Argentina/Chile: Best of Patagonia

Patagonia is a barely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. It covers the area from San Carlos de Bariloche to Ushuaia.

The most visited area is the cycle El Chaltén, El Calafate and the Torres National Park in the South. To see more remote areas it is worth to take more time and start the Patagonia adventure in Puerto Varas. With driving on the Carretera Austral in Chile and Ruta 40 in Argentina down to Punta Arenas (Chile) or even Ushuaia (Argentina).

Before you start this adventure keep a couple of things in mind. In case of choosing the own car option go with a 4×4 drive, the roads can get really rough real quick. Buy a gas canister, you never know when you will need it. Take every gas station you can, in some areas the stations are hundreds of kilometers apart.

Also, use every opportunity to get cash, not all towns have a bank nor accepts credit cards and the cash limit of a day is around 100 Euros. 

Click on the headlines for detailed stories and background. Our journey in 2018 from the beginning. Our 2015 adventure.

Puerto Varas

In General: one of the bigger towns on the whole tour. Has a real nice view at the lake.

Time to spent: 1 day (Walk along the lake)

Infrastructure: bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, accept credit card

Bariloche

In General: the Switzerland of Argentina, popular for the views, the mountains, the hikes and the chocolate.

Time to spent: 2-3 days (Including a day hike at Pampa Linda)

Infrastructure: bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, accept credit card

Lago Puelo National Park

In General: Is located near the town El Bolsón. We only stayed there for 2 hours on our drive from Bariloche to Futaleufú. Accommodation can be found in Lago Puelo on the way to the park.

Time to spent: 1-2 days (hiking, fishing in the park)

Infrastructure: in El Bolsón: bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, accept credit card

Futaleufú National Reserve

In General: Futaleufú is a tiny town, mainly known for rafting. Everything can be done by foot.

Time to spent: 1-2 Days (hiking and rafting)

Infrastructure: bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, accept credit card

Queulat NP (Puyuhuapi)

In General: Puyuhuapi is real small town mainly known for the Ventisquero Colgante Glacier. Another highlight is Puyuhuapi Spa.

Time to spent: 2 Days

Infrastructure: gas station (was closed when we been there), restaurants and hotels, could only pay in cash (park entry and restaurant)

Cerro Castillo

In General: Villa Cerro Castillo is a small town. We sadly could not hike there due to the snow in September.

Time to spent: 2 Days (day hike)

Infrastructure: no bank, no gas station, restaurants and hotels.

Lago General Carrera

In General: Puerto Rio Tranquilo is a real small town mainly known for the marble caves. But there is more for the outdoor heart: visiting the San Valentin National Park and go on a Glacier hike. Just enjoy the view in one of the lodges at the lake and hike in the area.

Time to spent: 3-4 Days

Infrastructure: no bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, the gas station accepted credit card, the tour provider had problems with the credit card machine as it only has satellite internet, also our lodge only accepted cash

Lago Posadas

In General: Smallest town we were to. Leave the Ruta 40 and drive 70 km on a dirt road towards Lago Posadas.

Time to spent: 2-3 Days (hiking at Lago Posadas)

Infrastructure: no bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, no credit card at all possible

El Chaltén

In General: Capital National del Trekking.  Not much more to add, it is a small town with hotels and restaurants in an amazing surrounding. Nearly all the hikes can be started in the town itself.

Time to spent: 3-14 Days (day and multi day hikes)

Infrastructure: bank, gas station, restaurants and hotels, tourist information, tour booking, only paying in cash possible

El Calafate

In General: one of the bigger towns, mainly known for the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Los Glaciares National Park.

Time to spent: 2 Days (Glacier tour and hiking)

Infrastructure: bank (we had no luck with getting any money, we tried 3 different ATM’s), gas station, restaurants and hotels, accept credit cards, park entry needs to be paid in cash

Torres National Park

In General: Dream location for hikers. Park/Hiking map comes with the entry ticket for the park.

Time to spent: 3-14 days (day and multi day hikes)

Infrastructure: no bank, no gas station, restaurants and hotels, accept credit cards, park entry needs to be paid in cash

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