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7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

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7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Doing a last minute planning trip to Patagonia. I don't have set dates but will be around Thanksgiving. Reading a little bit, it seems like it will be somewhat busy. I'm flexible in adding a day or two but must stay under 2 weeks.

I see flights I can book to Santiago, after reading some blogs it seems like flying to Punta Arenas would be best for basing myself? Will be 3 guys who have a bit of hiking experience. We've done 10+ hour days so not an issue for us. Can anyone suggest a itinerary for 10-12 days? I know it's super last minute, if lodging/transportation bookings are too last minute, I may end up going to Egypt instead.

Thanks for the help!!

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1. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Hello. Since you like hiking and plan to visit Patagonia during a busy time, I think it would be better for you to go on hikes right from the town of El Chalten (many leave right from this tiny town, which has many places to stay in a wide variety of price ranges and also many good places to eat) and visit TdP on day trips from Puerto Natales (including a Full Day TdP tour that shows you the highlights of this big park and a Towers hike day trip to take you on the most popular trail in TdP). Places to stay in TdP can be pretty expensive, and it’s complicated arranging transportation to and from the popular TdP hikes since there is a limited catamaran schedule and since the buses to and from Puerto Natales only run twice daily. Here’s a general plan that could work for you:

Day 1 Fly to Buenos Aires

Day 2 Arrive in Buenos Aires; get some rest and do some sightseeing; sleep in Buenos Aires

Day 3 Take a flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate and use Las Lengas for a direct transfer to El Chalten right from the airport; sleep in El Chalten

transportelaslengas.com/en/…

Day 4 Try to go on the wonderful Laguna de Los Tres trail that leaves from El Chalten; spend the night in El Chalten

elchalten.com/eng/…lagunadelostres.php

Day 5 Go on another hike in El Chalten (see the link above); either use Las Lengas for a late afternoon direct transfer to your El Calafate hotel/hostel or take the last bus to El Calafate at about 18:00 (the trip takes about 3 ½ hours); sleep in El Calafate

transportelaslengas.com/en/…

Day 6 Visit the wonderful Perito Moreno glacier, either taking buses to and from the glacier (the one-way trip takes about 1 ½ hours) or using Hielo y Aventura to go on the Big Ice trek or the Minitrek on the glacier (book these popular ice treks well in advance); be sure to bring an extra 600 Argentine pesos per person in cash for the park entry fee (it cost 500 pesos last season, but I don’t know if the price has increased for the upcoming season); sleep in El Calafate

hieloyaventura.com/HIELO2015/preguntas-frecu…

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

Day 7 Take a bus to Puerto Natales (about 5 ½ hours long); sleep 2 nights in Puerto Natales

Day 8 Go on the Full Day TdP tour through your hotel/hostel or use an agency like Patagonia Adventure:

www.apatagonia.com/en/torres-del-paine.html

Day 9 Go on the TdP Towers hike trail as a day trip from Puerto Natales with Patagonia Adventure; sleep again in Puerto Natales

http://www.apatagonia.com/en/base-torres.html

Day 10 Either take the morning bus back to El Calafate and an evening flight to Buenos Aires or take a bus to Punta Arenas (the bus trip takes about 3 hours to the airport) and take an evening flight to Santiago

Day 11 Fly home

These are some ideas. Good luck with your planning.

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2. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Thanks so much for the information. Very helpful, I will def be checking out all the places and logistics.

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3. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

I've actually played around with my dates and it looks I have an extra 3 full days. I'll be flying into Santiago first and leaving from Bueno Aires. Is there a specific place where I should add my days towards?

