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Patagonia: Where to Go, What to Pack, Honest Opinions, & More

Patagonia is one of the world's most well-traveled regions, and for good reason: it's exceptionally scenic, the hiking is next-level, it's very safe, easy to navigate, and feels like a playground for travelers looking for the perfect combination of culture, pristine landscapes, outdoors experiences, and charming towns.


When I began planning my own trip there for December and January 2023, every single blog post and guidebook I consulted clearly laid out the most famous sights and areas in Patagonia, such as Fitz Roy (El Chalten), Perito Moreno Glacier and Torres del Paine.


And while these places were incredible, my husband and I were both in agreement that there's so much more to Patagonia than just these famous spots; in fact, our favorite locations were places I found by clicking the names of random towns parks that were along our route on Google Maps.


But before we get into that or details of our favorite spots, here's a rundown of our route.


Or, jump ahead here to a section that interests you:


- Our Route -

- Favorite Spots & Hidden Highlights -

- Honest Opinions & Good Things to Know -

- What to Pack -


Our Route

PUERTO VARAS to PUNTA ARENAS

2,549 kilometers / 1,583 miles
5 1/2 weeks

Begin
  • Fly into Puerto Montt Airport, pick up rental car from Europcar

  • Drive 20km to Puerto Varas

Week One
  • Explore the quaint, lakeside town of Puerto Varas

  • Do a small road trip in the Lakes District to visit the Petrohue Waterfalls, the hot springs at Termas del Sol, and the Osorno Volcano

Week Two
  • Begin driving south, taking the twenty minute ferry from Caleta Arena to Caleta Puelche (no prior booking for the ferry is required). Overnight in Hornopirén.

  • Take the 4-6 hour long Somarco ferry from Hornopirén to Caleta Gonzalo. Purchase your ticket in advance!

  • Spend one full day in Pumalin National Park. Enjoy dense, jungle-like rainforests, waterfall hikes, ample birdlife, and smoking volcanoes.

  • Drive to Futaleufú, a small outdoorsy town on the raging "Fu" river. Be sure you go whitewater rafting, or do a full horseback riding or fishing day trip.

  • Continue south, overnighting at Puyuhuapi, a small town and convenient halfway point to the next destination. Be sure to stay at Los Mañios Del Queulat and enjoy craft beer and good food at the quaint log cabin restaurant, Restorán Comuy-Huapi

Week Three
  • If the weather is clear, wake up early and hike to the Hanging Glacier at Queulat National Park, which is on your way south. (I suggest "early" because this is a long day with lots of driving, and the hike is short but strenuous)

  • After, continue south to the city of Coyhaique to do a decent grocery shop before arriving at...

  • Villa Cerro Castillo. Stay at this exceptional AirBnB nestled in the pine forest, with sweeping snow-capped mountain views, absolute privacy, a BBQ, and our favorite part, a wood-burning hot tub overlooking the landscape.

  • Spend at least two days in Villa Cerro Castillo, making sure you have one day to do the full-day hike to Laguna Cerro Castillo, and one day to go horseback riding, explore the small town, or hopefully catch a local rodeo. (I write more about Cerro Castillo later in this post)

  • Drive from Cerro Castillo to Paso Ingeniero Ibáñez Pallavicini, crossing the border into Argentina. Then, drive south to Gobernador Gregores, a convenient overnight point. (Have lots of podcasts or audio books ready for this section; this day is 500km of driving through almost entirely empty desert).

  • Drive from Gobernador Gregores to El Chalten (300km)

  • El Chalten (explore the ample hiking trails, go fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, stay at an estancia, enjoy the lively traveler scene, and more)

Week Four
  • Head to El Calafate. Spend just one day checking out the nearby Glaciarium Patagonian Ice Museum, ancient cave paintings and petroglyphs at Walichu Tip, and strolling the bustling main street.

  • Stay two nights at Estancia El Galpón, going hiking, horseback riding on the shore of Lago Argentino, and learning about traditional estancia (farm) life.

  • Drive to Perito Moreno Glacier inside Los Glaciares National Park. There aren't any accommodations and wild camping is illegal inside the park, so camp at nearby(ish) Camping Lago Roca (reservations recommended through Facebook messenger). Spend two days here, going climbing on the glacier, taking boat cruises, or going kayaking up to the glacier.

