Antartica and Carrera Austral
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2011 4:32 AM Last Post By: Standanista
Dec 4, 2011 8:17 AM
Antartica and Carrera AustralI already asked this question a while back but I got conflicting answers. I originally planned to do Chile Dec-Jan . I figured the weather would be good and I would have a good chance catching a last minute boat from Ushuaia to Antarctica at the end of January. However due to some things that have come up it looks like it is possible I will have to do Chile January 20-March 20. This seems like I will have the advantage of being down south in what is not absolute high season. The problem is Antarctica, that is where the conflicting answers come in. Some people said catching a last minute boat to Antarctica in the middle of March it would still be easy to catch a boat. However others said it would be quite unlikely anytime after the middle of February. Any ideas??? I really want to go to Antarctica, however I need at least some discount.
Another question about the Carretera Austral. Is there public transport the whole trip? Is there some ferries I should take along the as far as scenery? Is two weeks enough for the Carretera Austral?
Dec 4, 2011 11:03 PM
Dec 5, 2011 3:23 AM
2From Ushuaia you can go to El Calafate, El Chalten, go by bus to Laguna del Desierto, a boat, a trek to Candelario Mansilla, then another boat to Villa O´Higgins, the south end of Carretera Austral. There are buses during summer, al least one or two a week from Villa O´Higgins, more frequently as you go north. You can do all Carretera Austral in 2 weeks, no problem. My plan is to be there again next Jan.
Dec 5, 2011 7:50 AM
3markarf here is my problem. If I do what you suggest than I will miss Argentina on the way up. In other words if I rush down to Ushuaia, go to Antartica then go up to Santiago via Carretera Austral I will have missed everything on the way up in the Argentina side. Whereas my original plan go down the Chilean side, go to Antartica, then go up the Argentinian side seems to be impossible by your route? Am I missing something?
Dec 5, 2011 11:50 AM
4Depends on what you're worried about missing, I guess. The part where you've got a choice--Argentina vs. Chile--begins north of the most popular Southern Andes destinations, which are Torres del Paine, El Calafate, and El Chaltén. Some doubling back might serve you well but yeah, you're going to make choices and miss some stuff.
Trouble is, you've only got a couple of months. You're going to miss a lot of stuff no matter what you do. This being the case, start prioritizing and making choices.
If I misunderstand you, and you've got a couple of months for Chile, time for Antarctica and then more time for Argentina, well, arrange things however works best. Maybe fly to Ushuaia, go to Antarctica, come north on the Caraterra Austral, cut across to Bariloche and head back south a ways..... If you've got time, you'll make it work for your interests and desires. If you don't, then make the best choices you can and don't look back.
What you don't want is to miss Antarctica, right? Plus, you'd probably rather be done with the far south--particularly on the western slopes of the Andes--before autumn and winter. These, plus your budget and the amount of time you've got available, are the basic parameters.
Hope that helps.
Dec 5, 2011 2:39 PM
Yea I should have been more clear. I have two months in Chile, 10 days for Antarctica, and three months for Argentina. I might have got lucky. Someone emailed me and said they have room on a Antarctica boat, shared triple, 10 days around $4000.00 . Middle of March.
Does that sound like a good deal?
Dec 5, 2011 2:54 PM
Dec 5, 2011 3:46 PM
7^^^ Yes, like that.
I don't know what ticket prices or availability are like this year. Two summers ago (late January 2010) I did a last minute 20 day cruise, shared double room, US$4000+. Since prices are lower during shoulder season, and since it's too early for last-minute fares anyway, I'm guessing you're being offered someone's berth at the somewhat discounted fare he paid. If so, that's not a special deal--in other words, it's not what you came on here asking about.
This should not be taken to mean that I think you shouldn't take it if that's what you want to do. Just verify that the boat exists, the tour is going, it's what you want, the budget fits yours, etc.
Dec 6, 2011 4:36 PM
8interesting discussion. I am trying to get to antarctica in the next few weeks. Hearing mixed opinions on whether its difficult cos its peak season so boats are full, or easy because lots are leaving every week. Planning to fly to Punta Arenas on 17 December - what are my chances on getting something within a week or so? Hoping for south georgia and the peninsula, if not at least one of the 2. I have been offered 19 days covering both including falklands but annoying I have to fly south america to board given I am currently already in stanley!
Prob a good 7-10 days worth of stuff around there to keep me occupied till departure?
Dec 6, 2011 6:32 PM
Dec 7, 2011 11:29 AM
10If Antartica is the only purpose of the trip, it is a huge risk expecting availability at any time w/o previous reservations, no matter what positive or negative advise is given in this forum, including my own advise!
Fortunately the trip will not be wasted as the region has beautiful things to see.
Dec 7, 2011 12:02 PM
11#5: US$4000 for 10 days, triple share, mid-March, doesn't seem that great a deal to me. I think you'll find better.
#8: I ended up spending a fortnight in Ushuaia waiting for a boat, which worked out fine in the end. There are good hikes in the area, and the town itself has plenty of shops/bars/restaurants and a decent museum in the old gaol.
Dec 7, 2011 7:35 PM
12so even with lots of agents offering last minute deals (supposedly?), does it still take that long? Presumably deals are offered all the time, but the are dates that are quite spaced out, so you could find your suitable deal, book it, then go off and do something else like visit TDP or somewhere, then return to Ushuaia for the ship's departure? If it was a case of hanging around ushuaia for weeks for any deals to even show, i think i would tear my hair out as i wouldn't know how much longer I might be waiting!
Dec 8, 2011 3:14 AM
13That's the nature of the beast, unfortunately. The way to secure dates is to book ahead and pay normal price, good if you're cash-rich-time-poor. If you're looking for a cut-price deal you have to accept the uncertainty. You might be lucky and get a sailing for the following day, or you might be able to book something ahead and disappear to TdP etc for a bit, or you might have to hang around in town and keep trying. I'd be confident of getting a deal eventually, and from personal experience, the work required is well worth it for the result. Good luck.
Dec 8, 2011 4:31 AM
14ok, thanks for letting me know. The thing is, supposedly, the 2 week over xmas are the busiest and hardest to get a deal - I have enquired through shipping agents here and all seem to be full or have 1 or 2 berths at full price. I would be getting to Ushuaia on the 18th December, and would want to be setting off by the end of December at the latest. Do you think that that is fairly realistic?
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