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Thanks penolva for a letting us have a glimpse into this extremely beautiful corner of the world and a poignant trip to Iguassu for you. . UN would appoint you as head of diplomatic mission between  two Koreas  shortly.  I wonder which one gets your nod : Vic falls or Iguassu ? 

 

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@Chakrathe Koreans were such good friends it was lovely. We swam to the edge of Vic falls as you know, and did yourself 😳 However feeling the Iguazu waterfall pounding on our heads was definitely more exciting! Pen

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Posted (edited)

@penolva Thank-you again for the report and yes I was interested in the Iguazu section!

Edited by pomkiwi
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Amazing trip report!! There is so much to look at and your photos are beautiful. Those lenticular clouds and that scenery...wow. Do you have to be very fit to do Patagonia? I would love to go but I suspect I can't :(

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@monalisa Thanks for your kind words. We are very unfit :( and only did short walks to the lake, waterfalls etc. Some people go there to hike for days on end but we are too old and unfit for that. If you could hire a car, as we did, you can see all the park at your leisure and stop for those amazing clouds and scenery as often as you want. We love doing that wherever we go as it gives us so much time rather than rushing around with a tour. Hope you get to go one day. Pen

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Posted (edited)

Wow! What a lovely report and a timely one at that....it looks like my wife and I will be visiting Patagonia in 2018. I will be staying 4 nights in Torres del Paine as well. I will have a car there. If I may, I have some questions for you, Thanks!

 

Do I need a 4X4 for Torres Del Pine?

 

Is there any steep switchbacks with no guard rails? 

 

Did you do a lot of driving back and forth for the 3 full days you were there? Were you concerned of running out of gas?

 

Did the Patagonia Camp yurts have private bath/shower and toilet or did you have to share with others?

 

I will be renting a car at Puerto Natales and return it there and take a bus to the Argentinian side of Patagonia. 3 full days in El Chalten and 2 full days in El Calafate.

 

I am soooo excited after reading your report....I've read so many trip reports, and I can genuinely say yours excited me the most.....what a fabulous report. 

Edited by Gilgamesh
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Great to see that another Safaritalk trip report, in this case by @penolva serves as an ispiration.

 

Matt

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10 minutes ago, Gilgamesh said:

Wow! What a lovely report and a timely one at that....it looks like my wife and I will be visiting Patagonia in 2018. I will be staying 4 nights in Torres del Paine as well. I will have a car there. If I may, I have some questions for you, Thanks!

 

Do I need a 4X4 for Torres Del Pine?

 

Is there any steep switchbacks with no guard rails? 

 

Did you do a lot of driving back and forth for the 3 full days you wee there? We're you concerned of running out of gas?

 

Did the Patagonia Camp yurts have private bath and toilet or did you have to share with others?

 

I will be renting a car at Puerto Natales and return in there and take a bus to the Argentinian side of Patagonia. 3 full days in El Chalten and 2 full days in El Calafate.

 

I am soooo excited after reading your report....I've read so many trip reports, and I can genuinely say yours excited me the most.....what a fabulous report. 

 

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2 hours ago, Gilgamesh said:

Wow! What a lovely report and a timely one at that....it looks like my wife and I will be visiting Patagonia in 2018. I will be staying 4 nights in Torres del Paine as well. I will have a car there. If I may, I have some questions for you, Thanks!

 

Do I need a 4X4 for Torres Del Pine?

 

Is there any steep switchbacks with no guard rails? 

 

Did you do a lot of driving back and forth for the 3 full days you were there? Were you concerned of running out of gas?

 

Did the Patagonia Camp yurts have private bath/shower and toilet or did you have to share with others?

 

I will be renting a car at Puerto Natales and return it there and take a bus to the Argentinian side of Patagonia. 3 full days in El Chalten and 2 full days in El Calafate.

 

I am soooo excited after reading your report....I've read so many trip reports, and I can genuinely say yours excited me the most.....what a fabulous report. 

 

 

@Gilgamesh You have very important questions! There is absolutely no need for a 4x4 for Torres del Paine, the road is really good. Cars are more expensive in Patagonia compared to Santiago, I have booked twice simple cars around 35.000 CLP (around 50 USD) per day in Punta Arenas, you might find vehicles at this price a Puerto Natales.

You will be surprised to find guard rails in almost every places in and around the park. The main roads have very high standard inside the park.

