How Much Does a Trip to Patagonia Cost?
How much does a trip to Patagonia cost?? I certainly wondered this prior to visiting. Because Patagonia lies at the bottom of the globe, in the countries of Argentina & Chile, it’s universally thought of as quite an expensive region: namely due to transport costs of simply getting there! I spent a month in Patagonia in February & March 2018, which is summer in South America & prime season, when prices are at their height. I was worried that I was going to spend a small fortune ~ but the truth is, I only spent about $2,400 during that month-stay!
I’ll break down all my expenses below…
Where Did I Go in Patagonia?
Before I break-down my exact costs for travel through Patagonia, I think it’s important to note where I traveled (& where I did NOT travel). Here’s where I visited: El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park, El Chalten, & San Carlos de Bariloche (the furthest city north). I did NOT visit Ushuaia or Punta Arenas, which are the southern-most cities in Patagonia. All cities can be found on the map below.
Note: Distances in Patagonia are HUGE. Keep this in mind when planning your trip. You’re talking about the lower 1/3 of Argentina & Chile, in a space that’s roughly equivalent to the size of the country of Turkey. Patagonia is MASSIVE ~ don’t think you can see it all in one trip. Focus on what you really want to see.
San Carlos de Bariloche
Breakdown of Patagonia Costs
- Hotel Costs in Patagonia: $1,077 in nearly a month of travel. I stayed primarily in hostels to keep my costs down, such as America del Sur in El Calafate (views to DIE for!!) & Penthouse 1004 (KILLER penthouse views of the lake!!) in San Carlos de Bariloche. I’m not normally a hostel kind-of traveler ~ but these hostels far exceeded my expectations.
- Food Costs: $418. Food is pricey in Patagonia (& Argentina in general), & you may be hungrier than normal due to high activity levels. Budget accordingly. I mainly ate in restaurants (which gets pricey) ~ but you can easily save more money by grocery shopping & cooking your own meals.
- Flight Costs: $148 (LATAM Flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate). This was the only flight I took in Patagonia. Your biggest expense will likely be your flight to Buenos Aires (from wherever you are in the world). Once in Buenos Aires, there are multiple flights per day to Patagonia airports: El Calafate, Ushuaia, & Punta Arenas.
- Bus Costs: $289. I mainly traveled via bus in Patagonia (the 24-hour bus ride from El Chalten to Bariloche was definitely the most BRUTAL!!). Here are all the routes I took: El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier (round-trip, $31), El Calafate to Puerto Natales (round-trip, 5-6 hours each way with border crossing, $51), Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park (round-trip, $17), El Calafate to El Chalten ($21), & El Chalten to Bariloche (24-hour, overnight ride, $128).
- Entrance Fees: $62. For Perito Moreno Glacier ($30 US, cash-only), & Torres del Paine National Park ($32 US). I didn’t pay any entrance fees for hiking in El Chalten.
- Cash Purchases: Approximately $400. Definitely bring cash to Patagonia: you’ll need it for most hostels, taxis, some entrance fees, & many shops don’t take credit cards (as Wi-Fi is often very poor).
Total Costs in Patagonia = $2,394
What’s NOT Included?
The main thing missing from my cost break-down above is the flight to Buenos Aires from the United States. I left it out because I used miles to purchase a flight to Peru (my friend Nina & I visited Machu Picchu prior to Argentina), & then I flew from Cusco, Peru to Buenos Aires, at a cost of about $350. Round-trip flights from the U.S. to Buenos Aires can range anywhere from $650 to over $1,200, depending on the time of year.
***Tip for Getting the Cheapest Flight to Buenos Aires: Book a round-trip ticket, at least one month in advance!!! I typically buy one-way tickets everywhere (because I don’t know where I’ll end up) ~ but I pay a premium for that. More taxes are paid on one-way tickets, particularly for international travel: so buy round-trip.
What’s another thing missing from my cost break-down? Hiking guides & tours. Particularly for the popular “W” Trek in Torres del Paine, many people go with a guide or guided tour. Typical costs: upwards of $1,000 to 3,000!! The cushier the tour (i.e. having someone else carry your backpack), the pricier it gets. If you’ve got the money & you really want to hike back in the interior: definitely go with a guide. But the popular hikes in Patagonia, like Fitz Roy & Mirador las Torres, are so well-trafficked, it would be hard to get lost. And you can always meet people to hike with at your hotel or hostel.
***Budget Tip for Patagonia: Skip the pricey guided tours & just hike by yourself or with friends you make in town! Everyone’s here to hike, so finding a hiking buddy is E-A-S-Y.
Where Did I Stay?
Since the biggest piece of my budget was accommodations, I thought I’d take you through where I stayed to keep costs down. And though I mainly stayed in hostels, I did throw in some cushier nights at nice hotels ~ particularly after the long hikes, when I really wanted either a good bath or shower! And I still managed to stay within my budget.
Where I Stayed in El Calafate: America del Sur Hostel ($30/night for a 4-bedroom, mixed-dorm) for 4 nights ~ I LOVED this place. They have a killer BBQ in the evenings & serve eggs with their breakfast buffet; lake views from their main room are unbelievable. I also stayed for 2 nights at Fuerte Calafate Hotel Panoramico ($45/night). More killer views, but less camaraderie here & room was super teeny.
Where I Stayed in Puerto Natales: Hostel Last Hope ($17/night). Diego runs this place & he’s efficient & very helpful with trek-planning, but the hostel was a little too young & rough-around-the-edges for me. Vinnhaus Hostel & Cafe ($22/night): I only stayed here one night, in a mixed-dorm; the room was just too small for me. But the coffee house out front is super cute. Hostal don Guillermo ($37/night for private room). I really liked Don Guillermo: this is more hotel than hostel. The room was spacious & their Wi-Fi worked well; I would stay here again. And finally, after hiking Mirador Las Torres, I splurged & stayed at the adorable Keoken Bed & Breakfast ($100/night) for two nights. Run by a lovely husband & wife, I fully enjoyed the good bed & good conversation with my hosts here.
Where I Stayed in El Chalten: Chalten Suites ($110/night). Another splurge, & one of the only luxury hotels in town, with a great breakfast buffet & soaring mountain views.
Where I Stayed in San Carlos de Bariloche: Periko’s Youth Hostel ($22/night for a 4-bed dorm). Really cute, log cabin-vibe in the rooms & good Wi-Fi, with a cute common area. Villa Huapi ($56/night for a HUGE suite, overlooking the lake)!! This place was amazing: it’s on the east side of the lake, & not right in town, so it’s a little remote ~ but the setting is just gorgeous. Penthouse 1004 ($47/night for private room with VIEWS) has possibly the best views in town ~ though rooms themselves are average. Common area & patios = Best. Views. Ever.
How Much Does a Trip to Patagonia Cost?
Was this post helpful to you? If you have any more questions about Patagonia or trip-planning, feel free to ask! And if you enjoy seeing cost break-downs of my trips, let me know in the comments below & I’ll start including more of them in my writing : )
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