Arriving in Chile from New Zealand, we only had one thing on our minds: head south to Tierra Del Fuego at the end of the world and catch our boat to Antarctica. We spent a lot of time working out our route south, so check out our route planner from Santiago to Ushuaia!
Part 1: Santiago to Pucon & Puerto Montt
We didn’t hang around long in Santiago, and after a couple of days we jumped on a bus for the 10 hour journey to Pucon. Pucon is a great place to visit, and you could easily spend a few days there, walking through the streets of cafes and parillas (BBQ’s), climbing the Villarica Volcano and white water rafting. After a few days you can catch a 6 hour bus to Puerto Montt, the gateway to the Chilean Fjords and our cargo ship journey!
Part 2: The Navimag Ferry – Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales
After some serious research, we’d decided to skip the onerous overland journey through Chile and book ourselves onto the Navimag ferry service which would take us on our journey through the Chilean fjords! Although more time intensive with three nights on the ship, if the weather is clear there are beautiful views of the fjords and the southern ice field (with glacier).
And so, after a couple of nights in Puerto Montt, it was time to hit the seas for the first time in Chile, destination Puerto Natales and the gateway to Torres Del Paine. The journey was stunning, and certainly beat the long bus journeys that were the other options to get down the country.
Part 3: Torres Del Paine
After what turned out to be four nights on the boat after a storm stopped us from entering port, we had reached Puerto Natales, ready for our Torres Del Paine adventure!
The national park has something for everyone, from one day bus tours through Torres del Paine to hiking in the wilderness for days and weeks at a time. Most will fancy the famous W trek, and complete this in between three and five days. We spent a week in Puerto Natales, with one day on a bus tour and a one day trek to the base lookout in Torres Del Paine, and the rest of the time relaxing and planning the rest of our trip.
Part 4: Puerto Natales to Ushuaia
And so, after our journey down through Chile, it was time to head to the end of the world of Tierra Del Fuego, a mere 12 hour bus journey and border crossing with Argentina! The journey is rough along some basic roads, but the scenery is incredible and gives you a great summary of Patagonia. You also get to take a short 20 minute ferry across the Magellan Strait before crossing the border into Argentina!
And finally, the end of the world and Ushuaia! A lovely town to use as a base to explore Tierra del Fuego and of course Antarctica!
To recap our route from Santiago (Chile) to Ushuaia (Argentina):
- 2 days in Santiago
- 5 days in Pucon
- 2 days in Puerto Montt
- 4 days cruising the Chilean Fjords
- 6 days in Puerto Natales
- 5 days in Ushuaia