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Patagonia ‘No Fuss’ Travel Guide

Patagonia 'No Fuss' Travel Guide

After our journey by way of Patagonia, there was lots of info that we want we might have had previous to setting off on our journey. Sadly, there’s little or no helpful info on the web. In our Patagonia Travel Guide | Itinerary | Cheat Sheet we’ll share our itinerary, approximate prices, and naturally some finances savvy ideas.

In accordance with particular version of Nationwide Geographic Journal, Torres del Paine Nationwide Park was chosen because the fifth most lovely place on the planet.

So right here’s a compiled cheat sheet we wished somebody would have put in our again pocket (or backpack!) earlier than we entered Patagonia. It will have left us feeling like we got here ready for the large check with out having all the required time to review.

Torres del Paine Nationwide Park, Salto Grande, or the massive waterfall, connecting lakes Nordenskjold and Pehoe.

So right here’s what we did and we’re passing it alongside to you! And know prematurely, we aren’t hardcore backpacker varieties….we identical to to play (and seem like them) on TV.

Our Route

Ushuaia ➡️Punta Arenas➡️ Puerto Natales➡️ El Calafate➡️El Chaltén➡️ Bariloche ➡️ San Martín de Los Andes

Take a look at our vlog under: Easy methods to SAVE A LOT OF MONEY when visiting Patagonia 

Ushuaia 

We stayed right here just for the bookends of our Antarctica journey. Three nights on the best way in and one night time on the best way out, which appeared like loads of days as in comparison with different vacationers. Wanting again, it felt prefer it was an applicable period of time with a purpose to take within the metropolis and never really feel rushed.

In case you are coming to this space and never going to Antarctica, the primary attraction is the Tierra Del Fuego Nationwide Park. We thought-about visiting however didn’t need to pay to take a taxi/bus for a self-guided tour or pay for a dear group tour.

In truth, we heard combined evaluations on the park and figured that the Antarctic cruise which navigates the Beagle channel would make up for any missed views in Tierra Del Fuego. In case you are an avid hiker, there are a selection of scenic day hikes round Ushuaia. Simply consider you’ll have to pay for transportation to get to the top of the path for almost all of them.

General, we determined that we’d slightly spend the restricted time (earlier than the journey right down to Antarctica) exploring Ushuaia. We took in an ideal 1/2 day hike alongside the Capitan Armando Mutton street which presents distinctive views of Ushuaia. It’s additionally an amazing place to have a picnic or photograph shoot.

We visited <Andino Gourmand> two days in a row for his or her cake, espresso and quick(er) wifi. We additionally loved <Tante Sara> for his or her atmosphere, fairly priced bar-food, and wifi. On the upper finish we visited <Bodegon Fueguino> which was beneficial by many different vacationers. We thought it was fairly good and loved the atmosphere of the comfortable eating space.

You’ll be able to’t get king crab like this simply ANYWHERE!

In fact, we figured by not spending the cash on the park charges we might use the cash saved in the direction of an awesome King Crab dinner which was on Harry’s bucket listing. (He watches an excessive amount of Deadliest Catch). After some research we visited <Volver>. They undoubtedly rolled out the purple carpet for us. The wait employees was amazingly courteous and useful. The crab was recent and scrumptious. General, it was a memorable eating expertise and properly well worth the splurge.

B$ Tip – Go to the knowledge middle by the Ushuaia port to assist with bus fare prices. They gave us a type with the totally different bus corporations that confirmed their marketed costs. The variance was vital and we saved about $30 dollars USD (every) by purchasing round and going with the most cost effective fee.

Ushuaia highlights

🚍 The bus experience from Ushuaia to Puerto Arenas was ~14 hours with a number of stops for customs to go away Argentina and enter Chile. As well as, there’s a ferry journey to cross the Strait of Magellan. There’s a false impression about how strict the customs brokers are with rumors that they may arrest you in the event you sneak in banned gadgets.

Simply declare every little thing in your type and you’ll be protected if questioned. For instance, we had spices from residence that we didn’t need to toss and we declared them. Nobody even checked us and we handed proper by means of. We consider they’re primarily targeted on meat, fruit and veggies. We used the bus firm TECNI AUSTRAL and paid $105 USD for two tickets.

