Autumn Patagonia
Our next accomplished dream

One of our dreams was to visit South America and especially beautiful mountains of Patagonia! Read about how our trip started.

Our arrival in Argentina
We took a plane from Sydney and crossed all Pacific Ocean to Santiago de Chile from where we continued to Buenos Aires. We spent a week there in our friend’s house and so we had some time to plan our next moves. At the end we have decided to fly all the way down to Ushuaia and start our trip from there. It was getting quite cold so we had to go fast. We left behind our plan to visit the south of Brazil because South America is huge and you have to choose the places well. You should also consider the weather!

Choosing the way of transportation in South America
Our initial plan was to buy a car and travel across South America. Later on we realized that travelling by car is not the best thing to do. Firstly, it is expensive and not easy to buy it like in Australia or New Zealand. The more important thing is that if you don’t have a car you surely meet a lot more people and have a lot more stories! Thus we have decided we were going to hitchhike South America! “It might be slower but cheaper and we will be in touch with local people all the time!” It seemed to be a good idea and so we started to hitchhike right from the End of the World in Argentina. Public transportation in Argentina was very expensive and even though it wasn’t always easy to stop a car we saved a lot of money by doing that. Most of the time we managed to hitch a car in 3 people. We used to do a trick that one of us stood away not to scare the drivers off. After they stopped it was usually easy to tell them we were 3 people travelling together.

Escaping from the End of the World
When we got to Ushuaia – Argentinian End of the World, it was already very cold. „What a change after Buenos Aires!“ Argentina is a huge country and our flight from Buenos Aires to the south took about 3,5 hours. We checked the weather and it was supposed to be snowing very soon. We didn’t hesitate and we went to hike and camp to Tierra del Fuego National Park. We spent our first cold night in a tent there but we survived. We were, of course, completely alone in free campground. After a nice track we started hitchhiking from Tierra del Fuego up to Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine.

Hitchhiking in Patagonia

Freezing Torres del Paine in Chile
Hitchhiking to Torres del Paine was quite alright except the border between Argentina and Chile. There were not many cars and we got stuck there for the whole day. We were about to build a tent right in the border when we talked to nice Argentinian couple. They agreed to take us to Punta Arenas. We slept at the airport and the next day we arrived in Puerto Natales. This mountain town is really nice but it was colder than we expected. Torres del Paine National Park is known for its crazy weather. We checked the forecast and realized there was only one sunny day without rain or snow. “Tomorrow we have to go otherwise we won’t see anything!“ Next morning we started to hitchhike but it wasn’t easy at all. It was the end of the season and there were almost no cars going to the main national park of Chile.

After a couple of hours of walking we were lucky to meet another Argentinian couple that went to the park for a day. We joined them and spent a beautiful day inside the national park. Even if it was only one day we were lucky to see the massive mountains, Torres, lagoons, glaciers and a lot of guanacos (lama guanicoe). It is probably one of the best places in all Patagonia. It was truly beautiful! Unfortunately, camping in the national park seemed to be impossible because the temperatures at night dropped to -15°C that time and the wind was also crazy. It can even turn the buses over with its incredible speed of more than 100 km/hour. It would be nice to do famous W track but the weather forecast for the next days was really bad. We were quite happy to move to the north try to escape the cold.

Breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier
Our next plan was to visit amazing Perito Moreno Glacier back in Argentina. This time we crossed to border without problem and had many hitchhiking stories. The worst point was to wait in a village or more likely a gas station with a few shops called Esperanza (means hope). We lost a hope when it got dark but fortunately we were invited by local policemen to sleep at the police station. We built a tent there and ask for hot water. We were drinking Argentinian herba drink Mate all the time because it was still very cold. A good thing is that all Argentinians drink it so it is very easy to obtain hot water everywhere. You can see all drivers with thermo bottles asking for hot water in all parts of Argentina and sometimes Chile.

