EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Trav Agents 4 S America ski areas
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Trav Agents 4 S America ski areas

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Does anybody have any recommendations for travel agents that they like or that they would advise me to avoid?
'dog
post #2 of 24
I don't use 'em. Esp. when dealing with Portilllo, as there is no savings from direct booking rates.

Just get a plane ticket, and take a taxi to the hill. Done.

Even easier for Valle Nevado, as it's much closer to the airport.

No comment on Argentina, haven't been there.
post #3 of 24
I thought about this http://www.andesskitours.com/powder_dreams_skiing_tour.htm#_point

for a day or so, but decided to stick to my original plan of Extremely Canadian's Las Lenas package for a week, and then non-ski attractions (Rio, Iguazu Falls) for the second week.

My opinion is that Las Lenas is like Europe in terms of lots of uncontrolled off-piste, and that having guides is important. I was impressed by Extremely Canadian at Whistler this March and decided to go with them.

The above URL package was interesting because it also included off-piste guiding, covered the 3 best ski areas in terms of terrain over a 2 week trip, and included the nicest hotel at each resort and the transfers between them. There is another 3-area combo trip that incudes Bariloche instead of Portillo.

If you're only doing Portillo or Valle Nevado, I would agree that do it yourself makes sense. If you're dividing a trip between the two, you might need a package deal through a travel agent to split the lodging, because Portillo in particular likes to book complete weeks only. Yet the package at the above URL incuded just 3 nights at Hotel Portillo.

Logistics in Argentina are messier with transfer flights that may not run every day of the week.
post #4 of 24
Las Lenas poses as particular problem because (as of last year) there is still only one flight per week from Buenas Aires to Malarque, which is about a 2 hr. bus ride from LL. If you miss that flight you are looking at a 15 hour bus ride from BA to LL. I believe that all flights to Argentina (and Chile) are overnight from the US and arrive at about 7:00 in the morning. If you fly in the same day as your domestic flight you are in a position that any flight or baggage delays, local transportation or visa hassles could screw up your entire trip. The usual deal is to fly in the day before, stay in BA, and fly/bus to LL the next day from a different airport. BA is "the Paris of South America" and definitely worth checking out for a day or two.

Some of this info may have changed. I also believe that some travel companies have private charter domestic flights from BA to LL. Everything at LL rolls over on a weekly basis and there are virtually no day skiers. Only about 2,200 guests a week in the LL village and on the slopes.

I agree that Portillo and Valle Nevado are fairly easy to get to from Santiago. If you are going to Las Lenas and you do not speak Spanish fluently you may want some help with a travel agent. We had good luck with Sprotstours, and the people that went through Mark Lasseter and Southamericaski.com all seemed to enjoy it. If you can have someone buy your US-Chile or Argentina plane ticket down there with pesos you can save quite a bit. Bueno suerte.
post #5 of 24
When I went from Europe to Argentina I arranged my own flight down to BA then used this local company to fix the rest. If you hangout in BA for 1-2days and go into a travel agent they can fix everthing.
http://www.badino.com.ar/ski-network/

Mabe Badino can fix everthing from the the Us or Europe now. I had no complaints with them.
post #6 of 24
Seems that laslenasski.com is pretty highly regarded for those headed to LL.

I may be included in that group shortly if it keeps snowing down there.
post #7 of 24
badino is well known here. the friday night bus is an excellent option, just ask for the Executive Bus, the most comfortable of all. You sleep there (it is similar to fliying business) and wake up in LL. It leaves at 6:30 pm. if you are a group you can ask for appartments (tebas, esparta, atenas, corinto) instead of hotels, they are definitely cheaper. from BA a week there could cost around usd 400 (including bus, lifts and appart, no meals), and the same time in Chile is no less than usd 800 (lifts, hotel and meals, no transport).

have returned from LL this morning. the quantity of snow is there, the quality varied from powder to wet to hard (the sun was softening it again when I called it a day). I would say today they are like eastern conditions.

long lines (Monday was a holiday and many people travel from Buenos Aires), although it surely improves in weekdays and normal weekends.
post #8 of 24
So I did a search, and found this topic.

I'm thinking of doing it myself, but want to be in a position to be able to go to Las Lenas or the other Argentine resorts on short notice, maybe for a week, maybe a bit shorter.

Since the hotels all book on a weekly basis, is it possible to be based out of Malargue or somewhere nearby, and how convenient are my transport options from the nearby towns to Las Lenas and back?

And what's easier, getting from Santiago to Las Lenas (looks closer to me on the map), or from B.A.?

And as for Chile, are day trips to Portillo possible from Santiago? They seem to be booked for mid-August, so I was thinking of staying in the city and relying on the shuttles to get me up and down the hill.
post #9 of 24
it is easier to go to LL from Buenos Aires, you can take an overnight bus and wake up there. there are executive bus (like fly in business class).

you can do it from malargue, you can try at LL if it is not full (it shouldn't in week days), or you can try Los Molles, closer to LL than Malargue.

As for Portillo, it is not close enough for you to drive everyday from Santiago. However, you can stay at the capital and travel everyday to Valle Nevado, or La Parva (1 1/2 hours). I would stay there though.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by californian
So I did a search, and found this topic.