 

There was a gas station South East from the back some years ago but it has now closed. We bought two jerrycans (60 liters) at Puerto Natales for our 4 days 4x4 trip in the park in November, but we were looking for pumas in some nearby estancias offered and I guess you will need less than 60 litters. You should ask to your hotel what do they recommend about this point.

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Posted (edited)

Jeremy

 

Thank you for your help. Yes a small car is much less expensive to rent. Apparently jerrycans are illegal now too, but hopefully a smaller car wth full tank has higher range??? I will ask my hotel, some do sell 10L for emergency at a very high price.... is what I've heard. 

 

P.S: How about parking on the side of the road to watch the Gunaco's or take pictures? Would a 4X4 be better? For instance, Yellowstone roads are superb!, however they do allow to park on the side of the road as long as all four wheels are out of the solid yellow lines, the 4X4 was very handy for that, even that got stuck one time but I was able to wiggle it out. High clearance for sure was helpful.....how about parking by the road at TdP, will a 4X4 be helpful then?

Edited by Gilgamesh
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@Gilgamesh Glad you enjoyed the trip report. As you can see from the photographs Torres del Paine is a fantastic destination. To answer your questions.

 

We booked a 4x2 but they gave us a 4x4. You do not need either in the park but having self driven in Africa many times we like the type of vehicle that is higher for better viewing. The roads are well graded but some coaches drive far too fast. Our car had several cracks in the windscreen when we collected it which was a bit disconcerting. We were told 'Its common in Patagonia!'. We did not add to the cracks and they did not obscure the drivers vision so we got used to them pretty quickly. If you can afford a larger vehicle it will make the journey even better. I would not want something as small as a VW Polo for example.

 

There are no steep switchbacks to worry about. The only badly graded road we used was the turn off to Hotel Torres and it does have a couple of sharp corners. The driving was a pleasure and we took a packed lunch out with us each day and had a flask to make tea and coffee. There are not many places to buy food in the park and they are all very expensive. We brought some snacks with us.

 

We filled up with fuel at Puerto Natales. There is a fuel station on the road coming in from the Argentinian direction. When we left we went to the one in town but it had no fuel that day. We did not carry jerry cans as its illegal in Argentina. We had plenty of fuel for our 4 nights touring around the park and we drove every road there was to drive, sometimes more than once. There is emergency fuel at some of the hotels. This is marked on the map they give you when you pay the park fees I believe. I will try to send you a copy of a map we had which was extremely useful. 

 

Patagonia Camp has beautiful en suite yurts. They are gorgeous. I will say that if you book direct, as we did, and are not part of a tour group you may well end up with a yurt at the back near the restaurant with little or no view. I had requested a lake front yurt when I booked, 10 months before, and reminded them again when I paid the balance. I have written a review on Trip Advisor giving the lodge 1 out of 5 titled 'ALL THE YURTS ARE NOT THE SAME!!'. I had to make a big fuss and they did give us an upgrade on the second night to one of their superior yurts with a Jacuzzi,  but we were not happy. Dinner was very poor but breakfast was very good. Its very expensive to stay there. The views ,when you have them, are beautiful and as it is just outside the park you do not have to pay park fees the first day. It is perfectly placed to tour the first half of the park on your first whole day and we visited Lago Grey and drove up to Lago Pehoe and back. It was a lovely day out.

 

We spent the second two nights at Hotel Las Torres. More like a motel in design but lovely and the food was very good there. From there we covered the rest of the park visiting all the lakes and waterfalls. You get spectacular views of the Cuernos del Paine from there and there are a lot more wild life in the area. Again very expensive for our budget. We were very glad we split the four nights between two hotels as we didn't have to back track very much.

 

If you go to El Calafate I am sure you will visit the Puerto Moreno Glacier. Do take a boat ride up to it, its stunning on a sunny day. Good luck with the weather! I look forward to hearing all about it on your return. Penolva

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Penolva

 

Thank you so much for the detailed reply, very helpful.

 

When we went to Yellowstone, we bought a foam cooler, ice and some cold cuts etc and made our own lunches....hopefully I can do a similar thing there from Puerto Natales. To cut costs, I may stay most of the nights just south of the park, in The Serrano area. There are 4 motels/hotels there, and are cheaper. I am looking for something around $US200/night. However, I do want to stay at Hotel Torres, and be willing to stretch the budget for 1-2 nights.

 

I found this map to be great, this is the one they give out.

TorresdelPainemap_big.jpg

 

I will visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, but was thinking of skipping the boat ride and this is why....I prefer icebergs than glacier. I will be taking the Boat trip to view icebergs and view Spegazzini Glacier and Upsala Glacier which travels through the iceberg channel. Also, I have viewed glaciers from a cruise ship in Glacier park, Alaska.

