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Me and a friend are finally working on that bucket list and planning a trip to Argentina and more specifically Patagonia in November 2019 that will have a total duration of +- 3/4 weeks. In Patagonia we would like to rent a van and spend 12 days driving around the area. Currently we're looking at the options for a way to travel from Buenos Aires to Punta Arenas and we're reading good things about the bus network in Argentina. Does anyone have experience with traveling from Buenos Aires to Punta Arenas and what is a reasonable timetable/planning to do the passing through the country? Is it the most convenient to follow the coastline? I would love to see some whales, so a trip that would include Puerto Piramides/ Chubut would be really great!

  • How long is +- 3/4 week? 5.25 days? – Strawberry May 11 at 10:51
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    @Strawberry 3/4 weeks. This is clarified further where they said they're spending 12 days in a van, so can't be 5.25 days. – Mark Mayo May 14 at 2:14
  • There is quite a lot of information about buses in Patagonia here careergappers.com/how-to-get-around-patagonia The distances are huge though so you might want to fly for part of the trip. – mdewey Aug 18 at 16:18
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Long distance buses in Argentina are indeed pretty good, in particular those branded "coche-cama", "ejecutivo", etc. Way better than the average European bus, and crazy better than the typical Greyhound in North America.

That said, the trip from Buenos Aires to the north of Patagonia will be around 24 hours, and twice that to the south. To boot, prices are on par with flights if not higher.

Going to Puerto Madryn to see the whales and the peninsula is worth it (check the season, though, I don't think you can see whales all year round), but other than that there is not a lot to see along the cost (sea and desert and wind, which could be lovely but not for thousands of kilometers). With that in mind, I would suggest flying to Madryn and then to Calafate or Ushuaia and work your way up through the west; or viceversa, fly to Bariloche, work your way down to the south and then fly to Madryn and Buenos Aires.

As for renting a van, this is my experience from three years ago: I wanted my kids to visit family in Bariloche so I wanted to rent a 9/12 seater. I couldn't find anything below USD 3500 for two weeks.

Finally, just a short mention that there are currently restrictions to foreign exchange. You will likely have no issue getting pesos for your dollars/euros, but going the other way could be complicated. This is very new, so it's hard to predict how things will be in a couple months.

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