Punta Arenas

Usually, most individuals bypass this metropolis and take the lengthy journey from Ushuaia straight to Puerto Natales. So whereas most individuals disembark right here and shortly board one other bus to proceed on, we have been joyful to cease on this metropolis. The medium sized metropolis has a whole lot of appeal, sufficient to maintain you busy for 2-Three days.

Monument al Ovejero, The Shepard’s Monument.

We loved walks alongside the waterfront, a self-guided tour of the historical past of Chilean-Antarctica, strolling the primary sq., and the gorgeous historic cemetery. It was simply sufficient time to stretch our legs for the subsequent bus experience. We loved our keep at <Hostel Ovejero>.  Should you don’t have the time, chances are you’ll not need to make the cease. We had the time and didn’t remorse it.

The well-known timber of the Cemetery of Punta Arenas.

B$ Tip – Pizza eating places are massive right here. Go to <Pizza Gyros>, the place the locals are consuming! It had the thickest, heartiest pizza we got here throughout and the Gyros have been large enough for 2 to share. An excellent worth for the cash. 

🚍 Bus journey from Puerto Arenas to Puerto Natales was Three hours. We took Bus Sur and paid $49 USD for two tickets. A pleasant, clear, organized expertise.

Puerto Natales

That is the place we felt we didn’t do our homework and bumped into some hassle! So concentrate! Guests come right here to go to the well-known Torres del Paine Nationwide Park and arduous core varieties full the “W” trek, which is 5 days of in a single day tenting or primary dorm fashion lodging, and intense trekking.

A journey by way of the wilds of Torres del Paine Nationwide Park.

We booked 5 nights on this metropolis permitting loads of time to take pleasure in this iconic park of Patagonia. Here’s what we didn’t know…the journey from the town middle to the nationwide park is ~2.5 hours away! So to get there and again in ONE DAY takes round 5 hours! Not good on bumpy, windy, gravel roads.

Exploring Milodon Cave.

B$ Tip – Observe that there’s a charge to enter Torres del Paine Nationwide Park at ~$30 USD (ea.), though you will get your ticket stamped to enter once more without charge for the subsequent 2 days.

Torres del Paine – Harry’s Vote for Patagonia’s Greatest Surroundings!

One other downfall? I actually needed to do the glacier ice hike on Glacier Gray. Yow will discover extra info <right here>. Massive Foot Adventures is the only clothes shop allowed to get out on the ice. In case you are not staying close to the Huge Foot’s base or within the lodge situated close to the glacier (within the park) you can’t bus into the park by the eight:30 morning tour departure. You additionally gained’t be again in time to catch the night bus again to Puerto Natales should you take part within the afternoon tour at 2:30. So if glacier climbing is a should for you…plan accordingly and plan to remain within the park!

Puerto Natales is a port metropolis on the Señoret Channel in Chile’s southern Patagonia. It’s the gateway to Torres del Paine Nationwide Park to the northwest, and the port for boats touring the Patagonian fjords.

So what did we do? Hostels in Puerto Natales are recognized to assist vacationers manage excursions proper at their very own entrance desks which is a pleasant perk. The Singing Lamb’s hostel employees was so useful and it was one among our prime hostel stays. <Evaluation right here> Simply observe, some off the crushed path excursions can solely be booked via particular hostels.

Torres del Paine within the background – No climbing concerned!

We determined simply to go for a day journey into the park to drive to see the well-known towers and different main websites. We have been picked up round 7:30 am in a small van and explored Torres del Paine with about 18 others. The worth didn’t embrace park admission or lunch so we introduced sack lunches. Tour value roughly $82.00 USD for two individuals.

It was an extended day. We have been dropped again off at our hostel round eight:00 pm. Nevertheless, we had a productive, scenic day and we have been fortunate sufficient to see the towers on account of nice climate. The one negatives have been that we have been typically rushed on the scenic factors, and on the finish of the day we have been anxious to get out of the packed van after so many hours of driving on bumpy roads. It was the one logical option to see the park with out tenting or staying at an costly lodge.

Carb up earlier than trekking at Patagonia Dulce!

One place worthy to say was <Chocolateria Patagonia Dulce>. It was completely scrumptious and though it was a bit of expensive it was well worth the splurge. I’d advocate it to hikers previous to the large trek to carb-up or on the best way again to rejoice. Attempt the Brownie Temptation, I promise you gained’t remorse it.

