Patagonia - Itinerary and bus route help needed please :)
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Sep 8, 2012 10:47 AM Last Post By: hazzdawg
Jul 8, 2012 12:14 AM
Patagonia - Itinerary and bus route help needed please :)Hi everyone,
I'm trying to put together an itinerary for Patagonia, but I have a lot to cover in a maximum of three weeks. Bus routes will be the most important thing for me.
Places I must see in Patagonia are the beach in Mar Del Plata, Puerto Madryn, El Calafate, Torres Del Paine (Chile), and Ushuaia. I've had to axe some really good places off my to-do list to fit everything within a 3-week time frame. I'm already got Torres Del Paine and Ushuaia for hiking, so would missing El Chalten and the Fitz Roy Range be such a travesty? Any other major places I'm missing ?
Below I have my current idea and if you're able to add to it or improve it (like information on bus routes/certain flights as opposed to buses/etc) then I'm all ears :)
27/11/2012 - Fly Melbourne, Australia to Buenos Aires, Argentina
28/11/2012 - Bus/train from Buenos Aires to Mar Del Plata (5hrs)
30/11/2012 - Bus from Mar Del Plata to Puerto Madryn (NEED HELP ON THIS ONE!)
01/12/2012 - Reserva Faunistica Peninsula Valdes day trip (Whale watching)
02/12/2012 - Reserva Provincial Punta Tombo day trip (Penguines)
03/12/2012 - Bus from Puerto Madryn to El Calafate (ALSO NEED HELP ON THIS ONE PLEASE!!)
04/12/2012 - Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glaciar Perito Moreno)
05/12/2012 - Bus from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile) (5hrs)
05/12/2012 - Bus from Puerto Natales (Chile) to Torres Del Paine (Chile) (maybe 1-2hrs)
06-11/12/2012 - The 'W' Trek (IS 6 DAYS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE?)
12/12/2012 - Bus from Torres Del Paine (Chile) to Puerto Natales (Chile) (maybe 1-2hrs)
12/12/2012 - Bus from Puerto Natales (Chile) to Ushuaia (15hrs)
15/12/2012 - Flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires (4hrs)
I could run into obstacles such as certain buses only running on certain days of the week, such as the Puerto Natales to Ushuaia bus which I think only runs on Saturdays. I need to be back in Buenos Aires by around December 15-16 so flying direct from Ushuaia will save me at least a day rather than taking the 36hr Ushuaia-Buenos aires direct bus.
Any help would be great!
Jul 8, 2012 1:41 AM
- Fly straight to Puerto Madryn or nearby Trelew (an hour away). Saves the 2 day travel. Yeah, you miss the beach, but if you want great beaches you need to head back up to Brazil. Patagonia is more nature and wildlife. Plus you are short on days, better to get your ass straight into it.
- From Puerto Madryn. You will need to go to Rio Gallegos and then an onward connection to El Calafate. It will be a long bus ride, go Cama if possible. Or shell out for a plane ride (though I think most flights would have you going back to BA and then to El Calafate).
- I think your missing out not including El Chalten! a few days here are great and you can get a few hours on some good hiking trails.
- Don't even bother going to Ushuaia. Take a 5 hour bus ride to El Calafate and catch the plane from there.
- 6 days is plenty of time to do the TDP. We did it in 3 nights, 4 days for the W. Though I strongly suggest a day in P. Natales to organise yourself (rent gear, tents, food, all the lovely stuff that is annoying but needs to be done). Also head to Erratic Rock in Puerto Natales for an info session at 3pm (you can hire gear from them too).
- 6 days total for P. Natales and TDP should be fine. That frees up a few days to do other things like El Chalten.
- If you do decide to go to Ushuaia (I would advise not to because a) you have little time and b) you'd be there for a night and it'd be a waste of time), you can go to Punta Arenas, and catch a bus from there (though the buses from here leave at 8am in the morning) so you might have to go TDP > P. Arenas overnight > ushuaia.
Jul 8, 2012 7:52 PM
2Some good tips above... furthermore
Skip Mar Del Plata, it's really stupidly crowded and not that cool.
Do the tours in Puerto Madyrn, they are great, but get out ASAP afterwards.
Don't miss El Chalten.
See this website for Argentina domestic buses - www.plataforma10.com
I liked Ushuaia and would leave it in unless you are really stretched for time.
Jul 8, 2012 8:13 PM
3Ushuaia has its charms hazz, but for just one night, I think the time can be utilized better elsewhere.
Jul 9, 2012 2:09 PM
Jul 9, 2012 5:13 PM
Jul 24, 2012 3:37 AM
6Do not miss the whales at Peninsula Valdes. The peak season is from september to november, but the season is longer than that, start in june and end in dicember, if you want to know more about this topic visit this link about the whale watching season in Peninsula Valdes
Sep 6, 2012 1:47 PM
7Seems a reasonable itinerary. Cramming a lot into a short time but doable if you don't experience travel delays.
Re: Volunteering, does this organisation really want someone for just 2 days? Are you going to be able to contribute anything meaningful in such a short time? Worth a thought.
