Best of Patagonia

The best of what Patagonia has to offer in one photo story.

Best of Patagonia

With every trip I take, I always put together a detailed photo story of the trip. I recently started creating a Best Of, a photo story dedicated to the best of what I saw in the country. In this photo story I cover the best of Patagonia and what I think you should see if you visit Patagonia. I also share a detailed breakdown of the cost for the trip and where the majority of the money went. This is is the Best of Patagonia.

Torres Del Paine, Restaurants, Los Glaciares & Las Condes

Best of Patagonia

Torres Del Paine

Torres Del Paine is the national park that makes up what we know of as Patagonia. The best way to explore Torres Del Paine is through the W or O Trek. The W Trek takes about 3-4 days to complete and you experience the main points of the park. You can also do the O Trek, which many people recommend but your physical fitness needs to be excellent. I personally did day hikes because availability for campgrounds was completely sold out. This way of exploring Patagonia is still an incredible option and it allows you to dine really well in Puerto Natales.

Restaurants

During my time in Patagonia, me and my group dined in the best restaurants according to locals and Google Maps. They were all incredible experiences, however, none were quite like Restaurante Cormoran. This restaurant had the best lamb, out of all of the restaurants. It was so good in fact, we ordered a second one. The way it was prepared was incredible. The chef used herbs that created an intense taste unlike anything I’ve ever had. This restaurant also had incredible wine and pisco sour. If you’re in Puerto Natales, this is a must. Easily the best restaurant out of the entire trip.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is in Argentina and it’s part of what makes the Argentinian Patagonia. The most visited places in the park are Glaciar Perito Moreno, located about an hour out of El Calafate, the nearest city. There’s also El Chalten, which is about three hours outside El Calafate. The landscape in Argentina is different than in Chile and also a lot warmer. I spent a lot less time in Argentina but if you have time to adequately do both, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares delivers.

Santiago de Chile — Las Condes

Las Condes is a province in the outskirts of Santiago and it is commonly known in Chile as Santiago for the economic and political elites. Las Condes is home to Sanhattan, Chile’s financial district and home to the current president, President Sebastian Pinñera. Las Condes has all the high-end hotel like the W Santiago or the Ritz Carlton, as well as Santiago’s most respected restaurants.

Cost of the trip

I wanted to do something different with this photo story and that is disclose the cost of this trip. I go in-depth and discuss what I spent and where, as well as providing a breakdown of every charge that I ran through my credit card.

Torres Del Paine

Seeing the 8th wonder of the world.

Torres Del Paine

Travelling 7,000 miles to see the 8th wonder of the world was worth it.

Mirador Los Cuernos

Mirador Los Cuernos is a must, in my opinion. This is the perfect hike to do after you hike Base Las Torres or Mirador Los Glaciares. Me and my group did this after hiking Base Las Torres and we enjoyed it. It’s only 1.8 miles round trip and it provides some of the best views of the park.

Base Las Torres

13 miles ・ 3488 ft in elevation ・ 8 hour hike

Hiking Las Torres is a must if you’re in Torres Del Paine. This can be done as a day hike or have it be part of the W or O Trek. Getting to the point with this trail: it’s moderately difficult and you absolutely need good boots. I didn’t feel like I needed trekking poles but good boots are a must. Before the trip I picked up some nice boots from REI and they served me well. This trail has an elevation gain 3488 ft and the way back will be brutal without good boots. The trail is about 13 miles and it takes a full day complete. I recommend you pack a meal because you’re going to need it.

Restaurants

Restaurante Cormoran was the best restaurant out of the entire trip.

Restaurants

Restaurante Cormoran was the best restaurant out of the entire trip.

Restaurante Cormorán

In Puerto Natales

During my time in Patagonia, me and my group dined in the best restaurants according to locals and Google Maps. They were all incredible dining experiences, however, none were quite like Restaurante Cormoran. This restaurant had the best lamb, out of all of the restaurants. It was so good in fact, we ordered a second one. The way it was prepared was incredible. The chef used herbs that created an intense taste unlike anything I’ve ever had. This restaurant also had incredible wine and pisco sour. If you’re in Puerto Natales, this is a must. Easily the best restaurant out of the entire trip.

