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  1. #51
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    LaLa Land
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    Wow, what a cool adventure for the fam. As the father of 3 I can imagine the challenges of traveling down there with kids. Thanks for sharing!

    So I was a guide at Ecolodge San Luis 20+ years ago!?!? So cool to hear its still there! Would love to see more picts of it! I'm guessing it isn't still run by an older American couple who were biologists? Shit they were older (60's) in '97 when I was there so I doubt it. I think it was Barbara and Malcolm. They founded the place I'm guessing in the late 80's/early 90's. I used to take the visiting students to play soccer with the locals, ride the milk truck to Monteverde, and get them on the buses/ferries throughout CR, while hauling my surfboard! Ahh, great memories, thanks for bringing them back!

    We then went from Panama to Belize by bus for a few months so your trip is a huge blast from the past! Learned how to dive on Utila, surfed in Dominical, backpacked around and through Corcovado (never been so hot and miserable in our tent). Also studied abroad in Santiago so was lucky enough to visit Machu Pichu, Cusco, and Patagonia.

    My beta is all 20+ years ago, but I loved Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in Argentina near Calafate. Calafate itself was sorta a dumpy town on a dirt road and the gate way to the park, but the camping, hiking, and backpacking in the park was amazing. I enjoyed it more than Torres del Paine and it more than Tierra del Fuego. There is something cool about Ushuaia, and being on Tierra del Fuego, but I much enjoyed the hiking and camping in the national parks.

    Please keep the picts coming and since this is TGR, where are the bikini picts of the wife
    He who has the most fun wins!

  2. #52
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    Mar 2006
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    Didn't realize you were traveling with kiddos. Now some of your "security" concerns and questions make a bit more sense. Looks like a rad trip, I'm jealous!

    areas of CR that I've enjoyed:
    Volcano Arenal (waterfall repelling was super fun)
    Dominical (little surf town with some expats living there)
    Puerto Viejo & Punta Uva area on the Caribbean side, has a totally different vibe than the rest of CR, felt more jamaica'ish
    Quepos and Manuel Antonio was just OK for me, the park was nice but I didn't think much of the Quepos

  3. #53
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    Aug 2007
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    Wilson
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    Quote Originally Posted by comish View Post
    So I was a guide at Ecolodge San Luis 20+ years ago!?!? So cool to hear its still there!

    My beta is all 20+ years ago, but I loved Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in Argentina near Calafate.
    It sounds like University of Georgia stepped in for the founders of San Luis since you were there. It seems to be in good hands. Such a cool place and a huge steal in terms of price for what you get. I have tons of pics and would be happy to share with you what we experienced there. Tons of activities guided by the interns who are very professional and informative. Tremendous for kids. Also, pro tip, stay in Cabin #1, it is the only one that has a view of the valley where we watched kapuchins and coati running around in the canopy a hundred feet off the ground. It is a dry campus now, however.

    Heading to Glacier park on March 6th, hope we like it as much as you did. Since you were there I understand El Calafate has blown up in size, 25k+ people now?

    Oh and here, this is all you get, from Marino Ballenas in Uvita:
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfinn View Post
    Didn't realize you were traveling with kiddos. Now some of your "security" concerns and questions make a bit more sense. Looks like a rad trip, I'm jealous!
    We didn't make it to Arenal but did go to Domincal. A great town to just hang out in, an incredible band played two nights at Tortilla Flats while we were there. And also lots of easy excursions if you have a car
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Wilson
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    I take for granted good internet at home. Its been two weeks since I've been able to upload a pic! A lot has happened. For starters, our car got robbed in Costa Rica at the crocodile bridge in Carara NP. Lost a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff but also my kid's inhaler and baby carrier as well as my note book for the past 6 months of job leads. Major bummer. In a twisted way its kind of interesting to see how the guys did it. I posted vids from a shopowner's camera in the padded room here . They jammed the signal for my key fob so when I left my car in the parking lot unattended for two minutes I thought it was locked and they knew it wasn't. I actually realized it didn't beep the SECOND time back to the car and saved all the rest of the stuff. What a crapshow that day was.

    But back to the main event. Next stop was Peru for Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Thank you so much WMD for prodding us to go and telling us to stay in Ollantaytambo. What a great town. I'm glad we went even during rainy season, but mainly because we eked out a sunny day at MP. The tourists the day before were not so lucky...

