Fly & Drive Patagonia - Atlantic and Andean Patagonia

A customized self-drive Patagonia road trip from the Atlantic coast to the Andes for
17D/16N Starting at $4395 per person

Journey to Argentina for a self-driving road trip in southern Patagonia from the Atlantic coast to the Andes and back. The circuit begins at the airport in Comodoro Rivadavia and travels for 17 days along classic Patagonian paved and gravel roads with suggested stops en route. Overnight accommodations are arranged at comfortable lodges and remote estancias.

You will drive south along the Atlantic coast on Route 3 and 281 to the authentic Patagonian town of Puerto Deseado. Cross to the Andes and the towns of El Calafate and El Chalten for several days exploring Los Glaciares National Park. Trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier, hike to the basecamps of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre.

El Chalten Patagonia Argentina

From there you will drive north along legendary Route 40, taking detours along gravel roads to estancias where you will be the guests of the families who own and run them.

Estancia El Condor, on the shores of Lake San Martín, is one of those places to which you will become attached, seduced by the remoteness of its location. The estancia feels very homely and offers just six rooms, simply and comfortably furnished and decorated, all in keeping with the environment.

Back on the coast you will spend two nights at Bahía Bustamante is a seaside village entirely surrounded by nature. It is located on the northern arch of San Jorge Gulf, an area characterized by its important biodiversity. There are few places in the world that house such a number and diversity of seabirds and marine mammals.

Road maps will be provided.

Lost World Adventures itineraries can be tailor-made according to your plans and preferences: budget, hotel selections, travel dates, optional excursions, length of trip, etc.

Day 1: Comodoro Rivadavia - Puerto Deseado

On arrival at the airport proceed to the rental car counter. Pickup rental car - Toyota Hilux 4x4 or similar.

Drive south to Puerto Deseado, a fishing town brimming with seabirds and marine wildlife. A must when visiting the Atlantic Patagonia coast.

The numerous gulfs, bays, inlets and peninsulas along the vast Argentine shoreline of the South Atlantic are inhabited by thousands of different marine animal colonies. These 360 degrees of nature combine with lost towns that keep their charm with their typical Patagonian buildings. A territory full of history, land of great adventurers and important expeditions as the Horn, Malaspina, Magallanes, Darwin, Swift, among others. Large spaces, as the silences that fill them.

Suggested:

Stop at Jaramillo & Fitz Roy. These forgotten towns are worth a stop. Being the main character the the infinite Patagonian Steppe, they have been used as film sets. Walking along the streets is like walking back in time, feeling what the first settlers experienced when they ventured in these inhospitable lands.

On arrival in Puerto Deseado, we suggest to stop at the market to buy some food. The cabin has a kitchen to prepare dinner and breakfast (not included).

During your free time here, we suggest to visit the Mario Brozoski Municipal Museum. The Puerto Deseado Ria has a thousand stories to tell and this institution pays tribute to the English warship HMS Swift, which anchored offshore on March 13, 1770. After the intense tasks carried out by tactical divers in the agitated waters of the ria in 1982, a great deal of daily items from the watercraft were found. Mario Brozoski was the name of one of those divers who took active part in such search.

It's said that the English corvette left Port Egmont on the Malvinas Islands on March 7, 1770 heading for the Patagonian shore. Six days later, it was hit by a terrible storm and its Captain, George Farmer, resolved to get deep into the Deseado Ria in search of shelter. Unfortunately, it ran aground twice and finally sank a few meters from the coast.

Overnight at Tower Rock – cabin with kitchen.

Distance - 306 km / Estimated driving time - 3½ hours


Day 2: Puerto Deseado

Full day to explore the area.

Suggested:

Drive to Darwin Expedition office to meet the guide for today's excursion (full day – 7 hours).

Departure to Penguin Island, located southeast of Puerto Deseado. After an hour of navigation in open sea, arrival at the Penguin Island – nowadays a Marine Park. Start a trek through a maze of rocks among Magellanic penguins and skuas, the guardians of the island. While ascending, an old abandoned lighthouse, the ruins of ancient sea lions factory that worked in the late eighteenth century, and the spectacular view of the Marine Park are part of the attractions.

Going down to the other shore, reach the only colony of Rockhopper penguins accessible throughout the Patagonian coast. There is also the possibility of spotting bottlenose dolphins (one of the smallest marine define the world), Southern define, albatrosses and petrels, as well as sea lions and elephant seals. Good possibility to see the Red-Legged cormorant.

