So the best laid plans always get always are subject to change. Today while doing some serious Argentina planning I decided that not only did I absolutely want to see the Torres de Paine National Park in Chile, but I also wanted to see the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina. Both are reasonable close to Punta Arenas, Chile, where I had planned to visit to see penguins and other natural wonders on my way to Ushuaia.
I also was finding it logistically crazy to get from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. There is one bus a day, and the trip takes nearly twelve hours, or really a whole day of my action-packed Patagonian Adventure. Additionally, if I wanted to go to Torres de Paine, I would have to either cut a day out of Ushuaia, or hope that all the buses would be on time through Patagonia. Additionally, while I had planned out my trip to Iguazu Falls for the three days after I returned from Patagonia, I also was a bit concerned that I would have to pack clothing for a completely different climate than the rest of my trip. Plus, because of tight connections in Buenos Ares, I would have little slack between the flight back from the Falls, and the flight back to the U.S.
So considering this, I made a decision. I could go along with my original plan and miss out on two sites I absolutely wanted to see, try and do it all and risk doing nothing, or focus my energy on getting to Ushuaia as fast as I could. I decided that I would go with option one, and go to Torres de Paine and Los Glaciares National Park. Plus, the cost of airfare from El Calafate to Ushuaia was less than either a night of hotel at the Falls or the roundtrip airfare. I would also solve the "How to get from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia" problem.
Just for some context: Torres de Paine is reachable by a (relatively) short bus ride from Punta Arenas to the town of Puerto Natales. From there it is an easy bus ride across the Argentinian border to El Calafate, which is the gateway city to Los Glaciares National Park. From there, it is actually (albeit further away that Punta Arenas) easier to get to Ushuaia via a short plane ride. With these logistics in mind, here is my updated travel plan:
I'll still arrive in Punta Arenas, and stay overnight. Next day, I'll wake up and see Penguins! as well as some of the historical sights in town. That evening (thanks to summer, I'll board a bus to Puerto Natales, located approximately three hours north for two nights. From this town I will go on a bus tour of Torres de Paine National Park (hopefully with some time for hiking). The next day, I'll board another bus and cross back into Argentina to stay in El Calafate for two nights. From this town, located on the shore of Lago Argentino (the largest freshwater lake in Argentina) I'll go to Los Glaciares National Park. Many photos will be taken. I'll then fly the next day to Ushuaia, where I'll then explore Tierra del Fuego until I fly back to Buenos Ares, do some final shopping (wine will be procured) and then later that evening fly back to the U.S.
Does it sound crazy. Of course. Amazing, you bet!