It’s easy to say we had a great time in Patagonia mostly due to tremendous luck with both weather and accommodations. While I don’t like to promote too much, it’s important to give credit and leave some breadcrumbs for other travelers.
In Punta Arenas
- We started and ended our trip staying with Evelyn at Hostel BuenaVista Patagonia– and would definitely stay there again. Just outside downtown, her place is modern and quiet, and she was a great host.
- We ate at Mesita Grande 3 different times. Great thin crust pizza, reasonable prices, and a fun vibe. Not to be missed.
- We booked a tour to see Magellenic penguins in the wild at the Monumento Natural Los Penguinos. Lots of places to book and the tour is well managed for the safety of the wildlife.
- Sometimes you find a dud: Fusiones has a weird vibe, oversized portions of unremarkable food, and was surprisingly expensive. The service was attentive, but probably because the place was dead quiet.
In Puerto Natales
- We stayed at Hostel Lili Patagonicus. I doubt it’s different from any of the other dozen hostels that all offer the same things. Tiny room, low price, good amenities for prepping to do the O Circuit (baggage hold, full kitchen, gear rental, etc). Not a standout, but if you just need a place that works…
- The Doite Himalaya 2 tent that seems to be the most popular rental tent in town did not perform. Very small for two tall Americans, not nearly enough ventilation, and only 1 door- clearly designed as an alpinists bivy tent, not a comfy backpacking tent. Search around for one of the places that rents MSR tents, we were wishing hard for our Hubba Hubba.
- The original Mesita Grande is in Puerto Natales, and just as good as the one in PA.
- We stumbled on a gem at La Forastera. The sign is small, but food, service, and selection were totally awesome. I wish we had time to eat here again.
In Torres del Paine
See separate forthcoming post.
In el Calafate
- We stayed at the Calafate Hostel & Hosteria. It was okay, rooms were simple and we didn’t ask much of the service, but it served the purpose.
- Pura Vida was probably the best single meal of the trip. Arrive early and prepare to wait, but it was totally worth it. Truly awesome.
- La Zorra brewing definitely holds up as the regions best beer. Wish we had gone more than once.
- Olivia Coffee has amazing breakfast sandwiches and proper espresso drinks. We were very grateful it was 2 blocks from the hostel because it was a way better option for breakfast.
In El Chalten
- It was our honeymoon, so we splurged and stayed at Hosteria Senderos. Amazing views of the mountains from our room, a great restaurant, and a wonderful concierge made our stay truly lux. They were a little surprised at how much we hiked every day…
- Great meals at Maffia (reservation recommended), Ruca Mahuida, La Vineria, and La Cerveceria. I’d recommend and return to any of these places, and it’s worth knowing none of these are low cost options.
- La Chocolateria is home for some of the local climbing culture and history. Great hot chocolate and sweet treats, but seating is limited and there is no internet.
- We stayed at our only AirBnB of the trip, a guy named Toni with a spacious, modern condo overlooking the Beagle channel. Very responsive, friendly, and genuinely happy to have us.
- The only food that really stood out here was Ølmo, a brewery just past the main drag that we literally stumbled into. Doesn’t look like much from the outside and wasn’t in either of our guidebooks. The food and beer options were awesome and it was surprisingly devoid of tourists. They didn’t seem to speak much english, which was great.
- We had a truly memorable “last big day” of riding horses with Centro Hipico Fin del Mundo. Laura handles the bookings and was great about a last minute request and arranged all the transportation from door to door. Our guide Niel, was Irish, and a total joy. He was responsive to our level of experience and gave us a full tour of the area, including loping along the beaches. A total trip highlight.
The weather may be bad and it’s definitely been “discovered” by tourists, but we’ll remember this one for the rest of our lives. The area clearly survives on tourism and requires those dollars to preserve it. All of these places more than delivered- thanks.