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4. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Hello. That’s great that you have more time to spend on your trip. I would suggest that you spend more time in TdP. I have put together a possible itinerary below (you need to make reservations yourself for places to stay along the W trek in TdP), but you can also check the Swoop Patagonia short trips below to see if they will fit into your schedule:

swoop-patagonia.com/chile/…3-day

swoop-patagonia.com/chile/…camping

This is a possible itinerary for you. You will have to put in your dates for staying along the W trek in TdP to see if there is availability for you. If not, you can come back here on the forum, and I will try to help you find another solution (maybe hiking west to east if there is availability in that direction). I have included a link to the Turismozaahj buses. I can only see last year’s schedule online, but I have contacted them for the new schedule. It’s pretty much the same, but now there are buses on Wednesday leaving Puerto Natales for El Calafate at 14:00 (in addition to the previous Monday and Friday buses at that same time) and also Wednesday buses leaving El Calafate for Puerto Natales at 16:30 (in addition to the previous Monday and Friday buses that leave at the same time). Here is a link to the old schedule:

turismozaahj.co.cl/turismozaahjenglish/new-p…

Day 1 Fly to Santiago

Day 2 Arrive in Santiago, get some rest and sleep there

Day 3 Fly to Punta Arenas (check both LATAM and Sky Airlines for the best and least expensive prices); take a Bus Sur bus right from the airport to Puerto Natales (let them know that you are expecting an airport pick up) and spend the night there

bussur.com/frecuencias-nacionales/?lang=en

Day 4 Take the morning Buses Maria Jose bus to the Amarga TdP entrance station; pay your entrance fee of 21,000 Chilean pesos per person (last year, they only accepted credit cards in the morning, but I don’t know what their plan will be for this season); get on the Hotel Las Torres shuttle to Refugio Torre Central or Refugio Torre Norte or Camping Central (you need to book these places to stay in advance through the Fantastico Sur link below; select the Sector Estancia section of the booking online link); last season, the cost of this one-way hotel shuttle was about 3000 Chilean pesos per person for non-hotel guests; eat lunch at Refugio Torre Central or get a box lunch to go; walk about 15 minutes to the Hotel Las Torres parking lot and climb the Towers trail that leaves right from the parking lot (it takes about 7-8 hours roundtrip and climbs about 750-800 meters); get dinner at Refugio Torre Central (check dinner times before your hike) or at the Hotel Las Torres bar/café

http://www.busesmariajose.com/uk/services.php

fantasticosur.com/en/…

fantasticosur.com/en/torres-del-paine/map/

Day 5 Hike about 6 ½ to 7 hours to spend the night at Domo Frances or Camping Frances (reserve in advance through the Fantastico Sur link below)

fantasticosur.com/en/…

fantasticosur.com/en/…

Day 6 Walk about 45-60 minutes to Campamento Italiano and leave your backpacks at the ranger station; climb the French Valley trail (about 5 ½ to 6 hours for the full trail; you can also just hike about 1 ½ to 2 hours up the trail to see the first viewpoint, not the famous amphitheater viewpoint at the end of the trail); see a good description of the trail below; pick up your packs and hike about 2 ½ hours to Paine Grande and get to the catamaran in time (about 20-30 minutes early) so that you won’t miss the last catamaran of the day to Pudeto at 18:35 (pay 18,000 Chilean pesos per person in cash for the one-way catamaran trip); connect with the 19:00 bus back to Puerto Natales (see Buses Maria Jose above) for an arrival at about 22:00; sleep in Puerto Natales

travelinghindsights.com/hiking-w-french-vall…

verticepatagonia.com/en/torres-del-paine/new…

Day 7 Take either Turismozaahj (see the link above) or Bus Sur, whichever ever one has a morning bus to El Calafate that day; take a taxi to the downtown and get Argentine pesos for El Chalten (some places to eat only take cash; we weren’t able to use our chip credit card at the El Chalten bus station teller machine last December, but we were told that you might be able to use chip cards for cash at the bank downtown) and the Perito Moreno glacier later in your trip (you need to bring an extra 500-600 Argentine pesos per person in cash for the park entry fee); use Las Lengas for a direct transfer from downtown to your hotel/hostel in El Chalten

bussur.com/frecuencias-internacionales/…

transportelaslengas.com/en/…

Day 8 Hike in El Chalten; try to hike the Laguna de Los Tres trail on a day when you can see Cerro Fitzroy

elchalten.com/eng/…lagunadelostres.php

Day 9 Hike another trail in El Chalten

Day 10 Hike another trail in El Chalten; get on the last bus to El Calafate at about 18:00 or get on the last Las Lengas transfer from El Chalten for a trip right to your hotel or hostel in El Calafate; sleep in El Calafate

