This is a short little post, mainly because despite tonnes of research, I literally had no clue how to get around Patagonia until I actually arrived IN Patagonia.
A guide to getting around Patagonia…
Patagonia is a really large area, so the two main ways to get around are by bus and plane. I’m gunna save you some time here…the main airports are Puerto Montt, Puerto Natales (flights only in high season), Punta Arenas, El Calafate, Bariloche & Ushuaia.
The main problem I had is that the things I wanted to see (Torres del Paine, Fitz Roy, Perito Moreno) all straddled the Chile / Argentina border, and I wanted to make sure I had seen everything before heading down to Ushuaia as I was flying straight up to BA after my Antarctica trip.
See more: Check out my recommended itinerary for Patagonia here.
From research I found was that it was crazy expensive to fly across the border, for example from Santiago to El Calafate (Argentinean side) or from Punta Arenas (Chilean side) to Buenos Aires. So if you want to fly, the best thing to do is to only fly domestic to an airport in the same country.
Other than flying, the main way of getting around is by bus. My recommendation would be to book your first bus online, and then book your following buses when you arrive at each bus station. If you don’t book your onward buses at the bus stations things start getting complicated – trying to get in touch with some of the companies can be hard and some companies take bookings over email and then request payment from your paypal…all very interesting when you add South American Wi-Fi into the mix.
The other thing is that not all buses from every company go every day and lots go at different times and make different connections, so it’s definitely worth checking every company out before you decide which bus to go with.
Companies to check are:
Crossing the border
The border crossing is easy enough and the time it takes will depend on how many buses there are at the border. I crossed over twice – the first time took around 8 hours, the second it took 5. 🙂