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Buenos Aires, Patagonia hike, Uraguay beach and Iguazu idea feedback needed

Buenos Aires, Patagonia hike, Uraguay beach and Iguazu idea feedback needed

May 8th, 2017, 09:36 PM
  #1  
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Buenos Aires, Patagonia hike, Uraguay beach and Iguazu idea feedback needed

Hi there,

I am after some advice on planning for a trip to South America from Australia late October/November this year.

My partner and I want to go to Buenos Aires and then to Patagonia (hopefully both Argentina and Chile sides) and then we thought we may like some recovery time before heading to Iguazu, so I thought perhaps a beach in Uruguay might be nice. But I don't want to bite off more than we can chew so I am after some feedback from those who know.

Our rough plan as it stands is:

20 October - arrive in Buenos Aires (late in evening)
21 - 25 October - explore BA
26 October - Travel to El Chalten via a flight to El Calafate to do a few days of day hiking
27 - 29 El Chalten
30 October - travel to Punta Arenas
31 October - spend day in Punta Arenas finalising needs/shopping for food for W Trek
1 - 5 November - do the four night W Trek
5 November - arrive back in Punta Arenas
6 November (and this where I am unsure as it may be nonsensical given time involved) - travel to Montevideo
7 November - Montevideo
8 - 12 November - beach town near Montevideo
13 November - travel back to Montevideo and onto Iguazu (again this may be silly as Iguazu is a long way way)
14 - 16 November - Iguazu - so explore/hike both Argentinian and Brazilian sides
17 November - head back to BA
18 November - fly home to Melbourne.

I realise some of this may be inefficient and while we want to see lots and have some down time (beach) in between the tiring hiking, we may be better placed to stay somewhere between Patagonia and BA, and/or leave out Iguazu.

Advice gratefully received.

RT
RT2015 is offline  
May 9th, 2017, 04:39 AM
  #2  
 
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I can't comment on the trip to Montevideo as we have not been but I don't understand why you are traveling all the way to Punta Arenas. I think you must have missed that Puerto Natales is the closest town to Torres del Paine. If after the W trek you need to travel to Punta Arenas to get to Montevideo I can see that, but Oct 30 and 31 should be spent in Puerto Natales. Personally, I would spend more than three days in El Chalten but I would at least fit in one full day in El Calafate, after the three you have allotted for El Chalten, to hike on Perito Moreno Glacier-it is spectacular.

You could add Northern Patagonia instead of Montevideo and relax lakeside in Bariloche, Villa La Angostura or San Martin de los Andes. I don't think it will be warm enough to be in bathing suits but you can certainly relax.
odie1 is offline  
May 9th, 2017, 05:22 AM
  #3  
 
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You may find my TR helpful:

http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...-patagonia.cfm

I visited Uruguay and Iguazu at the beginning of the trip on the way to BA, but no reason you can't put them at the end. I highly recommend stopping to see the glaciers from El Calafate. Also the bus and boat Andes crossing to (or from) Bariloche, but looks like you don't have time for that.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 9th, 2017, 12:10 PM
  #4  
 
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A very common 10 day trip is Buenos Aires to Iguacu to Rio (for city and beaches in Brazil). Do Patagonia first maybe.
SambaChula is offline  
May 10th, 2017, 02:35 PM
  #5  
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Thanks everyone. I mistakenly wrote Punta Arenas, rather than Puerto Natales on the way to Torres del Paine.

@odie1 would it make sense to head from Northern Patagonia up to Iguacu or would that still be cutting it fine given the dates we have?

Thanks @thursdaysd I will check out your TR.

Thanks @SambaChula - I am thinking I will need a rest between hiking in Patagonia and going to Iguacu, rather than heading straight back to BA and then onto Iguacu first.

Many thanks,
RT
RT2015 is offline  
May 11th, 2017, 04:34 AM
  #6  
 
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RT-
You could do that but just realize you will need to stop in BsAs, there are no direct flights from Bariloche to Iguazu nor are there direct flights from Montevideo to Iguazu.

