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March 2015 – Adventure Trip Planning – 2 Weeks in Chile/Argentina

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I’m starting some very advanced planning for a March 2015 trip, with a focus on scenery and adventure. After going through quite a few options, I have (I believe!) narrowed it down to two options: Chile/Argentina and New Zealand. This post is all about Chile/Argentina as an option for a 2 week trip: I will also post a New Zealand option in the Australia & Pacific forum.

My main focus is great scenery and adventure opportunities. I also do like great food & wine, affordable luxury hotels/inns, and wildlife viewing, but those are much lesser points of interest on this particular trip. In terms of adventure, I’m most interested in the hikinh/trekking opportunities in Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia. I don’t want to rush too much, but do want to get to a few key locations.

I’m very interested in Argentina/Chile, although I’d prefer to go to New Zealand. Coming from New York, it is a much easier (and shorter) trip to get to South America, so with the time I have on the ground I’m seriously considering Argentina/Chile instead of NZ. My main points of concern are language (while I have rough skills in a few other languages, I really don't know Spanish at all) and costs (because I’m planning so far in advance, I don’t have a budget per se, but at the outset it looks like New Zealand has a range of offerings at multiple price points, whereas Patagonia seems fairly expensive overall).

Keeping those things in mind, I’ve crafted a rough itinerary for 13 nights in Argentina and Chile, with a focus on Patagonia. My itinerary is extremely rough since I haven’t done quite as much research on Patagonia yet as I have for New Zealand. I don’t have firm dates at all, but looked at when planes depart/arrive to get an optimal schedule together:

SUNDAY – land Buenos Aires 11 AM (nonstop from NYC), night Buenos Aires

MONDAY – Buenos Aires

TUESDAY – fly BsAs to El Calafte, night El Calafte

WEDNESDAY – El Calafte/El Chalten

THURSDAY – El Calafte/El Chalten

FRIDAY – El Calafte/El Chalten

SATURDAY – El Calafte/El Chalten, bus to Puerto Natales

SUNDAY – Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine

MONDAY – Torres del Paine

TUESDAY – Torres del Paine

WEDNESDAY – Torres del Paine

THURSDAY – TdP, drive back to Puerto Natales, night PN

FRIDAY – PN to Puerto Arenas, PA flight to Santiago

SATURDAY – Santiago day, depart Santiago (9:50 PM), land NYC Sunday morning

How does this itinerary look for the things I’d like to do, as well as keeping the rushing around to a minimum and relying on public transportation as much as possible?

Also, if anyone has been to both New Zealand and Chile/Argentina and wants to weigh in on both experiences, I would very much appreciate it.


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