I first met Nadia in the lobby of the Hotel Carsson. It was 7:30 PM on a Friday night, and she’d called a meeting together of all the travelers who were arriving for the next trip to Patagonia.
Nadia greeted us warmly, wearing a purple “I Am Freedom” shirt with the G Adventures logo in the middle. We walked over to the empty hotel dining room, and were given a detailed itinerary. We were all visibly excited to meet one another, and kick off the trip.
Nadia introduced herself as our guide to Buenos Aires, and proceeded to go through the itinerary, day by day. As she went from city to city, she filled in the blanks with her recommendations, and afterward, answered our questions.
She had the unfortunate pleasure of telling us our departure time the next morning. A brutally early 4:30 AM to ensure we caught a morning flight to El Calafate.
During her first year as a G Adventures guide in Argentina, she’d lead tours through Patagonia. At that time, they were longer, including the full “W” trek in Torres del Paine, versus the shorter version we would do.
I’d later learn Nadia got her start as a guide with G Adventures leading tours in Central America, from Mexico to Costa Rica, and everywhere in between. During this time, she also had a 6-month stint in Cuba, which she loved, and which further fueled her passion for salsa dancing.
After one year in Central America, she accepted a job offer in Buenos Aires as the Assistant Manager for tours to South America, including Antarctica. In Buenos Aires, she would add tango to her repertoire.
Tours to Antarctica are amongst the most expensive in the G Adventures catalogue. I expect it requires an extra degree of patience and tact when resolving problems for couples who’ve paid up to $20,000 for the chance to visit the most inaccessible continent on Earth.
Nadia would save the day several times on our trip. After she accompanied us to the airport in Buenos Aires for our flight to El Calafate, we proceeded to check in, and get situated at our departure gate. That’s when we heard several of our name’s announced over the intercom.
It turned out there was some kind of mix up between the airline and G Adventures regarding the airfare payment. Unless we paid the difference, we wouldn’t be able to board the plane.
Jens, a Dutch engineer in our group, had Nadia’s number in his phone and immediately gave her a call.
She had yet to leave the airport, and was able to resolve the situation on our behalf so we could board the flight as planned.
Later, when we arrived in Punta Arena, as the town was experiencing its worst flooding in over 20 years, Nadia would work with Christian (our local guide in Patagonia) to ensure we stayed on track, and could visit the penguin colony in Ushuaia since we had to skip it in Punta Arena.
Arriving back in Buenos Aires, after an amazing two weeks in Patagonia, it was Nadia who met us at the Arrivals terminal with a smile, and accompanied us back to The Hotel Carsson
Even though our time with her was short, it was always clear she was doing everything she could to ensure we had the best experience possible.