You also need to realize that you can not fly from Puerto Natales nor Punta Arenas into Argentina or Montevideo without first going all the way back to Santiago.

It would make the most sense to do this trip in reverse order.
Santiago-Puerto Natales (if there are flights or to Punta Arenas otherwise)
bus to TdP
bus to El Calafate and on to El Chalten
bus back to El Calafate
fly to Bariloche (direct) or Montevideo (with a stop in BsAs)
fly on to Iguazu (with a stop in BsAs-no matter where you start from)
fly to BsAs

You can check out our trip reports as well is you want-we were there in 2016 (San Martin de los Andes/El Chalten/El Calafate) and 2013 (El Chalten/El Calafate/Puerto Natales/Torres del Paine/Punta Arenas)

Dec 2013:
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/odie1/1/tpod.html

Dec 2016:
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/odie1/5/tpod.html
odie1 is offline  
May 11th, 2017, 05:10 PM
  #7  
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Thanks so much odie1, I will read your reports with interest.

RT
RT2015 is offline  
May 18th, 2017, 05:57 PM
  #8  
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Hi again all,

Another question I have regarding Patagonia. Can I please have some advice on how long to allow in Patagonia, to do the following:

W Trek (four nights in the Torres del Paine national park)
Hiking at El Chalten and El Calafate (day trips)

Coming from either Buenos Aires or Santiago, I know to allow one travel day to arrive in Puerto Natales, then five days for the W Trek - will one additional day be enough in PN? i.e Could we arrive in PN one afternoon, spend the next day there, and then head into the TDP? That's assuming all we need to organise is our food and maybe hire a tent/mats. So that would be seven days so far.

Then there would be another day to get to El Calafate, another day to get to El Chalten, and then we would take another day when leaving to head onto Bariloche. So that is so far 10 days. That only leaves us four days to do El Calafate and El Chalten, if I were to keep the southern Patagonian leg of the trip to two weeks.

Problem is we only have four weeks. And we want to see BA, the Iguacu Falls and Bariloche too. I think this may be cramming too much in? We would love to go to Santiago as well!

Thanks again,
RT
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May 18th, 2017, 06:19 PM
  #9  
 
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There is no good reason to spend time in PN.

I spent two full days (three nights) in El Calafate and saw what I wanted, plus two afternoons. You will likely be doing more hiking in El Chalten than I did, so your call.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 18th, 2017, 06:49 PM
  #10  
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Thanks thursdaysd. Do you think you could feasibly arrive in PN one afternoon and then leave for the hike the next morning? I think I am either going to have to cut out Bariloche or Icuazu or risk rushing too much. I will need some down time too after two weeks of hiking in Patagonia, especially if we do the walks at Icuazu - but I guess we could take a couple of days to rest there too.

RT
RT2015 is offline  
May 18th, 2017, 08:23 PM
  #11  
 
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If you have everything organized I don't see why not.

Do you mean Iguazu? It is very easy walking there, no challenge at all. Well, the metal walkways on the Argentinian side can be slippery if wet, but I imagine you have good boots. And I didn't hike at all in El Calafate, although you can walk on the glacier if you want (already did that elsewhere).
thursdaysd is offline  
May 18th, 2017, 11:08 PM
  #12  
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Yes sorry, I mean Iguazu. OK, so now it is just a matter of deciding which place to cut out! It is hard to choose, and I assume we will need to pre book flights.
RT2015 is offline  
May 19th, 2017, 03:45 AM
  #13  
 
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One night inPN should be ok. Are you taking public transport I to TDP? Check schedules for Nov for connecting to the catamaran etc, if you have an option to transfer in at Glacier Grey and hike west to east do it that way! Wind would more likely be at you back.
mlgb is offline  
May 20th, 2017, 12:38 PM
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Iguaçu is the Brazilian side, Iguazú is the Argentinian side Both are very much worth it. More time is needed on Argentinian side. Look into the boat ride, lots of fun, but you get WET! I was there recently and visited both sides. I flew on LATAM both ways from BsAs (AEP) to Puerto Iguazú (IGR).