Week Five (and a half)
  • Drive from El Calafate to Torres del Paine National Park. This route is approx. 300km and includes crossing the border back into Chile. Stay (initially) at Camping Lago Pehoe, as it's centrally located and on the absolutely spectacular Lago Pehoe

  • Spend 4-5 days in Torres del Paine hiking, kayaking, taking the boat trip to Grey Glacier, visiting waterfalls, and relaxing by Lago Pehoe

  • Spend the last night camping at Rio Serrano for a change of scenery

  • Drive to Punta Arenas (stopping in Puerto Natales along the way for the best vegan toasted sandwich). Stay at Hostal El Mesón, which isn't actually a hostel (it's basically a private apartment, very clean, comfy, and perfectly located)

  • Book a full day trip to visit Tierra del Fuego and the King Penguin colony with Turismo Fin del Mundo (just be warned, this is a 10-12 hour tour with a lot of driving)

  • Drop off rental car at the airport and fly to Buenos Aires and/or Santiago

End

 

FAVORITE SPOTS & HIDDEN HIGHLIGHTS


PUERTO VARAS and the LAKES DISTRICT

While Puerto Montt seemed like the best airport to fly into in order to begin our adventure, I read less-than-ideal things online about the city; mostly that it's crowded, polluted, and that there isn't much in the way of scenery or things to do.


Thankfully, I noticed Puerto Varas on the map just north of Puerto Montt, nestled on Lake Llanquihue, with the picturesque Volcano Osorno sitting proudly in the background.


Puerto Varas turned out to be the ideal place to begin our Patagonia adventure. The downtown/main shopping district of Puerto Varas is adorned with charming, walkable streets dotted with scenic parks and rose bushes (Puerto Varas is famous for its roses, it turns out), countless outdoor gear shops (from budget options to Arc'teryx), food trucks, crafts markets, sidewalk cafes serving strong espresso, gourmet ice cream, and craft beer, and German-style lakeside restaurants where we could read our guidebooks and watch live musicians on the beach.

Mesa Tropera vegan pizza

Be sure to have a seriously delicious pizza (with amazing vegan cheese!) and house-made craft beer at Mesa Tropera, which sits on a pier overlooking the lake and Osorno Volcano.


After spending a few days strolling Puerto Varas' adorable streets and buying our camping equipment, we did a small road trip up to the Lakes District. I was immediately super impressed with the roads (zero potholes and courteous drivers). As well, the beautiful pine forests, stunning Petrohue water falls, looming volcanoes, and extremely scenic and well-run hot springs at Termas del Sol, made us immediately question why this area is hardly mentioned when researching Northern Patagonia.



FUTALEUFÚ

Everything I read about Futaleufú before arriving indicated that it's one of the world's most famous hubs for the best-of-the-best whitewater rafting and kayaking. Because we were arriving without any campsite reservations in early December (coming into peak season), I was worried we'd arrive to find town packed, crowded, and without anywhere nice for us to pitch our tent.

Futaleufú

Amazingly, however, we arrived to find a sleepy, quaint riverside town, and best of all, an almost completely empty campsite where we could pitch our tent right on the banks of a brilliantly blue river, surrounded by nothing but trees, wildflowers, and occasional friendly kayakers cruising down the river.


The town had its fair mix of local empanada shops and coffee shops clearly catered for tourists, however, we were pleased to find that there were very few other tourists in town. Because of this, we got to do Class 4 white water rafting on a nearly-empty river, and enjoyed strolling the town's main square with very few other people around. The town itself was an interesting mix of traditional colorful clapboard homes and log cabin-style guesthouses adorned with smoking chimneys, which against a backdrop of pine forest-covered hills, made it feel like we were somewhere in the Colorado mountains instead of South America.


When we weren't rafting, my husband had a very successful day of fishing with a private guide while I read my book by the river. Next time I'm there, I'll try my hand at some whitewater kayaking lessons.


Stay: Camping Los Coihues

Eat & Drink: Antigua Casona (homemade pasta made by its Italian owner, house-brewed craft beer, roaring fireplace inside, charming patio out front)



VILLA CERRO CASTILLO

I fully did not expect my favorite place in all of Patagonia to be a town and national park I found by just clicking on a random name when I was planning our route on Google Maps.


However, Cerro Castillo National Park (and its nearby namesake town of Villa Cerro Castillo) truly blew us away.


