- South america
2 Weeks Itinerary for Patagonia
Patagonia is a vast remote area at the southern tip of South America covering parts of both Argentina and Chile. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world full of stunning glaciers, iconic mountains and adventurous trails for you to explore.
It could take months to really explore all the diverse sceneries of Patagonia and not a lot of people will have the time to it and that is why I am writing this itinerary. This is a 2 weeks backpacking itinerary covering all the highlights you shouldn't miss when are you in Patagonia, plus a few days for you to explore the capital cities of Argentina and Chile. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know to travel around Patagonia in 2 weeks.Table of Contents
- Patagonia Itinerary Map
- Chile Video
- Argentina Video
- When to Visit Patagonia
- Where to Stay in Patagonia
- How to Get to Patagonia
- Transportation Around Patagonia
- Travel Insurance
- 2 Weeks Patagonia Itinerary
- Further Reading for Argentina and Chile
Patagonia Itinerary Map
When to Visit Patagonia
There are a few things to consider when visiting Patagonia. For one, it is among the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world to visit, hence why peak seasons might not actually be the best time to visit. Secondly, it is a mountainous region and the weather is unpredictable even in the mid-summer.
The best time to visit IMO is during the shoulder season between March to April and October to November where all the hotels aren't fully-booked, prices of tickets, buses and accommodations are lower and best of all, fewer people all around.
Where to Stay in Patagonia
Buenos Aires - Hostel Bolivar - 14 USD/Night (Single Room) | 22 USD/Night (Double Room)
El Chalten - Rancho Grande Hostel - 14 USD/Night (Dorm Room) | 54 USD/Night (Double/Twin Room)
El Calafate - Hostel Nakel Yenu - 18.5 USD/Night (Dorm Room) | 47.63 USD/Night (Twin Room)
Ushuaia - Oshovia Hostel - 25 USD/Night (Dorm Room) | 76 USD/Night (Twin Room + Private Bathroom)
Santiago - La Chimba Hostel - 15 USD/Night (Dorm Room) | 32 USD/Night (Double Room)
Traveling here, on average, will cost you more than traveling in most countries out there. You can expect to spend around 45 - 65 USD per day per person with food, accommodation and transportation.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
How to Get to Patagonia
First you will have to get to Argentina (or Chile if you are doing in the opposite direction). There are several airlines that fly to Buenos Aires such as American, United, and LATAM if you are from the US and Turkish, Air France or Lufthansa airlines if you are coming from Europe or Asia.
Transportation Around Patagonia
Patagonia is very remote and the area consists of terrain that is difficult to build and maintain infrastructures for an efficient transportation network to exist.
The fastest way to travel around Patagonia is to fly domestic via Aerolineas Argentinas for Argentina and LATAM or Sky Airline for Chile. A one way ticket is around 300 USD for a flight from Buenos Aires/Santiago to Patagonia.
Another option is to travel around by bus. This is by far the cheapest way to travel in Patagonia. Buses in Chile and Argentina are comfortable, reliable and covers all the places I recommended in the itinerary.
Keep in mind that the further south you go, the less time bus runs so be sure to book them ahead of time if possible. Especially the one going in and out of Puerto Natales, the base town for Torres del Paine as it gets crowded during peak season and buses (and accommodations) get booked fast.
For Chile, I would recommend Turbus and Pullman bus operators to travel in Chile and Andesmar for Argentina. They have good bus network throughout the countries, they are affordable and quite comfortable to travel in.
If you want to travel all the way by bus from Buenos Aires, you will have to travel to Bariloche, Argentina first and from there, you will have to get another bus to El Chalten and from there, continue your bus journey to the rest of Patagonia.
My recommendation is to fly domestically from Buenos Aires to El Calafate Airport and take the bus from there throughout Patagonia then fly back from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires or Santiago, that way, you won't be wasting 2 days to travel by land from Buenos Aires to Patagonia on land.
Internet around Patagonia is OK. Not the fastest no matter if its WIFI or with a local data sim card but reliable enough. Claro sim card works well in most towns in Argentina and Chile (you have to buy separately if you want to be connected in both countries) EXCEPT in El Chalten and all the remote hiking trails you will be doing while in Patagonia.
Before you arrive in El Chalten, be sure to have cash on hand for your time there (NO ATM), booked everything that needs to be booked online before, and tell people you will be offline.
Other than that, the internet in the capital cities are fast and reliable. Plenty of WIFI to be had, and 4G connection from local sim card all around.
If you are looking for travel insurance to go along with your trip to Argentina and Chile, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.