La Luna

In Punta Arenas

Patagonia is famous for its lamb and we made sure to try lamb at every restaurant. My group and I basically had lamb every single day. La Luna is in Punta Arenas, a stop for many going to Puerto Natales. La Luna was a great start to our food tour. Their lamb was delicious, soft and very juicy, overall an incredible flavor. The other items on the menu were also fantastic and their wines were also very good. If you’re going to Puerto Natales, you will stop in Punta Arenas. Definitely recommend La Luna, great spot for dinner.

El Asador Patagónico

In Puerto Natales

Including this one because it’s really popular on Google Maps but I want to mention the other options in Puerto Natales. Overall, this place was just fine. It wasn’t anything special and the lamb was just okay. It was a decent first option but it can sometimes be really crowded, like it was for us and the wait times are really long. We waited about 45 minutes for a table and it was an enjoyable experience. However, I would recommend Kaweskar Café or La Picada De Carlitos over this. I would avoid Santolla, as it’s not very good and quite expensive and not at all worth the cost. The portions were very small and lacked in flavor, unlike any of the other restaurants in Puerto Natales.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Home to Glaciar Perito Moreno and El Chalten.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Home to Glaciar Perito Moreno and El Chalten.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Patagonia is a region and it’s a territory divided between Chile and Argentina. Patagonia as people know it is really Torres Del Paine and a lesser known park, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is beautiful and different than Torres Del Paine. The weather is warmer and the landscape is different. If you have the time to explore both parks, you should. I would allocate at least a full week to each park. However, if your time is limited like mine was, definitely spend more time in Torres Del Paine. The infrastructure for tourists in Chile is just better. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares lacked basic things like clean restrooms, which was disappointing. This is not to say the Argentinian Patagonia was bad, far from it.

El Chaltén

If you want to explore Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, El Chalten is the place you will call home for a few days. El Chalten is far enough from El Calafate that it’s really impractical to drive everyday to the park. Because all of the hikes start in El Chalten, everybody makes El Chalten their base. The town definitely has a party vibe going to it. There’s young people everywhere throughout this town having a great time at the end of the day.

Las Condes, Santiago

Exploring Las Condes, one of Santiago's wealthier neighborhoods

Las Condes, Santiago

Exploring Las Condes, one of Santiago's wealthier neighborhoods

Las Condes
Home of Sanhattan and Chile's Economic Elite

Las Condes is a province in the outskirts of Santiago and it is commonly known in Chile as Santiago for the economic and political elites. Las Condes is home to Sanhattan, Chile’s financial district and home to the current president, President Sebastian Pinñera. Las Condes has all the high-end hotel like the W Santiago or the Ritz Carlton, as well as Santiago’s most respected restaurants.

Staying at W Santiago

Staying at the W Santiago was an experience in it of it self. I don’t typically stay at high-end hotels because I don’t personally see the value in spending $300 a night for a room. However, for me travel and credit cards go hand-in-hand. Last year, my American Express Bonvoy card came up for renewal and I contemplated in closing it. The card is $95/yr and it has a free night at any Marriott property valued at 35,000 points. The W is about $300/night during my dates and it was a no brainer to pay the annual fee and keep the card.

A few thoughts on the property: it's pretty high end and it's located in Las Condes, one of Santiago's wealthier neighborhoods. The experience of checking in to getting your room is fantastic. They treat you really well, offer you drinks as you check in and tell you about the amenities. The coolest amenity is the outdoor pool, located at the top floor with a fantastic view of the city. The room was nice and they were accommodating in my requests. A few nights before check-in I asked for a room with a double-bed, the top floor and early check-in and they delivered. I was satisfied with my stay and I’m renewing my American Express Bonvoy card because it’s really easy to come out ahead with the annual fee.

