Patagonia Questions

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Patagonia Questions

1. Posted by cheekyvee (Budding Member 49 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


My husband and I are 2 months into our around the world trip and are now trying to plan a 3 week trip to Patagonia in the New Year. We don't want to plan too much but with it being high season we've read it it is essential to book ahead where possible. By the way we don't have camping equipment so we need to stay in cheap hostels.

We fly into Ushuaia on 4th Jan and fly out of Puerto Montt on 28th Jan and are thinking of the following:

Ushuaia – 7 days
Beagle Channel – Glacier Martial – Lighthouse at end of the world
Boat trip to the estancias– Puerto Williams
Tierra del Fuego National Park

Punta Arenas – 2 days
Visit penguin colony (Isla Magdalena)

Puerto Natales - 7 days
Torres del Paine
Park Bernardo O’Higgins

El Calafate - 2 days
Glacier National Park - Glacier Perito Moreno

El Chalten - 2 days
Fitz Roy Massif

then either back to Puerto Natales to catch the Navimag to Puerto Montt, or overland to Puerto Chacabuco to catch the Navimag to Puerto Montt (if we want to do a trip to the San Rafael Glacier)

Some questions:

  • We would like to go to the Glacier National Park to see the Glacier Perito Moreno, so is it possible to do a day trip from Puerto Natales to see this, or is it necessary to travel to El Calafate and base ourselves there in order to see the glacier?

  • We've also heard that there is some amazing scenery around El Chalten and the Fitz Roy Massif, so if did end up visiting there, would it make sense to return to Puerto Natales and catch the Navimag to Puerto Montt? If not, how practical is it to travel overland to Puerto Chacabuco and catch the Navimag from there?

  • If we do end up visiting the Glacier Perito Moreno, is it really necessary to see the San Rafael Glacier near Puerto Chacabuco? How different are they? It seems really expensive to visit.

  • Is there anything north of Puerto Montt (ie The Lake District) that we really should be seeing, in case we have some time to spare.

Any help, guidance or suggestions would be much appreciated,

Many thanks,


2. Posted by bruntonal (Respected Member 26 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

(1) It is possible to visit perito moreno from Natales. I've recently stayed in El Calafate, not much to do other than see the glacier and it is very expensive if on a budget. It is around a 6 hour bus ride between the two towns. There is also Upsala glacier to see from Calafate 220pesos each, which is supposed to be superb and maybe as remote as san rafael.

(2) It is amazing scenery around El Chalten (check our blog if you like) good trekking and glacier walks etc. Around 10-12 hour bus ride back to Natales.

Any more questions i will try and answer them for you. In Ushuaia now, next to Punta Arenas then on to Natales so might have might be able to help more then.

3. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I too am heading down to Patagonia with my wife very soon.

Today we paid our Navimag journey so we arrive in Pto Natales on 17th Jan and have a few nights there. After that we have nothing. All the idea's below sound superb.

In particular we are looking to do the W Trek in the TdP. Looking at various options at the moment but most seem overly expensive for something that doesn't exactly suit our needs.

I've tried mailing the hostel we are booked into but they are about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike to date.

To answer the question:

I think it makes most sense to do the Navimag journey in its entirity, ie, from Pto Natales to Pto Montt or vica versa. Travelling overland seems to me like you might end up missing out on some of the best parts.
Additionally, the ferry could be delayed due to weather etc so if it is not in port you could be stuck without accommodation. I guess the chances are slim but its possible nonetheless.

re: near Pto Montt you might want to check out Pto Varas (nicer place to stay), Chiloe (island) and Bariloche (in Argentina).

Anyway, hopefully someone can help with a W trek link .....


[ Edit: Edited on Dec 28, 2007, at 9:22 PM by tricky ]

4. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


[ Edit: Edited on Dec 28, 2007, at 9:21 PM by tricky ]

5. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

from Puerto Montt you cuold go for the the aera of Frutillar,or take the cruise over the seven lakes to Bariloche /Argentina also possible going by bus from Puerto Montt/Bariloche.
even in high season there are accommodations in Puerto Montt for about $ 20/30
maybe less.
Puerto Montt is not very special,if you like seafood go to the market place and eat at one of the food stalls,there you get the reall home cooked fish or seafood.
ask for Locos con sala verde or picante,it is delicious.

6. Posted by cheekyvee (Budding Member 49 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


Thanks for all your responses. My husband and I fly down to Ushuaia from Santiago tomorrow!

I spoke to someone who has been on the Navimag and although they had lots of fun on the boat they did mention that the trip was a bit of a dissapointment in that the tour giude on the boat are practically travellers/students with little knowledge of the local area and the food was not very good either. But I think we'll go ahead and book it if we can, since it seems to be the best way to travel through the fjords.

Thanks again,


7. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

In a cafe in Bariloche at the moment.

Stunning is all I can say and a must visit. Booked the 7 lakes trip today for 95 peso's and that price is widely available booking a day or two in advance.