Our travel route through Patagonia
We traveled Patagonia for 5 weeks, starting at the end November in Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world or “el fin el mondo”. Main season in Patagonia is end of November til January, but the weather is still shaky. You can have sunshine in one and snow fall (at least in the South) on the same day. Rain and wind gear as well as good, waterproof shoes are a must. You can find my complete packing list here.
- How to get here? We took a non-stop 3,5h flight from Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentinas for about 180 EUR.
- How long to stay? We stayed for 5 nights, but you can easily spend 2 weeks here, depending on your planned activities (and available budget).
- Where to stay? Antarctica Hostel is the place to be. A bed in a 6 mixed dorm costs 21 EUR, but includes breakfast. There is a huge kitchen and nice lounge to spend cosy afternoons and evenings.
- What to do? There a lots of possibilities, for instance:
- Take a boat trip to Cap Horn
- Explore and hike in the Tierre del Fuego (Feuerland) national park
- Do one of the many free hikes around the area (Lagoon Esmeralda, Glacier Martial, Cerro del Medio…)
- Make an excursion to the penguins and beagle channel (~150 EUR)
- Embark for an Antarctic cruise (for as cheap as ~5.000 EUR)
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2 PUERTO NATALES
- How to get here? By bus. There are many operators, going on different days at various schedules. It is a 12h drive up to Punta Arenas, where you can also make a stop-over for one or more nights or change to another bus that takes you straight to Puerto Natales in further 2,5 h. Book the bus directly in Ushuaia (for ~60 EUR ), but do it better sooner than later, as seats get sold out quickly during high season. Besides, as Puerto Natales is in Chile, you will cross the border, which can take up to more than an hour, including a thorough baggage check. You are not allowed to bring fruits or veggies across the border, but it depends on the mood of the guards whether how strict they are with that.
- How long to stay? We stayed for 3 nights in Puerto Natales and additionally 6 nights in the Torres del Paine national park. The duration of your stay should depend on your planned days of trekking. The town itself is nice but 2 days are totally enough.
- Where to stay? Erratic Rock, Patagonia Adventure and Wild Hostel are all GREAT places to stay. All of them also offer camping gear rental.
- What to do? The main “attraction” is for sure the Torres del Paine national park with its famous W-Trek (or O-Circuit). Additionally several providers offer some kayak or other outdoor adventure tours.
- RELATED POSTS
- 7 unforgettable days of hiking the W-Trek
- W-Trek – Day 1 or arrive in the park
- W-Trek – Day 2 or the famous three towers
- W-Trek – Day 3 or the puma day
- W-Trek – Day 4 camp Frances to mirador Britanico
- W-Trek – Day 5 camp Frances to camp Paine Grande
- W-Trek – Day 6 & 7 glacier grey and exit the park
- 7 things I wish I’d known before hiking the W-Trek
3 EL CALAFATE
- How to get here? By bus. There are some operators, mainly going either early in the morning (7 or 8 am) or in the afternoon (14 or 15 pm) It is a 5h drive and costs about 20 EUR per person.
- How long to stay? El Calafate is a nice town, but most people come visiting for a day or two to see the Perito Moreno glacier.
- Where to stay? The hostel Nakel Yenu is definitely a recommendation. It is in walking distance of the bus terminal and offers great Asado (the classic Argentina barbecue) on certain days. Otherwise they have a well equipped kitchen for use, as well as comfortable beds and overall a nice and welcoming atmosphere.
- What to do? The main attraction is the Perito Moreno glacier, which costs minimum 55 EUR per person including the bus drive and the entrance fee. Otherwise it is nice to stroll around the town, have ice cream or coffee. Elba’r is a 100% reco!!!
4 EL CHALTEN
- How to get here? By a 3 hours bus drive form El Calafate for about 20 EUR per person.
- How long to stay? The duration of your stay in El Chalten depends on your hiking plans. El Chalten is the hiking capital of hiking in Argentina and this is basically all what it is there for. The whole town, which edges you can see from every point in the city, consists of hostels, bars and restaurants where hiking and climbing tourists from all over the world meet. We spent 5 days and were able to do almost all of the main day hikes, including the hikes to Fitz Roy (Laguna las Tres) and Cerro Terro (Laguna Torre)
- Where to stay? The Aylen Aike Hostel is well-known for its owner Sebastian, who gives together with his Rock’n’Roll music the charm to the hostel. It is a great place to get to know people too.
