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As a mid-term plan, I am preparing for a bike trip in Patagonia (Bariloche to Ushuaia). Given the length of the trip I expect it will take about 3 weeks (I am planning for ~100Km/day). This means that the main towns are too far apart and I will have to rely on other sources of accommodation.

I am definitely planning to have a tent/sleeping bag with me, but it would be nice to manage to have a shower time to time.

Are there websites that lists possible accommodations (small inns, people offering a bed in their houses or similar)?

  • 2
    warmshowers.org is such a site. No experience with it so not posting it as an answer. You could also search the Bicycle.SE for similar questions. – Saaru Lindestøkke Feb 15 '15 at 18:13
  • @BartArondson thanks! I didn't knew Bicycle.SE and I was actually evaluating to ask on Outdoors.SE – Federico Feb 15 '15 at 20:13
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Before I answer you

Before I answer your question, please read this advise as I did cycle through Patagonia and I can tell you this:

  • The roads are not that easy, sometimes given the roads surface it was challenging doing 50 km in a day;
  • When the roads were alright, then the weather was very very difficult. The wind blows strongly in the Argentinian side and the Southern you get the stronger those winds get. It can be even challenging to walk (check pictures from the South Patagonia, trees are growing horizontally). So you can have the sunny but windy Argentinian side, or the rainy (heavy sometimes!!) Chilean one. Sometimes the weather was so bad, that we had to take a rest day;
  • Argentinian and Chilean sucks at mapping or road signs (at least in 2008). Both do not match in terms of how far is the next town, and sometimes even both are incorrect compared to what we measured! Locals only know distances in "hours by car", not very helpful (at least it seems that there are finally now Google Maps of Chile and Argentina, that did not exists before, so I do not know how good they are);
  • Finally, the important question when you do Patagonia by bicycle (or any other means) is not where is the next accomodation, not at all. It is where can I "refuel" next? For a car or motor bike, it is the tank station. For a cyclist, it is food and more importantly water! You will need water for cooking, for drinking, and sometimes other purposes. And water can be scarce on the Argentinian side. So get a water filter, and ask fellow travellers cycling South to North where is the next water refuel point.

However, the effort is well worth what you will experience! It is a beautiful country, extremely beautiful, people are extremely nice and helpful.

And here is the catch: if you plan on doing 100km/day, then either you are superman (and there are a few, but I'm not!) or you'll get disillusioned! But even if you're superman (who knows), what a pity to manage to fight so hard against bad road, bad weather, broken bike parts, a combination of all those, etc. and not having the time to enjoy the landscape because you need to rush on and continue!

One last piece of advice (if again you're not superman), take a rest day from time to time (e.g. once a week) you will need it for various reasons:

  • Your body can't follow your mind and you're completely tired and used;
  • You will need to wash your clothes or repair your broken spikes or other bikes parts you did not think of, it can take a big part of a day;
  • It is nice to enjoy every 1000km a nice restaurant;
  • when do you plan on taking on the views? Most of the time, the best views are not from the most direct North-to-South route, but one on the side tracks.

The answer

When I left for Patagonia, I took a guide book with me (e.g. Lonelyplanet, Footprint, etc.) in case I need to find accommodation. But you don't need to really.

First of all and most of the time you will be camping among sheep or lamas. And second and last of all, when you get to a "city" it is small enough to get through most camping/guest houses/hotels in a short time to find where you want to sleep. There aren't that much choices and usually they are well indicated/signed.

And when all of the above does not work, open the guide book and you will find an answer. It does not require battery nor to have a network reachable :-)

But as I said before, accommodation should not be a question, you should worry about. More importantly is: take great care of your bike, and of the replacement parts you're going to take with you, of the tooling to maintain and repair your bike, on good clothes and camping gears, be ready to carry food for 7 days and water for 2-3 days (worse cases). Be ready to do wild camping for 7 days in a row.

Conclusion

Do it! Cycling Patagonia is extremely rewarding!

But don't take it light! Accommodation is a no problem, having a shower neither. Getting food and water is, you need to plan each time you have an opportunity to refuel.

Superman can probably cycle from Bariloche to Ushuaia in 3 weeks and will be able to enjoy, visit, take on the views. We mere mortals could potentially do it also in 3 weeks, but then what for? Do a shorter trip, or take longer vacation. If you are a good sport person, then you will probably be able to easily do 60-70km/day in Patagonia, but even if you are that sportive, take a rest day every 7 days (or less). Your body will thank you for it.

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    Hi and welcome. +1 for a detailed answer with insights from personal experience. – JoErNanO Feb 15 '15 at 23:34
  • @JoErNanO thanks for the welcome. I really enjoy that ride in Patagonia, but it is nothing like I experience before when cycling as it can be tough. I hope I did get the message clear :-) I don't want to scare of people. – Huygens Feb 16 '15 at 9:57
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Check out the map option on booking.com. To start with, zoom in to Bariloche, you'll see that there are more options in the nearby towns, such as El Bolson, Lago Puelo and Esquel. Now zoom in even further, the towns will disappear from the map while you're scrolling downwards, but if the map is zoomed enough, you'll see individual hotels/hostels every once in a while, which were not visible from the initial map view. The best way to find out the places with accommodation options is to follow highways in each direction with highly zoomed map view. You'll see that, although not very frequent, most places with hotels are less than 100 km apart from each other, meaning that you can plan your journey according to them when there is no better alternative.

  • thank you! I will definitely try to have a detailed look at it! – Federico Feb 15 '15 at 20:14

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