Buenos Aires + only 1 Patagonia location

Old Apr 11th, 2014, 12:54 PM
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Buenos Aires + only 1 Patagonia location

How to decide?! I will be traveling to Argentina for the first time for my honeymoon in late November. We only have time for an 8 day vacation. Since we've never been to BA, we feel we must take some time there to relax and enjoy the city, the food, the wine. I'm thinking we will spend 3 days in a very nice hotel in Palermo - laid back, relaxing. That really only leaves time for one Patagonia destination. We are looking for an unforgettable experience, something totally new (for both of us). We enjoy hiking but are not experienced climbers. We enjoy wildlife. We love food. We enjoy simply experiencing different cultures - I find I like the smaller towns and villages in a foreign country; large western cities all feel the same. This will be my first 'adventure' with my new husband. I don't want to wear him out by packing too much into one trip, and flying (even a short flight) seems to kill the day.

I've never been ice trekking, and El Chalten and the Moreno glacier look stunning. I've only seen glaciers from a distance in the Swiss Alps. Bariloche and the lake region also look amazing. I think I've narrowed it to these two. We want different, amazing, with the ability to relax as well. It seems both of these may fit the bill.
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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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With only 8 days, Bariloche would be easy to add to Buenos Aires. You could do the famous lakes crossing to Puerto Varas, Chile and then return to Bariloche by bus for a flight back to Buenos Aires and home.
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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 01:56 PM
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I would opt for El Calafate and El Chaltén.
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Old Apr 12th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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I agree with avrooster. Both are great destinations - although the towns of El Calafate and Bariloche are very, very touristy - but the glaciers are simply amazing. You may not have time for El Chalten as well as El Calafate. How many nights on the ground?

You might find my photos helpful in deciding - I was in both locations at roughly the same time of year - http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/South-America-2012
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Old Apr 12th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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Definitely go to either El Chalten or El Calafate. I thought the area around Bariloche is quite nice, but not spectacular. The town of Bariloche itself wasn't particularly scenic.
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 04:21 AM
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This may help: http://tinyurl.com/pg2untv
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 06:54 PM
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Agree with the El Calafate/El Chalten ideas. Bariloche is also very pretty, but El Calafate/El Chalten are truly spectacular.

We only had 4 days (including flights to/from BA) in Argentine Patagonia and spent the first day flying from BA to El Calafate, renting a car there, and driving to El Chalten. Since it stays light so long at night in November, we also did a great, short hike in El Chalten that day (part of the Laguna de los Tres hike; we were the only people we saw on the trail and saw an amazing sunset over Fitz Roy Mt.). We spent day 2 hiking a longer day hike in El Chalten that was recommended at the excellent ranger station in town, and day 3 doing a beautiful, shorter hike in El Chalten (Laguna Torre) before driving back to El Calafate for a lovely dinner (great restaurants there). On day 4, we did the Big Ice day (trekking on the glacier) on Perito Moreno and flew out around 7 or 8 pm that evening back to BA. It snowed, rained and was sunny during our time on the glacier; a great experience.

It sounds rushed, but really wasn't since El Chalten is a very slow paced, mellow little town, and the drive back and forth between it and El Calafate was fun and beautiful, too.

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Old Apr 14th, 2014, 01:17 PM
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Thank you all responding!

My favorite mountain destinations have been the Andes in Peru around Cusco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu and the ever picturesque Swiss Alps. My hopes are high that Patagonia can top them both.

If we were to do the Bariloche area, I had planned to stay at a resort a few minutes outside of town and take day trips - drives/boat rides/horseback rides/hikes from there.

It sounds like the majority recommend El Chaltan/El Calafate for a once in a lifetime experience.

pantanal, it looks like your itinerary may be almost perfect for us. I think we will only have 4 days (including days we fly in and out), so only two full days on the ground. From what I see here, we should probably rent a car - which makes me anxious, but oh well

I'd like to plan a hike and horseback ride in El Chalten and an ice trek and helicopter tour of the glaciers back in El Calafate. Please feel free to comment on this plan.
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Old Apr 21st, 2014, 12:41 PM
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We loved our stay at the Llao Llao Hotel & Resort in Bariloche. Beautiful accommodations and setting overlooking the Nahuel Huapi National Park with great golf course.

On the way to the scenic Cerro Campanario, we passed some vendors/photo op with St.Bernard dogs. A chair lift takes you up to the 3,445 ft. high mountain. There's a coffee shop and view points with spectacular views of the many lakes and surrounding mountains. I'm a Swiss expat and I can tell you it was breathtaking. They offered hot chocolates and snacks at the coffee shop.

We crossed the Andes from Puerto Montt to Bariloche. You would be going in the opposite direction. Maybe it won't be as crowded as it was for us. We were packed like Sardines - mid November - for which we weren't prepared....but it's a very interesting and scenic crossing.

Instead of returning to BA, would it work for you to continue from Puerto Montt to Santiago and fly home from there? The area of Puerto Varas, Frutillar, Llanquihue lake and island of Chiloé (penguins) offers many interesting tours, ranging from Orsono volcano zip-lining and a pre-historic archeological site in addition to regular sight seeing.

We saved southern Patagonia (Torres del Paine) for another trip, which we did last December.

Palermo is an elegant neighborhood. We rented short-term an apartment in Recoleta and enjoyed going to nearby bakery, restaurants and stores. You'll have a grand time!
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