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bariloche to el Calafate in August

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brisbane
Level Contributor
16 posts
bariloche to el Calafate in August

Has anyone done this bus trip in August?

Which bus company is recommended for travelling with children?

Córdoba
Level Contributor
569 posts
1 review
1. Re: bariloche to el Calafate in August

Haven´t done it myself, but beware, this trip takes nearly 2 days in a bus!

Toronto
Level Contributor
3 posts
17 reviews
2. Re: bariloche to el Calafate in August

I took this trip last November(2012). There was no bus goes all the way from Bariloche to El Calafate. I had to break my trip into two segments:

1. The first segment was a two day bus trip from Bariloche to El Chalten. There are two bus companies running on this route (RN40). I forgot the company's name for the one which was slightly cheaper but running in night time and was less reputable. I chose the other one 'Chalten Travel' for their day trip with more than 10 years in business and appeared to be more experienced. I communicated with their staff at their office at Buenos Aires through emails. Paid in advace by credit card of ARS1,150 for the two day bus trip plus one night stay at a 1* hostel at Perito Moreno.

After arrived Bariloche, I couldn't find their office at the address as posted on their web. After enquired nearby stores, was directed to a travel agent office taking care of Chalten Travel's business. Even this agent office didn't post any sign of 'Chalten Travel' on their window. However, they confirmed that this is the right place we should arrive before 6:00AM for departure.

The tour guide appeared half an hour after depature time and announced the bus had mechanic problem and departure would be delayed. Later on further announced the company gave up fixing the bus and would try to find another vehicle. Witout knowing when we would depart we were brought to a nearby gas station where we can have coffee in a warmer shelter waiting for furher development. Anxiety started to grow among passengers and the tour guide was anxiously waiting for his management's latest decision. Around 10:30AM they decided to set a time limit that if they still could not find another vehicle at 11:30AM (somebody said at 12:00), they would give up this trip and refund the money. This generated chaos among passnegers as there would be no alternative available. Take flight (or night bus) to Buenos Aires and then flight (or another full day/night bus) to El Calafate (there is no airport at El Chalten), then bus back to El Chalten was just not feasible both budget-wise and timing-wise. There would be further problems of reserved/charged accommodations could not be refunded and missing further connection to following itinerary. Finally they anounced that they indeed allocated a mini bus and we were on our way at 11:00AM. Even tough we 15 people had to be jamed into a mini bus, but everybody was happy.

2. The second segment from El Chalten to El Calafate was easy. I bought ticket at the El Chalten Bus Terminal in the morning and there were more than one bus companies available.

Overall, my conclusions are:

1. This bus trip from Bariloche to El Chalten is not suitable for children.

2. 'Chalten Travel' is a bona fide company, but I'm surprised that they don't have a backup (second) bus.

3. The tour guide and two bus drivers are friendly/responsible/prfessional.

4. You should have a 'Plan B' in your itinerary, for just in case you are stucked at Bariloche like we did, or in the middle of nowhere due to mechanic problem (flat tire etc.)

Good luck.

3. Re: bariloche to el Calafate in August

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