Next morning it took us 5 hours to leave the place! There was almost no one going to the direction of El Calafate. We had to split and the girls went first with one truck driver. Karel finally stopped two ladies but they didn’t have space inside the car. And so he spent almost two hours on the top of the truck freezing to death. EL Calafate is also a very nice town from where you can go to Los Glaciares National Park to see famous Perito Moreno Glacier. It was by far the most beautiful glacier we have ever seen! You walk along the glacier realizing its incredible size. It’s about 70 m high and it’s one of 3 Patagonian glaciers that are still growing! From time to time you can watch big pieces of ice falling to the water. It makes a lot of noise too! Once we even saw entire ice wall falling down. You can feel the power of nature there. It was really amazing! We highly recommend it!!

El Chaltén – the best sunrise of our lives
Another part of Los Glaciares National Park is a village called El Chaltén with its amazing mountain range and Mount Fitz Roy (3405 m). In first two days there we did some hikes waiting for the weather to improve.  The forecast looked good and so we decided to wake up at 4 A.M. to start the best hike in the park to “Laguna de los Tres”. We got to the place at about 8 A.M. and we waited for sunrise that was quite late in this part of the year. The sun started to rise and we have experienced the most beautiful sunrise of our lives. All mountain range turned red and we finally stopped being cold after the sun appeared. We could enjoy breakfast by the lake under amazing Mt. Fitz Roy. It was probably our best experience from Patagonia!

After the breakfast we continued going down and we walked another great track to Laguna de los Torres. It was also very beautiful with the Towers (Torres) reflecting in the lake which was full of ice. We couldn’t stop taking photos of autumn colours with massive mountains. We walked 30 km that day! We were quite exhausted but happy for the nice weather. The next morning we hiked up the hill close to the village to see the sunrise again from a different place. It was also beautiful to see it from distance because you can actually see coloured Mt. Fitz Roy and Torres in one line!

The Hippie town of El Bolsón
We were quite lucky to leave El Chaltén because some people waited to hitch a car for 2 days! Ruta 40 was empty and so we decided to take another road by the ocean. It was longer but easier. It took us about 3 days to arrive to El Bolson. Once we were invited to sleep in a church and the second night we spent in the tent at gas station. The distances in Argentina are just huge! When we were going from Esquel to El Bolson we stopped very nice Argentinian man. “Where are you staying tonight? Don’t you want to sleep at my place? I have some cabins that are free anyway.“ He said and invited us to stay with him. His place was near the centre of El Bolson which was the main hippie place of Argentina in the past. This mountain town still attracts many hippies that try to sell handcraft on the streets to get some money to continue living their hippie life. In the evening we had a BBQ with our new friend and his family and the next day we went for 2-day hike to the mountains to Refugio Hielo Azul. We slept in a hut surrounded by mountains and snow. It was very cold! The huts in Patagonia are just awesome and have unique atmosphere. There is always a fire, mate and cat! We really liked it!

San Carlos de Bariloche
San Carlos de Bariloche is a favourite place for Argentinians to go on holidays. The place has a lot to offer because there are many beautiful lakes and mountains around. We decided for Cerro Frey track which was truly amazing. You start your walk at ski resort Cerro Catedral and start to walk up to the lagoon and hut. If you have a chance we highly recommend you to visit Bariloche in autumn because the colours of the trees were unreal!

Bariloche is not only a fun place for hikers and tourists but there is also its black side. On our way to Cerro Catedral we stopped a psychologist that told us a sad story about how it works in poor indigenous families that live on the side of the town. He said it's very common that young daughters are being raped by their own fathers. They think they can rape every woman that enter their house. Also if your neighbor is stronger he can rape all your family. We couldn’t believe that but the doctor had a lot of true stories from his job when he sees a lot of victims. We don’t want to scare you off but just be careful and never enter dangerous districts anywhere in South America. Economic situation of these countries is a way different than in Europe and so steeling is quite common. We also had this experience when Karel was punched into the head and he was stolen his phone another time. Other travelers often tell us similar stories how they lost their backpacks. It's part of the travel and you should keep in mind that most people here are friendly and they try to help you.

Another great thing to do is Circuito Chico that will take you around the lakes. You can do it on bike or you can also climb a hill Cerro Lopez that offers amazing views of the lakes. Once you are in town centre make sure you try local chocolate, cookie alfajor and beer! From Bariloche we continued to Villa la Angostura and after classic border difficulties crossed to Chile! Our plan is to cross all South America, Central America, Mexico all the way to Texas. Let’s see what happens! Stay updated!

Video from our adventures

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