Why maps are important to plan your trip to Patagonia
- The Patagonian region is very large and you need a map to plan your trip well.
- In the case of making a road route, having an updated road map is essential.
- In Patagonia the internet connection is usually scarce therefore having a printed map at hand is always good.
This interactive map allows you to locate the most important places for your trip.
You can get closer, get away … and discover hidden destinations or entire travel routes such as Route 40.
Different types of maps of Patagonia Argentina
There are different types of maps that you can use on your trip to Patagonia.
|The Tourists.||The Ruteros.|
|You can get tourist maps at any bookstore or even online.They provide a basic detail of the regions, localities, routes and distances.||These maps are essential if you want to take a tour of Patagonia rental vehicle (preferably 4×4) At the airport|
Maps for your phone:
Another option is that you take your own GPS or an APP with pre-downloaded maps s.
As we discussed on this page, do not trust Internet connections or that you can easily charge the battery for your phone. If you travel long distances, you may not have a connection or recharge the battery available in Patagonia for your phone / tablet.
What the maps don’t know …
Maps tell us the state of the roads in Patagonia And this can be dangerous if you are driving a rental vehicle.
You have to bear in mind that in winter many roads are impassable due to lack of maintenance and in summer, although most of the roads are already asphalted, there are still accesses to country estates or coastal roads.
The advice in these cases is to ask and ask as many times as necessary.
In hotels or gas stations (service stations) they generally know the state of the roads, since they travel them regularly or listen to comments from people who live there and drive them.
It is always good to check if they know the status of the route you want to do.
Where to buy maps in Argentina
The maps are available at any bookstore in Argentina or Chile, at airports or online from Europe.
We have prepared this worksheet with distances in kilometers and estimated times between all the cities of Argentina.
Routes through southern Argentina
Due to the vast expanses of Patagonia, overland travel tends to be for travelers who have much more time than normal time. Most routes are well covered by public transport at a reasonable price, but renting a vehicle can be more efficient. A 4×4 vehicle is seldom necessary, but a high-capacity, non-low-load vehicle may be worth it.
Itinerary along Route 3 “Costera”
Coastal Route 3 is completely paved (although discontinuous), and parts of the connecting roads through Chile’s Tierra del Fuego remain unpaved.
Even so, RN 3 shines with the charisma of the southernmost highway in the world, the Patagonian highway that runs from Buenos Aires to the tip of Tierra del Fuego.
It is the best route to capture the vastness that so impressed early European visitors, and to see the prodigious concentrations of wildlife, “Route 3” remains an unrivaled itinerary.
The next section suggests week-long itineraries that can be combined to explore this intriguing region for a longer period, up to 15 days or ideally more.
Unfortunately, the costs of returning rental vehicles (drop off) are expensive, this greatly affects the rental of vehicles and makes you need a good planning of the route itinerary so that the return of the vehicle is not so expensive.
Arrival in Buenos Aires and purchase of the Map
Whichever route you choose, you will surely start by arriving at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Ezeiza) and transferred to a hotel in Buenos Aires, leaving the afternoon free to visit the city. Get a good night’s sleep before starting the journey of your life.
Remember at the Ezeiza Airport or at a kiosk in Buenos Aires buy a good map of routes of southern Argentina.
Tour of the South of the Atlantic Coast
The best route for those with limited time, this segment is logistically simpler and is close to the main airports with many other services, including car rental.
Take a morning flight to Trelew and travel north on Route 3 to the coastal city of Puerto Madryn (an hour away). In the afternoon, visit the Puerto Madryn Ecocentro, an environmental museum. This leaves time for the beach, more active activities such as diving or windsurfing, or even an excursion to the Punta Loma Protected Natural Area, which has a large colony of sea lions and many seabirds.
Just an hour’s drive to Peninsula Valdes. Spend the entire day observing wildlife, including elephant seals, penguins, killer whales, or right whales (depending on the season), as well as guanacos, rheas, and sea lions (present year-round). Consider spending a night in one of the accommodations on the peninsula, such as the Estancia Rincón Chico.