First, the surrounding landscape is just spectacularly pretty. Gorgeous meadows blanketed in brilliantly colorful wildflowers flanked the town and roads we drove on to get there. The town of Villa Cerro Castillo itself is charmingly authentic; there were only a couple small restaurants seemingly catered for tourists and we didn't even go in them. Tiny mini-markets sold bare minimum goods, and a little charming coffee shop offered up pots of freshly-brewed coffee and homemade rhubarb pies (as well as WiFi, which was handy since there was no cell service whatsoever in town).


While we were there, the town hosted a local rodeo, which we checked out. Aside from a lovely Dutch couple, we were the only foreigners in attendance. Chilean music blared over the speakers, kids played tag and ate from literal buckets full of freshly-picked summer cherries, and locals loudly cheered on the cattle roping. It also wasn't uncommon for gaúchos to be herding cattle through town, kicking up dust and whistling for their herding dogs.

Laguna Cerro Castillo

Surrounding the town is Cerro Castillo National Park, a criminally underrated Patagonian national park. On Christmas Day we decided to hike to Laguna Cerro Castillo, a 14.5km hike up to the glacier lagoon at the base of the Cerro Castillo glacier and rock spires. The hike was one of the most breathtakingly beautiful hikes I've ever done in my life, as well as one of the toughest (the altitude gain is no joke). But the fact that we were nearly completely alone on this trail and only shared the lagoon view with five other people is telling. Out of all the hikes we did in Patagonia, this was by far the most scenic and gorgeous, and yet relatively speaking, no one else was there. In fact, other travelers we met further south hadn't even heard of the national park. This place is truly the definition of a hidden gem.


To top it all off, we stayed at a beautiful, cozy cabin overlooking the mountain range and pine forests. Ending our days by soaking in the wood-burning hot tub, cooking on the barbecue, and watching the sunset (at 11PM) on our porch was truly special.


Stay: Winkul Castillo Dome



PERITO MORENO GLACIER and CAMPING LAGO ROCA

Perito Moreno Glacier certainly isn't a hidden gem by any stretch of the imagination; but it's a top highlight in Patagonia for good reason.


Perito Moreno is an extremely active glacier, which means that it's almost constantly calving, which makes it very exciting to watch. Even at Camping Lago Roca, where we camped for three nights, we could hear distant booms of the glacier calving - from 15km away!


While it's certainly worthwhile to take the catamaran to the glacier to see it up close - or even to go mini trekking on it if you book your tour far enough in advance, as it sells out quickly - you do have to accept that you'll be sharing the view with dozens of other people.


The best thing we did to counter this, however, was to go kayaking. We booked a kayaking tour through Patagonia Dreams, which allowed us to get fairly close to the glacier, all while spreading out quite a bit, which allowed the feeling of being "alone" in the water with the glacier and icebergs. After the tour, eating the lunch I packed for us that morning and having a nap in the sun on the beach, with icebergs sailing past and the booming sounds of the calving glacier, was a perfect way to enjoy this natural wonder.


Also, as you may have read before under Our Route, we stayed at Camping Lago Roca. This was the closest campsite to the glacier/national park. We could've instead wild camped outside the park, but due to the lack of forests and extreme wind, we opted for the "luxury" of staying in an actual campsite which was sheltered from the wind, plenty spacious, had running water, fire pits, ablutions, and mountain views. There was also a "shop" at the campsite which sold firewood, snacks, drinks, and meals for those who didn't feel like cooking. Just be sure to contact them in advance to make a reservation, as it seemed to get very busy on the weekend.



STAY at an ESTANCIA

I must admit, my husband was not entirely convinced when I told him that I wanted to stay on a farm while in Patagonia.


However, because I knew in advance that the bulk of this trip was going to be spent in the wilderness, at campsites, and doing outdoor activities such as hiking, I wanted to try and mix in some culture, and to get to know the human side of Patagonia a little bit better.


So, we ended up spending a few nights at Estancia El Galpón. I chose this estancia, frankly, because it was the most affordable out of all the estancias I could find. In my research it became clear to me that a lot of people see estancia stays as glorified, luxury "home stays" - which really just means a luxury hotel where someone is herding sheep outside.


Estancia El Galpón seemed more authentic, with a long history on the shores of Lago Argentino and not-too-flashy accommodation. I also chose them for the fact that they cater to vegans and don't raise their sheep for meat. In the end, we had an amazing time here, and it became a highlight for my husband as well. I went horseback riding while he went hiking through the surrounding hills, and we also learned a ton about the human history surrounding Lago Argentino.



