Trip Report: Patagonia (2005 and 2007). Torres del Paine, El Calafate, El Chalten, Perito Moreno Glacier. By Claudia Komesu.

Patagonia is not a specific place, is an area of 800 000 km2 which covers much of Chile and Argentina. In 2005, after reading a lot, we decided to concentrate in three places: Torres del Paine, El Chalten and El Calafate by a passage, to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. In 2007 we returned to Torres del Paine and El Chalten. These pictures are from the 2007 trip.


More photos in the brazilian post.

Summary of trip to Patagônia: El Chalten and Torres del Paine

Text: Claudia Komesu. Fotos: Claudia Komesu e Cristian Andrei.

  • Date: February 26 to March 7, 2007.
  • Type: Travel for couples with focus on landscape and wildlife.
  • Features: It is not easy to say but it’s true – the main highlight of the trip is the scenery. Turquoise rivers, mountains with incredible formations of granite color pink, immensity. Considered one of the least altered landscapes in the world. There are few species, but what you can see animals of this type are: flocks of Chilean flamingos, Black-necked swans, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Condors – a bird with more than three-meters wingspan, we had the privilege of see a bunch of close, hovering a carrion, they passed over our heads and made a shadow on the ground. It looked like they could land, and ride them. The magnificent Magellanic Woodpecker, one of the largest woodpeckers in the world, with 45 cm.
  • Level of difficulty: medium-easy. It is easy to catch a flight to El Calafate, but the long stretches of the road make you a bit tired. Otherwise, the places are very touristic, there are great restaurants and inns, the roads are good, and there is an incredible wind, rocking the car or while you walk.
  • Infrastructure: good and, unfortunately, increasing. The El Chalten we saw in 2007 was already quite different from 2005, and should be getting worse. Large hotels being built, the city losing the charm of a enchanting valley. Torres del Paine is expensive, but I heard that the construction of more hotels was helping to lower prices.
  • Photo opportunities: very good and sometimes incredible. Only the landscape, even if you do not see any animal, worth the trip, (listen this from someone fauna on fauna pictures). It’s those trips that changes your soul. Besides the landscape, the flamingos are really amazing, the rheas, guanacos. A lot of light, it’s an incredible journey. Several colleagues traveled to the region after seeing our pictures.
  • Ornithological Guide and logistics: we walked without a guide, just us in a car. There are specialized agencies, but I saw a album from a guy who bought a package and I did not feel I have missed important things. No hurry, that’s the secret.
  • When to go: The most recommended time is from October to April. We went in late November 2005 and in March 2007. In November we saw more ducks and swans, and that was when we were lucky to see the flock of condors down. We picked up some snow, but was not too cold. In March there were more flamingos.

Travel costs in 2007 (note: remember that the costs are not updated, are only the record of receipt in the year when we traveled)

Estimate of about U.S. $ 4,700 for a married couple (10 days)

  • Shoot: U.S. $ 1,174. SP – Buenos Aires – El Calafate – Buenos Aires – SP two adults;
  • Rent a Ford Ranger double cab, 10 Daily: U.S. $ 1,020;
  • Accommodation: U.S. $ 1,090. In Torres del Paine: Hosteria El Pionero near the Towers ($ 120). Posada Rio Serrano, the hostel cheaper and simpler of the park ($ 625 for 5 nights). In El Chalten: Nothofagus B & B (U.S. $ 213 for 4 nights). In Buenos Aires ($ 213 for 2 nights). Only breakfast each morning.
  • Food extra: $ 700 (estimate)
  • Diesel: $ 330 (estimate)
  • Tips and extras: $ 320 (estimate)