Overnight at Tower Rock.


Day 3: Puerto Deseado - Puerto Santa Cruz

Early departure heading south to Puerto Santa Cruz.

Suggested:

Jaramillo Petrified Forest: following Route 3 and taking a detour, it's possible to find this monkey-puzzle tree forest that dates back from the Jurassic Period. Weather conditions 150 million years ago gave life to it when the winds from the Pacific Ocean reached this area without any obstacles for the Andes Mountain Range had not been formed yet. Later on, a strong volcanic explosion gave origin to the famous formation and buried all wildlife under the ash.  

Puerto San Julian: going along the coastal road you'll have outstanding sea views. You can visit the antique Swift Cold-Storage Company, nowadays in ruins. You can also visit the Robert Scholl tomb, a Beagle Frigate’s crewmember whose captain was the legendary captain Fitz Roy. Visit Floridablanca’s ruins, an Spanish colony from 1780 that forms part of San Julian town hall museum.

Arrival in Puerto Santa Cruz, a town with a lot of history and a distinct Patagonian architecture. 

Overnight at Hosteria Municipal Puerto Santa Cruz.

Distance - 538 km / Estimated driving time - 5½ hours


Day 4: Puerto Santa Cruz - Monte Leon National Park - El Calafate 

Morning departure to Monte Leon National Park (49 km / 1 hour drive). The entrance is free and you can explore the Park on your own.

Monte Leon National Park is a marine continental park created in to protect red-legged, grey and blue-eyed Cormorants; terns, penguins and other 20 marine bird species. The park also shelters guanacos, choiques, foxes and pumas. The views from the cliffs are impressive.

After the visit, drive to west passing from the sea to the Andes. Continue on a gravel road, following the Santa Cruz River, unique for its turquoise color. The same path which Darwin and Perito Moreno among others have done in Argentina history.

Arrival in El Calafate. Evening at leisure.

One of the most beautiful landscapes in the Western Hemisphere is found in the Patagonian Andes. For this reason a chain of Argentine and Chilean National Parks protects this natural beauty. Numerous lakes fed by glacial run-off reflect the majesty of the snow-capped peaks.

The mountainsides are covered by primeval forests of sub-Antarctic beech trees many of which change color spectacularly in autumn. Surrounded by this magnificent vegetation are the immense glaciers, most likely the highlight of any trip to this region. It is so large that it is also called “The Third Pole”, after its huge concentration of ice. It is the origin of 47 major glaciers, such as the famous Perito Moreno Glacier.

When you have some free time, we recommend to visit the Glaciarium Interpretation Center.

The Glaciarium offers itself as a forward-thinking resource center for the appreciation and understanding of glaciers and their environmental impact. There are multimedia exhibitions that explain the transformation of snow into ice, the behavior of glacial masses and how they can be affected by climate change, plus a convincingly human robot representing the 19th-century explorer Francisco Moreno, called El Perito Moreno.

You can also visit the GlacioBar, the first ice bar in the world made out of glacial ice. Visitors receive futuristic-looking capes, gloves and boots for warmth. Still, the maximum allowed stay is 20 minutes, just enough time to try the house cocktail: Fernet con Coca, a bitter, aromatic digestive served with Coca-Cola.

Overnight at Hosteria Los Canelos.

Meals: Breakfast

Distance - 357 km / Estimated driving time - 5½ hours


Day 5: El Calafate - Los Glaciares National Park

Drive to Los Glaciares National Park by taking the paved Route 11. Take your luggage with you, as after the visit you'll continue directly to El Chalten.

When entering to the National Park, you'll have to pay the entrance fee which (AR$500, payable only in cash in Argentine pesos).

Los Glaciares National Park, in the sub-Antarctic Continental Ice-cape, known as the "Third Pole", which extends over 60,000 square km (23,000 sq. miles) and gives birth to several major glaciers along the Patagonian Andes. The first views of Moreno Glacier are breathtaking, down a narrow arm of Lago Argentino with the imposing Andean Mountains as a backdrop.

As spectacular as it is, it pales compared to a close approach where the constant sounds of this "living" glacier shake the air. Gigantic blocks of ice, frequently break away and crash into the lake, sending spray hundreds of feet into the air and sound like distant artillery fire. The startling contrast of color, sound, motion and size creates a continuously changing mosaic of indescribable beauty.

