Let’s Calafate: A key Patagonian travel resourceTransportationOn your ownOn your own

On your own

If you plan to explore this region in your own vehicle, you are about to start an unforgettable adventure. However, keep in mind that Patagonia is a vast and challenging territory, with long distances, strong winds and changeable weather. To make sure your trip is safe and rewarding, here are some essential recommendations.

Before hitting the road, plan your route in detail. Research distances between stops, road conditions and lodging options along the way. Patagonia is vast and several hundred kilometers can exist without a population in between. We always recommend carrying extra supplies and drinking water. Although National Routes 3 and 40 are paved, there are still 76 km of gravel roads in poor condition on Route 40, between Lago Cardiel and the town of Tres Lagos. 

Prepare your vehicle

Make sure your vehicle is in good condition before leaving. Due to the distances between one point and another, our recommendation is to always refuel your vehicle at each fuel station. The disadvantage is that they are lonely roads, so a golden rule: travelers on the Patagonian roads are supportive.

Be prepared for the weather

Patagonian weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for everything from sunny days to strong winds and low temperatures. Pack warm clothes, raincoats and extra layers. Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen to protect you from intense UV radiation.

Loose animals

Keep a safe speed and reduce speed in high wind conditions. Patagonian roads can be challenging: in summer due to high winds that can have gusts between 70 and 100 km/h on rough days. The high wind season is usually between November and February. On stormy days, it is recommended to delay departure until it calms down. We recommend checking windguru or any weather app before heading out on the road. 

You should pay close attention to the herds of guanacos that populate the steppe, especially on the road between Río Gallegos and Puerto San Julián, and between Río Gallegos and El Calafate. It is also common to see guanacos between El Calafate and El Chaltén. Because of the color of their fur, they tend to blend in with the landscape, so you should pay close attention on the road: if they appear on the side of the road, DO NOT honk your horn, just slow down and turn on the beacons to warn the vehicle that may be coming behind. They are large wild animals, a collision with them can be serious. 

Mobile communications

On the roads of Santa Cruz there is no communication on cell phones. For this reason, before leaving from one point to another, it is a good idea to share the itinerary with someone you trust. There are only a few points with wifi signal, which are indicated on the route. One of them is at the intersection of National Route 40 and Provincial Route 41, at the entrance to El Chaltén. Another one is at the viewpoint of Cuesta de Miguez. 

Ask the locals

Don’t hesitate to ask locals about current conditions and travel tips. Patagonian locals often have valuable information about roads and weather, and gas stations at the exit or entrance to each town have valuable, up-to-date information. 

Despite the challenges, a road trip in Patagonia is a unique experience. Make the most of every moment and admire the natural beauty that surrounds you. Patagonia will offer you unforgettable memories and landscapes that will take your breath away. Taking a playlist with your favorite music is also a good tip. Keep in mind that in most of the routes, radio signals have no range. 

Hire a taxi or remises

One option to travel at your own pace is to hire a remises which make trips in the area and also often cross to Chile.  It is a very popular option, especially by international tourism. We recommend here the list of local remises. The advantage of traveling with a driver is that most  drivers are very knowledgeable about the area and will advise you well.

Let’s Calafate welcomes you to this exciting adventure in Patagonia. We leave you a list of useful telephone numbers if you are traveling by car, tire shops and mechanic shops.  With preparation and caution, your car trip will be a rewarding experience that you will remember for a lifetime.

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