Beware a visa is needed for Brazil for many people depending on your passport, and it is not easy or cheap, so keep that in mind.
hpeabody is offline  
May 21st, 2017, 04:48 PM
  #15  
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Thanks mlgb. Yes we planned to take the bus to TDP, but I will look into the option you suggest.

Yes hpeabody, I've heard great things about the boat ride at the Falls. Thanks re visa as I didn't know that. I am from Australia.
RT2015 is offline  
May 21st, 2017, 10:23 PM
  #16  
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OK so here is my new itinerary idea:

Fly to Santiago and arrive on the evening of Friday 27 October
Depart Santiago in the afternoon Sunday 29/10 (I know this gives us just one - probably jetlagged full day in Santiago but I can't fit everything in otherwise) for Puerto Natales, via a flight to Punta Arenas (so will arrive late at night)
Spend 30/10 getting food etc for the W Trek
31/10, 1/11, 2/11, 3/11, 4/11 W Trek - returning to PN 4/11
5/11 - 7/11 El Calafate
8/11 - 11 El Chalten
11/11 - 15/11 Bariloche
16/11 - 19/11 Iguazu (departing on 19th for BA)
20/11 25/11 Buenos Aires
Fly home on 25/11 early that morning

Is this doable without setting myself up for exhaustion trying to do too much?

Thanks,
RT
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May 22nd, 2017, 05:00 AM
  #17  
 
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You could spend 2 nights in Iguazu and add a day somewhere to lessen the jumps - otherwise, it looks pretty inviting to me !
MarnieWDC is offline  
May 22nd, 2017, 06:12 AM
  #18  
 
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My first thought was that it was too rushed, but then I re-envisaged it in terms of nights, which is how I plan, and smoothed out a bit. I would be inclined to take a day from Bariloche and put it somewhere else. Maybe Santiago, to give you time to rest up. If you don't need the rest you do a day trip to Valparaiso, or arrange a winery tour.

I would absolutely not cut your time at Iguazu, I allowed one day for each side and that was perfect. However, the visa for Australians is not cheap, I checked the embassy website.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 22nd, 2017, 11:59 AM
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You really only need two nights for El Calafate. You didn't say whether or not you are planning on trekking on the glacier-if not then you could get away with one night. I would add one more night to El Chalten to give you better odds of seeing Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. The hikes from town are great and the town itself is a great place to hang out in, drink some beers and relax. One of our all time favorite places.

6 nights in BsAs would be too much for us.
odie1 is offline  
May 22nd, 2017, 05:06 PM
  #20  
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Thanks MarnieWDC, thursdaysd and odie1.

I do plan to hike at the glacier from El Calafate, but I thought that it might be good to have an extra rest day before doing it, after doing the W Trek, only because I have some back issues, so carrying a pack for five days will likely require me to have two days to recover first (so the travel day from PN to EC and then one more, but I don't know how difficult the glacier hike is, so maybe I will be fine with just one rest day?)

I only have three full days in Bariloche - I count the 11th as a travel day and the 15th will also be a big travel day when we leave. Do you think cutting that by one extra day will be OK, so leaving us with two full days there?

I am also thinking we could cut Iguazu, because of the time to get there and expense - it's over $500 in flights, plus the visa and tour costs etc. But people seem to think it is worth it so I have kept it in for now.

We may indeed spend one more day in Santiago and lose one from either El Calafate or Bariloche, or BA. I just thought that given I will be tired by the time we get to BA, plus need to shop (!) and do some tourist things, the 6 nights would give us time to rest and play.

Thanks for the feedback, it is very helpful. There is nothing better than advice from people who have done some of these things!

RT
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