You might be surprised to know that things electronic and sometimes even clothes (depends) are more expensive in BA than Australia. I'd say you are better off buying what you need online, ie Ebay, than shopping in BA.
I trust you have some time in BA at the end of the trip. It's an amazing city and def worth more than one day.
Sep 6, 2012 3:16 PM
Yeah you're right about Puerto Madryn. I haven't sussed out volunteering there yet, just heard that it could be done and shoved it in. I aim to have eco volunteering as a major component of my travels (which Patagonia is the first few weeks of a trip that will hopefully last 2 years!) so I'll try to do whatever I can with the time available.
Interesting about BA. I'm of the thought that Australia is the most expensive place in the world for everything! This is another thing I'll have to look into, but given how close Nov/Dec is approaching my main concern right now is determining key dates so I can book flights, accomodation (where necessary), and my Brazil visa for New Years (Patagonia-BA-Brazil-rest of SA will be the bulk of my first 6 months!).
On that point, can you think of anywhere that it would be crucial to book accomodation in advance in Patagonia? I've heard you need to book ahead in El Chalten for instance, but I'll be camping most of the time so maybe I can just rock up?
Sep 6, 2012 7:54 PM
9I had thought you were only traveling for 2 weeks. If you have 6 months in SA then I would recommend slowing down a lot. No need to rush so much. Travel in South America can be unpredictable and tiring.
Furthermore, with 6 months in the content there is no need to plan down to each day. You are much better off making up an itinerary as you go along. This way you can decide how much you like a place/how long you want to stay upon arrival. Plus you get the chance to go change your plans or travel with people you meet along the way,
Argentina has the highest important tax on electronics in the world making it very expensive for these sorts of things. Clothes from your average retail store will be cheaper than home, but you can find some real bargains online within Australia, which is where I do my shopping. Day to day expenses are generally a lot cheaper than Australia.
Booking accomm/buses more than 1 day ahead is generally necessary unless there is a very popular hostel you want to stay in or there is a holiday. Flights should be booked as far in advance as possible but this takes away from your flexibility.
Do a spanish language course as soon as you can.
Sep 6, 2012 9:59 PM
10I agree in terms of the itinerary, it's just the Patagonia leg I'm planning like this because if I don't do it first up within this narrow time period I may never get the chance. Basically want to reduce backtracking where possible in SA because I need to be in the US for the Burning Man Festival in September! I've been learning Spanish for a few months, and while getting okay with the reading and comprehension side I'm struggling with the speaking part. I'm sure I'll get plenty of practice over there though :)
In terms of booking ahead in very popular hostels, my issue is I really don't have much of an idea on what the popular hostels are! I'm kinda dying for this information lol the flights I hope to book today!!
Thanks a heap for you help here mate
Sep 6, 2012 11:19 PM
11You will hear about popular hostels from other travellers. The ones in Patagonia, will be the comfier, homier ones. Where as ones in BA will be the 'party' hostels and likewise else where. It all depends what you call popular. Most of the time you'll be fine book a day or two ahead. But for things like festivals - book ahead. Carnaval - book it now.
Sep 7, 2012 10:53 AM
12To be honest in your situation I would throw away the itinerary. Is there some big reason you return to BA in Dec 15? And why fly back to BA, why not come up through Chile/Argentina? There are many great places in the Lake District worth visiting, one the most most beautiful parts of SA IMO. If I was you I would fly to Ushuaia first up then make your way north overland, forgetting about the planned whole itinerary. I can see you want to get to Brazil, (probably Rio) for NYE, which would be a good party, but not worth it if you are missing all these places. There are big parties everywhere in SA, esp over summer.
Another thing to keep in mind in Patagonia is unpredictable weather. You might find it's too windy or raining to hike when you are in El Chalten, therefore you miss out. I could only hike 2/4 days when I was there for example.
www.hostelworld.com or similar is the best resource for hostels. Just look at the ratings and reviews and you get a pretty good idea of what the good places are. Best places are almost always more expensive unsurprisingly. You can always find a bed somewhere but your first choice might not be available in high season.
Sep 7, 2012 4:21 PM
Sep 7, 2012 11:59 PM
14Hi again Hazzdawg,
I've got to return to BA on the 15th because a group of friends will be arriving from Australia. From BA I'll be spending a week in/around BA with them before heading to Iguazu Falls around Christmas, and yes onto Brazil for NYE. I have time set aside to explore mid-upper Argentina and Chile mid 2013, but this short period between the 27th Nov and 15th Dec is really my only opening for Patagonia. I figured that being organised with an itinerary would help me make the most of my time. The amount I have learnt about Patagonia just in the process of creating this itinerary has made the exercise worthwhile.
Essentially, after Brazil (NYE through to Carnival with intermittent stops in Paraguay that I'm yet to organise) I'll be backtracking to BA via Uruguay to fly to Mexico City for a 3 week tour culminating in Cancun with Spring Break. Spring Break makes my South America leg a bit mucked up (and is an expensive detour!) but is something I definitely don't want to miss. From Mexico I'll then head south throughout Central America and the west coast of South America until I reach Santiago. Then I'll fly to the US. It's a mess, thanks to the timing of Spring Break, but that's what I'm working with...
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