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Argentina Travel Notes
March - April, 2009

Adventure Log - Chile + Argentina   Argentina Only

Books and Reference Material

South America on a Shoestring

Another good pub from Lonely Planet.

(Lonely Planet)

The latest edition is 2006, and is therefore a little out of date in 2009.  Prices have risen about 50%, and there are A LOT more places to stay everywhere than is mentioned in the guide.

Poor But Happy Website  This website was a good resource for Colombia, not sure how good for Chile.

Website  A reasonably good site with reviews and ability to book hostals in Chile.

Hostel Trail
Website  The Hostel Trail maintains a great website for finding backpacker places all over South America, and some ’todo’ information once you get to a place.

Traveller's Guru

An English language tourist newspaper for Argentina and Chile


Argentina uses Argentine Pesos as its currency.  In March 2009, the exchange rate was about 3.6 pesos to the dollar.  Most places will accept US dollars, but will NOT accept Chilean pesos.  ATMs are everywhere, but limit withdrawals to $300 (or $380) pesos.  You can make multiple $300p withdrawals at the same ATM at the same time.  Yahoo's Exchange Rate Site

Spanish Schools

We didn't go to any, but here's a few websites from flyers we picked up.

English News of Argentina




Air Travel

Aerolineas Argentina

Flies within Argentina, including a Ushuaia to El Calafate flight.


LADE is a semi-government entity that runs flights within Argentina, including Ushuaia.

CostaMar Travel in Peru We were able to book some legs via Costamar for cheaper than they were showing on the airline's website.


Note, we thought Punta Arenas was expensive until we got to Ushuaia.  Definitely not for the budget traveler.  Expensive to get there and away, and expensive to stay.  Absolutely gorgeous scenery though, and some great hiking.  We wouldn't have missed it.






Retamas B&B
1780 Magellanes


Booked through (for cheaper than we were quoted directly by email).  $190 Pesos/night.  Though expensive, it was the cheapest double we heard of in town.
Monica runs a very nice 3-room B&B.  We were the only people there.  Monica is very helpful with where to go and what to do.  Very clean and nice. 


Hosteria Linares
Gobernador Deloqui 1522


We stopped in and looked at this as a more upscale alternative to our small guesthouse.  Very nice.  12 rooms, nice sitting area, great views of the harbor.
$290 Pesos w/ double private bath.

Buses to Ushuaia
from Punta Arenas
There's a bus from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia nearly every day.  Check local newspaper.  Cost $50 US per person one way.  Several airlines have flights to Ushuaia from various locations that aren't that much more than the bus fare.
It is a 12 hour trip including a border crossing and a time zone change.  Our bus served coffee and a sandwich on the way.  Bathroom aboard.


El Turco, on San Martin.  Says Pizzaria on front, but had reasonable menu for reasonable price
La Estancia, on San Martin.  All you can eat (free fork) grill.  $60 pesos ($17 US p/p).  Not worth the price, in my opinion.  Pricey liquor too.
French Bread Place (don't remember correct name), across from the Gas Station, one street down from San Martin.  Great breads and sweets, but very expensive to eat there.  Don't be fooled.

To Do:

- 3-4 hour hike to Glacier Martial, just out of town.  15 peso taxi to the start, 60 pesos each for (optional) chair lift to mid-level, otherwise free entry.  Great scenery and mountain shots, but glacier is receding so we didn't actually reach it (too hard)
- Hikes in Tierra del Fuego National Park.  $50 pesos per person for shuttle van ride, round trip (no public bus goes there), and $50 pesos for park entry.  There are several hikes on nice trails from 2 to 5 hours long.  Camping possible.  We enjoyed the Costera (coastal) trail, supposed to be 3 hrs, it took us 4 1/2.
- Walk down to the waterfront to the right (facing the water) and visit the water sports area (diving and sailing and kayaking possible) 


El Calafate






Hosteria Patagonia
Don Bosco #160
on Don Bosco, just around the corner from the bus station


Booked at the bus station info counter.  $100 Argentinian pesos double (twin beds) with shared bath and NO breakfast.  $120 with breakfast, $140 with private bath.  TV available in private bath rooms, but costs extra.  Great location, nice new facility, clean.  Twin beds not real comfortable.
No internet, but internet cafe around the corner.


Hostal del Glaciar I and II



The original facility is on Pioneres street, they have opened a second facility on Liberator closer to town.  Looked like a nice backpacker type place.  Double room private bath $140 pesos.  Had wifi.  This is where we booked our glacier trip.