Optional Mini-Trekking: (age limit - 65 years old): The excursion begins in the pier located at “Bajo de las Sombras” bay, where you will embark to cross Brazo Rico, reaching the southwest shore after 20 minutes of navigation in which you will appreciate the southern wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

After disembarking, you will reach the shelter, where the guides organize the mini trekking groups. Walk for about 20 minutes by the lake shore to reach the glacier. Once you are in front of it, put on the crampons and start a 60-90 minute moderate hike over the ice. The ice surface where you will walk is irregular, but firm and safe. Have the chance to appreciate lots of ice formations such as cracks, drains, little lagoons, etc.

Return to the shelter walking through the exuberant Magellan forest. After some free time to have lunch (a box-lunch can be arranged at your hotel).

Navigation back to Bajo de las Sombras pier. Disembark. Drive for 6 km to reach the walkways, from where you'll have different perspectives of Perito Moreno Glacier.

Overnight at Hosteria Los Canelos.

Meals: breakfast & box-lunch

Distance - 75 km one way/ Estimated driving time - 1½ hours


Day 6: El Calafate - El Chalten

Morning drive to El Chalten.

El Chaltén is on the northern margin of Lago Viedma, in the confluence of rivers De las Vueltas and Fitz Roy, in the National Reserve “Zona Viedma” in Los Glaciares National Park. This landscape combines the magic of glaciers, hidden lagoons, estancias, Lake Viedma and the magnetic presence of Mount Fitz Roy. The summit of its unmistakable majestic silhouette is almost always covered in a cloud that the Tehuelche thought was smoke, mistake that gave origin to the name Chaltén, which means volcano.

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at Hosteria El Puma.

Meals: Breakfast

Distance - 217 km / Estimated driving time - 3 hours


Day 7: El Chalten

Day at leisure to do any of the hiking options this incredible place offers. These are self-guided paths so a guide assistance is not mandatory.

Suggested:

If you decide to go hiking, take with you a packed lunch and water.

Laguna de Los Tres: one of the most recommended hikes in El Chalten as it gets to the foot of Mt Fitz Roy. It can be done back and forth from downtown, but we recommend doing a circuit. Ask for a transfer to Hosteria El Pilar and from there is moderately-ascending hike of three hours and 300 metres elevation gain to the Basecamp.

Bear in mind that the last hour that takes to get to Laguna de los Tres is really exigent. But the view you have when you get there is worth the effort. Follow the main trail back to town, about three hour’s easy descent via Laguna Capri. 

Another popular trekking route is to Cerro Torre. The trail ends at the coast of Laguna Torre which offers a beautiful view of Mt Torre surrounded by Egger, Standhard, spires and the Adela range as a backdrop together with the Torre Glacier. Duration - approx. 7 hours.

Cagliero Glacier Ice Trekking - excursion details can be provided upon request. 

Viedma Glacier Ice Trek - Cagliero Glacier Ice Trekking - excursion details can be provided upon request.

Explore the De Las Vueltas River with a navigation in Lago Del Desierto.

Enjoy a sunrise in Los Cóndores and Las Águilas viewpoint located in the town’s exit. Verify the sunrise’s time and leave your hotel 20 minutes before to reach the place in time. The first rays of sun light up the Fitz Roy and the Tower Hill and the mountains usually turn pink. This lasts a few minutes but it’s a moment for incredible pictures. Then you return to your hotel to have breakfast.   

Overnight at Hosteria El Puma.

Meals: Breakfast


Day 8: El Chalten - Estancia Rio Condor

Early departure to the north towards Lake San Martin and arrive at a typical Patagonian estancia.

Estancia El Condor is one of those places to which you will become attached, seduced by the remoteness of its location. The estancia is on the shores of Lake San Martín, a pretty lake with its many inlets and peninsulas. The landscape changes with the light, the height of your vantage point and never ceases to amaze. It was Perito Moreno who named the lake after the Liberator General San Martín.

Today there are some 40,000 hectares of unspoiled nature to explore and enjoy. The road borders the southern shore of the lake, passing through a steppe landscape which abruptly changes as you come into the mountains after passing Maipú Peninsula. The road continues through wild, very wild, country for a few kilometers before reaching the estancia house, protected from the wind by a coppice of poplars.

