South America and Back… The Long Way

This week’s trip report takes us to South America and the Pacific islands, as our member RooFlyer flies, drives and cruises around Chile, Argentina and French Polynesia!

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The trip began with a flight to Santiago on LATAM Airlines. This flight was direct but our member would be doing some “island hopping” on the way home, stopping in at Easter Island and Tahiti.

As with most other flights on this trip, our member flew Business class to Chile. Although the service wasn’t bad, RooFlyer seems to be noticing a trend in the LATAM Airlines service…


On the SYD-SCL leg, something I experienced the other time I flew this with LAN. The crew are good and friendly but they very much over-service the Spanish speakers, and under-service the Anglos. I’m sure this is not deliberate on their part – its just that they engage much more easily with the Spanish speakers and so there might be three points of contact there, for every one to an Anglo.

The epic journey included not one, but two AFF meetups! RooFlyer would travel around South America with JohnM, before continuing on to Easter Island with Denali.

After a couple of days in Santiago, we meet up with JohnM and hit the road south to Puerto Montt (Alamo permitting  ) where we join a cruise on the Patagonian fjords for a week, going as far south as the San Rafael glacier. At the end of the cruise, my friends part company with us for a trip to Peru, whilst JohnM and I head east over the southern Andes and then spend a week or so driving up the Argentinian side of the Andes to the Mendoza area (not hard to guess that one) for a couple of days wine indulgence before crossing the Andes again west, and finishing in Santiago.

There, JohnM continues his own trip and my friends re-join me and we fly to Easter Island. Denali and +1 are on the same flight , so we’ll have a mid air AFF catch-up and hopefully some more on the island.

The travellers were joined by around 100 other passengers for the week-long Patagonian cruise. Most other passengers were Spanish speakers, but there were around a dozen other English speakers on board. The English speakers were given their own table and waiter in the boat’s restaurant, and were looked after well. But the cruise wasn’t just about eating and drinking; there was also some amazing scenery to take in. The bright blue San Rafael glaciers made for spectacular viewing.

Although it was disappointing at first about the weather, we soon believed what the crew told us, that overcast weather accentuates the incredible colours of the glacier and icebergs.

After the cruise and a week of wine tasting in the Argentinian countryside, the trip continued to Easter Island, an isolated isle in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The first morning on the island was spent watching the sunrise among Easter Island’s most famous attraction – the mysterious Moai statues.

Our first included by our choice seeing the sunrise at Tongariki, about 40 mins drive to the NE along the coast. The road is unsealed, but pretty good. A real ‘Kodak moment’ – or moments, with the light changing

This trip report is fully of spectacular scenery, tons of helpful travel tips and plenty of delicious South American cuisine. Come along for the ride HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]