    High points: Obviously the ruins. That my son hiked to the top of the lookout at Olly, totally awesome. Olly town was amazing and the food at Apu Veronika was even better. Kuychipunku Hostal in Olly and the family that runs it. Getting upgraded to the first class train cabin from Olly to MP. Totally unexpected and a top ten experience for me. Nice rooms at Gringo Bill's in Agua Caliente. Lack of crowds during rainy season and that the Inca Trail is closed in February which reduces the traffic

    Low points: logistics are complicated and confusing to get from Cusco to MP and back. We spent 8 days in all and it was a real grind with the kiddos. Stayed in Lima, Ollantaytambo, Agua Caliente, Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Lima (then Buenos Aires and Puerto Piramides). Torturous stretch for travel but so worth it. If you need a crash course ever, hit me up because I get it now. Or just hire someone like WMD. Without kids or need to acclimatize you could simplify. Buying a book of tour stamps and not realizing they had to be used in three days. That was a waste of $80 when we went to see Moray and Chinchero on the back end of the trip

    I also learned there are a lot of dang trout in the local rivers (which were blown out due to rainy season). May - Sep this could be a sleeper trout destination

    Hiking with my little girl in Ollantaytambo
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    Ollantaytambo ruins
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    Consequential gardening in those Machu Picchu terraces (perhaps Candide can gap the cliff to a waiting heli?)
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    Family MP shot
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    When the kids were insolent they were placed in ancient shelves
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    Next stop Peninsula Valdes in Argentine Patagonia!
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  5. #55
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    Oct 2011
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    Sucks about getting robbed. Great pics and update. Thanks for letting us all live vicariously through you and your fam.

  6. #56
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    Aug 2007
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    We started our time in Patagonia in the coastal town of Puerta Piramides on Peninsula Valdes. The area is known for Right Whales near the beach from June to November and orcas beaching themselves to eat sealions. Also tons of other sea life. We gave it a shot for 5 days. Very rugged, beautiful and remote.

    Highlights: San Lorenzo penguin colony, kids reactions were priceless. Driving 1.5 hours on gravel roads to deserted beaches passing only several cars. Wife diving with sealions. Unfreaking believable skies at night.

    Lowlights: Not much in terms of food selection. ATM machine permabroken. No whale sightings of either kind

    Beautiful coastline along Peninsula Valdes
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    Orca lookout unfruitful this day
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    Ma, meatloaf
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    Trying to keep it in the lines at Estancia San Lorenzo penguin colony
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    Father son chat
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    High density area of San Lorenzo penguin colony
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    Gray foxes on the prowl
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    Killer skies here
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    Last edited by kokomas; 03-02-2019 at 09:36 PM.
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  7. #57
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    Aug 2007
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    Wilson
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    We are in Ushuaia, Argentina now, pictures to come. I now know what king crab is supposed to taste like, oh my freaking god. Pumped that we decided on the second half of our trip: Argentina through April (El Calafate, El Chalten, San Martin de Los Andes) -> Galapagos early May-> Medellin late May -> Belize June

    trying to figure out the last three stops now, any advice much appreciated! In Galapagos , flying into GPS, looking for last minute cruise deals and be prepared to stay on land if not. 10 days in order to find a fit.

    Medellin for two weeks for kids/city stuff maybe some more Spanish lessons (they are sorely needed)

    Then Belize end of May, most of June to fish and dive. Searching around the Belize threads last night got me very fired up to also try and see a jaguar, go to mayan ruins, etc. thanks to Telee and Wildman and all of you really. It is amazing how much I learn from being on tgr. Looking something like this for starters: San Ignacio on all of your recommendations, Placencia or Hopkins or Ambergis for the bulk of the trip. Cheap, fishing, diving, beaches. Afraid of the bugs! Then wrap it up with a few days at an all inclusive to celebrate. El Pescador seems to be running a 2fer so looking at that. Also in the running Tranquility Bay, Tarpon Caye Resort, maybe something on Turneffe (expensive) or Glovers (wife approval?)
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  8. #58
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    Nov 2006
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    Bozeman
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    Glad Peru worked out but sorry to hear it was stressful. Lots of moving with kids sure can be rough.

    I've got lots of Galapagos info I'll share with you when I have a bit more time. Spent a month there with the family a few years ago (I've done land and cruises) and my brother in law is there with his 9 and 8 year olds now. I'll also chime in on Belize, but it sounds like you've got others offering info there.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMD View Post
    Glad Peru worked out but sorry to hear it was stressful. Lots of moving with kids sure can be rough.

