South America

Patagonia Trip Itinerary: Argentina

March 8, 2020
girl in front of Petito Moreno glacier in Argentina

After crossing the Argentina border from Chile I continued my South American adventure. Here’s your ultimate Patagonia trip itinerary:

Calafate and Petito Moreno Glacier

When I arrived in Calafate I was able to start really comfortably exploring again. My experience in Chile had not been ideal so I had taken a bus alone across the border, arriving late at night in Argentina. But when I woke up I found myself in an adorable hostel (Del Glaciar Hostel & Suites Libertador) within a bustling, picturesque Patagonian town. The staff of the hostel was so accommodating and helpful during my entire stay and they provided a lovely breakfast.

shopping at Arte Indio

I spent the day exploring and checking out all the fun shops and felt very rejuvenated. I also booked a tour with Hielo y Aventura company to explore the Petito Moreno Glacier, which is hands-down the most worth the cost experience ever.

Our full-day adventure started at the park with a little time to explore the viewing area of the glacier. When I first saw the glacier I started crying I was so overwhelmed. Next, we took a cruise up to the glacier, embarked upon land nearby, got suited up with cramp-ons and went climbing.

When pieces of the glacier fall into the ocean it is called “calving” and makes a very loud boom when the ice hits the water

I did the “mini trekking” as I couldn’t afford the multi-hour hike and even just a little time spent on the glacier was so amazing. I just cannot describe what it is like to explore it up close. You will get amazing photos and feel like you are in a dream.

the Petito Moreno glacier in the distance

After this, I still went back to the glacier park for another day, which wasn’t too much time as I got to spend hours carefully photographing, rather than quickly snapping some shots as I had done the day of trekking.

salad from La Vida

I did not find vegan options available in Calafate and I’m really glad I brought Backpacker’s Pantry dehydrated meals with me. I just added hot water and brought one with me to the park each day in a backpack. This is the one area in Argentina that I didn’t really find any restaurants I could get more than a salad in. That said, I did get a good salad at Pura Vida and combined it with some pasta I cooked at my hostel. There are two breweries I stopped by – La Zorra and La Oveja Negra – that had lively happy hours!

hand-drawn divider
El Chalten

Chalten is sort of the ultimate small town backpacker-central. This place had tons of hostels and was full of young hikers and bars. There is a good burger joint that can make a vegan burger. We checked out the vegan restaurant Curcuma and found the staff super rude, so we left. I really enjoyed Bourbon Smokehouse for its friendly staff and good drink specials, so we ate there and they were happy to come up with a vegan veggie sandwich for me.

the veggie empanadas from Che Empanadas are vegan!

The first day there we stopped at the visitors center and got an idea of the hiking options, then we took an easy loop to the waterfall Chorillo del Salto (about an hour-long hike).

The next day we started early to make the full Mount Fitz Roy hike which was exhausting and took all day. We headed out at 8pm and finished about 7pm, including the extra little jaunt up to the lake viewpoint (adds on about 2 hours). This was a very grueling day but it was scenic and worth it!

a rare sighting of a woodpecker

Piedras Blancas glacier in El Chalten

Make sure you have trekking poles. We didn’t know to rent them ahead of time in the town and it was SO HARD without them, especially on a warmer day with snow melting. I slipped and fell twice in the steepest section. It’s amazing to think of the original summits of Mount Fitz Roy and how hard that journey was and very cool to see the famous peaks up close.

  • Reply
    Jane Dempster-Smith
    March 11, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Your article brought back lovely memories of our time in Patagonia visiting the same places that you have. Such amazing views from the balconies at the glacier and the boat trip to view it was well worth it. We enjoyed the craft beer at La Zorra too! Your photos are beautiful and you have captured the essence of Patagonia. I would recommend that everyone visits at least once in their lifetime, it is truly a unique destination.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Prince
    March 12, 2020 at 2:13 am

    Chalten looks like such a quaint place! I love how blue everything is. I really am not a fan of the cold, but this looks so lovely. I am glad you got to go back and concentrate on photography a bit more. I know sometimes it’s really hard to get the shots you want when you are just trying to enjoy! Your photos are so lovely – what a fabulous trip through your lens!!

  • Reply
    Iuliana Marchian
    March 12, 2020 at 7:31 am

    Even though I have seen so many pictures from Patagonia, every time I see those stunning glaciers, I am in owe. The places you included in your trip are so intriguing that I would by a flight ticket right now. I like how El Chalen looks like – tiny, intimate, a nice and cosy atmosphere. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Jen Morrow
    March 12, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    I grew up in the desert, so I have a weird love/hate fascination with extreme cold. The glaciers look amazing! That looks like such a cool hiking experience. I can hear the glaciers calving from your photos!

  • Reply
    Linda (LD Holland)
    March 12, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    We loved the brief glimpse we got of Patagonia on this South America trip. And already know that we want to go back. I have saved this post for when we plan the return trip. We saw one glacier from afar on the ship but would love to get closer to the other glaciers. So a tour is a great option. We are not major hikers so would be looking for the easier routes. Our hiking poles always travel with us.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    I’ve been wanting to go to Patagonia for such a long time now. I actually had a trip planned from Buenos Aires, but had to cancel it due to an injury. Your photos of the glacier are amazing! It looks you still can have a really great experience by doing the mini-trekking. I’m not a vegetarian, but it still good to know about the lack of veggie options. Even in Buenos Aires I found that many restaurants didn’t have a lot of vegetarian choices.

  • Reply
    Bhushavali N
    March 13, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Oh wow! Those fun shops and antique & handmade souvenirs are so adorable!!! I’d spend an entire day here.
    I think I might also break out to tears when I see a glacier. I haven’t seen one so far! That beautiful white snow is gorgeous!!!
    Too bad to know there weren’t any vegan options. But that salad looks so so so fresh & yummmm….

  • Reply
    March 13, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    I love those views! So amazing. The shops look very cute, I would love to explore them! I’m not a big cold person, but think I would have to visit anyways! I am a big hiker, so this destination would be perfect for me. I would love to see some of the horses as well, I’m also a big animal lover! Anything with animals and nature is perfect for me! Your photos are simply stunning!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

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