Day 11 Enjoy the Perito Moreno glacier, either taking buses to and from the glacier viewing platforms or using Hielo y Aventura for an ice trek (book these popular ice treks in advance); be sure to take your 500-600 pesos per person in cash for the park entry fee

hieloyaventura.com/HIELO2015/preguntas-frecu…

Day 12 Fly from El Calafate to Buenos Aires

Day 13 Enjoy Buenos Aires

Day 14 Fly home from Buenos Aires

Good luck with your planning.

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5. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

I will be visiting Patagonia in October staying at Puerto Madryn for 10 --14 days and would like to follow the Welsh settlers trail !

I would also like to see whales and visit the penguin colony ----

Ian a pensioner with a slight mobility issue and will need to rest between trips as in a day here and there to put my feet up !

I will be travelling alone and would be grateful for any advise you can give !

Many thanks.

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6. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

You are my guardian angel Elizabeth! Are you a TA by any chance?

It looks like we're going to follow your itinerary to the T but my mates did not want to camp and hike so we were thinking of renting a car in Puerto Natales and stay in the Rio Serrano area and do day trips from there. Would that be a decent idea?

Thanks again for your thorough help. I'll definitely be sure to post my thoughts and trip report when I get back!

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7. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Uh oh, I’m not sure I want to be a guardian angel. What happens if the suggestions I gave don’t work out? Are your friends interested in staying at Refugio Torre Central or Refugio Torre Norte on Day 4 of my general itinerary above and at Domo Frances on Day 5? These aren’t campgrounds, and this itinerary gives you the chance to hike both the Towers trail and the full French Valley trail.

Several people stay at hotels in the Serrano area south of the Serrano TdP entrance station (Guarderia Rio Serrano on the first map below) like Hotel Lago Tyndall and Hosteria Lago del Toro. These aren’t fancy places; Hotel Rio Serrano is fancier. From this location, you can drive about 1 hour to Hotel Lago Grey and then go on a boat trip (see the link below; you need to check in at the hotel at least 1 hour before the boat leaves). When we were there, we had to drive a short distance (5-10 minutes??) from the hotel parking lot to a larger parking lot and walk about 20-30 minutes over a bridge and through a small forest before dropping down to the boat launch area. Last season, somebody told me that he could use a catamaran for the trip right from the hotel to the boat launch area, so contact the hotel directly to see if this will be available for you.

https:/…mapa-torres-del-paine-chile

lagogrey.com/en/navigation-to-grey-glacier/d…

There are 2 short hikes that you can take not far from the Serrano area. The Mirador Condor trail is maybe about 45 minutes from Hotel Rio Serrano and is near the Explora Lodge and Camping Pehoe on the map below. This trail climbs about 250 feet and takes about 2 ½ hours roundtrip, with beautiful views of turquoise Lago Pehoe and the gorgeous Cuernos peaks. The second hike is the Salto Grande waterfall/ Mirador Cuernos trail near the Pudeto catamaran dock (see the map below). This is a mostly flat trail (sometimes windy), with beautiful views of the Cuernos peaks. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the waterfall and about 1 ¼ hours to walk to Lago Nordernskjold. See the Tripadvisor info about Salto Grande below.

fantasticosur.com/en/torres-del-paine/map/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

