El Chalten to El Calafate Airport Bus
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Aug 25, 2012 9:49 PM Last Post By: agustin866
Jul 28, 2012 2:42 PM
Looking to take the bus, having a hard time getting a straight answer on this one:
Our flight leaves El Calafate at 10:45am.
Looks like there is a bus we can book which claims to leave El Chalten at 6:30am and takes 3 hours, getting us presumably to the airport at a comfy 9:30, plenty of time to make the flight.
What I am looking to confirm is that this departure exists, is reliable and does indeed take 3 hours. Unless of course you suggest leaving the night before and not taking the chance on missing the flight.
Oh, this is for early January, yes planning ahead - on a tight schedule!
Jul 28, 2012 4:44 PM
1El Chalten to El Calafate is 200 or 220 kms along a very good paved road with little traffic and no other village or town in between. It won´´t take more than 3 hours. If this services really exists, or better said, if it will exist in early january, can only be confirmed with the bus company or once there, but as far as I know there was a very early morning bus in high season
Jul 29, 2012 6:46 AM
2Whenever I see someone talk about a tight schedule, I often think of this post:
However, Argentina, as with many latino countries, has been afflicted with many roadblocks, such as the farming industry roadblocks, that may start up without notice. The buses may be on strike, especially if the economy goes crazy like it is predicted to do at the end of the year..Even if the strike is unrelated to the bus, the usual form of protest here is to block roads so it could be the result of some obscure, unannounced event. As a way to economize due to government-controlled bus prices, many bus companies here have cut down on their maitnenance schedules, and I personally have had large delays waiting in garages or the sides of roads while buses are being repaired or replacement buses are sent.
I was on a bus two years ago going from Bariloche to Buenos Aires with Via Bariloche (a very good bus company), and the bus, without notice (even though,they could have figured it out and let people know...they do not advise of such things here, it is not part of their culture), stopped at the side of the road, and said that the would have to sit for 5 to 6 hours because the Dakar race was crossing the road ahead. There were several couples from Europe on the bus who complained that this would mean they would miss their evening flights to Europe. Nothing could be done, and as a result of missing their flights, they had to spend thousands of Euros each to buy expensive last minute flights home over the following days.
Almost exactly a year later, I was on a bus (Andesmar, the megacompany that has swallowed up many other lines, and has problems with bus matinenance lately, and have a monoploy on the Bariloche-Mendoza route) and it broke down between Neuquen and San Rafael. We waited 8 hours before a replacement bus arrived to contnue our journey,.Again, A number of overseas visitors missed their flights home, resulting in extreme extra costs and problems. I have been on a number of other Andesmar-conglomerate buses where breakdowns have occured over the past few years (I avoid them if I can), but not to the same extreme as that.
My attitude then, and now, is that these people who naively expect things ot run like clockwork DESERVE what they get. There are so many warnings out there, and people still post ridiculouisly tight schedules here and ignore all kinds of advice here and elsewhere.
People that plan perfect schedules often come to grief in Latin America (it is the same all over the world, but things are exponentially more unreliable here). Leave time for flexibility, or any missed flights or other connections will be, quite frankly, due to your ignoring straight and simple advice.
So, go ahead and book your Bariloche-BA bus to arrive in BA the same day (or the next day) as you fly out. People who have problems due to their own irrresponsibility never post afterwards to tell us about it (they only post when they are pissed off when tour compnaies or bus companies lie to them or directly screw them), because they feel too stupid to tell us about it.
Sorry to be so direct, but sometimes a spade has to be called a "·%& shovel" for people´s own good. :)
Jul 29, 2012 10:40 AM
Jul 29, 2012 6:04 PM
4If that bus does operate, you are still running a risk. I found buses to be generally be reliable in Argentina, although a delay of an hour or more occasionally happens. Even a short delay and you would miss your flight, which I presume is quite expensive. Why not get the last bus to Calafate the evening before? It makes little difference as to whether you sleep in El Calafate or El Chalten.
Jul 30, 2012 7:23 AM
5Thanks everyone. Mendocina - while I appreciate the repost, I have to say that the assumption of the original author is nearly offensively condescending and presumptuous. There are plenty of people who travel on tight schedules who don't assume stellar service in foreign countries and who do their due diligence to research specific situations before they make plans. Hence my post.
And for the record, I have taken Amtrak for 2 hours trips that turned out to be 6. No country is immune to service interruptions. Just a matter of knowing if interruptions are to be expected or if they are random occurrences.
That said, will try to find the last bus in the evening instead :)
Edited by: emd_two on Mar 5, 2013 5:01 AM
Jul 30, 2012 7:33 AM
6Well you said "straight answer", so do not complain if answers are given straight. This was not especially for you, but for other readers who might be thinking about sticking to "tight schedules". And, I took pains to point out delays occur everywhere in the world.
I should add that for several few years, there have been instances of shortages of fuel, service stations running out of fuel and buses being unable to fuel (I have experienced this myself) throughout Patagonia (Chile included).
Have a great trip! :)
Aug 2, 2012 6:16 AM
Aug 25, 2012 9:49 PM
8Hi there, I think I can help with your issue.
There is a shuttle service service that takes you from your accommodation in El Chaltén to El Calafate Airport and adapts easily into all fligth schedules. Cause they have several services daily to cover all flights. They also make a direct trip from El Calafate Airport to el El Chaltén.
Is a shuttle service , you can check at www.transportelaslengas.com , and then book the service in advance, I have worked in El Chaltén serveral seasons and always use that service with no issues at all. Owner is Raúl Sartori and the name of the company is of course "Transporte Las Lengas" , "lengas" being a tree widely seen in El Chaltén.
The obvious advantage is that this service adapts to all passengers schedules , and not uses a fixed time as the buses.
Any other doubt about El Chaltén , you can check at www.chaltenweb.com, is a touristic portal of the town, or ask me, I lived there until last year. I will be glad to help.
I will not suggest you to leave the night before, cause then you must have to spend in new accommodation for one night and then a transfer to the airport. A taxi service to the Airport was about 100 argentine pesos, about 25 USD, I think the Las Lengas bus service is about the same from El Chaltén to El Calafate and you will save the accommodation fare. And El Calafate at night is not very funny at all, only the Casino is worth to visit but then you will waste more money!! :))
Besides if any issue arise, (a shortage of fuel, etc) , believe me El Chaltén is still small enough and the people know each other so well that they will try to fix it, I have taken this services since 3 years and never lost a flight, they even have ties with the airport and can warn and be warned of any delay, besides all the roads have been fixed so, no more gravel roads. To give you an incredible fact, I got the same travel time from my house to downtown Buenos AIres (2.30 hours - 28 kmts) that El Chaltén to El Calafate (3 hours - 223 kmts).
Regards and good trip
Edited by: agustin866
Edited by: agustin866
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