Now that I’m in my 40s, paying for bougie vacations is apparently a thing I do. Now that I pay for bougie vacations, I realize that they are totally worth the money. The two months that I spent in Buenos Aires were all a precursor to a running vacation across Patagonia that I booked a whole year ago. It was put on by Vacation Races. I’ve been running at this company’s events since 2018 but this was my first global adventure with them.
For $3,500 (excluding international flights), I got:
- Eight nights in five star hotels with large breakfast buffets included
- Six fully marked out custom race courses on a mix of public and private land, with snacks at each finish line and a cool medal at the end, obviously!
- Nine AWESOME staff members (two from the USA and seven local), including a medic and photographer (some photos on this post are from him and other participants)
- All local transportation, including a domestic flight between locations, in very comfortable coaches and shuttles, with really delicious boxed lunches on travel days
- A swag bag with high-quality gear: a duffle, day pack, trucker hat, sweatshirt, tech-tee, and running nutrition and other small items
- Additional activities like rock climbing, glacier hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and river rafting. The staff also helped people who didn’t want to run every day book alternate activities, like horseback riding and fly fishing. And the staff had a discretionary fund for add-ons, based on the interests of the group, so we also got free massages and bowling.
- Ten insane lunches and dinners (generally served at beautiful ranches along sapphire blue rivers and lakes with snowcapped peaks in the background) with copious amounts of hors d’oeuvres, Argentinian barbecue, empanadas, desserts, and free flowing wine and beer
- Just the right amount of downtime to recharge, use the hotel amenities, and explore the towns
- Perfect weather! Totally out of their control but wow we got lucky. We had one evening of rain and that was it. Partially to fully sunny the whole time. It was pretty windy, but that’s normal for Patagonia. The local staff said it was “breezy” when we were there, not even windy, though some of us would disagree.
I have no point of comparison, but this trip was so well done that every day we didn’t think it could get any better, then somehow it did. Basically, my days were eat, run, eat, drink, lounge around in epic natural settings, do a fun activity, eat, drink, pass out. It felt truly decadent to let the staff worry about all the logistics (and they were on top of it; everything ran so smoothly) and all I had to do was show up when they said to and enjoy myself.
One caveat – this trip was originally supposed to include two days in Torres del Paine, Chile, but because Chile is one of the last COVID restriction holdouts, making entry difficult, the itinerary was adjusted to stay in Argentina. Because of that, a lot of people dropped out. Vacation Races Global Adventures generally have 80 participants, but we were only 35. That size group was perfect. My friend from Denver and I met some other cool people to hang out with but we weren’t waiting around all the time for the staff to herd missing sheep. I’m not sure how the experience would have been with more than twice that many people, but I do know that if I do this kind of trip in the future, I’d like to look for one with a smaller group like this.
Río La Leona, Estancia La Estela, El Chaltén
Race across sand dunes and a rocky beach: 4.33 miles, 352 feet gain (329 feet loss), 45 min 5 sec.
Los Glaciares National Park and Estancia Bonanza
Race across a private ranch through an epic valley with views of Mt Fitz Roy. Mix of single track and dirt road: 5.56 miles, 506 feet gain (560 feet loss), 59 min 13 sec.
Perito Moreno Glacier
Bariloche and Cerro Otto
Race down from Cerro Otto. Mix of single track and dirt road: 3.08 miles, 115 feet gain (1,504 feet loss), 30 min 10 sec.
Lemay River and Estancia El Mangrullo
Race across a private ranch. All wide dirt road: 4.86 miles, 643 feet gain (555 feet loss), 43 min 32 sec.
Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes and Don Horacio
Race across a multi-use, soft dirt public trail in Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes: 6.06 miles, 905 feet gain (642 feet loss), 59 min 41 sec.
Cerro San Martín and Cirse
Race on public trail on Cerro San Martín. Mix of single track and dirt road: 4.69 miles, 961 feet gain (1,040 feet loss), 50 min 08 sec.