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Six night Patogonia Trip - Questions

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Jan 7th, 2013, 07:51 PM
  #1
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Six night Patogonia Trip - Questions

We are a family with one teenage son traveling to Patagonia RT Buenos Aires-El Calafate. What is the best way to divide our nights, given we want to visit El Calafate and Torres del Paine in Chile? I was thinking 3 nights in El Calafate, which will give us 2 full days to do the all glacier boat tour and the Moreno trekking trip. Where might be the best place to stay for a family that needs a pretty large room with 3 beds?
How hard is it then to get from El Calafate to TDP without a car and how long does it take? Where's the best place to stay in TDP, if Explora is too pricey? We MIGHT be able to afford Tierra Patagonia for 3 nights, but would like someone to tell me if they think it is worth it. Alternatively, would it be a wiser travel decision to stay on the Argentinian side and go up to El Chalten and Mt. Fitz Roy, Glaciers Nat. Park? Thanks for any input.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 08:38 PM
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If you're going to hike to the Towers in TdP the best place for the money is the Refugio Torre Central (the newer Refugio run by Fantastico Sur). They are shared dorm rooms.

http://www.fantasticosur.com/mountai...untain-lodges/

Hotel Las Torres is another option
http://www.lastorres.com/

There are vans that do the transfers between Argentina and Chile. I know some of the all inclusive options pickup at the border. But I confined my trip to the Chilean side so can't help with any details.

My trip report is nearly exactly four years old now

http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...-del-paine.cfm
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Jan 8th, 2013, 03:34 AM
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You don't say when you want to go. During high season, Jan/Feb, everything gets booked far in advance and you may not be able to get the dates you want, especially a large room. El Chaltén is verysmall and has limited lodging options.

A private transfer from El Calafate directly to the TdP park, rather than a bus to Puerto Natales and another to the park, should take about 5 hours, depending on any delays at the border.So, there and back does eat into your time in the park.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 05:14 AM
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We are traveling 21-27 November 2013. Huentetu, I am assuming you mean 5 hours round trip. So, a private transfer would take about 2-3 hours one way? That would be fine and we would then stay a few nights at TdP. On our last day - the 27th I need to be able to get back from TdP to El Calafate for a 15:40 flight to BsAr. I'll start looking into the cost of a private transfer. Thanks.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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Migb, Thank you for suggestion of Hotel Las Torres, which does provide a van transfer from El Calafate to TdP. Also, Huentetu, I saw that the time of travel is 5 hours one way. That's still acceptable since we will have 3 nights in TdP. I was wondering if TdP was that more spectacular than El Chalten, which is more convenient to get to. Thanks.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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It would be 5 hours one way, give or take at the border. The only way to do this within your time frame and with little stress would be to book somewhere like Hotel Las Torres and just pay for the transfers and tours. Once you start fiddling around with buses and transfers you have too many spots which are vulnerable to delays and the Patagonian unexpected weather factor.

You could do it either way; stay in Argentina and spend your time there or do a short trip across to TdP. My personal opinion is that if you have less than 7 full days, you are better staying one side or the other. El Calafate is very touristy but there is good lodging and restaurants because of that. El Chaltén is very small and you really need to book what you want around July/August to get what you want. Book directly with the lodging and don't be tempted by third party booking sites even if they seem cheaper. The fewer people in the mix, the better. The nice thing about El Chaltén is that you can do long hikes but return to sleep in a comfortable bed at night.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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I can't answer any of your questions, but I can refer you to an article in the travel section of the NY Times for Sunday, Jan. 8, 2013. Good luck. ZZ
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Jan 8th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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I also can't help with comparisons other than the consensus of travelers I met who had seen Perito Moreno said that there would be no reason to then see Glacier Grey in TdP.

However the Cuernos and the Towers are both unique as is Fitzroy on the Argie side.

Probably best to have a look at photos of both and decide.

There is a photo link in my trip report for the TdP side.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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Zambezi, I saw the NYTimes article. Migb and Huentetu, I'm going to look into and compare staying at El Chalten versus Torres del Paine. I've read a lot about Fitz Roy getting socked in with weather and not visible. Is the same thing just as likely in TdP, in terms of views and vistas? We are day hikers, not trekkers so long hikes with returns to our own beds from El Chalten sound great, but it also seems quite possible from Hotel las Torres in TdP, no? The trip from El Calafate to El Chalten is about 4 hours, no? So, it's not all that shorter than the trip to TdP, just minus the border crossing hassle. Thanks!
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Jan 8th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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Yes, the issues with visibility and weather are the same. I was lucky the day I went to the Towers. Less lucky going to French Valley. And not lucky at all doing the north leg of the W toward Glacier Grey viewpoint.

As long as you have decent fitness (and reasonably good knees) you can hike to the Towers and back in a day. It is really only the last bit up the moraine field that is difficult (nothing you can't deal with using a pole for support). At least you don't have the altitude issues to deal with. I was mid-50's at that time. It took me most of the day, but it was nearly summer solstice!

Some people spend the night at the Refugio El Chileno in order to cut time off the Towers hike (they try to get there at sunrise). It isn't as nice as the Las Torres Refugio.
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