TORRES del PAINE

Just like Perito Moreno, it's not a surprise that Torres del Paine is a Patagonian highlight. Seeing the iconic mountains come into view as we drove toward the national park almost felt like seeing a celebrity. The silhouette of the TDP massif is something I'd seen across hundreds of magazines, travel posters, blog posts, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more. TDP is absolutely a legendary park.


We seemed to be the only travelers in TDP who weren't doing one of the famous multi-day treks (the "O" or the "W"). Instead, we opted to set up our based at Camping Lago Pehoe, and took advantage of the multitude of day-hikes around the park.


Lago Pehoe in Torres del Paine

While the hikes were wonderful, sitting on the shore of Lago Pehoe and watching the sunset reflect off the mountains was a highlight for me, as well as taking the catamaran to Grey Glacier (this glacier is similar to Perito Moreno except it's less "active," so you can get closer to it). The boat was also very comfortable and served empanadas, pisco sours made with glacial ice, and my favorite, beer brewed from the local sour calafate berry.


On our final night in TDP, we decided to leave our Lago Pehoe campsite and check out Camping Rio Serrano, on the other side of the park. This campsite was far more peaceful, spacious, clean and pleasant (more about that in the "Honest Opinions" section).


Something to note about TDP is that there aren't any restaurants obviously open to the public. There are "cafeterias" where you can get soup or an empanada at lunchtime, but otherwise, you need to go to a hotel and hope that the hostess is nice enough to let you join for dinner.


We did this one evening at Hosteria Pehoe, the iconic historic hotel that sits on an island in Lago Pehoe. They made us a three-course vegan meal which included a complementary glass of red or white wine. Quite a nice change from our recent campfire meals of tinned beans and rationed potatoes (more on that in the "Good Things to Know" section!)



 

HONEST OPINIONS & GOOD THINGS to KNOW


The main takeaway I want people to have when preparing for a trip to Patagonia is, basically, what the whole last section was about: that some of our favorite places were barely mentioned or came up in research when preparing for our trip. We found them randomly, and they turned out to be some of our most memorable experiences.


This isn't to say that the super famous trails, sights and towns of Patagonia aren't worth visiting. After all, these places are famous for a reason. However, it's good to know that with fame comes something we were a bit underprepared for: crowds.


Patagonia Can be Crowded


This really was only an issue in El Chalten, El Calafate, Perito Moreno, and central Torres del Paine. The rest of Patagonia felt amazingly empty (in fact, we often wished for more travelers so we could have other people to talk to!),

Once we reached El Chalten, we figured out that this is where all the other travelers go. The upside is that after nearly a month of wilderness and small Chilean towns, El Chalten was a really beautiful reprieve. Its main streets are lined with coffee shops selling vegan empanadas and kale salads; craft breweries with trendy decor and sunny porches overlooking the mountains; gear shops selling anything you could need (with hefty price tags, however); tourism offices; high-end restaurants to burger pubs to wine bars; to guesthouses and the main central wind-whipped campsite where we stayed. Upon arriving, I was immediately enamored and excited to stroll the streets with the other backpack-and-crash-pad carrying travelers. (I'm an absolute sucker for a cute little mountain town).


But a few days later when we set out to hike to the base of Fitz Roy, called Laguna de los Tres - one of the most iconic hikes in Patagonia - we were met with crowds that were so intense that it was borderline unenjoyable.


Fortunately for us, since we had a car, we could drive to an alternative trailhead to Fitz Roy which meant we had a very quiet trail for 90% of it. It was only when our trail merged with the original/main Fitz Roy trail that it became packed with people. Unfortunately, this was also right before a very steep, very narrow, and very messy climb (lots of scree and boulders to navigate around). So while the view up at Fitz Roy's base was totally worth it, I was admittedly not fully enjoying it because I was sharing it with well over one hundred people around me.

Instagram vs. Reality


This wasn't only an issue in El Chalten.


The boats to Grey Glacier and Perito Moreno Glacier are also packed with people (especially Perito Moreno; the Grey Glacier boat was far more pleasant), and Torres del Paine was full of people driving fast around blind corners, and overcrowded campsites. The reason we left the Lago Pehoe campsite wasn't because it wasn't beautiful - its location is prime and the fact that it's right on the lake offers great views - but the bathrooms were disgusting and barely cleaned, the campsites were close together so noise traveled far too easily, and the constant coming-and-going of people meant there never really was a moment of privacy or peace.


