P A T A G O N I A
A R G E N T I N A
Hike, beer, empanada. Repeat.
We've been doing some serious hiking over the past 13 days. Close to 140 kilometers (90 miles) in total.
It started in Bariloche, a small, touristy town surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes. It's been compared to Lake Tahoe, so we were easily sold on adding it to our travels in Argentina.
Llao Llao Park is a quick drive from town and we hiked the full park loop, which only took us about four hours. It was the perfect way to ease into a month of long treks around Patagonia!
When we returned to our rental car after the hike, it wouldn't start… It was completely dead.
Luckily, Argentinians are some of the friendliest people, and even with our terrible Spanish, we were able to get help quickly.
It did stress us out a bit though, so we were happy to stumble upon Cerveza Patagonia on our drive out of the park. Nothing better than empanadas, cold beers, and amazing lake views after a hike and car troubles.
Further out of town, we drove two hours to Cerro Tronador. It was a four hour round trip hike and we didn’t see a single person on the trail the entire time. The trail wasn’t all that exciting, but we enjoyed the wildflowers, moss, and hiking along the creek.
At the end of the hike, we were greeted with an immense “hanging glacier” and surrounded by glacial waterfalls from every direction. It was nice having the place to ourselves.
A short drive past Cerro Tronador, was Negro glacier. Luckily, there was no hiking involved and we just drove right up for these views.
It was a long day of driving and hiking. Bariloche is known for its many Cervecerias, so we visited one near our hotel for more empanadas and beer. This is becoming a theme… and we’re completely okay with it.
Our first hike to a Refugio camp was Refugio Frey. Refugios are all over the mountains of South America and are a shelter for hikers or skiers on multi-day treks. While we weren't staying the night at Frey, we heard it was one of the best hikes in Bariloche, so we had to check it out.
The views were unbelievable and the Refugio serves food and beer, so we stayed for lunch - not a bad reward before having to start the hike down!
Brave hikers set up their tents for a windy night on top the mountain. It gave us a little taste of what our nights in Torres Del Paine might be like along The ‘O’ circuit. After awhile, we spotted rock climbers and watched in awe as they scaled a nearby peak.
After a 20 kilometer hike, we were in need of a cold beverage and food. There’s a small German town just outside Bariloche, Colonia Suiza, that has a market every Sunday. It’s filled with vendors selling food, beer, ice cream, antiques, and artisan goods. We loved it here!
North of Bariloche is a town called Villa La Angostura. It’s smaller than Bariloche and had more of the small town charm we were looking for.
Our last hike in Bariloche was steep and quick, but provided amazing views of the area. It was so windy at the top and probably our first real welcome to Patagonia winds. Danny gave his best meteorologist impression and Hailey thought it was hilarious.
Further South in Argentina, we visited El Chalten. It's a two hour drive from the airport of El Calafate. We hired a private driver, so we could make some stops along the way… Like this one in the middle of the road.
El Chalten, a small town of two streets with tons of bars, restaurants, and cafes filled with adventurous hikers. There are trailheads throughout the town, which makes it convenient for anyone visiting.
The hikes in El Chalten were beautiful. Hailey's favorite was to Laguana Torre / Cerro Terro Viewpoint. For her, it was definitely about the journey not the destination.
She almost blew away when we reached the base of the glacier, but quickly found a safe spot behind rocks while Danny braved the 100+ mph winds.
El Chalten, which means smoke, was given it's name for good reason. We hiked 11 km to Fitz Roy and we're unfortunately clouded in at the top. We don't regret the hike, but wish we could have had a clear day for some better views. Oh well, we packed empanadas in our packs and enjoyed them at the top instead.
It was clear the next morning, so Danny ran up to Condor lookout for sunrise and was greeted with pretty awesome views. Hailey’s regretting the extra hour of sleep she chose over this…
Our first bus in Argentina was from El Chalten to El Calafate. Danny hates public transportation, but we survived!
We stayed at La Cantera, which is a small boutique hotel up on the hill with great views of the lake. While our time was limited in El Calafate, we tried to make the most of it.
Hailey is allergic to horses and Danny has never been on a horse, so riding through Patagonia with gauchos was near the top of our list! It was a fun sunset ride with great views of Patagonia.
The rest of our time in El Calafate was spent at Perito Moreno Glacier. It was incredible and probably one of our favorite glacier experiences to date. We sat at a lookout on the water near the end of the glacier and listened and watched as it calved for over an hour.
We could have stayed longer, but it was time for us to hike on top the glacier for the rest of the day. They equipped us with all the gear - helmets, harnesses, cramp ons…
It was an awesome 12 km exploring the glacier and taking in the views. Plus, we got to fill up with fresh, cold glacier water throughout the hike!
The views at the base of the glacier while waiting for the boat weren’t too bad either…
On the boat ride back from Perito Moreno, they surprised us with whiskey over glaciel ice. It was the best way to end our travels in Argentina!