"All good things are wild and free" - Henry David Thoreau
Part of Patagonia's appeal is its remote location. South America's southern frontier offers wild spaces, jagged peaks, pristine rivers and sleepy mountain towns. Patagonia straddles Argentina and Chile with both sides offering worthy stops. The majority of travelers going to Patagonia will visit both sides and the question is, what's the best way to get between the two?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Nature isn't the only thing set on a larger scale in Patagonia - the distances across the Patagonia steppe are as well. Expect long but beautiful drives.
2. There are no flights between Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas to El Calafate or Ushuaia. An overland drive is necessary to transit between the two countries
3. You can connect Punta Arenas to Ushuaia via a 5 day cruise through the fjords. Check out the map below and take a look at our Wake of Magellan itinerary for more information. This cruise is also one of the only ways in which you can step foot on Cape Horn (weather dependent)
4. There is no airport in El Chalten
5. You cannot fly from Punta Arenas to Buenos Aires or El Calafate to Santiago. The most efficient way to see both sides of Patagonia is to book open jaw international flights, arriving in Buenos Aires and departing out of Santiago (or vice versa).
6. While they do not operate every day, there are direct flights from Santiago to Puerto Natales. If you can sync one of these flights up with your itinerary it will save you approx 3 hours of driving (Punta Arenas > Puerto Natales)
7. Book flights early! There are multiple flights each day to Patagonia during high season but these flights can fill up during peak season and holiday weeks.
We promise Patagonia is well worth the complicated logistics. We know this area like the back of our hand and will make sure your itinerary visits all the right places in the most efficient way possible. We guarantee that when you're standing at the base of granite spires soaring to the sky above you or listening to the deafening roar of glaciers calving into the icy water below or horseback riding through the pampa with a resident gaucho the drive you took earlier that week will be the last thing on your mind.