A video about traveling though Chile and Argentina. When I was researching South America, I decided to ease into it by joining an overland truck tour. I hiked up a volcano in Pucon, saw chunks of ice fall off the glacier near El Calafate, hiked the ‘W’ Trek in Patagonia while it snowed, went to the ‘end of the world’, danced all night in Buenos Aires and was drenched at Iguazu Falls.
Plenty of people had worried about my trip to South America. I started with a few days on my own in Santiago and the city ended up being the perfect start to ease my way in. It is a cosmopolitan city with some stunning old buildings and an intense history. I recommend starting with a free walking tour. Plenty of fantastic art gallery’s and museums. One thing I noticed were the number of stray dogs and slowly learnt they are throughout South America. There was a super fat dog that was like a doorstop at the hostel I was staying at (apparently the guests feed him). Then there were the adrenaline seeking dogs that tried to bite passing cars.
I had never heard about this area before visiting – it is very green with plenty of lakes and waterfalls. A good town to base yourselves in is Bariloche. We camped further out and took local buses to the sights. I though-rally enjoyed a day trip by ferry from Puerto Panuelo to Puerto Blest. None-stop waterfalls and mossy forests. There is plenty of hiking and stunning natural sights to see in the area.
This glacier is massive! There is an excellent walk all along the glacier and I saw plenty of chunks fall off. You can take a boat to see it from a different view, but the view from the walkway is spectacular. The boats looked tiny next to the glacier. We took transport from the nearby town of El Calafate and started at the furthest part of the walk.
Absolutely beautiful area and I could have happily spent more time exploring. I did the ‘W’ trek in snow and rain which the tourist books say take 4-5 days and we raced through in 3. Hated it at the time, but so glad I went. This area is very isolated – I would start with a stop in Puerto Natales for supplies and information. We hired all our equipment which saved buying and lugging around South America. Once we left the town, there were limited shops and buildings. You need to get a park entrance ticket too. This website has some great practical information.
We were dropped off at the east part of the ‘W’ trek and walked to see the Pinnacles or Mirador Las Torres. This was my favourite part of the hike through forest and past rivers until we make it to the stunning lake at the top. We’d left our bags at the start of this section, as we came down again before walking along to the first camping spot. If you have limited time, I would recommend just doing the Pinnacles as a day hike. And possibly taking the ferry to the west part of the ‘W’ trek and hike to see the Glacier Grey. All I can say is pack for changeable weather!
This is the port for going to Antarctica. The town feels very isolated from everywhere else with the title ‘end of the world’. It was great to see what was there, but we’d just been through stunning Patagonia and spent a long time getting to and from Ushuaia – to be brutal, you can skipped the visit if on limited time.
I had an image in my mind of old houses, water and flamingo dancers. It was a different experience with large modern buildings and wide roads. Exploring some more found the picturesque La Boca area, the impressive cemetery – Cementerio de la Recoleta and some impressive historical buildings on yet another free walking tour. Do your research for night-life, dancing and restaurants – it’s a big city! Be a little careful, a friend nearly lost his bag with passport inside when ‘bird shit’ feel on him and friendly locals helped take his bags off to clean. It was paint and they did a bag swap in the confusion. Luckily my friends realised what was happening in-time. On another note, be willing to see how the night progresses. Another friend ended-up dancing in the street with locals and having a go on a massive drum. Trust your instincts.
The power of the water is something to behold. There are 3 sections to walk around and see the falls from different heights. I recommend taking the boat to under the falls. They get you right to the base of the falls to feel the full force of the water. It’s hypnotic seeing all that water falling past, just crazy to think that so much water is going past ALL the time. Take a poncho and a change of clothes if going on the boat!
Chile and Argentina have some massive and truly impressive natural sights. They are huge countries and feel modern and safer than I’d been warned about. I spent 1.5 months in Chile and Argentina and it wasn’t enough time. Any tips to add? Please leave in the comments below!