Cost of visiting Patagonia

Cost is a big part of any trip and most people want to have an idea of what it costs to visit a country. I’m going to highlight my cost of visiting Patagonia and discuss what I did and what increased cost. My initial assumption about Chile was that it’s a relatively cheap country to visit and that’s true to some extent but some things are really expensive in Chile while others are cheap. The cheap things are transportation. This includes Uber, bus transport, Airbnb and coffee. Everything else is actually really expensive and this sentiment is coming from someone that lives in Monterey, California. My biggest categories were restaurants and the rental cars.

Discussing rental cars is boring so I’ll move to restaurants. There are two primary categories of restaurants in Chile: picadas and traditional restaurants. Picadas are a cheaper way to eat and the food is generally good. However, while picadas serve traditional food, it tends to be fried or things like sandwiches. The friends that came with me on this trip work in the restaurant industry and we opted for more traditional restaurants. The cost is high, every bill in Chile was around $150 USD but the food, along with the wine was incredible.

To give context to our restaurant bills, I want to reveal how our orders typically looked like to give an idea of what made a bill that high. We would typically start dinner with three beers, two appetizers, a bottle of wine, two or three main course, an additional bottle of wine and a pastry. After the pastry we would typically add around 6 pisco sours to the bill. The amount is high, but our orders were typically large orders as well.

Total Expenses: $4,065.73

Restaurants: $1,675.53

Bar Nacional in Santiago — Lunch and Drinks: $30.40
Cafe Torres — Lunch: $56.02
La Luna Punta Arenas — Dinner: $159.96
La Vertiente — Beer: $14.23
El Asador Patagonico — Dinner: $138.46
Baguales — Beer and Dinner: $84.29
La Picada De Carlitos — Dinner: $57.41
Cormorán de Las Rocas — Dinner: $200.10
Santolla — Dinner: $149.51
Cofi Trailer — Coffee: $10.91
Kawesqar Cafe — Dinner: $162.52
Casimiro — Dinner: $167.45
Mi Viejo — Dinner: $131.77
MAKO — Dinner: $171.98
Sotito in Punta Arenas — Dinner: $150.52

This amount was split three ways.

Rental Cars: $609.88

Europcar in Puerto Natales: $438.10 for 5 days
Avis in El Calafate: $171.78

Accomodation: $569.63

Airbnb in Puerto Natales for 6 nights : $274.75
Airbnb in El Calafate for 4 nights: $294.88

Flights: $243.00

SFO to SCL: $55.00 + 60k United Miles
SCL to PUQ: $38.00. PUQ to SCL: $90.00

Fuel: $300.00

In Chile: $200.00 — this is a rough estimate.
In Argentina: $100.00 — rough estimate as I didn't pay for the fuel on this trip.

National Park Fees: $175.10

Torres Del Paine: $135.10 for 6 days.
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares: $40.00

SIM Cards and AT&T Roaming: $75.00

Local SIM cards in Argentina are really hard to activate for foreigners. I was left no other option but to roam wtih AT&T @ $10.00/day. Total cost was about: $75.00

Fines: $60.00

Parking enforcement in El Calafate wrote me a citation for parking near a pedestrian walkway.

Bus Fares: $45.96

Bus Sur: Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales: $11.11
Marga Taqsa: El Calafate to Punta Arenas: $34.85

Groceries: $45.00

Groceries in Chile were surprisingly expensive. A few beers and items to make lunch totaled $45.00

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Best of Patagonia

The best of what Patagonia has to offer in one photo story.

Best of Patagonia

The best of what Patagonia has to offer in one photo story.

Santiago de Chile

Exploring the capital city of Chile during an important time in history.

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Exploring the capital city of Chile.

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Travelling 7,000 miles to see the 8th wonder of the world was worth it.

Torres Del Paine

Seeing the 8th wonder of the world.

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Home to Glaciar Perito Moreno and El Chalten.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Home to Glaciar Perito Moreno and El Chalten.