2 Weeks Patagonia Itinerary
Buenos Aires, Argentina (2 Nights)
The first place you will be passing through on your way to Patagonia is Buenos Aires, the colorful capital city of Argentina, so why not spend some time and explore the city for a day.
Spend half a day visiting La Boca, the famous colorful neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where you will be bombarded with colorful houses, gorgeous street arts and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the scenery.
After La Boca, you can spend the rest of the day at San Telmo, a cozy district of the city where you will be able to find plenty of restaurants to try the famous Argentinian beef, amazing cafes or if you are there on Sundays, go check out the flea market in Plaza Dorrego.
If you are lucky, in the evening you might be able to see street performers performing the romantic national dance of Tango while enjoying a nice glass of wine at a restaurant near Plaza Dorrego.
The next day, take a domestic flight to El Calafate via Aerolineas Argentinas. The flight ticket can cost as low as 100 USD one-way if you booked in advance.
El Chalten, Argentina (2 Nights)
From El Calafate Airport, there will be 2 transfer services available at the airport. One is to El Chalten and the other to El Calafate. We will be going to El Chalten first so take the bus heading that way. The bus should cost around 800 ARS.
Before leaving El Calafate Airport, be sure that you have enough cash on hand for the next 2 days and have everything booked online in El Calafate, our next destination, because there are no working ATM and internet access in El Chalten.
For more information: Bus Schedule to El Chalten.
Once you arrive in El Chalten, settle in and start planning for the next day or you can do a small hike to the Condor Lookout point for the sunset. It's only 15 minutes walk away from the town.
For the next day, you have 2 options for hiking in El Chalten, one is to hike to the base of Fitzroy mountain via Laguna de Los Tres trail (8 hrs moderate hike) or the Cerro Torre trail (6 hours easy hike).
If you only have a day here, I would recommend hiking the Laguna de Los Tres trail for the best view of Fitzroy. The hike is easy to moderate with about 3 hours of gradual climb until the final steep climb to the lagoon where you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Fitzroy.
From there it will be another 3 hours to get back to El Chalten town. Be sure to pack lunch before hitting the trail as you won't be able to buy anything once you are on the trail.
Once you are back in El Chalten, go to the bus terminal and reserve a seat for a bus to El Calafate for the next day.
El Calafate, Argentina (2 Nights)
From El Chalten, you can take an early morning bus (7:30 AM, 8:00 AM) to El Calafate. It will take around 3 hours to get to El Calafate city, a tourist hub situated on the other side of Lake Argentino where you will be launching yourself deeper into Los Glaciares National Park.
Once you have arrived in El Calafate, before leaving the bus terminal, buy another bus ticket to go to Perito Moreno for the next day at CalTur kiosk. It should cost you around 500 ARS for the 9 AM - 4 PM time slot. Another time slot available is 1 PM - 7:30 PM.
For more info on the bus to Perito Moreno: Perito Moreno Bus Schedule.
You will also have to pay 450 ARS extra for the national park entrance fee tomorrow. Be sure to have cash on hand as they do not accept credit cards at the national park entrance.
Perito Moreno is a stunning line of gigantic glaciers, one of the few out there that is actually growing, instead of retreating. It is best to experience the glacier at your own pace and with the 9 AM - 4 PM time slot, you will have plenty of time to do just that.
You can either walk around or go on a cruise to see the glacier up close. As you may have guessed, I went with the walking option. What can I say, I love walking, 😄 and boy, was it worth it.
When I was walking, I saw this gigantic hanging ice block that was about to break and so I waited patiently and as expected it, it broke off creating a terrifying sound of ice crashing into the water while everyone was grasping at the sight. It was EPIC!
After Perito Moreno, head back in town and again, before you leave the bus terminal, be sure to book another bus ticket to Puerto Natales for the next day.
Cootra LTDA has a bus that runs once a day to Puerto Natales at 7:30 AM for 26 USD. Buy that one and be sure to be at the bus terminal 30 minutes before the bus leaves the next day.
Puerto Natales, Chile (2 Nights)
Puerto Natales is the adventure hub where many hikers use as a base to launch themselves into the depth of the famous Torres del Paine, home to the iconic "3 Towers" peaks (Tres Torres), and that is where we will be hiking the next day.
In order to get to Puerto Natales, you will have to cross the border to Chile. The border crossing is pretty efficient and it only took me around 30 minutes to get my passport stamped.
When you are getting your passport stamped, they will provide you with a piece of paper that you will have to return when you get out of the country so be sure to keep it safe.
In Puerto Natales, you have 2 options. One is the spend a full day hiking only to the base of the "3 Towers" and back which is recommended if you only have 2 weeks or second, you can do the full 4-days W-trek that will take you around the Torres del Paine national park.