I'm thinking of doing it myself, but want to be in a position to be able to go to Las Lenas or the other Argentine resorts on short notice, maybe for a week, maybe a bit shorter.

Since the hotels all book on a weekly basis, is it possible to be based out of Malargue or somewhere nearby, and how convenient are my transport options from the nearby towns to Las Lenas and back?

*Los Molles hotels will cost you about $150 for a week,with breakfast, and it's a 20 minute shuttle to the hill. Malargue is almost an hour ride each way.

And what's easier, getting from Santiago to Las Lenas (looks closer to me on the map), or from B.A.?

*Not too sure. 300 bucks for a flight from BA to Malargue looks like the easiest deal to me.

And as for Chile, are day trips to Portillo possible from Santiago? They seem to be booked for mid-August, so I was thinking of staying in the city and relying on the shuttles to get me up and down the hill.
*2.5 hours each way under GOOD conditions. Not worth it IMO. Plus, LL is going to give you a lot more skiing. If you want to base out of Santiago (great city!), then ski Valle Nevado and its neighbors. It's about an hour closer than Portillo.
post #11 of 24
Agentineskier,

I wonder if you'd know, can you easily rent a car in Malargue, or hire someone to take you to and from Los Molles from LL?

I'm worried that I won't be able to take part in the party scene at Las Lenas if the shuttle only runs 2 times a day (morning/afternoon).
post #12 of 24
Exactly my question- getting around after hours, the party scene in Las Lenas, and the lack of dinner in Los Molles. . .
post #13 of 24
Xdog1: And what's easier, getting from Santiago to Las Lenas (looks closer to me on the map), or from B.A.?

Although Malarque and Santiago are very close as the crow flies (over the Andes), when I was there last year the people that were going to Portillo had to fly back to BA, and then to Santiago. I believe it was the same from LL to Bariloche, which means you fly way far in the wrong direction and then back again. Make sure you get it figured out before you go because they do not have flights from everywhere to everywhere like in the States. Commercial flights from BA to Malaque were only once a week.

I have flown a bit in 3rd world countries and in South America but had the scariest flight in my life from Malarque to Medoza on the way from LL to BA. The winds coming off the Andes can make for some wild air time.
post #14 of 24
I don't have that info, never been to LL, just Portillo. But from what I hear, the appearance on the map is misleading.

Without bad weather, it's probably a shorter drive from Santiago. But from BA, there's no mountain pass or border crossing.
post #15 of 24
I think that the road to Portillo is the Trans-American Highway, and a major truck route. The Argentina border is just a couple miles past the resort, and there were semis backed up for a couple of miles when we drove from Santiago to Portillo. Judging by how often that road is closed for days because of storms, I would think that driving from Santiago to Las Lenas (across the Andes) in the winter would be a pretty dicey proposition. On the other hand, from BA to LL looked completely flat from the plane. I believe it was "pampas", most of which didn't even have trees.
post #16 of 24
I posted some pics of the highway here as I experienced it in 2001 !
http://www.snowmediazone.com/the_zon.../500/ppuser/80

There is a website for the tunnnel ( I will try and find it) . I do know when theres big storms it is often shut for days .
post #17 of 24
Somewhere On this website you can find pass/tunnel conditions
http://www.vialidad.cl/
post #18 of 24
never heard of anybody going from malargue to santiago. it would imply travelling from malargue to mendoza and then drive or take a bus to santiago. the tunnels are often stuck fr days if there is a storm, I would not do it. from argentina to chile we usually fly. i live in buenos aires, but i guess there must be a fly from mendoza to chile...

malargue is a very simple town, i really dont know if you can rent a car there. however, the cost of renting a car would probably offset the savings from staying there. to be honest, i have always stayed in LL directly, the cheapest options are Cirrus and Apart Tour appartments (4 people minimum). los molles is even smaller, surely no rent a car there.

a lot of powder snow now in LL and Valle Nevado. hard stuff in Bariloche.
post #19 of 24
Thanks for the info. Looks like the passes over the Andes are not advised by road. I'll probably opt for the B.A. charter flight. Not fun hauling equipment around from bus to bus. . .

And I'll look into those apartments.
post #20 of 24
I can vouch for Agentineskier comments on Marlague. It is a small shante town. The airfield is to be said "basic" ! When I went there was only a one scheduled sevice from BA to Malargue a week (change over day). LL lays on shuttle buses for the flight arrival. Los Molles is just a transit point.

Because I was only in LL for 5 days I had to get a taxi from LL to St Rafael (very good wine region) . All the travel was arraganged by http://www.badino.com.ar/ski-network/

I used Southern Winds Airlines to get around Argentina.

I think Lan Chile fly from Santiago to Mendoza
post #21 of 24
Well, it looks like things are getting a bit settled. Any comments on the hostel in Los Molles, Refugio Andino Pehuenche?? And any recs on staying in Mendoza for a night (near the bus station, to catch that early bus)?

It will probably be a five or six day stay in Las Lenas, but it's coming together!
post #22 of 24
When r u going?
post #23 of 24
early- mid-August.
post #24 of 24
Hm, if I make it at all, it's now looking like 2nd half of Sept.

Kind of sucks, because at that point, N.A. skiing's only 2 months away. But at least prices will have dropped by then to the point where I can actually stay @ LL.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Trav Agents 4 S America ski areas