Estancia Alta Vista
From D.H., Washington, D.C.
We arrived in Patagonia after two weeks of hiking and kayaking through Brazil, Chile and the southern tip of Argentina. We then came up to do the glaciers while staying at Hosteria Alta Vista. Alta Vista is a wonderful little white house with only seven rooms and a pretty garden. The rooms are simple with very small bathrooms. There is nothing about the lodge that’s luxurious in the sense that some people might think, but the accommodations are comfortable and the setting beautiful. I thought the service was also great, and although the food wasn’t exceptional, it was certainly very good. Even though it was nothing like the Palacio Duhao, where we stayed in Buenos Aires, the simplicity of it and the access to nature and the outdoors made it one of our favorite places we stayed on the whole trip – Alta Vista in particular, and Patagonia in general. We are naturally geared towards active types, but even if you aren’t athletic, you could sit in the lounge and read all day and be fine. I would recommend it highly to any sophisticated traveler.
The woman who owns Alta Vista is a very serious woman who periodically comes to visit to check on it, but the two people who are running it are a husband and wife in their 30s. The young woman was sophisticated and attractive, and I was impressed with her ability to deal with a variety of guests. There was one couple on the trip that was horrible, and she handled it perfectly and was able to help them feel welcome. The husband, Federico, was a gaucho, who handled all the horses, and he was just simply drop-dead gorgeous. You have never have seen a guy this attractive, with this incredible physique and sheep skin chaps. You couldn’t even look at him he was so handsome! If you weren’t going to see the Perito Moreno glacier, he would make arrangements so you could ride all day if you wanted to. But you definitely have to be aware of the risks with riding. On the day we visited Estancia Cristina, we returned to Alta Vista around 5:30 or 6, and they asked if we wanted to go riding. We went down to the stable, and there was Federico. Off we went, galloping away on these horses. He took us up into the hills then down to various buildings that are used as a working farm by the same family. On the way back, it was getting dark so we returned galloping the whole way on a dirt road. Half way home, Federico looked back and my husband’s saddle was falling off and he quickly stopped us so he could fix it. Although he wasn’t babysitting anyone, he was at least aware of the horse situation and what was good for people riding.
Dinner is served in a very small dining room each night. You don’t have a choice of meal, but everything was very good. The dishes were local specialties – a stew one night, fish another night – and included four full courses. If you wanted to sit with somebody else, you could, or you could also choose to sit alone. The service for every aspect of the lodge was very good. What was most appealing about Alta Vista, though, was that it was so isolated (a long, forty-minute slog on a dirt road just to get to the main highway) and the extraordinary scenery. You could look in either direction and not see a single telephone pole or wire. Some people might find that a bit daunting, but we loved the sense of true isolation. One day we were coming back in the jeep with our driver, and I looked out and noticed a guy filming with a very elaborate camera. I thought, that’s very odd, what is he doing out here? Turns out it was Francis Ford Coppola. He is planning to shoot a movie down there.