Patagonia Panoramas
March 25, 2009 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me about your experiences in the beautiful mountainous regions of Patagonia, South America.

I have always marveled from afar at the exquisite scenery of the Patagonia area in Chile and Argentina. Someday soon, I want to travel there during the South American summer. For those who have spent time in and around Patagonia, please help me with logistical concerns I should consider. I am North American. Where would you suggest as the best town for a home base? What is the best way to get around from sight to sight? Are you better off at the touristy national park areas, or is it all open and available to hikers and campers? What should you not miss? What should you stay away from? Are there any unusual safety issues to consider? What is a fair amount of time to allot for an extended vacation? What questions am I not asking that I should? Thank you in advance for your help.
posted by netbros to Travel & Transportation around Patagonia, AZ (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A great place to start in Patagonia is Bariloche. From there there are tons of excursions into the pampas, tierra del fuego and cruises and stuff like that. If you are going to Argentina you should visit Buenos Aires for a day or two (my favorite city in the world) and from there go down to Bariloche where you can find excellent skiing during the winter months (our summer) and lakes etc during the summer.

If I can think of more specifics later I'll come back and write some more during work tomorrow. Just saw Patagonia and had to comment.
posted by OuttaHere at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2009

Ignore the facts that I said only visit Buenos Aires a day or two, I don't know if thats possible!
posted by OuttaHere at 2:18 PM on March 25, 2009

Be prepared for the distances. It's a BIG place, Argentina. 24 hours on bus from BsAs to Bariloche, or there abouts. 42 hours to get from BsAs to El Chalten. And it's expensive to fly, as the national airline has a monopoly and charges non-locals 3X the amount as locals pay.
I don't know Bariloche, but I have been to San Martin de Los Andes, about three hours away. Beautiful and laid back little town on a lake, lots of places to stay, some great food as well, which is a rarity for Argentina.
Make sure you visit Sugar Bar when you are in Buenos Aires and say hi!
posted by conifer at 3:01 PM on March 25, 2009

On my first trip to Chile, I spent a few days on a ship going around the San Rafael area to see the glaciers. Relaxing trip, but geared towards less active people.

On my second trip to Chile, I flew into Punta Arenas and stayed in Puerto Natales and did day trips in the surrounding areas. Nthing what people have said about distances. It's a long haul (2 hrs) from the airport to Puerto Natales, and another couple of hours into Torres del Paine National Park on some pretty bumpy roads.

I don't know what your budget is, but I stayed at a pretty swanky hotel called Remota in Puerto Natales that was all-inclusive and offered a menu of daily tours to its guests - hikes to caves and lagoons; ferry rides to see seals and glaciers; horseback riding, etc. Guides, transportation and sometimes meals were included on the day trips. Meals at the hotel was included and they were very, very good. Five days here was plenty and I did ALOT, including a pretty rushed one day tour of Torres Del Paine National Park, which was huge.

Everything was very safe, no worries about that.

I suggest you stick to either Chile or Argentina and not necessarily do both countries. Chile has $132 reciprocity fee for US and Canadian citizens. Patagonia in Chile vs. Argentina is like comparing Yellowstone vs. Yosemite - both spectacular and unusual in their own right, but in some ways, very similar as well.
posted by HeyAllie at 4:37 PM on March 25, 2009

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