Argentina - El Chalten - Cerro Fitz Roy

2018 South America Trip

In November of 2018, I embarked on a six week trip in South America. Throughout 13 international border crossings, immigration officials in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile stamped six pages of my passport. A flight from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago split the mega-trip into two distinct overlanding adventures.

My first overlanding trip started in Buenos Aires and ended in Rio de Janeiro. Even though I’ve been to Brazil before, I spent the bulk of the trip in Brazil because the country has so many attractions that appeal to outdoor adventurers. No matter the number of waterfalls you’ve checked off your bucket list, you have to see Iguazu Falls, the most extensive waterfall system in the world. It took me two days to see the waterfalls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides! Another destination that shouldn’t be missed is the Pantanal, an isolated wetland with a wildlife watching experience that beats the Amazon because the animals are not hidden in a dense jungle canopy. I stayed for two nights at a fazenda in the Southern Pantanal and saw a jaguar during a nighttime safari! Other highlights of the trip included abseiling down waterfalls, snorkeling in crystal clear rivers with tropical fish, and sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro.

After flying from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago, I started my second overlanding trip through Patagonia. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region shared by Chile and Argentina at the southern end of South America. I’ve watched countless documentaries on Patagonia, the most memorable being Mountain of Storms, the granddaddy of adventure films. Filmed on a 16mm Bolex camera in 1968, Mountain of Storms is a documentary of five friends from Northern California who drive an old Ford van 8,000 miles to Patagonia to climb Cerro Fitz Roy. Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia founder) and the late Doug Tompkins (The North Face founder) were among the five climbers who first ascended Cerro Fitz Roy’s southwest ridge, the so-called “California Route.” I didn’t climb Cerro Fitz Roy, but on Christmas Day I trekked to Laguna de Los Tres and had a clear view of the iconic Cerro Fitz Roy in the distance. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present! The highlight of the trip was the hiking, culminating in four days of trekking the classic W-Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park. My trip ended in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city.

I traveled to five countries during my trip: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Chile. The places I visited are mapped and listed below.

Destination Arrival
1 Buenos Aires, Argentina November 23, 2018
2 Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay November 25, 2018
3 Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil November 27, 2018
4 Bonito, Brazil November 30, 2018
5 Patanal, Brazil December 3, 2018
6 Brotas, Brazil December 6, 2018
7 Paraty, Brazil December 8, 2018
8 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 11, 2018
9 Santiago, Chile December 13, 2018
10 Pucon, Chile December 14, 2018
11 Bariloche, Argentina December 17, 2018
12 Futaleufu, Chile December 20, 2018
13 Cerro Castillo National Reserve, Chile December 21, 2018
14 El Chalten, Argentina December 24, 2018
15 El Calafate, Argentina December 26, 2018
16 Torres del Paine National Park, Chile December 28, 2018
17 Tierra Del Fuego, Chile January 2, 2019
18 Ushuaia, Argentina January 3, 2019

Use the forward link (>) at the bottom of the page to navigate through the trip destinations in order of arrival, or use the dropdown list to jump to a destination.