Hospedaje Flores del Sur
Buenos Aires #155
just around the corner from the bus station


This place was around the corner from where we stayed, and we checked it out.  Looked nice for $80p for double/shared bath, no breakfast and $120 double/private, no breakfast.  Breakfast option $18 pesos.

Buses to and from El Calafate

We flew from Ushuaia to El Calafate on Aerolineas Argentina.  Cost was $140 USD per person on short notice.  The bus would have been a 24+ hour trip.
There are buses between El Calafate north to El Chalten and south to Puerto Natales leaving around 8-8:30 nearly every day.  There are also some trips that leave in the evening around 5:30.  Puerto Natales is a 6 hr trip including a border crossing into Chile, no stops.  We took Cootrans for $60 pesos per person.  Nice executive bus. Bathroom aboard.
Note that there seems to be no public bus system at the airport, which is about 10 miles from town.  Shuttle bus cost $26 pesos each, and dropped off at your hotel or wherever you want.


Rick's Cafe seems the most popular 'full meal' option.  They offer 'to order' and 'free fork' (buffet) options.  The buffet was $45 pesos each, drinks extra.  The cheapest beer was 9 pesos.  A bottle of water 6 pesos.
The other option in town are the pizzarias.  We ended up having a pizza from Napolean's (next to our hotel) for $30 pesos, and a rotiserie chicken from the supermarket for $22 pesos.

To Do:

- The big draw in El Calafate is the Perito Moreno Glacier.  The options to go visit run from $80 pesos to $600 pesos.  For $80 pesos you get a bus to the park and back (about a 45 minute drive).  For an additional $35 pesos, you can book a boat to take you out on the lake and get closer to the glacier.  For budget travelers, $80 pesos would be enough to see an awesome glacier.  Note that NO TRIPS INCLUDE THE MANDATORY PARK ENTRANCE FEE OF $60 pesos.  That is additional, charged on entry to the park.

We booked the 'Alternative Tour' with Patagonia Backpackers.  They are affiliated with Hostal del Glaciar, and we booked the trip at the hostal.  Cost was $175 pesos per person, which included a guided trip with English speaking guide, the bus trip, a guided side hike, with pickup and drop off at our hotel.  A stop at an Estancia where we had coffee/pastries and petted a baby llama, and the more expensive boat trip to the north face of the glaciar.  We thought it was well worth the extra money, our guide was good, etc.









Hospedaje Wikter
Guemes 566


$50 AR per person per night, fairly nice rooms with private bath, wifi, breakfast, central heat


Hostal Condor Andino
Neumayer 34


$28 AR per person per night (off season).  Rooms with 2/4 people per room with private bath, wifi, kitchen privs.  We didn't stay there, but looked nice from the front.

To Do:

Go to the tourism office at the Centro Civico, they speak English and have maps & suggestions.  Lots of hiking and camping around Bariloche.  There are also many 'lakes' trips around Bariloche for $25-$30. 
Bus-Hike Circuito Chico (self guided):  Take the #10 bus out of town for a few dollars, to the end, hike along the lake for 2 hrs, and take the #20 or 21 bus back into town.  Costs only a few dollars.
Bike Ride Circuito Chico:  Take any of the buses (10, 21, et) that go out to where the road splits going to the park, rent a bike, and do the circuit.  There are 3-4 bike rental places in Bariloche.
Visit chairlifts going up the mountain.  A few dollars on a bus ride, about $8 for lift, and a great view of the area.


Soul Pizza-Cafe:  Decent meal, decent price, near Hotel Wikter at Belgrano and 20 de Frebrero
Cocodrillo:  Downtown on the corner just outside the Centro Civico.  Good daily lunch for good price.
La Parrilla de Tony:  Traditional parrilla (Argentine grill).  A little pricey but great food, great service.  San Martin #574 Upstairs.


Bus company we took from Valdivia to Bariloche.  Ask for an upstairs seat in front!  They cover all over Argentina and the main routes into central Chile.


Bus company that takes the 7 Lakes route between Bariloche and San Martin de Los Andes.  Also goes NE out to Neuquen.  Main Bus Station in Bariloche and San Martin.



San Martin de los Andes






Mario Renaudo
Cnel Diaz 1165


We got hustled from the bus station by Mario (he speaks some English).  His place is about 2 1/2 blocks from the Station, has several rooms with shared bath. $90 for double shared bath offseason.

To Do: