Getting Around Argentine Patagonia
The best ways to get around Argentine Patagonia are by car or plane due to the region's large size. Argentine Patagonia is divided into three regions: the Lake District, Atlantic Patagonia, and Southern Patagonia. You can traverse all three regions by car, but you'll find yourself spending a lot of time on the road. Unless you plan on staying longer than a week, you'll probably have to choose only one or two of these areas to explore. To save time, consider flying between regions. With several airports in all three districts, you can easily hop between cities. Buses are another reliable way to get around.
To reach Patagonia, you'll want to fly through Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) and then take a hopper flight to your desired Patagonian city. Alternatively, you could fly into Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ), Chilean Patagonia's main airport, and cross the border into El Calafate in Southern Patagonia. You can also rent a car or take a bus from Buenos Aires to Argentine Patagonia, but this will require at least one additional day of travel.
The best way to reach Argentine Patagonia's top attractions is by car. But keep in mind that not all roads are paved and many stretch for miles' without a single gas station. So, fill up before you hit the road. You'll find familiar rental companies such Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Hertz in every major lakeside village. InterPatagonia.com lists available car services by region.
You may prefer to pay for a remis (private car and driver), so you can savor the spectacular scenery without worrying about where you're going. A variety of car services are available throughout all three provinces. Consult the Argentine Patagonia official tourism board website for further details.
Flying is another ideal way to get around Argentine Patagonia to explore more than one region. Aerolíneas Argentinas offers daily connections between Buenos Aires and Bariloche in the Lake District, Trelew in Atlantic Patagonia, and El Calafate in Southern Patagonia. Líneas Aéreas del Estado (LADE) provides service between major Argentinean cities such as Trelew and Bariloche, as well as between Bariloche and El Calafate. Consult the Argentine Patagonia tourism board's domestic flight schedule for departure times and distance.
Argentine Patagonia boasts a variety of bus services operating within its three main districts. Don Otto, a reputable overnight bus company, shuttles passengers from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn, located in Atlantic Patagonia, via a 20 hour bus ride. From Puerto Madryn's small town, you can hop on a Mar y Valle bus to Puerto Piramides on Peninsula Valdés for about $48 ARS (roughly $11 USD) each way. Local bus services also shuttle passengers from Trelew airport to Puerto Madryn. Contact Mar y Valle at (472056-452452).
The Lake District also boasts numerous bus services. From Bariloche (Argentine Patagonia's central lakeside hub), travelers can easily hop on the Ómnibus 3 de Mayo, a public bus that shuttles passengers to Cerro Catedral Ski Resort every thirty minutes or so for $1.10 ARS (about 25 cents). Ómnibus 3 de Mayo's Línea Manso also reaches several destinations along Patagonia's southwestern edge on Fridays for about $17 ARS (approximately $4 USD).
Upon arriving in Southern Patagonia's El Calafate Airport (FTE), you'll find a bus terminal on Avenida Julio Roca as well as a resourceful tourism office. Stop in for maps of the region's glaciers and hiking trails. Travelers recommend Caltur as a reliable bus company that transports passengers to Perito Moreno glacier via Route 40. There are also several routes that transport travelers from El Calafate to El Chaltén, a quaint town bordering Glacier National Park, as well as top attractions in Chile, like Torres del Paine. From El Calafate, you can hop on one of Caltur's buses to Torres del Paine on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 a.m.; returning buses depart on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 11 a.m. Roundtrip fares cost $220 ARS (approximately $50 USD).
A useful tool, Platform10.com aggregates the most convenient bus service routes by location and price.
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