Four Weeks Visiting Patagonia, Atacama and Mendoza

Robin Boyle Latin America, Travel, Wine

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This post follows on from: Cazuelas and Empanadas

On the 12th of March 2017, sixteen of us started a four week tour of the southern parts of South America. Everyone in the group knew each other, all friends of ours. It was a private tour organised for us by our Melbourne travel agent, Natural Focus Safaris. It would be one of the most memorable trips any of us had ever done. After a few days in Buenos Aires we would fly to the southern most tip of South America to Ushuaia. We would see some of the most historical and mystical places on Earth: Tierra del Fuego,  Cape Horn and Punta Arenas. From there we would make our way back north criss-crossing the border between Argentina and Chile, ending up as far north as the Atacama Desert before crossing back over the Andes to visit the wine region of Mendoza.

We travelled by cruise ship, train, boat, plane and bus. We will take you through the various stages of the trip in the coming blog posts. But our goal will be to cover the trip as a food and wine experience as much as a sightseeing one.

Our expectations about spectacular scenery would certainly be realised. And we knew we would be sampling wines from two of the world’s major producers. But we did not really know what to expect in regard to food and restaurants.

Being at latitudes well south of Tasmania and sometimes more southerly than Macquarie Island, we expected isolated settlements but found thriving communities. We expected the cooking of pioneers, explorers, lumberjacks, ranchers, miners and fishermen. We found much of that but we also found interesting and modern cuisine with a distinctive southerly South American edge.

Our fears were quickly allayed in Ushuaia where we had a most magnificent lunch of king crab.

And when we boarded our cruise ship to take us to Cape Horn and through the Tierra del Fuego archipelago we soon realised we would be eating rather stylishly.

In the next post we will feature our Dulce de Leche Deluxe.

And as we travel north we will feature other dishes that took our fancy.

Zuchinni carpaccio: could there be a more refreshing entree in such a cool climate?

We ate a lot of Patagonian lamb.

And saw a lot of ice! 

And in the shadows of Andean volcanoes we stayed in a boutique hotel serving haute cuisine.


In Chile, on the edge of the southern Pacific Ocean, the fishing ports give you access to extraordinary seafood.

Atacama is a world away from Patagonia but again we found that eating and drinking was of a very high standard.

Our lodge arranged drinks and nibbles for us on the edge of salt lakes.

   And also arranged a tasting of Chilean wines.

By the pool, under beautiful blue skies, there was little need to become dehydrated.

We would leave the Atacama and drive eastwards through the Andes, on one of the most extraordinary roads anywhere.

On the other side we would eventually reach Mendoza where we would get to try the region’s wines.

And fulfill one our dreams and a major goal of the whole trip – a visit to Francis Mallmann’s restaurant.

Click here for the next stage in our South American journey: Tierra Del Fuego and Cape Horn!