For this itinerary, we will do the full-day one only which is already pretty epic in itself as the trail will take you straight to the iconic spot at the base of the Tres Torres peaks.
The hike will take you 7 - 8 hours to complete. The entrance ticket is 21,000 CLP (30 USD) during high season (October - April) and 11,000 CLP (15 USD) during low season (May - September).
To get there, you will have to reserve a seat on the bus at the bus terminal in Puerto Natales when you arrived from El Calafate the day before. The first bus leaves at 7 AM and the last bus leaving from the national park is at 7:00 PM so you have plenty of time to complete the hike.
Punta Arenas, Chile (1 Nights)
After Puerto Natales, we will be going to the end of the world, or a city called Ushuaia at the tip of the southern hemisphere, but first we have to pass through Punta Arenas.
Spending a night in Punta Arenas is not necessary if you are able to find a direct bus from Puerto Natales to Ushuaia. From my experience, I was unable to find this direct bus as apparently they don't run as often as the one running to Punta Arenas so I decided to break the trip into 2 days.
Punta Arenas is just a big city with nothing particularly interesting to do (for me at least) so I would recommend you spend the day to get a bus ticket to Ushuaia the next day.
Ushuaia, Argentina (2 Nights)
We finally made it to the END OF THE WORLD! From here, there's only ocean and then there is Antartica! Let that sink in for a bit. You are literally at the end of the world.
Ushuaia is a nice cozy city with a vibe similar to those of small towns in Scandinavia. That said, Ushuaia is a very expensive city and things get fully booked fast so be sure to book all your accommodation days in advance before you arrive.
They have a stunning promenade that overlooks the Beagle Channel that you can walk on. Be sure to spot the Saint Christopher shipwreck while you are there.
For a full-day, you can spend your time exploring the nature surrounding Ushuaia with a visit to the Tierra del Fuego national park, 11 km from the city.
There are buses leaving the terminal every hour but if you are planning to hike, I would recommend leaving as early as possible. The entrance fee is around 15 USD. Be sure you grab their free hiking map before you leave and choose which trail to explore.
There are 4 trails you can choose from ranging from 1 hour to 7 hours hike. I chose trail #2: Costera Trail which takes about 4 hours one way.
If you are looking for an epic hike, do trail #4: Cerro Guanaco Trail which will take you all the way up the peak of a mountain where you will be able the see a panoramic view of the Beagle Channel and the Darwin mountains.
After almost 2 weeks in Patagonia, I think it's about time we go back to civilization and enjoy a little comfort or two with our last destination to Santiago, the capital city of Chile.
Santiago, Chile (2 Nights)
Santiago is considered to be the safest metropolitan in South America and it is easily one of my favorite city on the continent. If you are not done with hiking, there's a nice viewpoint up on top of San Cristóbal Hill that you can check out while you are in Santiago.
You can also take it slow and enjoy less adventurous activities like visiting the Museum of Memory and Human Rights or drop by Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral or just walk around the Huerfanos street in downtown Santiago.
And that concludes my 2 weeks backpacking itinerary in Patagonia. If you have any questions regarding Patagonia or this itinerary, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below.
Further Reading for Argentina and Chile
I hope you found this Argentina and Chile travel guides useful. If you are looking for more information about traveling in Argentina and Chile, be sure to check out these articles below:
- Looking for a complete travel guide for Chile and Argentina? Here’s a 2 months itinerary for Chile and Argentina.
- You can also visit Puerto Natales in Chilean Patagonia and hike the Torres del Paine trail in one day if you don’t have 2 weeks to spare. Here is how to hike Torres del Paine independently in one day.
- Easter Island is one of the best experience you can have in Chile. It is expensive but with its unique culture, especially during the Tapati festival, you will not regret traveling to Easter Island. Here are the ultimate 5 days itinerary and a travel guide for Easter Island, including everything you need to know like how to get there cheaply, how much it will cost you and many more.
- Looking for unique things to do in Argentina? Iguazu Falls offer a great change of scenery from Patagonia, in the best ways possible. Here’s a complete travel guide on how to spend 3 days in Iguazu Falls from both Argentinian and Brazilian sides.
- You can watch my Chile travel video here: "The Colors of Chile" travel video.
- You can also watch my Argentina travel video here: "A R G E N T I N A" travel video.
- To see all articles about Chile and Argentina, visit Chile Travel Guide page and Argentina Travel Guide page.
- Looking for a place to go after Argentina and Chile? Bolivia is a great place to continue your journey north. Visit my Bolivia travel guide page for more information.
- Looking for more travel guides for the South America? You can find more on my South America Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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