B$ Tip – In case you are not mountaineering the W, three days could also be greater than sufficient in Puerto Natales.

Highlights of Torres del Paine Nationwide Park

🚍 Bus journey from Puerto Natales to El Calafate was about four hours. The price was ~$50 USD for 2 booked via Turismo Zaahj bus firm.


Advisable


El Calafate

This was one other metropolis we loved. Extra developed, with a touristy strip, your complete metropolis is walkable. There are various choices for excursions and one other alternative for glacier ice trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier. Upon arrival, we headed straight to Hielo y Aventura (situated on the strip) who knowledgeable that they didn’t have availability till four days later!

The Perito Moreno Glacier is a glacier situated within the Los Glaciares Nationwide Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.

Tripadvisor has very combined evaluations on this clothes shop and they don’t reply to emails (I’m STILL ready to listen to again…). Once more, if you wish to do glacier ice trekking plan means prematurely! They’re the one firm allowed on the glacier.

Greatest seat in the home!

The spotlight right here is Perito Moreno Glacier. Buy bus tickets and board the bus at El Calafate bus terminal to the nationwide park which value ~$23.00 USD per individual. We bought our tickets a couple of days prior and there have been solely four tickets out there, so guide ASAP. There’s a morning departure and a day departure. The park is about ~1.5 hours away and also you pay for admission upon arrival on the bus! Straightforward!

Straightforward strolling paths take you proper to the entrance of the Perito Moreno glacier.

Admission value was about ~$20 USD per individual. Upon arrival, the bus drops you off and there are walkable trails proper from the doorway. The bus waits for everybody with a set time to depart. We loved our time right here, it was simply organized, and we extremely advocate bringing an enormous sack lunch, water, gloves, and hats.

We introduced some lunch and watched the ice calve off the glacier for about three hours.

One eating choice that we actually loved and ended up visiting 3 times was <Panaderia Don Luis>. There are a number of places, we visited the one just some blocks from the bus terminal.

Lastly discovered….some good espresso and treats at Don Luis!

They’ve the most effective espresso we had in Argentina and Chile! (A lot nearer style to a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.) The muffins have been heavenly and good empanadas too. The restaurant additionally has a robust wifi sign. Moreover, there’s one desk that has an outlet to charge-up. Nice pit cease for a bus layover.

🚍 Bus experience from El Calafate to El Chaltén value ~$25.00 USD per individual with TAQSA. It took ~Three hours.

El Chaltén

We liked this metropolis! This was our favourite place in our Patagonia tour. First, there are NO park charges to enter Los Glaciares Nationwide Park. Second, there are a selection of hikes that you simply entry proper from strolling out your entrance door so there isn’t a further transportation wanted.

After 11 km we made it! A wonderful view of the Cerro Torre vary.

All the things within the 12 block metropolis is in strolling distance. From multi-day treks to 1-2 hour hikes there’s one thing for everybody. We stayed right here for five days and felt prefer it was sufficient time to get some nice hikes in and benefit from the small quaint city. Our favourite day hikes included Laguna Torre, Los Cóndores, and Laguna Capri. These treks have been all simply robust sufficient to get our “extreme” mountaineering repair.

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B$ Ideas – On the time of this publish, there was just one ATM right here. It was out of service for two.5 days and lots of locations (together with the bus corporations) have been money solely. Convey additional money simply in case or go to the ATM (within the bus terminal) instantly upon getting into the town. You may get caught right here for quite a few days for those who don’t have money.

El Chaltén was Audrey’s favourite cease on our Patagonia tour for greatest surroundings!

Wifi right here is nearly non-existent. It’s satellite tv for pc based mostly and mountain ranges seem to block it. Plan on spending 30 minutes to finish one e-mail, no joke.

Nice Meals at an incredible worth at Porter Resto Bar and Grill.

We loved <Porter Resto Bar and Grill (lately closed)> for ridiculously big burgers and grilled hen sandwiches. Wine (85 ARS for bottle of home wine) and beer was additionally extra fairly priced with good outside seating to take pleasure in mountain views after an extended hike. This was the place on the town the place we acquired the most effective wifi sign!

Eating places and grocery shops are pretty costly right here. Head to the grocery retailer to buy meals for lunches to take pleasure in on the paths. Grocery shops have solely the fundamentals. (E.g., eight slices of ham value $Three.50 USD, giant bag of chips ~$6.00 USD.)

