When we visited the Patagonian regions of Chile & Argentina in February, we were fortunate to have the time to spend 17 full days on the ground, with 2 additional days for flying to and from the region.
I have modified our original itinerary to fit 13 days, which is likely more in line with the average amount of time most folks are able to take off from work. I hope you find this post useful!
14 Day Patagonia Itinerary
Because it takes so long to fly down to the region (it took us 30 hours!), it’s important to try and maximize as much time as possible. This itinerary includes a few days dedicated to traveling between regions, which is inevitable, but I try to limit the number of travel “legs” to 2 per day. In two weeks, you can get a good taste of both the Chilean and Argentinean sides of the area.
Below, the full itinerary via Google Sheets:
You can also access the sheet directly here and create your own copy to modify.
I included the bus and local flight costs directly from our actual costs, so you can have a good sense of what those would come out to. The 2nd tab contains our actual full 16 day itinerary, which contains quite a bit of buffer on the Punta Arenas and Buenos Aires bookends, in case anything went awry with our long-haul flights.
What did I modify?
We would have loved to spend an extra day in El Chalten, so I added an extra day for that to the shortened version. Additionally, we took an evening bus from Calafate to El Chalten, and missed out on this grand view into El Chalten.
Going into this trip, we knew that Patagonia was one of the most expensive regions of both Chile and Argentina. Which makes sense, given the amount of work it takes to move resources (food, construction, materials) down South so far.
Our 17 day trip ended up costing ~$2,200 for lodging and ~$940 for transportation (bus, local flights) for two people.
The modified 14 day schedule above costs ~$1,700, but can be decreased closer to $1,100 if you replace the $350 Simple Patagonia hotel stay in Puerto Natales and the $450 cabin reservation at Refugio Los Cuernos. Transportation will likely remain similar at $900 for two people.
While the region certainly costs more than other parts of the countries, it was not egregiously more. With the abundance of hostels and smaller hotels in the area, it is easy to reduce lodging costs.
Have more time?
If you have more time to travel (lucky you!), I would suggest the following add-ons based on our experience:
Fly Fishing in Puerto Natales (+1 Day)
After moving around every day for the first seven days of the trip, it was nice for us to take a breather and relax in Puerto Natales. We took a fly fishing course with Patagonia Line – our instructor, Ben, was very knowledgable and took us to the right spot given the weather forecast (a bit of rain and a lot of wind). And we caught a fish! That we let go into the water afterwards, of course.
More Time in El Chalten (+1 – 3 Days)
Because we stayed in a hostel in El Chalten, we met many travelers who were taking their time with exploring the region. One girl had been there for three weeks! Had we realized how amazing the area was, we would have loved to stay an extra day or two at least. There are a ton of scenic day hikes originating from the town, and the energy there is fantastic.
O Trek instead of W Trek (+3 Days)
And of course – we would have loved to complete the full O Circuit if we had the time. The back side of the park is much less crowded, as they have strict quotas in place for hikers. Despite being in the same park, the scenery varies quite significantly as well.
Aside from the campsites on the W Trek, it was easy to book all our hotels and hostels through Booking.com. I’ve been using their site for years, and especially enjoy booking international lodging through the site, as they’ll group them together into one “trip”. And no, they’re not paying me to say this! I genuinely like their platform and loyalty program, and have booked ~90% of my hotel stays through their site.
If you’re interested in booking any of the hotels mentioned below, you can use my referral link here to get $25 off your first booking (and I’ll get $25 as well).
I’ve linked to all the hotels on Booking.com in the Google Sheet, so I wanted to call out a few that were stand out experiences.
This family-run hotel was by far our nicest accommodation on the trip. We decided to splurge a little as it was our honeymoon, and because we saved a bit of money on the backpacking portion of the trip. Simple Patagonia is located outside of the town along the water – very serene and picturesque, but only a quick 10 minute cab ride away. It was the perfect spot for our post-W trek recovery.
Initially, we were looking at their much larger, fancier (and expensive) neighbor the Singular – but we couldn’t quite swallow the cost. And we’re glad we didn’t! The hotel has an amazingly simple but cozy aesthetic – we loved reading in the common area with the fantastic view of the water, and the heated concrete floors in the room were amaaazing.
They also serve a delicious 3-course dinner in the hotel, you just have to let them know the morning-of if you’d like that option. We stayed here for two nights, but wish we could have stayed at least another day or two longer!
Pre-W, we stayed in town at Toore Patagonia, which is a small “hotel” with individual cottage-like rooms connected to a cute local goods store. We were amazed at the space, especially given the price – the kitchenette and living area were great for re-organizing our gear into our packs.
They also allowed us to store our luggage (one carry-on) that we were not bringing onto the trail. This is fairly common practice for most hotels in the area, which makes a lot of sense given that most folks in town are going into Torres del Paine for some kind of trekking / hiking adventure. Additionally, the receptionist helped us schedule a cab for the morning we were departing, as you can’t simply flag down a cab. While the bus station is technically walkable, we wanted to inch out every minute of sleep possible for the early start.
Technically, Rancho Grande is a hostel – one with both bunk rooms and private rooms, the latter of which we booked. The accommodations were not fancy, so what stood out to us the most was the sense of community and comraderie in the hostel. They have a very convenient 24 hour restaurant and a large common space for guests to relax after a day of hiking.
One of the managers (or owner, perhaps?) Ari was very friendly and knowledgeable about the region – he always had the latest weather updates and good advice about which trails to tackle. Speaking of which, the hostel is literally a 3 minute walk from the trailhead for Laguna de Los Tres, or the Fitz Roy hike!
And that’s a wrap!
I hope you find this post helpful – if you have any questions, please comment and I’ll try my best to answer!
And If you’re planning to hike the W, please check out my post on Planning the W Trek in Torres del Paine.