I completely accept and am aware that we were also adding to the crowds by being there. I don't believe that it's wrong to visit highly-trafficked areas, as long as travelers are respectful and follow trail rules such as the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. However, it often felt like it wasn't the case (poor trail etiquette, for example), and the crowds did surprise me. And be ready to do some deep-breathing exercises when you see someone flick a cigarette onto the ground when you're enjoying a scenic vista.


The Wind is Worse than You've Been Told


I knew about Patagonia's notorious wind. I thought I was prepared for it.


But I was not prepared for just how insane the wind in Patagonia can be.


We were lucky that we were able to mostly have beautiful, relatively calm days in Patagonia once we were in the south. We learned that it's not uncommon for there to be weeks of unrelenting wind - and we're talking borderline hurricane-force gusts that regularly blow out car windows, snap tent poles, and push people over when hiking.

The days of extreme wind we did experience, however, were humbling. Our tent poles bent shortly after arriving in El Chalten, and the noise of the wind on the tent walls made it difficult to sleep. Strolling the town's sidewalks was impossible due to gusts of wind sending clouds of sand and dust into the air, painfully whipping against any exposed skin. On our one extremely windy day in Torres del Paine, gusts neared 80kph, and it felt like I was being rag dolled when hiking on exposed sections of trail.


A proper windbreaker, strong aerodynamic tent, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and buff to cover your face and ears is not only important, but necessary.


That all being said: we were very lucky in that we only had a handful of extreme wind days. But when it did gust, it gusted. I've never experienced something like that in my life.


Biting Flies - Ouch!


Our first night camping in Patagonia was on Lago Todos los Santos in the Lakes Region. It was also our first night wild camping, so we were really excited to find a hidden cove on the shore where we could set up our camp faraway from any passing eyes, and enjoy an unobstructed view of mountains and the lake.


However, it wasn't long after pitching our tent before we had some visitors - tabanos.


Tabano is the local name for small, biting black flies. They're sort of like horse flies, but smaller, and when they're around, they swarm.

Scenic dinner. Not pictured: 1,000,000 tabanos

That whole first night basically consisted of us furiously swatting at them while they bit any exposed patch of skin, all while trying to cook dinner and drink wine from the bottle (just to make it all more tolerable). The later it became, the worse the clouds of tabanos became, and eventually we desperately walked around the lake to try to find an area with some wind so we could eat in relative peace.


But it didn't take long for the tabanos to find us, and when they did, we ditched our meal, brushed our teeth with lightning speed, and took alternative running jumps into the tent so the clouds of tabanos couldn't catch us. (But, of course they did, so we spent a solid thirty minutes trying to kill the ones that made their way into the tent).


Why had I never heard about these biting flies before arriving in Patagonia? Frankly, if the flies had stayed that consistent for the rest of our trip, we probably wouldn't have camped anymore. Fortunately, though, we only encountered tabanos that first night. What a way to say welcome to Patagonia!


What we did deal with on a regular basis, though, were horseflies. More often than not, horseflies were on any and all hiking trails. (Oddly enough we actually only ever encountered horseflies on trails, never at our campsites). As well, we found that the earlier in the day we hiked, the less likely we were to encounter them, so we did our best to be on the trail at 7:00 or earlier. But that said, being prepared with DEET bug spray and lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made a huge difference.


So just be prepared.


You Can't Bring (Most) Foods Into Chile


Chile has very strict laws in place preventing bringing food into the country. This can be an issue for those traveling from Argentina into Chile and planning to go straight to a national park where there aren't any grocery stores or markets - just like what our plan was.


Before driving from El Calafate to Torres del Paine (this includes a border crossing) I desperately tried to find specifics of what can and can't be brought over the border. Some sources said no bread, some said bread's ok, some sources said no potatoes or onions, some said potatoes and onions are ok, some said no peanut butter or nuts, some said nuts are ok... you get the idea. The only thing that seemed clear was no fruit or veg or meat is allowed, and don't even try hiding these things in your car - some agents will search your entire vehicle and give you a massive fine if they find something you didn't declare.

Greens and fresh vegetables became less available the further south we went

It sucked to have to leave the town of El Calafate with its abundant grocery stores without any nice produce in tow, especially since we were heading to Torres del Paine, and from my research I knew El Calafate would be our last place to do a food shop before camping in TDP for a week.


But ultimately, it wasn't worth the risk. At the border we were met with a kind border agent who did search our car, but albeit not thoroughly, and went by our word that we didn't have any apples or broccoli hidden in our suitcases. So could we have taken produce over the border? In theory, on that day, with that border agent: yes. But would it be worth the stress and the unknown? Certainly not.