These are pristine lands. If you are lucky you may see condors on your journey here. The estancia feels very homely and offers just six rooms, simply and comfortably furnished and decorated, all in keeping with the environment.

The building keeps the construction and decoration style which is characteristic of most Patagonian estancias established since the beginning of the last century.

Upon your arrival, meet the host who will let you know about the activities programmed during your stay as well as give you information about the history of the estancia.

Dinner and overnight at Estancia El Condor.

Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner (alcoholic drinks not included)

Distance - 240 km / Estimated driving time - 4½ hours (paved and unpaved roads)


Day 9: Estancia Rio Condor

Full day of activities at the estancia. Some of the options are:

Lake Corazón, accessed via a path which passes through a high deciduous beech forest, then borders the Cóndor River, until a large flood meadow is reached. Forest-covered mountainsides on one side contrast with multi-coloured rocky escarpments on the other. At the foot of Astillado Massif, the Lake Corazón with its turquoise waters can be found. It is a great spot. Estimated time: 5 – 6 hours.

The Condoreras: a long path runs along the mountainside, passing through a forest comprised mainly of high deciduous beech and ending above some rock formations which are natural roosting spots for the Andean condor. As the thermals rise, it is frequently possible to see Andean condors soaring. Estimated time: 3 – 4 hours.

Ancla Peninsula: This path follows the coastline of the lake for 14 km, 'till it comes to a peninsula in the shape of an anchor. Going onto the peninsula, towards the shore of Lake San Martín, the view is magnificent; you can see many small islands and the commanding massif which comprises the Maipú Peninsula.

Dinner and overnight at Estancia El Condor.

Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner (alcoholic drinks not included)


Day 10: Estancia Rio Condor - Perito Moreno National Park

Depart north along Route 40, along a paved and gravel road heading to the next destination: Perito Moreno National Park.

This national park was created in 1937 and named Parque Nacional Perito Francisco Pascasio Moreno, as a tribute to the Argentine pioneer in protected areas.

The difficulties in reaching the park due to the long distances from large urban centers make it less promoted from the tourism point of view. However, it is one of the most attractive parks in Patagonia!

Arrive at Estancia La Oriental, the only authorized for lodging inside the Park. The estancia belongs to Lada family since 1969 and for years they have dedicated to sheep breeding. Then Manuel, his wife Gladys and their son Eduardo decided to start working with tourism. They conditioned their house to receive guests as they wanted to share their way of life. Nowadays Eduardo is the Argentine Patagonian host who greets visitors with warmth and simplicity, and makes them feel at home.

Dinner and overnight at Estancia La Oriental.

Meals: breakfast & dinner

Distance - 489 km / Estimated driving time - 8 hours (paved and unpaved roads)


Day 11: Perito Moreno National Park - Estancia La Oriental 

Day to explore the area. Most of the National Park is composed of two lakes basins with eight lakes, the most important of which are Belgrano and Burmeister lakes. In addition to the steppe, the forests of lenga and the lakes, it is possible to observe a very rich autochthonous fauna: guanacos, rheas, foxes, geese, armadillos.

Dinner and overnight at Estancia La Oriental.

Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner


Day 12: Estancia La Oriental - Lago Posadas

Departure northwards via National Route 40 to Lago Posadas.

When reaching Bajo Caracoles, we suggest to take a detour towards Cueva de las Manos, an archeological site which was declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1999 located between the high walls of the Cañadón del río Pinturas (Canyon of the Pinturas River). Pay the entrance fee and visit the place with a local guide.

Arrival in Lago Posadas, small town of 300 inhabitants located close to the beautiful lake basins of lakes Posadas and Pueyrredón. Away from the big cities, it preserves the tranquility of its origins.

Overnight at La Posada del Posadas.

Meals: Breakfast

Distance - 253 km / Estimated driving time - 5 hours


Day 13: Lago Posados

Full day to explore and visit the Lago Posadas, located 7 kilometres away from the town. Along the way you can see the incredible and varied colors of the mountains, between small hills and canyons where there are guanacos, ostriches and birds of all kinds.

Reach a viewpoint from which it is possible to see the perfect contrast of the turquoise colour of Lake Posadas and the blue of the Lake Pueyrredón, separated by a very thin isthmus, just 200 m wide.

Overnight at La Posada del Posadas.

