Mar 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm #1270252
Companion forum thread to:Mar 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm #1706275
@earlyliteLocale: New England
Looks like a great place to visit. Any tips about getting there on a budget?Mar 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm #1706382
@er1kksenLocale: The Western Door
Getting there on a budget: fly down to Miami and from there fly to Bogota, Colombia. If you book in time you can put these flights together for under $300. Spend the next couple weeks taking the absolute cheapest buses from Colombia through Ecuador and Peru to Chile, and down to Patagonia, while eating cheap fried chicken and rice and corn from street vendors. Sleep on the buses to avoid paying for accomodations. It will be uncomfortable at times but you could probably do it with a budget of $200. That's $500 to get you from New England to Patagonia. Figure about the same getting back. Add $500 to cover your time in Patagonia and whatever else you might do, perhaps.
So in theory with a bit more than a month and about $1500, you could do it. Note that it would not all necessarily be fun or comfortable. Nonetheless, I've managed to do something similar, and the important thing is that it worked, eh?
-Erik (dreaming of blowing a thousand dollars to spend a month or so lounging in the colombian amazon…)Mar 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm #1706441
Great story. Really enjoyed hearing about your hiking in trail runners in the snow and how they were comfortable. And the pictures, wow. Reminds me of just getting out and how important it is. You two or doing some great work together. Keep it coming!Mar 9, 2011 at 11:28 am #1706597
American's really get hung up on the money thing; think that w/o $10k and a month they can't go anywhere.
Getting there is the whole deal (I fly using Award Miles; can't handle LD buses). Once there, can do anything you want for less cost than staying home watching TV.
My son and I hiked the entire Circuito plus up a little past the W's in 4 days. Bus to get there plus food probably totaled $30. A couple years later a friend and I ran the Circuito in one day. Drank a liter tetrapak of "El Gato Negro" when we were done, so doing that bumped the cost of doing the entire loop to maybe five bucks. Plus the bus.Mar 10, 2011 at 3:38 am #1706872
We recently did the 10 day circuit in Dec/Jan. Your pictures are fabulous & we are envious – not as hard as we expected despite age & our full camping kit. The locals are not used seeing a couple of old Aussies in this mode.
Lou & Marion DMar 10, 2011 at 4:37 am #1706879
@ejl10Locale: Mid Atlantic
Thanks for posting theses photos. My camera was stolen at a hostel in Puerto Natales after my 2009 circuit hike, and I was devastated. It's so nice to see these reminders of the gorgeous vistas throughout the park. Also, I can't believe your luck with the weather! I never got a really clean view of the Torres due to cloud cover. It was still worth the morning hike up, though!Mar 11, 2011 at 11:16 am #1707491
@fre49Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
we did it in april may, because we wanted to avoid the peak season.
anyway even if the area is gorgeous and we were alone with the circuit being closed we really hated the "being held by the hand " impression we had.
the year before we were in Greenland, and nowhere yet we encountered so much freedom, maybe thats why we were disappointed in PatagoniaMar 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm #1707580
@monstertruckLocale: Almost Yosemite
Enjoyed seeing your photos from Patagonia!
I did a very similar trip to yours in 2006. It was my first backpacking trip that lasted more than 3 nights. I did 4 days and 3 nights around Fitzroy including a "Mini Epic" camped near the outlet of Lago De Los Tres in an intense storm culminating in an awesome rainbow arcing out over Lago Sucia.
I also did the Circuit with day trips to Valle del Silencio and the Valle Frances. Glad to see you guys exploring Valle Del Silencio! I've got a box of slides from the trip that I still need to get scanned! Great Memories!
RyanMar 12, 2011 at 7:55 pm #1708152
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
Jeez…this could be the 2012 BPL calender all by itself. I especially liked the Torres del Paine photo, but that opinion was questioned as I saw more of your photos. Amazing photos that make me think that Zion National Park is just…OK, as strange as that sounds.
TomMar 15, 2011 at 10:10 am #1709177
Philip – Travel IN South America is cheap, but travel TO South America is of course more expensive.
Flights to Lima, Peru are the cheapest (a few hundred bucks from Miami, DC, etc) and fairly central for adventure addicts. From Lima you can take a 8-hour bus to Hauraz or easily fly to Cusco, La Paz, Santiago, or Buenos Aires. You can sometimes find cheap flights to the latter two locations, which put you much closer to Patagonia. I have been able to find roundtrip flights from San Francisco to Santiago for around $1000.
As I write this, the current visa requirements for US citizens are:
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru – no visa fee, free stay up to 90 days
Bolivia – $140 visa fee, apply at border crossing with proper documentation, required at all border crossings, 90 out of 180 days for next five years
Chile – $140 visa fee charged only at flights arriving in Santiago (apply at airport)and valid of life of your passport, otherwise no visa is needed.
Argentina – $140 visa fee charged only at flights arriving in Buenos Aires (apply at airport)and valid of life of your passport, otherwise no visa is needed.
We found a flight for $180 (roundtrip) from Santiago to Punto Arenas, which is a few hours bus ride from Puerto Natales, the nearest big city to Torres del Paine. Los Glaciares/Fitz Roy is another bus ride of several more hours, on the Argentine side of the Andes.
Los Glaciares is free to enter at El Chalten, the town below Fitz Roy, and free to camp in the park.
As of 2010, Torres del Paine costs 14,000 pesos ($28) for the bus from Puerto Natales, plus 15,000 pesos ($30) entrance. A boat ride to the most common trailhead is 11,000 pesos($22) and camping is 4,000 pesos ($8) per person.
So, as you can see, hiking in TdP is much more expensive than Fitz Roy.
To avoid some of these costs, you can hitch-hike to the park (free!) and enter after 5pm, when the park toll booth closes (free!), camp at "unimproved" sites (free!) and don't take the boat across the lake (free!).
Hostels are about $10-12/person/night in all of the town and cities listed above. Buses are very good quality, comfortable, and rather cheap in Argentina (Chile is slightly more expensive).
OK, hope this info helps give you an idea of costs. You can find more info on the parks and our travels in Latin America on my travel blog.Mar 15, 2011 at 10:21 am #1709184
I just wanted to say thank you to everybody for the positive comments. We really appreciate Addie and the BPL staff for all the hard work they put into these articles. We are happy to read your comments of support.
Warren – Glad you enjoyed it – there are more photo essays on the way.
Lou – After traveling for 18 months already, I can say that Aussies and Kiwis are the worlds backpackers, and am not surprised that such an attitude is still in your blood!
Emmet – Sorry to hear about your loss. We were extremely careful and didn't have anything stolen, but we certainly lost a few things along the way (a flip-flop here, and belt there). I'm glad these photos could bring back some of the highlights of your trip.
Fred – yes, TdP is very developed, probably the second busiest backpacking site in South America (behind Machu Pichu, of course). I think that it why we preferred the ruggedness and isolation of northern Los Glaciares (El Chalten/Fitz Roy). We have not yet been to Greenland yet, but some places in Siberia make us feel like we really were the only people in existence).
Ryan – The beauty of the park really was astounding. We certainly got lucky with the weather, though we did see our fair share of wind, rain, sleet, and snow.
Tom – Wow! Thanks.
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