Marga’s “dinner.” Voted worse meal ever. Nevertheless, once you’re ravenous, you’ll eat it.

🚍 Bus journey from El Chaltén, again to El Calafate, to Bariloche value ~$167 USD per individual for 28 grueling hours of journey. We took Marga which we weren’t proud of it because of the cleanliness/high quality of the bus and high quality of meals. No cleaning soap, paper towels or rest room paper in toilet the complete journey! How did the person serving meals wash his arms? Gross!

The view out of the room in our hostel inspired us to roll away from bed!

*In line with CALTUR bus firm in El Chaltén, there was not a full-cama bus to take us from El Chaltén on to Bariloche. With over 24 hours on a bus, we needed to get there as comfortably and immediately as attainable. We have been advised that if we took the bus out of El Chaltén, we might have a much less snug bus, plus an in a single day in a lodge that they choose with shared bedrooms and shared tub (worth not included in bus fare). Subsequently, we opted to return to El Calafate to take a full-cama bus on to Bariloche. Notice: Bariloche is an enormous metropolis and also you in all probability should take a taxi to get to your lodging.

Bariloche

This was our final cease in our Patagonia tour. We stayed in an condominium to return to some “normalcy”, benefit from the Christmas vacation, and recoup from being on the go. <Hyperlink right here>

With its European influences, Bariloche was a sensible choice to seize the Christmas spirit in a South America.

Bariloche was greater, and much more touristy than we anticipated. Most of the should do actions are on the pricier aspect, however to be able to benefit from the metropolis we deliberate one massive tour a day to absorb the great thing about Bariloche.

Get excessive on Cerro Campanario

There are two totally different chair lifts with views within the metropolis; Cerro Viejo and Cerro Campanario. We opted for the extra spectacular Cerro Campanario. The journey up is eight minutes lengthy and prices 100 pesos individual. We learn that you could hike up, however it is extremely steep and unmarked. We introduced sack lunches and ate within the good seating space on the prime with beautiful views.

There’s a restaurant on the prime that serves some muffins, espresso, easy sandwiches and hamburgers. We poked our heads in, however we have been unimpressed with the choice. Though, the Cerro Viejo has much less spectacular views, it does have a rotating restaurant on the prime which can be enjoyable in case you’ve by no means dined “in rotation” earlier than.

Panoramic Views from Cerro Campanario

Subsequent, we spent a whole afternoon biking the Circuito Chico. We selected the Cordillera Bike firm because of the larger score on Tripadvsior. The rental prices 200 pesos per individual and features a helmet and bike lock. The experience is basically troublesome because of the mountainous terrain.

Nice lunch cease! The hidden seashore at Villa Tacul.

It’s enjoyable taking place, however strenuous to the purpose that we frequently needed to stroll our bike up the steep inclines. It’s a good way to see the surroundings together with Argentina’s most well-known lodging the Lodge Llao-Llao, the hidden seashore Villa Tacul, the Bosque de Arrayanes, the Bahía López Outlook, the Inexperienced Christ monument, and to view the vary on the panoramic viewpoint overlooking Lago Moreno.

Lastly, Bariloche is understood for chocolate. We visited Mamuschka (which was a greater worth) and Rapanui to get our candy tooth repair. Relatively than purchase a prepackaged field, we opted to select a number of choose goodies asking for a small field or bag because the goodies are fairly costly. The shops additionally hand out free samples which we took benefit of once we walked the primary strip within the metropolis middle.

Mamuschka Chocolate was our favorite! Mamuschka Chocolate was our favorite! Mamuschka Chocolate was our favourite!

🚍 To get to Cerro Campanario or the rental bike corporations for the Circuito Chico, take the quantity 20 native bus to every vacation spot from the Centro (downtown strip). The bus driver will name out the Cerro Campanario cease and the bike rental cease is the one following Cerro Campanario close to the kilometer 18 marker on the roundabout.

Stroll about 100 meters from the bus cease, veer to the proper, and Cordillera Bike Firm shall be on the left hand aspect of the road with orange flags out in entrance. Our house got here with an area bus cross which we loaded on the designated handy shops on the primary strip.

The view of Bariloche from our condo.