    I've got lots of Galapagos info I'll share with you when I have a bit more time. Spent a month there with the family a few years ago (I've done land and cruises) and my brother in law is there with his 9 and 8 year olds now. I'll also chime in on Belize, but it sounds like you've got others offering info there.
    Thanks WMD. Your help has been amazing. Hiked in El Chalten today with kids and it was great. 8km took 5 hours but stoked my boy walked the whole way. Totally worth it to come here
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  10. #60
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    Mar 2005
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    land of the free
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    Holy hell, great trip, but can’t imagine with kids that young.

    Your son will have vague memories.
    Your daughter will only know it from the pictures

    But you and wifey will cherish forever

    Safe travels
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  11. #61
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    Feb 2010
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    28,888
    what trip A kokomas!
    .

  12. #62
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    Aug 2007
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    Wilson
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    We have been getting around Patagonia taking local flights. It has been nice to have some chase ultimate reward points and a reserve card for this. We have been staying for five about days each at some of the major sights in the Argentinian section. Ushuaia was our second stop. We had a decent Airbnb in the middle of town for $65 per night with a loft. By far the best thing we did was eat crab at El Viejo Marinero. El Che boat tour of Beagle Channel was awesome and a taxi / small hiking tour of Tierra del Fuego park as well. 4x4 trip was fun and the meal was great but way overpriced. This travel is very taxing with the kids and we were both looking forward to settling down in a couple weeks, if only to stop re-packing! Next was El Calafate and El Chalten and now we are slowing down for a month in San Martin de los Andes, looking for people to fish with and hang out with in general in case you know any!

    Ushuaia is a bigger town than I realized
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    Fur seal in Beagle Channel
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    Les Eclaireurs lighthouse
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    A few more pics when I can get them to upload
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  13. #63
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    Aug 2007
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    Wilson
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    Isla Bridges
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    Tierra Del Fuego National Park
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    My wife went diving in Beagle Channel kelp forest in a full dry suit, I give her credit
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    Crab!
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    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  14. #64
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    Feb 2005
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    Noice.

  15. #65
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    Great shots. That crab looks delish.

  16. #66
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    Goniff, hard to explain how much better those crabs were than any others I've had. Must be like that in Alaska during the season too I'm guessing.

    Next stop was El Calafate in Argentina for a couple days in early March. The main thing we did was take a day cruise into Los Glaciares Parque Nacional with the Marpatag tourism company. We wanted to also tour the park's extensive metal pathways around the the Perito Moreno glacier but couldn't pull it off as we were tired from travels. Probably worth it to budget two days for the glaciers if you go there as the boat trip was great but didn't spend all that much time at the money spot. We also walked around the Laguna Nimez Reserva on the last day. Nice walk (especially for birders) and close to town

    Highlights:
    Calving Perito Moreno glacier, scotch on glacier rocks, fun time at La Zorra brewery and good IPA

    Lowlights:
    The cruise ship captain backed into a small iceberg while I was on the stairwell. Since i'm at least half mag I stuck the landing, while not hitting my head on the low ceiling or breaking my ankles. Proud. Also, first class cabin on the day-cruise wasn't worth it with kids, just too much to expect from them to be quiet and calm all day. We have learned along the way to push it much less. Very difficult to find breakfast in Argentina apart from sweet bread. Tough with a hangry family in the morning

    Laguna Nimez Reserva
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    Icebergs all over the place in Los Glaciares Parque Nacional
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    Prettiness all around
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    Upsala glacier not looking so good
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    Couldn't get too close to Spegazzini glacier, I guess the captain was gun shy with icebergs by this point
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    Calving Perito Moreno glacier
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    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  17. #67
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    Not sure how I missed this thread but this is awesome! We always figured traveling when our kids were those ages wasn't always "fun", but was an investment in future travels. But you guys went whole hog! After this experience they'll be hopping buses across Central Asia before they can drive! Their memories might be vague but the lessons they're learning will stick with them forever.
    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do."

