You want to put Puerto Natales with El Calafate and cross between the two by bus. Then cross back into Argentina or fly north in Chile. Otherwise you have to travel the length of Chile to get back to Patagonia.
No issues/costs for getting between the borders more than once? I'm Australian so we don't need visas for Argentina and Chile but do you think it would be better to do a tour while Im down there (purely for the logistics and my lack of good Spanish)? I'd chose one when I got there, tours booked from Aus are too expensive for me.
Also, have you travelled overland between Colombia and Brazil? I'm thinking of going from Leticia through to Manaus then down the Amazon to Belen then down the coast to Rio. A solo young female traveller doing that route, do you think it is wise or should I go through Ecuador to Manaus?
As an Australian you pay a reciprocity fee entering Argentina at any point, which you have to pay online before entering. I think it is US$100 but check and check the terms. For Chile you only pay if flying into the airport in Santiago on an international flight, I think it is US$95 but you get multiple entries for a month. So going in and out of Chile by land borders is free but I am not positive about the terms of the Argentine fee. I can check if you want. In Patagonia everyone is going back and forth.
Don't book tours from abroad. They use local companies anyway. Just take specific tours, like to a glacier, but not general ones, like all Patagonia. When you get to a place, because you have read a guide book , you know what is offered locally. Most travellers in Patagonia are doing it independently and you will find plenty of people to join up with.
I haven't done Colombia to Brazil but Perú to Brazil. Everyone likes different things. I found it hot and boring with really bad food. I also stayed at a lodge for a few days in Perú down a tributary of the Amazon from Iquitos and really lied that. There are other options as well. It is expensive doing any of them so think about it and read as many blogs written by people who have done it as you can to get a feel of what it was like before you decide.
I'll keep reading about Colombia to Brazil via Leticia/Manaus I don't mind if it takes a few days just as long as its safe at the border crossing (I have some bad luck in the past with my travels). The north-east of Brazil and down the coast is looking good, have you travelled down that way? I'm thinking about the Brazilian visa, I need it for a week for Carnival then I wont be back in Brazil till June. I'm looking at a slow journey from Belem to Rio for World Cup Finale Let's hope there is no problem with getting an extension or maybe I should just apply for another one (although paying another $100+ wouldnt be great). Whats your experience with Brazilian visas and extensions?
Yep, I'll just book Patagonia when I get there This is going to be fun trying to fit clothing for all the different weather conditions I'll be encountering haha
Thanks for all your info so far!