Don't risk it. Just deal with your canned goods until you can get to a decent grocery store again... whenever that may be.


Don't Lose your Chilean PDI Immigration Slip


When you arrive into Chile, you will be given an immigration slip with "PDI" stamped at the top.


It looks like a receipt, and feels like a receipt. It's flimsy, fairly small - but it's your ticket out of the country.


Upon our arrival in Santiago airport, we were given our PDI papers, but we were not told to hold onto them, or what they were. Fortunately, I still had mine when we left Chile a few weeks later, and even more fortunately, the border agent we had that day took pity on us and let us through, even though my husband couldn't find his.


Normally, if you lose your slip, you need to go to an immigration office in the closest city and get a new one. I have no idea how long the process takes, or if it costs a lot - but is it really worth the hassle? Absolutely not.


Keep that dang slip.


Some Border Crossings are Far Apart From Each Other.

Don't Miss Them!


On both occasions when we crossed the border between Chile and Argentina - specifically Paso Ingeniero Ibáñez Pallavicini and Paso Río Don Guillermo - we found that the border posts for each country were far apart from each other - I'm talking a 20 minute drive apart!


Be sure you don't accidentally miss them, and don't be confused when you stamp out of one country and then have to drive for awhile to stamp into the next one. You can usually check this in advance by reading about border posts on iOverlander, which leads us to my last point...


iOverlander is Your Friend


iOverlander is a website and app, though on our trip we exclusively used the app on our phone.


It's extremely handy when trying to find campsites (both wild and established), as well as reading information regarding border posts, road conditions, and more. Wild camping is legal in Chile and Argentina, and users of the app are pretty good and posting about awesome spots they find.

Some examples of the useful information on iOverlander



 

WHAT to PACK


Clothing


I don't think I've ever traveled anywhere before that had as fast-changing weather as Patagonia.


It wasn't uncommon to start my day wearing long pants, thick socks in boots, gloves, a warm hat, a thermal top, puffy jacket, and windbreaker - only to be wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a t-shirt a couple hours later.


The key here is to bring layers, especially when you're going to be out all day (such as on a hike). Some worthwhile ideas are:

  • Long hiking pants that unzip into shorts, or shorts that you can wear under long hiking pants. It wasn’t uncommon to start hikes absolutely freezing but by the middle of the hike, it would be hot and sunny and humid, but then would get cold again very suddenly.

  • Wind breaker! As mentioned above, the wind in Patagonia is a beast. If you can't protect yourself from the wind, you will be uncomfortable a lot of time.

  • Fleece headband or buff. This may just specific to me because I’m really sensitive to cold wind (it gives me nasty ice cream headaches), but I was so glad I brought a fleece headband to hike in, just to keep my forehead and ears warm. Sometimes the wind was so icy and howling it was actually painful, and the headband made a world of difference.

  • Ankle-supported hiking boots & "day" shoes. In addition to my Keen hiking boots, I had a pair of Solomon trail shoes that were lightweight, easy to take on and off, and perfect for 90% of the time.

  • Rubber flip-flops for shared campground showers

  • Lightweight long sleeved shirts and pants to hike in - both for horsefly and sun protection

Equipment


If you're going to be camping in Patagonia - which I highly recommend! - then consider buying your camping equipment when you arrive. After doing some basic calculations, we figured out that it would be more cost effective to just buy our gear upon arrival versus paying for extra bags and flying over with all of it in tow.


And in the end, it worked out great. In Puerto Varas, where we began our trip, we were able to buy everything we needed at the Mall Paseo Puerto Varas, all within one day as well. At the end of our trip, we were able to sell everything we bought, and didn't have to worry about flying across the world with cumbersome equipment.


Here's what we bought for our road trip (we already had sleeping pads and one sleeping bag):
I also recommend bringing:
  • Sleeping bag liner (I hate the feeling of not being able to wash my sheets, and after sleeping in the same bag for nearly six weeks, it was nice to wash the liner once a week. As well, it adds additional warmth and coziness)

  • First aid kit (One that's small enough to fit into your daypack when out hiking)

  • Bags for dirty laundry, wet clothes, and muddy boots

  • Trekking poles (Think steep trails with a lot of scree and loose rock)

  • Sun hat

  • Bug spray with DEET (horseflies there are no joke)



For everything else, check out my

Ultimate Packing Guide for Anywhere and Everywhere



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