER!)
Upland (left) and Ashy-headed (right) Geese
Tuesday, March 18:
After a nice buffet breakfast at our hotel, where we picked up our bag lunches for the day, we sat in the lobby, waiting for our arranged 8:00 pickup to go to Glaciar Perito Moreno. Since practically everyone who is in El Calafate is there to see one or more of the 200+ glaciers in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, there are a great many bus operators, who contract through tour agencies to fill their buses.
We waited and waited, watching a handful of other buses come by to pick folks up, and finally at 8:45, had the front desk call to see what the deal was. As such things usually go, our bus arrived when they were on the phone. It turns out the buses start picking folks up at hotels at 8, however, between folks not being quite ready, and there being many hotels in El Calafate, it doesn’t actually get on the road to the glacier until closer to 9:30.
Note the large tour catamaran for size comparison!
Monday, March 17th:
We woke at 3am (uggh!), checked out of our hotel, and took a cab to nearby Aeroparque Jorge Newberry to catch our 5:45am flight to El Calafate. On the very fast taxi ride we got our first, but by no means last, taste of the strange enmity between Argentina and Chile, when our driver asked about our itinerary, and when we said we were going to Chile from El Calafate, he shook his head, frowned, and implied that it is an awful, unsafe place (which is quite the opposite from our experiences there!).
Black-faced Ibis / Bandurria Austral
Saturday, March 15th:
After packing on Friday, we awoke on Saturday morning and prepared to leave. Fortunately I checked aa.com for our flight, and found that it was delayed by 1.5 hours – not good when we had only a 2-hour layover in Chicago! A quick and painless call to AA customer service got us rerouted on a plane to Buenos Aires via Dallas, a more direct route, and with the same arrival time. Unfortunately Sarah & I did not get seats together for either leg of our trip, which was a bit of a bummer.
From March 16, which I spent on a layover in Buenos Aires en route to Patagonia. Truly a fine place to spend my birthday 🙂