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driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Indiana
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driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Is it possible to drive from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate (on our own)? Are there any problems with boarder crossings? Also, about how long of a drive is it?

Thanks--we are planning for Jan/Feb 08 and are very overwhelmed with the options

Santiago, Chile
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1. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

You might find this earlier posting useful,

Hello, I was in El Calafate in November 06. We rented a car and drove first to El Chalten and then all the way down to Torres del Paine. The drive from El Calafate to El Chalten was 2.5 hours, some of it on dirt road, and from El Calafate to TOrres del Paine it's 4 hours, there too some dirt roads. We crossed the border at Cancha Carrera, which was fine, not a lot of traffic, just notice that that pass is open from 7 or 8 am to 10pm or so. We rented the cheapest car in El Calafate, from a local agency, it was a Volkswagen Gol, (not golf) and it worked perfectly well, so I don't think a 4x4 is needed unless you really want to do off road stuff.

Indiana
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2. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Thank you that helps alot.

Rome, Italy
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3. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Hi Lisa, I was the one who wrote the report on driving from TDP to el Calafate, it was really easy and beautiful. Also, if you have some extra time, I recommend visiting el Chalten (look at the Patagonia Argentina forum to read what I wrote on El Chalten). Send me a message with TA if you need more info.

Indiana
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4. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

This may be a difficult question to answer, but what kind if budget are we looking at. We really need to keep the cost as low as possible. Around how much should we expect to spend on a 3 week trip including airfare (not international-we will be using miles for those flights). Is it possible to do this for $5000US or under for 2 people??

Also, how much time at each place do we need? We would really like to add Machu Pichu to the trip also. Is this reasonable?

Thanks again for taking the time to help,

Lisa

Rome, Italy
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5. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Lisa, $5000 for two people, excluding international airfare is definitely feasible, but of course it depends on how much ground you want to cover. Do you have at least an idea of places you'd like to see during your trip?

Remember that Argentina is still very cheap (and you get great quality for the money, in terms of hotels, restaurants, tours...for example, for $50-$60 you can get a nice room in a bed and breakfast in BA, same cost for a cabin in Patagonia--now remember that Chile is much more expensive).

Now, if you add Machu Picchu you'll have to fly to Peru... I went to Peru 3 years ago, and Peru alone deserves a 3 weeks visit, because there's a lot to see there, so I don't know if I'd add it to this trip. And it would definitely bump up your overall costs.

Hope this helped

Indiana
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6. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

You have been very helpful. We just returned from at trip to New Zealand/Fiji so we are just in the very beginning stages in planning our trip for next January/Feb. We acturally are trying to decide between 2 very different trips. Either South America or Nepal/Bhutan/India. South America is coming out ahead so far.

Regardless, we will take both trips in the next 2 years.

What we were thinking so far, is Iguazu Falls, Tierre del Paine, El Calafate and maybe Bariloche. It seems there are so many places to see it is hard to narrow down. Are there any place you have been that you think are must see for a first trip to South America.

I understand that Peru could be a trip on it's own, but I have always wanted to see Machu Pichu and thought we could throw that in for about 4 nights and then go back someday and see more Peru. If it add too much to the cost, which it probably wil-as you suggested, then it will be out.

Are there any really good places to Scuba dive that you know of?

Thanks again, and sorry for all the questions

Lisa

Edinburgh
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7. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Hi Lisa,

I have travelled a lot in Chile and yes it is very feasible to cross from Torres del Paine to Calafate. Your budget also sounds fine, depending on the type of accommodation you choose.

I would recommend Hotel Remota in Pueto Natales (www.hotelremota.com) or indigo - I can't remember the web address. Remota is expensive, but it includes daily excursions to the park and also in the area; and it is full board.

If you are struggling with the planning I would recommend a good local travel agent like www.optimundo.com who can plan your itineray and make all your bookings in Chile and Argentina.

Hope this helps,

Gato

Indiana
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8. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

What do you think about staying inside the park at Tierre del Paine?

Edinburgh
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9. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

If you are interested in hiking then it is a good idea to stay in the park, because Pueto Natales is 2 hrs drive away. There is some very expensive accommodation in the park, but also a good network of refugios run by CONAF which are clean and inexpensive.

To walk to the towers in 1 day, but there is also a 7 day circuit through many beautiful parts of the park.

Gato

Rome, Italy
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10. Re: driving from Tierre del Paine to El Calafate??

Lisa, I recommend staying in the park, it's expensive, but the park is huge, so just from going from your accomodation in the park to the trail head it might be an hour drive. If you stay out of the park you'd end up spending too much time in a car/bus.