Meals: breakfast


Day 14: Lago Posadas - Los Antiguos 

Drive north through one of the most beautiful routes of Patagonia, the unpaved route 41. Breathtaking landscapes are found on every corner.

Buy some food before leaving Lago Posadas and take some time to have lunch en route.

Arrival in the afternoon in Los Antiguos. Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at Los Antiguos.

Meals: breakfast

Distance - 167 km / Estimated driving time - 5 hours


Day 15: Los Antiguos - Bahia Bustamante

Drive eastwards back to the coast and take the route that goes up to Bahia Bustamanate.

Suggested:

Stop en route in Sarmiento Petrified Wood Natural Reserve (you can do a short hike).

Stop at a market to buy some food as there are no markets Bahia Bustamante (meals are not included).

On arrival at Bahia Bustamante, meet the host who will let you know more about the place and the activities you can organize locally (not included). With your car or on foot you can explore the area on your own.

Meals are not included but the house has a kitchen for you to cook or you can have lunch/dinner at the restaurant.

Bahía Bustamante is a seaside village entirely surrounded by nature. It is located on the northern arch of San Jorge Gulf, an area characterized by its important biodiversity. There are few places in the world that house such a number and diversity of seabirds and marine mammals.

Since 1952, the village has been exclusively devoted to the harvesting of seaweed. At the beginning, 500 people lived there. They used wagons pulled by horses to collect the crops. Today some 40 inhabitants live in Bahía Bustamante all of whom are devoted to seaweed production, which makes this place world’s unique “seaweed village”.

This place invites you to enjoy a deep blue sea contrasting with red rocks, a petrified forest, sea and steppe birds, sea lions, killer whales and dolphins, guanacos, Patagonian hares, lighthouses, starry skies, aboriginal working areas and cemeteries. And, above all, this remote and exclusive village on the Patagonian seaside offers you somewhere completely different – a place full of peace and safety. 

Overnight at Bahia Bustamante – Steppe House

Meals: breakfast

Distance - 600 km / Estimated driving time - 7 hours


Day 16: Bahia Bustamante

Full day dedicated to enjoy Bahia Bustamante. You can confirm activities at the lodge, relax or take your car and explore on your own.

Discover the remaining fossils of forests that existed in Patagonia 60 million years ago. You can see huge petrified tree trunks that have become rock with its characteristic glow of opal, which has replaced the tree’s original organic matter. You can also appreciate tree rings, traces of bark and many other features.

Participate in daily ranch activities such as marking, weaning and shearing sheep.

Birdwatching - the coast of Bahia Bustamante and Malaspina Cove has the greatest diversity of seabirds in all Patagonia.

Visit Sea Lion and Magellan Penguin colonies on the islands and beaches.

Mountain bike, horseback riding and trekking.

Navigation round Malaspina Cove visiting sea birds and sea lions colonies. 1500 meters away from the village you will find the embark zone in a well-protected little ria.

Overnight at Bahia Bustamante – Steppe House


Day 17: Bahia Bustamante - Comodoro Rivadavia

Drive to Comodoro Rivadavia airport (180 km / approx. 2½ hour drive). Drop-off rental car. Check-in for flight

 

Price from $4,395.00 per person, based on double occupancy
Days 17
Nights 16
Includes:

Based on two travelers. Reduced prices for 3 or more.

  • 17 days rental car - Toyota Hilux, or similar
  • 2 nights Tower Rock Apart
  • 1 night Hosteria Municipal Santa Cruz, breakfast included
  • 2 night Los Canelos, breakfast included
  • 2 nights Hosteria El Puma, breakfast included
  • 2 nights Estancia Rio Condor, all meals and activities included
  • 2 nights Estancia La Oriental, all meals included
  • 2 nights La Posada del Posadas, breakfst included
  • 1 night Antigua Patagonia, breakfast included
  • 2 nights Bahia Bustamante

 

Excludes:

International and domestic airfare

 

"This is my second time traveling with Lost World and once again they did a great job."

Somehow they manage to use reliable, helpful people who show up exactly on time and are a pleasure to be with. Our flight was delayed 14 hours and we landed at 1am unsure how we'd be getting to our lodging, but the driver and guide were there waiting for us.

Working with Andrew planning the trip is easy as he listens to what you want and also offers his own suggestions. Our family trip entailed a quick stop in Buenos Aires then 6 days in Patagonia and we loved all of it. I will definitely use them again.

- Kathy K, Jan 2018

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