- What to do? There are several hikes, with most of the “famous” ones being accessible within a day, like the treks to:
- Fitz Roy / Laguna las Tres
- Cerro Torre / Launga Torre
- Pliegue Tumbado (the only view point from where to see Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy)
- Mirador (lookout) Condores and Aguilas
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5 EL BOLSON (our favourite!)
- How to get here? There is one bus operator (Taqsa) that stops in El Bolson on the way from El Chalten to Bariloche. The drive takes about 20 hours and costs approx. 90 EUR per person. For this ride you better be prepared with snacks and bring some food on your own as the served portions are minimi and not that yummy.
- How long to stay? As always this depends on your plans. El Bolson is a great, small town with many hikes close by. Compared to all earlier mentioned destinations this is less touristy, which reflects in the price levels. We stayed for 5 nights in a hostel and another 4 nights in the Refugios along a very recommendable multi-day hike. Besides the city is known for its handcrafts as well as its social and political activism.
- Where to stay? Earthship is THE BEST hostel we stayed at during our whole trip. The eco-friendly hostel is focused on vegan / vegetarian food, energy efficiency and an overall environmentally friendly style of hospitality. Many volunteers spent a couple of weeks or months here to help out in the garden or kitchen.
- What to do? There are several hikes that can be done from El Bolson, including
- There are several hikes that can be accessed from El Bolson, including Lake Puleo and Mirador Cerro Amigo
- Multi-day hikes via camping or nights in the beautiful Refugios, like Hielo Azul, Natacion, Retamal etc. (see related post for more)
- Stroll around the markets (Ferria) in El Bolson to get healthy and affordable street food or handcrafts
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- How to get here? It is only a 2 hours bus drive from El Bolson to Bariloche, so there are enough bus operators going this distance. We chose “Via Bariloche”, which operates almost hourly for less than 5 EUR per person.
- How long to stay? 5 days are plenty from our point of view (I have to add that we were no real Bariloche fans though. The city is ver touristy!! But the landscapes very beautiful again).
- Where to stay? Penthouse 1004 is supposed to be an awesome hostel. We stayed at 41 Below (same owner as Earthship in El Bolson), which is located right in the center of town with a nice pub just across the street. If you prefer more silence and closeness to nature, FORTALEZA Hostel is the place to be. It feels like a huge tree house, all made of wood, with the most cosy beds, extremely nice and helpful staff and pancakes for breakfast.
- What to do?
- visit Llao Llao national park (all treks can be walked within a 5 hours round-trip)
- visit Cerro Campanario, a nice look-out over the beautiful and mystic landscape
- hike to and sleep at one of the Refugios, eg. Refugio Italia at Laguna Negra (very nice!)
- enjoy an (or more) ice-cold beer at one of the breweries (eg. Berlina or Patagonia, which has the best location with a stunning garden and terrace).
- rent a bike and explore the city
- go to the cinema
- chek out the look-out points Cerro Otto (with a rotating / circulating bar on top) or Cerro Cathedral
- make a multi-day hike from Refugio to Refugio (eg. Refugio Frey)
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7 PUCON (Reco!)
- How to get here? We could not find any direct bus connections from Bariloche to Pucon, therefore we hired a more or less private transport (van with 13 passengers), which added up to the same costs as via bus (40 EUR per person). Be prepared for a tiring border crossing (as Pucon is in Chile and they do proper checks at immigration, which can take a while + waiting time when exiting Argentina).
- How long to stay? mainly depending on your budget, but the place offers so much to easily spend a week.
- Where to stay? without any doubt, 1000% sure that Chili Kiwi Lakefront Hostel is the BEST!
- What to do? Pucon is famous for its adventure and outdoor tours as well as hot springs. Options are countless:
- Hike the active volcano Villarrica (last erupted in 2015)
- Get wet while Kayaking, Canyoning, Rafting or Hidro Speeding (going down the river on body boards)
- Relax in the hot springs (there are plenty for every budget)
- Skydiving (the plane takes over the crater of the volcano, the view must be breathtaking!)
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Do you want to travel Patagonia? Did you find all information you were looking for? Have you been to Patagonia and want to add your experiences? Just leave a comment!