Guest post by rlc
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Buenos Aires to El Calafate
We flew into the main airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Ministro Pistarini International Airport, aka Ezeiza – code EZE) and took a cab into the city for lunch. Got another ride back to a different airport, Jorge Newbury (AEP) for our flight to El Calafate in the late evening. Make sure you’re aware of the different airports and that your plans account for potential transfers – it can take 45 minutes to an hour to get from one to the other.
We organized a car pickup in El Calafate through our hostel (America del Sur) for the 25 minute drive from the airport.
Day 2: Perito Moreno Glacier
We had booked a Perito Moreno Glacier trekking tour through the hostel. A bus picked us up and drove around for about 2 hours, stopping for other pickups and viewpoints. We then had about an hour and a half around the boardwalk area, which you can explore for several miles close to the glacier.
After that, the bus took us to a ferry for a ride out to the actual glacier. It was a short hike in terms of distance but we spent about 2 hours walking on the glacier with provided crampons. A guide tells you where to go/not go. This was an awesome, unique experience. Towards the end they broke off chunks of ice from the glacier and put it in a shot of whiskey for us.
After we got back to our hostel, we walked into town and had dinner. Everything is walkable once you’re in the city.
Day 3: Laguna Torre hike
We walked to the bus station early for the 2 hour ride to El Chalten – the hiking town in the thick of Patagonia. Everything is walkable here as well, so we walked to our hostel Aylen Aike. We read reviews that some hostels aren’t that kind to non-Spanish speakers but this one was – it worked out great. The hostel owner suggested we do the Laguna Torre hike – 18 km (11 miles) total. The trailhead (Sendero a la Laguna Torre) is near Hostel Kaiken. This was a moderate hike, viewpoints the whole way. Ends at a glacial pool with jagged spires in the background. Took us 5 hours including an hour lunch.
El Chalten is great – most of the hikes are connected and trailheads are all accessible by foot from the town. Almost all the restaurants and bakeries offer easy packed lunches (empanadas, fruit) for day hikes and you might even be able to get one from your hostel.
Day 4: Laguna de los Tres
This is the landmark hike that everyone does. It goes to the foot of Mt. Fitz Roy and the trailhead is called Sendero al Fitz Roy. We were going to do the standard 20 km (12.4 miles) trail from there but the hostel owner hooked us up with a shuttle that went to an alternative starting point that offers different views. Trail was very busy, especially the last km. The last km takes an hour – all incline, very narrow rocky path with tons of people of all ages. Not all of them are hikers so it can be a bit frustrating. When you get to the lake, walk around the left side where it empties out and you get a great view of another lake (Laguna Sucia).
We were glad that someone suggested to do this hike after Laguna Torre because it was much more spectacular. Both are amazing but saving the best for last was a good move.
Day 5: Lago Capri
Was going to be a town day but we did an alternative route to Laguna de los Tres to see Laguna Capri. We didn’t see it coming down the first time. It was worth it to go back – easy hike and much more relaxed. Can camp there.
The trail splits, you either go to Lake Capri or another viewpoint of Laguna de los Tres. If you take the traditional way up/down, you can hit one on the way up and the other on the way down. I think the alternate route that we went on the way up the day before was worth it because you got completely different views and got to see another glacier.
Spent the rest of the day in town going to restaurants, bars, and shops.
Day 6: back to Buenos Aires
Took a morning bus back to El Calafete. Went back to our original hostel and waited for a taxi to take us to the airport to fly back to Buenos Aires. Stayed at The Milhouse Hostel, cool but very much a party hostel with young people. I would have stayed in the Palermo neighborhood if I went back – more centrally located.
Had dinner at Avila – a bit sketchy looking but it was way better than we expected. Took a cab to Palermo for the rest of the night – great speakeasy bar called Nicky Harrison – you have to ask about it at the sushi restaurant.
Day 7: Recoleta
Walked around the Recoleta neighborhood. There’s a famous cemetery where they offer tours, and I would recommend it so you understand the history of the people buried there (like Eva Peron (Evita)).
Excellent meal at Clarks and then our hostel had a St. Patrick’s Day festival – great time with karaoke and games with people from all over the world.
Day 8: bike tour of Buenos Aires
We took a bike tour of the northern part of the city – neat and worth it. They offer a separate one to the southern area, too.
Did some laundry and had more of a relaxing afternoon.
Day 9: local’s tour of Buenos Aires
There is a Recoleta flea market on Saturdays – lots of handcrafted stuff great for gifts.
A local that we met at a coffee shop gave us several great recommendations. We went out to dinner at El Preferido de Palermo – incredible (should call for reservations). Then we went to several bars – Victoria Brown, J. W. Bradley, Boticario – all were busy and great on a Saturday night.
Day 10: La Boca
Spent the morning in the historic La Boca neighborhood. It’s close enough to walk to the Sunday market in San Telmo and the ecological reserve (Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur). The reserve is a beautiful park on the water with lots of food vendors.
When it was time to head home, we had a difficult time getting a cab. Uber is technically not legal in Buenos Aires but they have it and Cabify. The biggest problem we had was that lots of drivers have limited space/capacity. With 3 people and luggage, we got turned down a couple times. Would recommend arranging transportation ahead of time.
- While we exchanged some money in advance for our arrival, we got a much better exchange rate in the “blue market.” There are places all around advertising for money exchanges and they offer way more than the norm. By exchanging money this way, we almost doubled our money.
- Almost everyone we met was in Patagonia for at least a month, most were 3 months or longer. 10 days didn’t cut it.
- The Argentinians eat the most meat in the world and there is plenty of it everywhere you go.
Traveled in March 2022