Patagonia self drive holiday
Description of Patagonia self drive holiday
The bottom of South America is dipped in icy mountains and sparsely populated plains. This is Patagonia, an enormous area encompassing large amounts of both Chile and Argentina. In this trip you’ll cross between the two countries in search of the most scenic driving in both, starting in Buenos Aires and ending up in Santiago. You’ll travel independently, cruising at your own pace and stopping to take photos at your leisure. Your accommodation is all ready-booked in hotels and lodges along the way.
It would take two days of solid driving to get from Buenos Aires to Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia. Instead, this trip is broken into three sections of driving, with flights and transfers in between. You’ll drive in the Lake District in Chile, fly to Los Glaciares National Park for more four-wheeled fun, before transferring to Torres del Paine National Park. This is a long trip, and a proper adventure.
Before you start your drive, you’ll have a couple of days to soak up the unique energy in Buenos Aires. Take a guided walking tour of Avenida de Mayo and enjoy the tango bars in San Telmo. Next you’ll fly down to Bariloche, a waterfront city in the Lake District. Form here you can go for gorgeous lakeshore drives, and make your way along the Seven Lakes route. Next you’ll fly from Bariloche to El Calafate – your gateway to Los Glaciares National Park in southern Patagonia. Here you can hike under the spiky Mount Fitzroy, and drive to the enormous Perito Moreno glacier.
An overnight transfer takes you across to Chile, where you’ll spend two days hiking and exploring in Torres del Paine, then two days staying on the shore of Lago Grey. You can take a boat trip along the lake to the foot of the Grey glacier – a magnificent end to the trip before you drive back to Santiago to fly home.
1 Reviews of Patagonia self drive holiday
Reviewed on 09 Dec 2019 by Martin Phillips
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing Mt Fitzroy and the Torres de Paine massive
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Check all the details provided to ensure your expectations are delivered before
you leave - especially rooms and what the grade of the room delivers for you
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, it benefitted local people.
No, the environmental impact was not considered, we had long car journeys
which could have been avoided by using local flights
Yes, it supported conservation
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Had a number of incidents that caused us unnecessary stress and disappointment, all of which should have been managed by the operator, who we contacted at the time. We assumed the point of using an agency to arrange the trip should have prevented these situations arising.
Read the operator's response here:
Likewise, we regret you were disappointed with the room allocation at one of the properties. We did seek to arrange an upgrade at that time though unfortunately the hotel was fully booked on the date of your stay and we could only provide a gift at a subsequent hotel in recognition. We have taken both issues onboard and will review how they were managed.
I would also like to assure you the environmental impact is considered and for that reason we would not use local flights as suggested unless absolutely necessary. We recognise there are a couple of long road journeys on the self-drive itinerary though believe the incredible scenery is well worth it and very rewarding.
PlanetWe realise that travel and tourism can benefit as well as harm the environment, the economy and the social and cultural structures of communities. The concept of sustainable tourism - the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of cultural heritage – lies close to our heart. Our love and passion for Latin America encourages us to do everything in our power to protect the destinations we take you to. As members of AITO, we are committed to AITO’s Sustainable Tourism Guidelines, which means that we ensure that environmental and cultural demands are kept as low as possible.
We carefully select our local partners, some we’ve worked with for over 25 years. They have a proven record in training guides to set a good example in their respect for the surroundings and the local communities. We will always encourage you to keep a few basic things in mind, including refilling your water bottle, disposing of rubbish in a responsible way and by staying on designated roads and trails. Furthermore, we’ve partnered up with Water to Go in hope to reduce plastic waste by offering clients 50% discount on filtered water bottles.
Moreover, we strive to use accommodation that reflects the area they are set in and respect their local surroundings and history, as well as the environment. Just below Las Torres themselves for example, you will stay at Hotel Las Torres. This remote lodge situated on a cattle ranch just below the vertical ‘towers’ of Torres del Paine massif respect their history as a cattle farm and features an organic garden, stables and horses. Guests can enjoy horseback riding sessions with the gauchos on the estancia lands surrounding the hotel. Moreover, the restaurant at the lodge aims to use as many local ingredients from their own estancias and organic garden for their dishes as possible. Finally, guests have the opportunity to buy handcrafts of regional artists at the gift shop.
During this holiday, we encourage you to explore Patagonia not only by car, but also on foot. There are countless of hiking trails in the Lake District, in Los Glaciares National Park and in Torres del Paine National Park. We can organise guides for certain treks who can explain all about the local flora and fauna – adding to the total experience.
PeopleWe pride ourselves on delivering our clients truly authentic and unforgettable experiences in Latin America which connect travellers with the people whose country they visit. You can for example enjoy horseback riding sessions guided by gauchos in Torres del Paine National Park, or take a guided walking tour in Buenos Aires to learn more about different cultures that have left their mark on this cosmopolitan city. Our local guides are on hand to provide advice on the best way to communicate with the local community, what and what not to buy, as well as explaining the importance of giving gifts responsibly, and acting in a respectful way while taking photographs. Furthermore, as a company we promote the use of local establishments including restaurants, bars and shops and are always happy to recommend a few tried-and-tested options.
Additionally, for this holiday we have selected accommodation in the countryside at an unusual variety of rustic estancia-style properties. Whilst not luxurious, what they lack in contemporary comfort is repaid with regional flavour. At the Lake District for example you will stay at La Casa de Eugenia, a family-home-turned-guesthouse on the edge of a lake backed by forests. It was built in the 1920s and one of the first residences of the town. In 1997 the house was transformed into a hotel, while respecting and keeping the traditional features that still can be seen and experienced today.
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