[All content and prices updated July 2013]
Why you should add Patagonia to your Indie/RTW trip
Patagonia is a region in the far south of South America in both Argentina and Chile. Visitors to Patagonia will be met with some of the best and most dramatic landscapes in the world.
- If you're a lover of the outdoors, then Patagonia is no doubt on your list of must-see destinations in the world.
- Like hiking? Torres del Paine in Chile is one of the top destinations in the world for hikers, trekkers, and climbers. El Chalten in Argentina has blown up in the past decade, and the surrounding areas make for some of the best hiking and climbing in the region.
- Global warming is happening, and nearly every single glacier in the world is retreating. But if you visit Perito Moreno Glacier, outside of El Calafate, Argentina, you can see one of the only glaciers in the world that is still growing.
- Head to the "end of the world" in Ushuaia, Argentina, the home base for trips to Antarctica.
- Wildlife viewing at its finest in Peninsula Valdes in Argentina. See whales, sea lions, dolphins and walk with penguins.
- Once you're exhausted from all the outdoor activities, explore the Paleontology Museum, which showcases life-sized dinosaur exhibits and nearly 2000 fossil remains.
- See some of the most barren landscapes in the entire world. Patagonia is a huge area, and just staring out the window to the endless expanse of land and sky, with clouds going forever, is something that all lovers of nature should experience at least once in their lives.
Indie travel tips for Patagonia
- The weather in Patagonia is a fickle bitch, with much of region inaccessible during much of the year. Going during summer (December-February) is your best bet for good weather.
- Keep in mind that if you do go during the summer months (and high season), booking ahead is essential. We're all about turning up and figuring it out once you're there, but for Patagonia, it's smarter to plan ahead.
- While the buses in both Argentina and Chile are a step above the rest of the continent, unfortunately the further south you get, the more expensive, and less comfortable, they get.
- Prices in Patagonia are higher than the rest of the respective countries, so plan ahead for your budget. Getting by on less than $50USD per day can be difficult.
- That being said, if you do have your own camping gear and move slowly, that per day price can be lower.
Buenos Aires and Santiago are the two cities that most travelers fly into before heading sound. From there, the most popular places to fly into are to El Calafate
Buses are another option, particularly if you are on a longer trip and have more time. Keep in mind that travel times can be long, really long - think 20-30 hour bus rides. Prices tend to be higher in Patagonia, so check flight prices first as you can often fly for just a bit more. If you do bus it and are traveling during high season, book in advance as buses do sell out.
If you're on a budget, there are plenty of hostels in Argentina
to rest your head for the night. If you carry your own camping gear, your accommodation costs go down significantly. But if you don't want to carry your gear and still want to camp some of the time, there are ample places to rent gear for an affordable price.
Photo credits: russavia