It takes about 2 hours one-way to drive from the Serrano area to Hotel Las Torres (the start of the Towers trail), so I think it would be better to stay one night at either Refugio Torre Central or Refugio Torre Norte to place yourself in better position for this hike that takes about 7-8 hours roundtrip and climbs about 750-800 meters. There is no gas in TdP, so you will save gas if you don’t drive 4 hours roundtrip from Serrano for this trip. The Serrano area hotels are about 1 ½ hours from Puerto Natales, which has gas stations. Last season, only guests of the Hotel Las Torres could use their parking lot during the busy season. Non-hotel guests had to park their rental cars at the Welcome Center (I never saw this in November 2013, but Fantastico Sur told me by e-mail that it was about 200 meters from the hotel).

If you want to do just part of the French Valley trail from the Serrano area, you would have to arrive at the Pudeto catamaran dock at about 08:30 or 08:40 to get on the first catamaran of the day at 09:00 (pay 28,000 Chilean pesos per person in cash for the roundtrip). You would arrive at Paine Grande at about 09:30 and then hike about 2 ½ hours to Campamento Italiano. You would then hike about 1 ½ to 2 hours up the French Valley trail to the first overlook and then turn around and come back the same way. You would have to arrive about 20-30 minutes before the last catamaran of the day at 18:35 so that you don’t get stranded on that side without a place to stay.

http://www.hipsur.com/web/

There is a car rental place in Puerto Natales called Newen that has had some very good Tripadvisor reviews. You can rent both automatic and manual transmission cars there. If your group is larger than 4 and you can drive a manual transmission van, you can also contact Tom Rent a Car to see if they have a large van available.

www.rentacarnatales.cl/index.php/es-es/flotas

http://www.tomrentacar.cl/vehiculos/

I hope this helps. Good luck.

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8. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Hello, SALLY. I’m afraid I haven’t been to Puerto Madryn or Peninsula Valdes or Punta Tombo. Right now, you’re in a discussion about travel in Torres del Paine, El Calafate, and El Chalten. Why don’t you write a new Tripadvisor post under the Tripadvisor Argentina Patagonia Province of Chubut forum to get some better information than I can give you? Right now, I can just show you the Tripadvisor list of the best things to do in Puerto Madryn, the Welsh town of Gaiman, and some information about Punta Tombo (for the penguins).

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g312…

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

https:/…

Good luck to you!

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9. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

I have an extra day I want to do in Punta Arenas and was wondering if this is feasible.

Day 1 - Santiago

Day 2 - Fly to Punta Arenas (No afternoon tours for Penguins that I could find/contact)

Day 3 - Penguin Tour (7am - return 12-1pm), Bus to Puerto Natales (3pm, is this enough time?)

Day 4 - Bus to Amarga, transfer to Torres Hotel bus then Towers hike

Day 5 - Hike to Domo Frances

Day 6 - French Valley hike, catamaran to Pudeto

Day 7 - Rest day or kayak tour @ grey lake (couldn't find any tour available other than paying $500 usd+)

Day 8 - Bus to El Calafate

Day 9 - Ice Trek Glacier

Day 10 - Las Lengas to El Chalten

Day 11 - El Chalten

Day 12 - Las Lengas to El Calafate Airport, Fly to Bueno Aires

Day 13 - Spend day in Bueno Aires and take PM flight home

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10. Re: 7-10 Days in Patagonia Help

Hello CalifirniaElizabeth!

So wonering if you can help me too with some advice? I'm just eager to make necessary reservations asap.

I have planned a short stay in Patagonia. Spending three nights in BA on arrival, then leave via plane for El Calafate on the 26th of Dec, staying until Jan 1, 2018. Then returning to BA for wo nights before heading home to São Paulo.

Have tenativley rented a car, But it seems that much paperwork is needed to cross the border into Chile. We would like to see Parque Nacional Torres del Paine if possible. But I've notice that you suggested taking buses to others, is that do-able with our short itinerary?

Thanks

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