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Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Colorado
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Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Hello, I am planning a trip to Patagonia and could use your comments here:

spend 7-10 days in the area of Torres, hiking W and some side trips

a day at Perito Moreno (some people suggest to take a boat to Glaciers:

Uppsala,Onelli and Spegazinni, which sounds great but our guidebook mentioned

that it is overcrowded catamaran, do you have any suggestion/experience with

it?)

a week at Fitz Roy/El Chalten - do you have any suggestions as what not to

miss?

And the remaining time is opened. I was thinking of Lakes / Bariloche area. Where we

could hire a car, rent a room with a kitchen somewhere in the quiet area and

explore/hike on our own./ do not know much about the area yet/

I was also thinking about Pumalin but that seems to be a bit too difficult to.

any ideas are very helpful,

thank you!

Buenos Aires
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1. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Boleslav

It`s important to know when you`re planning your trip. Activities in Patagonia are very dependent on the season and weather.

Talk to Big Foot Patagonia (www.bigfootpatagonia.com) for side treks out of Torres/Natales. They specialise in kayaking trips.

The Upsala boats are generally full, it`s the price of success. But it`s still a much less tourist-heavy experience than Glaciar Perito Moreno. Ask Upsala Explorer about their night trips.

A week at El Chalten may be too long if you`ve already put in a week at Torres. Depends how much hard trekking you want to do. Again, we need to know when you`re coming. Remember that if the weather closes in at Chalten - which it can do at a moments notice - you`ll be twiddling your thumbs.

Easy to rent a car out of Bariloche. Check with Hertz.

Don`t know much about apartment rental in Bariloche. Friends of mine run this website and free paper, www.backpackerspatagonia.com - they`ll help you out.

Consider driving part of Chile´s Carretera Austral, with Parque Pumalin as a side trip.

Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Your rough itinerary sounds fine, do go to Bariloche in the lakes district and don't for get to do the Manso river rafting!! but keep in mind that starting in April, the weather starts to get very cold in Patagonia, so come prepared, with warm clothes.

Colorado
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3. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Thank you for your comments.

I have another problem where I'd like to ask you for your expertise. What's the best way to get from El Calafate to Bariloche? Bus, flight, rent a car in El Calafate and drop it off in Bariloche? Thank you.

Buenos Aires
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4. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Fly if you can, it's a pretty long way by road. And yes, if you're a good driver, consider going under your own steam. Just leave way more time for it than you think

Sydney
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5. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

I'm killing some time in Buenos Aires having just completed the W and treks around Fitz Roy, and visiting Perito Moreno. The glacier is beautiful, don't miss it, but you will see plenty of other large and small glaciers along the way. I've heard that Onelli etc are not as impressive as Perito Moreno. We did the minitrekking on Perito Moreno, which I was a little disappointed with as it didn't seem to go for very long. Other options are to go for an ice trek on the Viedma glacier, near Chaltén where there is an ice tunnel you can walk through. I was told that was beautiful and definitely worth the US$80 price for the boat trip and hike. You can also go ice trekking on the Grey glacier in Torres del Paine, that is about US$110 or $120, and includes a chance to ice climb with picks.

We went to Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales on a boat which takes in the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers, and transferred from there on zodiacs to Paine, from which you can see Geikie and Tyndall glaciers. It's a beautiful trip in sunshine, but freezing when it rains, so that's something to think about. The boat takes 4 hours and zodiacs another 2 hours. We had 6 days altogether, 5 days doing the W, the day on the boat, and I would have liked to have spent another couple of days there doing some of the other walks in the area, so 7-10 days sounds ideal.

A week at FitzRoy sounds like a lot, but it does depend on how much hiking you want to do. We had 3 full days and I would have liked another one or two to take in the Viedma glacier. My favourite walk there was to Laguna de los Tres, we started from Hosteria Pilar and walked back to Chaltén. It's about 22km altogether, most of it relatively easy. If going up there, be sure to go to the viewpoint for Laguna Sucia as well. When you get up the top of the hill, you can walk down to Laguna de los Tres, and there is another small hill to the west (left). Climb that and you will be rewarded with views of the glacier and Laguna Sucia. I'll have to look up the name of the other walk that some of our group did, can't remember it off hand and I don't have a map handy a the moment.

Colorado
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6. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Hi Ozannie,

what other hikes would you recommned to do in the Torres?

Did you go to the lakes district? I'm now not sure which one to visit - Chillean or Argentinian?

Thanks!

Sydney
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7. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

Hi Boleslav,

I didn't go to the Lakes District, so can't comment on that. It was in our original itinerary but had to be cut out due to time and financial constraints.

The other walk around Fitz Roy I was thinking of was Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, which I think was 18-20km. I actually opted out of this one because my ankle was playing up and I didn't want to make it worse before hitting Torres del Paine, but the people in our group who did it enjoyed it more than Laguna Torre, because the view was more impressive. I think it was a harder walk than Laguna Torre, in that it was an uphill climb with strong headwinds. The Lonely Planet guide on trekking in Southern Patagonia describes a 3 day circuit going to Laguna Torre, Laguna de los Tres and up the Rio Electrico, so you could consider that and add in Loma del Pliegue Tumbado on a 4th day, or the Viedma glacier excursion.

In Torres del Paine, be sure to get all the way up the Valle del Frances. The view is superb the higher up you get. We stayed in refugios so didn't have enough time to get to the end, but everyone we spoke to said it was worth it. It's easier if you're camping. The walk up the Valle del Silencio is apparently also beautiful and gives you a view of the back of the towers. I think the trail is not very well defined, you might need to look into whether a guide for that part is worthwhile. The other walk that was recommended and we didn't get to do was to Laguna Verde, apparently gives you fabulous views of Los Cuernos across the lake.

Happy travels, I'd love to go back.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

ozannie, did you join a group to do the 'W' hike? I am going to be Patagonia in March and really want to do the 'W' while in Paine.

ThanksABunch

Colorado
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9. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

ozannie, thank you for the ideas!

Sydney
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10. Re: Rough itinerary for Patagonia-please comment

ThanksABunch, we did join a group, partly because we left the trip planning rather late and partly because it was a supported trek, but it doesn't appear to be too difficult to do the W on your own. Our group of 9 people was with World Expeditions, their local agent is EuroTur. Their address in Buenos Aires is Viamonte 486-103, phone 5411 43126077, email correo@eurotur.com.ar. In El Calafate, the Patagonia office, the address is A Del Libertador 1025, phone 54 2902 492190, email calafate@eurotur.com.ar.

If you're planning to stay in refugios, you should book ahead. They were always full when we stayed, because a group of 16 who travelled in parallel with us were always there too, but apparently the nights before our group and theirs arrived saw the refugios only half full. Camp sites all looked pretty busy, especially Campemento Britanico, and you are told where to pitch your tent, which is not always out of the wind. It's possible to camp but have all meals provided by the refugio, which is a more expensive way of doing things but results in lighter packs, and means you don't have to worry about hiring a stove etc. In March the demand is meant to be less than in Jan/Feb so you should have an easier time with arranging accommodation.

It's not too hard travelling on public transport either, buses run a few times a day between Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine, and daily (I think) between Puerto Natales and El Calafate, if that's where you're going. Nobody we spoke to booked ahead, they just turned up the day before or on the day of travel to get tickets.

It's definitely worth doing the W, the scenery is just spectacular up the French Valley and was my favourite day of our (almost) 4-week trip.