Depart in the morning, heading south on Route 3 back to Trelew (about an hour’s drive) to visit the Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum, a state-of-the-art paleontology museum, followed by a walk through the paleontological park.
From Gaiman, take Route 3 to Punta Tombo (about 150 kilometers, about 2 hours). Its huge colony of Magellanic penguins is the largest on the continent.
After exploring Punta Tombo, drive along the desolate but scenic coastline past Cabo Raso to isolated Camarones (about 150 kilometers, 3 hours) for lunch.
Continue to Bahía Bustamante (140 kilometers, 2.5 hours) for accommodation and excursions to islands near the coast or to a nearby petrified forest. From here, it is possible to return to Trelew (about 250 kilometers, about 4 hours on Route 3) or fly back to Buenos Aires from Comodoro Rivadavia.
And if you have more time …
From Comodoro Rivadavia to the South on Route 3
In Comodoro Rivadavia. make a brief stop at its first-rate National Petroleum Museum, before continuing along the asphalt road to the picturesque Puerto Deseado (300 km, 3.5 hours) and its unique estuary, the Ría Deseado Provincial Natural Reserve. Take a short excursion to the Ría Deseado, home to penguins, cormorants, many other seabirds and especially dolphins. Spend the night at the Desired.
If sea conditions permit, sail to Isla Pingüino, home to the world’s northernmost Magellan penguin colony and many sea lions. Spend the night in Deseado.
It starts early and continues south on Route 281 and Route 3 to Puerto San Julián (about 380 km, five hours). Large populations of Magellan dolphins and penguins are also found in its port and offshore islands. Sleep in San Julián.
Continue south on Route 3 to the impressive headlands of Monte León National Park (150 km, approximately 2.5 hours), a short detour from the main road. Before heading off the road, check the tide tables at the park’s visitor center so you can walk along the beach, enter the sea caves, and get up close to Cormorant-covered Monte León Island.
Camp in the park or find accommodation in the nearby town of Comandante Luis Piedra Buena.
Leaving in the morning or afternoon, you head south on Route 3 to Río Gallegos (200 km, 3 hours). Find accommodation in the city or at Estancia Monte Dinero, near the large colony of Magellanic penguins in the Cabo Vírgenes Provincial Reserve, the easternmost point of the Strait of Magellan. From Gallegos, it is possible to fly back to Buenos Aires.
And if you have more time …you can go ahead to tour the Andes. You start with Route 3, then turn along Route to connect with Route 40 in Esperanza to El Calafate.
Route 40, the Andes and ranches in Patagonia
Parallel to Route 3, the mother of all Argentine routes is Route 40, it begins at the Bolivian border in the province of Jujuy and ends in the province of Santa Cruz near Ushuaia in Patagonia.
Route 40 has acquired an international reputation as the adventurous route between the northern lakes and the southern glaciers.
Only in the last few years has there been a semi regular public transport on the route from Bariloche to El Calafate.
The southern segment from the city of Perito Moreno to El Calafate is in the process of being completely paved.
If you want to explore Route 40 and all its off-road trips to visit ranches and scenic attractions, you must have several days on the road.
Here a shortened and expandable version at the same time of Route 40
From Buenos Aires, fly to El Calafate, the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park. If time permits, visit a field ranch (ranch). Otherwise, dine at one of El Calafate’s fine restaurants and pick up the rental car.
The next morning, a full-day land excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park begins. Overnight at El Calafete.
To the east of El Calafate, take the excellent paved Route 40 and then to the west take Provincial Route 23, to El Chaltén (about 250 kilometers, 3-4 hours) in the Fitz Roy Sector of the
Los Glaciares National Park. With an early arrival and good weather, there is time for a quick hike to see the glacial spire of Cerro Torre. Find accommodation in the village or its surroundings.
The next day, plan a demanding full-day hike to Laguna de los Tres, to see Cerro Fitz Roy.
The next day, take another hike to Loma del Pldamientos Tumbado for your views of Fitz Roy. Return to El Calafate for the flight back to Buenos Aires.