Edited by Gilgamesh
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Glad to see you have the map. You will enjoy the boardwalks to the glacier if you don't get the boat ride they have been done really well and its a lovely walk. We met some people who live just up the road from us, which was such a coincidence,  they drove in from Puerto Natalas each day so its very possible to do something different and miss Patagonia Camp. We are not sorry we stayed there as we had a lovely time despite them but I would not go back there. Pen

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2 hours ago, Gilgamesh said:

Jeremy

 

Thank you for your help. Yes a small car is much less expensive to rent. Apparently jerrycans are illegal now too, but hopefully a smaller car wth full tank has higher range??? I will ask my hotel, some do sell 10L for emergency at a very high price.... is what I've heard. 

 

P.S: How about parking on the side of the road to watch the Gunaco's or take pictures? Would a 4X4 be better? For instance, Yellowstone roads are superb!, however they do allow to park on the side of the road as long as all four wheels are out of the solid yellow lines, the 4X4 was very handy for that, even that got stuck one time but I was able to wiggle it out. High clearance for sure was helpful.....how about parking by the road at TdP, will a 4X4 be helpful then?

 

I just noticed this. The guanaco are very habituated so its possible to park up and they surround you. We had this happen on the beach and on the way up to Hotel Torres. There is hardly any traffic so parking just beside the road is fine although I would still hesitate to hire a really small car. There are plenty of parking places most with incredible views. Take care with the smaller vehicles as even our 4x4 had a very small tank compared to those we rent in South Africa. Fuel was a concern throughout the trip because of the shortages. Pen

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5 hours ago, Gilgamesh said:

Penolva

 

Thank you so much for the detailed reply, very helpful.

 

When we went to Yellowstone, we bought a foam cooler, ice and some cold cuts etc and made our own lunches....hopefully I can do a similar thing there from Puerto Natales. To cut costs, I may stay most of the nights just south of the park, in The Serrano area. There are 4 motels/hotels there, and are cheaper. I am looking for something around $US200/night. However, I do want to stay at Hotel Torres, and be willing to stretch the budget for 1-2 nights.

 

I found this map to be great, this is the one they give out.

TorresdelPainemap_big.jpg

 

I will visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, but was thinking of skipping the boat ride and this is why....I prefer icebergs than glacier. I will be taking the Boat trip to view icebergs and view Spegazzini Glacier and Upsala Glacier which travels through the iceberg channel. Also, I have viewed glaciers from a cruise ship in Glacier park, Alaska.

 

 

You will love Upsala and Spegazzini glaciars. It's a bit overcrowded and very touristic, but the landscapes are impresive.

 

As said by @Penolva, you really don't need to worry about parking the car on the side of the road. The only real restriction you have is that you cannot go out of the trails if you go walking. They are very strict with this rule.

 

You are true that around Serrano you can find cheaper acomodations. It is a good location to visit Pehoe Lake and Grey area, but consider that this area is very far from Laguna Amarga area where you will find most of the wildlife. You will need a lot of gasoline. There is a yellow, cheap guest house that sells gasoline in Serrano, from where it is very expensive.

A good location at the middle of the park is Hotel Pehoe, but this hotel is far from the service offered by Hotel las Torres, Hotel Rio Serrano, Awasi or Tierra Patagonia.

Hotel Explora is located in the middle of the park just south of hotel Pehoe, but it is clearly not a cheaper option that Hotel las Torres.

 

I have no idea if jerrycans are ilegal in Chile, but many people use it in Patagonia, especially travel agencies, so I guess that if it is ilegal the chilean authorities are not really apllying the rule. I have used jerrycans in San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Salta (Argentina), Patagonia (Torres del Paine). At Paso Jama and Paso Sico the custom officers where helping us fueling the car from the jerrycans.

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Posted (edited)

Jeremie, Hotel Explora at over $US1000/night it's definitely out of the question. I hope the others inside the park are no where near that.

 

I will be spending 3 nights, 2 full days in Atacama as well.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Edited by Gilgamesh
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@Gilgamesh Please start your own trip planning topic in this subforum rather than taking over @penolva's trip report.

 

Thanks, Matt

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22 minutes ago, Game Warden said:

@Gilgamesh Please start your own trip planning topic in this subforum rather than taking over @penolva's trip report.

 

Thanks, Matt

Makes sense...I deleted the relevant parts...thanks!

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