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1. Posted by keendog (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

keendog has indicated that this thread is about Chile

i am flying into santiago in mid april and planning to catch a plane straight away to the southern tip of chile. from there i will camp my way north over a month or so back up to santiago. is the weather going to be okay for this kind of trip at this time of year? if anyone has some recommended spots or activities to check out on the way it would also be appreciated!

2. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Hi Keendog,

The weather varies a lot the further south you go. In April it will be getting really cold at the very southern end of the country. Obviously, as you work your way northwards it will heat up again. :)

Santiago is still very pleasant in April.. You'll get some cloudy days and the nights will be cooler, but there was a lot of sunshine still when I got back from Patagonia. I went down to Ushuaia (all overland) at this time of year and it was absolutely amazing in Tierra del Fuego. The trees were blazing red and I was lucky with good weather most of the time.

On the way back up, you could cross over onto the Argentinian side. I would recommend a brief stop in El Calafate to see the Moreno Glacier, and also Bariloche maybe.
Just note that at this time of the year the main highway from El Cal. to Bariloche will close annd I ended up having to bus it all the way over to Rio Gallegos and then up to Bariloche which was a lllllong jounrey. ;)

On the Chilean side I would recommend Puerta Varas and Pucon on the way back up to Santiago.

Hope that helps
E :)

3. Posted by keendog (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

thanks heaps for the tips samsara2. most importantly it sounds doable that time of year - just have to book the ticket and cross my fingers i guess! should i bother taking a tent? also is a month a good time frame to head back up to santiago?

4. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Hi Keendog,

I guess it depends on how cheaply you want to travel. if you are on a SERIOUS budget then yeah bring a tent. Hostels in SA are no expensive, though slightly more so in Chile than Argentina.

That's really up to you. I reckon that in APril in Patagonia it will be pretttty cold in a tent.

A month is loads of time to make your way back up to Santiago. :)

You should check out the Navimag ferry =. I came from Puerto Montt all the way down to Puerto natalas on this and it was a great experience! ;)

5. Posted by meeg (Budding Member 44 posts) 9y

Sorry if this has been asked but I have been thru the forum with a fine-tooth comb...(ok, a wide-tooth comb but a comb nonetheless)
My friend and I have a month in Chile (3 weeks by the time we get back from Rapa Nui), starting and ending in Santiago before we fly out to BA, and were thinking of border-hopping down to Torres del Paine and doing the W trek. But we would like time to visit Mendoza, Chiloe and random other places along the way and don't want to be too pressed for time.
So...Can anyone tell me how the cost of the navimag ferry compares with buses? "Buses" would obviously include stopovers, accommodation bla bla bla. Latest I can find for navimag fares is starting at $275US. Also, we are starting in mid-March and I'm wondering how far ahead we would need to book the ferry? And on a semi-related topic, will we have trouble finding accom along the way or can we leave things relatively unplanned? When IS high season?!
Once again, I hijack someone else's thread! But too many threads on the same topic just looks untidy, don'tcha think? ;)

6. Posted by meeg (Budding Member 44 posts) 9y

PS - we have a tent; could we camp if desperate?

7. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 9y

275 bucks seems a great price for the Navimag ferry.
It has its own website. Google it and you will find it very easy with 'Navimag, Chile'.

I am looking to go on it next January so any info on how far in advance to book it would be great when you finally find out.

However I would reckon that you could book it just a few days in advance if need be.

The trip looks totally amazing.

8. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 9y

I booked the Navimag in January approximately 7 days before hand, and had no issues. There is an office in Santiago that you can book at. I don't remember where, but it's probably on the website if you poke around - if you really can't find it, I can dig out my South America on a Shoestring when I am back home and see where it is.

As for buses vs. ferry, I'm pretty sure buses would be cheaper, and probably even shorter if you didn't do too many stop-overs.

For three weeks, you'd be pretty tight pressed for time, I think. From Santiago if you go straight down to Pto. Montt that'll take 1 overnight bus. The Ferry takes 4 days, and only sails on certain days, so you'd have to take that into account. The W is 5 days, but you get in too late on the Ferry to Pto. Natales to leave that day, so it'll be six days. That's 11 days already without seeing Mendoza or Chiloe.

That leaves you in Patagonia, which is a far way from Buenos Aires. You could fly from Rio Gallegos or similar pretty cheaply.

Anyway, all this to say that if you only have three weeks I would think about planning out a route now so that you have it in your mind, rather than kind of winging it along the way.

As for accomodations, I never had any trouble finding places to stay, unless you arrive very late into town. If you arrive morning or afternoon, though, you should be able to find a place in pretty short order. If you are going to be arriving in the evening, though, I would think about booking ahead. You'd only need to call a place or two the day before.

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

I would agree with Greg. I think youi'll be hard put to fit it all in.

I did the very same route as this last year. I flew back to Santiago from Easter island, spent a couple of weeks there, then crossed the border to Mendoza (10ish hrs by bus over the Andes - spectacular journey!!). In MEndoza I booked and paid for my Navimag place on the internet. That was a few weeks ahead but at that time of year (March) it is the start of the low season and there wasnt a great demand for places. I got it for around the same price as you guys.

The Navimag is a great experience and absolutely worth it! It takes 3 nights finishing in Puerto Natalas. From here its pretty easy to organise your Torres del Paine trek.

If you do manage to get down this far, what you could do is fly from El Calafate back up to BA. Flights cost bewteen $100- 200 with Aerolineas Argentina and are fairly regular. Again, you can book those online or with a travel agent in El Calafate.

What I found at that time of year (<MarchApril) was that Patagonia was starting to "shut down" essentially.Bus routes were very infrequent, the main highway from El Calafate to Bariloche was closed completely which meant crossing all the way over to Rio Gallegos and back up Comodoro Rividavia before then crossign back to Bariloche.
Last minute flights out of El Calafate were almost impossible unless you could wait a week.
So, if you do decide to try and get down there, my advice would be to pre-book some things. :)

As for the weather, it's really lovely at that time of year down South. :)

I could go on forever about the Navimag. You wont regret doing that. Hope you have good sealegs though!

10. Posted by meeg (Budding Member 44 posts) 9y

Thanks all. Sadly we didn't have the brains to book our flight to BA from the south of Chile (on a RTW ticket anyway so may not have been an option) instead of having to make it all the way from Stg and back again! I think - and it hurts very much to say this - might have to give Patagonia a miss this time round :(