Made it home so now its time for the trip recap. I'm going to post a few more pictures and provide you all with a list of the places I stayed, food I ate and resources I used.
As with most travel, my three weeks in Argentina and little side trip to Chile, have among many other things, given me a desire to see more of both countries. I heard so much said about the north of Argentina that I've added a bunch of places to my list that I didn't know exited - Salta, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy Province. And some places I had heard of but now are must sees - Mendoza and the road to Santiago over the Andes. Chile is a whole land of possibilities too and it would take too long here to describe what I'd like to see, suffice it to say it would take much longer than 3 weeks.
I don't have a favourite so I'll just head off that question. Each spot had beautiful things about, and as usual with travel, less pleasant aspects. Overall I found the people I interacted with to be charming and welcoming. It obviously helped that I speak Spanish (badly) but even with that, its a country that can be traveled quite easily with English.
What guide books did I use? Only one - Fodor's Argentina (2012). Decent with some information being outdated. Guide books, though, are just an introduction. Most of the best information I got from local sources as you'd expect.
Here is a little description of each place with details of hotels and restaurants.
Bariloche/Villa La Angostura/El Bolson - Villa Huinid. Friendly, simple but with touches of luxury. I didn't use the spa spending all my days outside. It caters to big groups of Argentines, Brazilians and families. The hotel is about a mile outside of Bariloche, which is a good thing. Bariloche isn't the most charming place so all the best spots are a mile or so down the road towards Llao Llao. The food in the restaurant, which I hit up twice because I was too tired to head into town a couple of nights, was good with a great wine selection.
Best food in Bariloche was Alto de Fuego. Delicious, friendly, beautiful spot. Just read the TA reviews.
Next stop was Torres del Paine. I had a day of travel between Bariloche to El Calafate with a stop over in BA which let me visit the Recoleta Cemetery.
Torres del Paine was extraordinary and no one has to do it the way I did. There are a few other places to stay there that are very nice and much less expensive (Hotel Las Torres, or the refugios in the park). Anyhow, here is where I stayed - Hotel Explora. It was FANTASTIC.
One of my favourite picture:
After Torres del Paine, I went back to El Calafate and saw the Glacier. That was a trip and a wish long desired. Now here is where my plans changed from what was expected. Thanks to a tip from a lovely couple I left El Calafate to El Chalten and the Hosteria El Pilar. This place was a gem.
Now I'm home. Next stop: India and Bhutan starting on April 8th. Stayed tuned!