🚍 The bus experience from Bariloche to San Martín de Los Andes was one of many prettiest but. The ~ four hour journey takes you alongside the scenic river and since the panorama was totally different that what we’ve seen to date in Patagonia, it was a really pleasant journey. We took KoKo bus costing 148 pesos every.

San Martín de Los Andes

Lunch time lake views in San Martín.

Many vacationers don’t make the cease to this little hidden gem of a metropolis. We did so to interrupt up the drive up north and it was a pleasant place to transition to the Patagonia Wine area portion of our journey. With its rustic lakeside allure, well-known Seven Lakes magnificence, and good outside eating choices, that is what we thought Bariloche was going to be.

The view from our lodge window.

The town is small and walk-able. We loved sitting on the lake’s edge to observe the boats come and go whereas consuming a picnic lunch. Sure, it was a splurge, however it’s right here that we discovered the greatest dinner expertise in South America at <Don Florencio>. The service was impeccable, the tree lined mountain outdoors patio views pretty, and the steak lastly lived as much as Argentine expectations! Order the Ojo de Bife. You gained’t be disillusioned. Simply observe, lodging could also be pricey as that is an Argentine vacation retreat, not a typical backpacker cease. We stayed on the <Lodge Intermonti>.

San Martín de los Andes lies on the banks of Lake Lácar, one of many park’s many glacial lakes, and has a ship pier and a sandy seashore.

🚍 San Martín de Los Andes to Cipolletti was a 6 hour and 40 minute journey. We took the Chevalier bus firm with the full-cama government choice at 375 pesos every.

Common Patagonia Finances Ideas 

  • Hosterias are just like a mattress and breakfast with out entry to kitchens and primary laundry providers. We by chance booked two of those and missed utilizing a kitchen to make lunches and dinners. If you’d like a kitchen, be sure once you guide it says hostel, not hosteria!
  • Because of the <windy circumstances> and bumpy/gravel roads, Harry was getting very automotive sick on the buses. Convey drugs in case you are vulnerable to movement illness. Additionally, convey your personal snacks and water on the buses otherwise you’ll be ravenous and thirsty (and Purell)!
  • In case you have the time, give your self an additional day or two in every location to assist forestall burnout.
  • Go to Platforma10.com to get worth comparisons and the identify of the bus corporations that service your required route…in English!
  • Get monetary savings by consuming faucet water! Harry and I sometimes have delicate stomachs and we drank water straight from the faucet your complete time in Argentina, Chile and Patagonia. 

The Blue Fee

We have been very fortunate to be in Argentina when the blue fee was at a excessive, 15.20. Deliver extra USD ($100 payments) than you assume! It is going to be value it! We have been stunned on how a lot cash we spent on bus tickets. You’ll be able to change (cambio) on Florida road in Buenos Aires very simply. Since we only recently ran out of USD foreign money, we went into panic mode. We have been stunned to seek out out (from our host in Bariloche) that we’re additionally capable of change Chilean pesos (CLP) at a superb fee (particularly at BariExpress in Bariloche). This saved us a HUGE quantity of $$.

Comply with the following pointers to economize in your travels!

Fortunately, we had some CLP left from our time in Chile and have been capable of change it at an equal fee of 11.92. As soon as these funds expire, we’re going to give Xoom a attempt since we’re not planning on going to Chile once more till the top of the South American portion of our journey. The speed quoted on Xoom comes out to roughly 11.05 when the charge is included, nonetheless a lot better than the eight.50 official price. The lesson right here is to deliver as a lot USD as potential and keep away from taking cash out of ATM’s or utilizing a bank card since you’ll get caught paying for purchases on the official fee. The perfect options we’ve found in case you run out of USD are:

  1. Close to Uruguay? Redeem USD out of ATM’s in Uruguay.
  2. Close to Chile? Redeem USD or CLP out of ATM’s in Uruguay.
    1. CLP might not obtain as excessive a price as USD, nevertheless it’s almost 40% (at present) greater than utilizing the official fee.
    2. Discover a native cash trade workplace (in Argentina) and easily ask them for the most effective fee that they will supply on the CLP? They’ll immediately know that you simply’re not in search of the official fee and give you one thing near the “blue” fee.
  3. Xoom.com: Discover a location close by to select up ARS pesos at a aggressive price, round 30% (at present) greater than utilizing the official price.

*All prices are based mostly on the blue fee that we have been utilizing on the time of buy.

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