I am looking to do a trip to Antarctica in late 2008 but at the same time plan on seeing some of southern Chile/Argentina. I mainly want to visit this region due to the amazing nature, huge glaciers and great photo opportunities. If their are two airports apart from Ushuaia that you could fly in to in this region which have a lot of stuff to suit my reasons for going, what would they be?
I have done a some research in to the area and have thought that El Calafate and also Punta Arenas are probably the two best ones for having amazing nature and glaciers as well as many great photo opportunities around the area within a day. If you have any recommendations of places not to miss or other airports that I could look in to flying in to that would be more appropriate please let me know so that I can look in to them more.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
why you dont start at Ushuaia and go up direction Punta Arenas or Calafate?Around Ushuaia are many interesting places to visit.the Tierra del Fuego National park,crossing the Beagle Canal,Cape Horn...up to Antarctica.
some useful infos at Travel to Ushuaia,Tierra del Fuego-Patagonia-Argentina.com
flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia or Calafate,
by bus from BA to Rio Gallegos about 36 hrs !(2570 km)
from there an other 8-10 hrs to Ushuaia via Cile territory.
no direct bus service to El Calafate.
I will be in Ushuaia Feb.08 making an Antarctica cruise and spending some days before and after the cruise around the Ushuaia aerea.Sure can tell you more afterwards.
I don't know how much time you have, but if you have at least several weeks you could use Puerto Montt as as a starting point for your Patagonian Adventure and end the trip in Ushuaia.
From Puerto Montt you could use the Navimag Ferry to Puerto Natales which brings you along some great nature, including glaciers, fjords etc.
Puerto Natales is a better place (closer distance) to visit Torres del Paine. Also El Calafate is not to far away but is better for visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier, which is certainly the most spectacular glacier I have ever seen.
Other daytrips from Puerto Natales brings you to some other glaciers like the Balmaceda glacier. A boattrip is ok, but rather boring compared to Torres del Paine or just across the border in Argentina.
Also, like Marlis said, the Tierra del Fuego National Park and in fact the island as a whole including the Beagle Channel is worth a visit. A bustrip from Punta Arenas is long but rewarding with great views.
The area around Punta Arenas is less suitable for daytrips although I found the penguins enjoyable.
i started in BsAs and flew to Calafate for 75 euros from Aeropark Jorge Newbury. The glacial treck was amazing. From there in went to Peurto Madryn via Rio Gallegos which is a nice place and good if ur into whale or sealion watching. I then cut cross country to Bariloche wherre i did some white water rafting then onto Mendoza and finally Jujuy so that i could go onto Bolivia..
hope this helps
Byased that I am.... you have to visit the Welsh communites around Puerto Madryn. (Yep... Welsh !!!)
Gaiman and Trelew are great little places to visit and are on the way to Bariloche if you decided to go overland on the Ruta 40 etc.
Trevelin is on the other side of the valley just south of Bariloche and is another nice place to visit with great hiking.
See.... told you I was biased
Do not go to El Calafate after seeing Antarctica - it will be a letdown despite the fact that its amazing and gorgeous, trust me I did that. If you can see if first it's worthwhile.
I'd head out to the Valdez Peninsula for the wildlife and maybe out to baraloche area to rent a car and see the lakes region and drive into volcano alley in Chile and see Pucon and Valdivia. Driving through the Andes here is amazing as is ziplining through the rain forest and staying in some of the haciendas on the Chilean side. Outstanding camping in the area too - especially outside of Puerto Octay (Spelled wrong I'm sure).
Thanks for all your suggestions so far. If you've got anymore keep them coming! Also has anyone reading this been on the 12 day antarctic voyage with World Expeditions or Aurora Expeditions (they use the same ship)? If you have, was it of a high standard and worth the money for the amazing experience? Also I was planning to go to El Calafate area for 4-5 days prior to arriving in Ushuaia for the Antarctic cruise. Then after that had finished I was planning to go to Punta Arenas (having second thoughts about the last bit having read the replies). After the cruise I have about 6-7 days before I need to head back home.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 5, 2007, at 3:45 AM by aharrold45 ]
I'm doing the Antarctica Cruise in Feb.08 on MS Andrea.04.Feb.-14.Feb.08
good infos about all the ships doing Antarctica you find here.
sure I can give you more info after my cruise in march.
yes this trips are far away from cheap,be aware that all companies add fuel charge to there prices,so check this also.you need also Insurance for emergency rescue and repatriation transport .I made a police with World Nomads Insurance (found it here at TP under products)Ships like the russian ones are small but sometimes quite basic but if you compare with the 100 passanger boats and what they offer or include in there prices then I think the basic ships are not cheaper,the have only less people aboard.
some companys offer right now special deals,I got a $500 discount in form of an upgrade to a better cabin,it looks even that I dont have to share the cabin.If you book,make it clear that you will share the cabin and not bay a single.