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo View Post
    Not sure how I missed this thread but this is awesome! We always figured traveling when our kids were those ages wasn't always "fun", but was an investment in future travels. But you guys went whole hog! After this experience they'll be hopping buses across Central Asia before they can drive! Their memories might be vague but the lessons they're learning will stick with them forever.
    Ha ha JJJJS, yes whole hog. Thanks for the encouragement. We have run into some other parents like us including some Alaskans with 9 kids! But the others mainly pick a place and stay put for a while. In retrospect our itinerary turned out crazy, but the payoff is my wife and I have gotten to see tons of things on our lists too: Roatan (Honduras) -> Utila -> Montaverde (CR) -> Playa Samara -> Playa Dominical -> Cusco (Peru) -> Ollantaytambo -> Aguas Calientes -> Lima -> Buenos Aires (AR) -> Puerto Piramides -> Ushuaia -> El Calafate -> El Chalten -> San Martin dlA -> Buenos Aires -> Quito Ecuador -> Galapagos -> Medellin -> Belize. Once we got through Machu Picchu we decided the second half of the trip needed to include some downtime in San Martin, Medellin and Belize. It has been a great experience so far but less so in terms of pure travel and more so in endurance and getting to know my family after many years in the NYC grind.
    Last edited by kokomas; 05-22-2019 at 01:56 PM.
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  19. #69
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    We ended up taking a taxi (aka remi) from El Calafate to El Chalten and back. It worked out better than a bus and comparable to a rental car (which were all sold out). Was cheaper to have the El Calafate guy pick us up rather than finding a remi in El Chalten. The drive is three hours of nothingness and then Fitzroy / Chalten peak appears. Can't thank WMD enough for convincing us to make the effort.

    Highlights: seeing the Wandering Heffalump rv which set off all kinds of want, my son making the whole 7km Fitzroy viewpoint hike (by counting caterpillars in the trail)

    Chorrillo del Salto hike (easy)
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    Cerveceria Artesanal Chalten had decent beer and kids loved the juice
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    Wildlife
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    Mirador Fitzroy hike (moderate)
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    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  20. #70
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    Fantastic shots! Any of those glaciers worth skiing?

  21. #71
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    So sorry I never got my Galapagos notes to you. I've had an eventful spring with back surgery and now knees, but sorry! Hope you had a blast.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMD View Post
    So sorry I never got my Galapagos notes to you. I've had an eventful spring with back surgery and now knees, but sorry! Hope you had a blast.
    Oh man heal up quick and solid man. Don't worry about that at all, we did great. Will post on a couple days
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  23. #73
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    San Martin de los Andes Argentina was an incredible place to stay for six weeks. Thanks for pointing us in that direction. We made some friends and have a lot of recommendations for fishing guide, places to stay and eat, hikes, hit me up if you want them. The weather was unbelievably nice: warm during the day and crisp at night. We were told this is unusual; as you get closer to May its usually socked in and rainy most of the time. Got lucky.

    highlights: we felt like the only gringos in town in April, not moving every couple days, fly fishing the famous rivers with some of Junin de los Andes' old guard, finding an amazing nanny for the kids, sacking up for a rental car to drive all over creation on dirt and gravel roads, bife al disco con verduras with the rangers at Lanin park, meat shops

    lowlights: grocery stores, bakeries everywhere but not a loaf of decent bread, did I mention the roads


    the town
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    We ate meat and cheese
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    We did a lot of exploring
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    and found some fishy spots
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    Next stops Buenos Aires and then the Galapagos!
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    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  24. #74
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    1,091
    Awesome! Great pics. Heading down there to fish is pretty high on the list for a 5th wedding anniversary for me and the wife(still got a few years). Reminds me a lot of Montana fishing wise.

  25. #75
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
    Quote Originally Posted by lifelinksplit View Post
    Awesome! Great pics. Heading down there to fish is pretty high on the list for a 5th wedding anniversary for me and the wife(still got a few years). Reminds me a lot of Montana fishing wise.
    You should! Hit me up for info anytime. The vastness is incredible. The San Martin area is not quite the scenery of El Chalten or even parts of Montana but it is a great town with tons of activities close and far. Better to stay there and drive the extra forty minutes to the good water if you have non fishers in tow. My wife and kids loved it. If it were just me I'd stay in some combination of Junin or Aluminé solely for fishing as there is a lot of driving. I found the fishing to be good but not great honestly. It's different, most guys there like fishing streamers with sinktips for migratory trout near the lake mouths. I got into it a bit. I fished mostly public and semi-private water and had some good days and one excellent day of headhunting on the Collón Cura. It wasn't crowded in general which I liked. But there are not monster fish are everywhere though. Honestly I'd probably rather fish the Mo' than most of what I did there. There are enough meat fishermen that you need to hike aways to find the wild, more so than Montana. Private water is excepted from my statement, I did not pay up for a big lodge or anything like that. But my guides had knowledge of those places and actually thought some of that was picked over. Not to dissuade you, they did take me to one or two absolute gems and I'd fish there anytime. Next time I get the chance I'd also consider trying the Esquel area or Coyhaique, Chile and Rio Simpson
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

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