Hi! I am planning a trip to Patagonia in April; my boyfriend and I will be spending 4 days in Buenos Aires, 2 1/2 in Ushuaia, 2 1/2 in El Calafate, and 3 in Bariloche. For the Ushuaia - El Calafate leg of our trip, there are two different options for our itinerary that I am stuck deciding between, and I was hoping someone here on this forum would be able to help us out!
Option #1: Day 1 in Ushuaia: Beagle Chanel navigation/Isla de los Lobos; Day 2: Tierra del Fuego national park with Tren Fin del Mundo ride in the morning (train ride leaving at 9:30 a.m.), PiraTour's tour to the Pinguinera penguin colony in the afternoon (leaving at 3 p.m.); Day 3: Fly out of Ushuaia around noon; arrive in El Calafate and have a free afternoon before excursions start the following morning
Option #2: Day 1: The same as in Option #1; Day 2: Tierra del Fuego national park with Tren Fin del Mundo; Day 3: Pinguinera pengion colony, fly out of Ushuaia in the early evening to arrive in El Calafate, meaning no free afternoon there.
I'm kind of stumped between these two options. On the one hand, I'm concerned that going to Tierra del Fuego in just a half-day (we would get there by 9 a.m. and probably have to leave for the penguin tour by 2 p.m., and we are currently planning on doing the Tren Fin del Mundo while we're in the national park) will not be enough time to really experience it. Moreover, I've heard that there's not much to see or do in El Calafate in a free afternoon (we are planning to see Perito Moreno and the other glaciers during our other days there), so rushing through Ushuaia just to arrive in El Calafate and twiddle our thumbs for the rest of the day might not be worth it. On the other hand, maybe doing Tierra del Fuego national park for about 5 hours in the morning IS enough time to take the train and also hike the trails before leaving on the penguin tour, and maybe a day of down-time would be a welcome time for relaxation.
I'd really appreciate advice from anyone who has been to Tierra del Fuego national park or who could give me some helpful feedback on this decision. I need to let the travel agent know soon, and your experience-based opinions are much more useful and valuable than my Internet searching! Thank you so much! :)