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Torres del Paine, Mirador Britanico

The mass of wilderness which is Patagonia is almost unimaginable. With over one million square kilometers and only two million residents it has as more penguins than people which call it home! 


Patagonia is home to some of the largest glaciers in the world (outside of the polar regions), the Andes form a natural border between Argentina & Chile sides and it is the gateway to Antarctica. Patagonia is a nature lovers dream & should definitely be added to your bucket list if it isn't already!

1 - Daily budget in Patagonia

Patagonia in general is often overlooked by backpackers as it has a reputation for being expensive. Although both Argentinian Patagonia & Chilean Patagonia are more expensive than the rest of their respective countries that doesn't necessarily mean they are unaffordable. Understandably due to the remoteness of the region, transporting supplies of any type has added costs which does show on individual items, but due to the main draw of the region being outdoor pursuits we actually found we spent less in Argentinian Patagonia that what we spent in the north of the country!

On average in the Argentina side we spent $35,463.63 ARS (£78.51/$97.35), these exchanged rates are based on taking advantage of the blue dollar rate (click here to find out more).

Argentinian Patagonia ave daily spend (1).jpg
Chilean Patagonia ave daily spend.jpg

Chile in general is more expensive than Argentina & this reflects on the amount we spent each day there. On average we spent $108,904.92 CLP (£109.37/$135.62), as with all of our budgets we generally stick to a low to mid range budget, we spent all of our time in private rooms rather than dorms so savings could be made not eating out as much & going for a more budget accommodation choice. This doesn't apply to our time hiking in El Chalten or on the O Circuit in the Torres del Paine national park, as we opted to carry all of our own gear & mainly cook for ourselves rather than buy along the way.

Typical costs


Craft beer

Bottle of wine

A Coffee in a café

Main meal

Private double room

Dorm bed

Cost in Argentinian Patagonia

$ 700 (£1.50/$2.00)

$ 3,500 (£7.75/$9.60)

$ 500 (£1.10/$1.40)

$ 3,000 (£6.60/$8.20)

$ 13,000 (£28.80/$35.70)

$ 4,000 (£8.90/$11.00)

Cost in Chilean Patagonia

$ 4,000 (£4.20/$5.00)

$ 12,000 (£12.00/$15.00)

$ 4,000 (£4.00/$5.00)

$ 12,000 (£12.00/$15.00)

$ 40,000 (£40.20/29.80)

$17,000 (£17.10/$21.20)

2 - Currency in Patagonia

As Patagonia is a region that covers that spans between Argentina & Chile, the currency in use depends on which country you are in.


The currency in Argentina is the Argentinian Peso, at the time of writing this in January 2023 the exchange rate was

GBP £1 = $ 229.90 (Blue Chip $ 451.70) ARS 

USD $1 = $ 185 (Blue Chip $ 560) ARS

However it is always best to check current rates, with Argentina suffering with extreme inflation these rates are likely to be out of date very soon! I usually use XE to find up to date rates.

For more information on taking advantage of the blue dollar rate read Western Union transfers, Argentina.

The currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso, at the time of writing this in January 2023 the exchange rate was

GBP £1 = $ 997.92 CLP  

USD $1 = $ 805.50 CLP

Again, it is always best to check up to date rates, I usually us XE to find up to date rates.

3 - Withdrawing cash in Patagonia

Withdrawing cash in Patagonia will depend on the region you are travelling. When travelling to more remote places it is a good idea to look ahead as you can sometimes find very limited access to cash.


Normally our advice when travelling to a country is to take a travel credit card but Argentina is definitely an exception!!

When travelling to Argentina you could take enough USD with you to exchange as you go. However, we generally advise against carrying larger amounts of cash than your travel insurance will cover. See Travel Insurance on our Travel Tips page for our recommendation for the best insurance.

With regards to withdrawing cash above the amount you can comfortably carry, Western Union transfers are by far the best way to access cash in Argentina. If you are not sure how to take advantage of this see Western Union transfers, Argentina.

In relation to withdrawing can on the Chilean side, although it saddens me to say it I didn't manage to find any free withdrawal ATMs. That however doesn't mean it isn't worth walking a little further to be charged less. Typically ATMs charge between $5,000 - $10,000 CLP, the cheapest we found whilst there was Scotia bank. We have been informed since that certain Santander accounts have free withdrawals so it may be worth checking if you bank with Santander if that includes you!

4 - Best time of year to visit Patagonia

Summer (Dec-Feb) is high season in Patagonia & the best time for hiking. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed this comes with the biggest crowds, so prices will be at their peak & you need to book accommodation & transport early. Summer in Patagonia does mean the lowest rainfall, however it also coincides with the windiest time of year, so get ready for some blustery days!!

Shoulder Seasons, Spring (Oct-Nov) & Autumn (Mar-Apr) are often considered a great time to visit as although the weather won’t be quite as warm & it is a little wetter. There will be less tourists so it is easier to book things & prices are a little cheaper.

In Winter (Jun-Aug) some of the parks in Patagonia shut down & transport can be tricky. However, if you are wanting to ski in the southern most ski resort, Cerro Castor in Ushuaia, or in Cerro Catedral near Bariloche, this will be the time to visit, but wrap up well!!

Realistically Patagonia’s weather is extremely unpredictable & the above is a general guide. We visited in November/December & had some amazing weather but did also have rain, hail & snow. It lived up to its name of having 4 seasons in a day!

5 - Travelling around Patagonia by bus

Bus travel around Patagonia is easy and whilst still affordable, perhaps a little more expensive than in some other South American countries such as Bolivia.  There are also fewer companies servicing the routes which probably explains why prices are a little higher if there is less competition, but it makes deciding who to go with easier at least! 

When it comes to booking bus tickets we found the price displayed online was the same charged at the bus station, but you want to pay in cash at the bus station for buses on the Argentinian side of Patagonia to take advantage the blue dollar rate. You can use the following websites to check whether your route is possible, which companies service that particular route and the price.

For overnight or long journeys we always opted for higher class seats which are roomy and recline a comfortable amount to allow you to get some sleep. To get a better understanding of the seat classes see our blog South America bus classes explained.

6 - Public transport in Patagonia

A lot of the towns in Patagonia don't have much in the way of public transport as they are so small. For the larger places in Argentinian Patagonia such as Bariloche & Ushuaia you will need a SUBE card (click here for more details).

7 - Hitchhiking in Patagonia

Hitchhiking always has an element of risk & it is generally advised against for solo female travellers. Hitchhiking is fairly common in Patagonia & it is definitely one of the safest places in South America to do it. Make sure to take plenty of supplies if you are planning to hitchhike as there have been reports in Patagonia of people queuing on the quieter routes in summer months. 

8 - Is Patagonia safe to travel?

Patagonia is probably the safest region of South America to travel. We never felt any threat and found the people to be kind and helpful.


The main reports from the British embassy are relating to the cities up north in Argentina & Chile & no 'safe travel advice' is offered for Patagonia. For up to date information refer to the website for Argentina & Chile.

9 - Language spoken in Patagonia

The first language in both Argentina & Chile is Spanish.

10 - Using mobile phones in Patagonia

Much of Patagonia has no reception due to how remote it is, however in towns & cities reception can normally be found whilst within the settlement, however it is lost soon after you leave civilisation. As Patagonia is split between Argentina & Chile if you are looking for a local SIM card you would need to buy one for each country. For a guide of how to purchase a SIM card for Argentina click here.

11 - Patagonia food & drink

Patagonia is a meat lovers paradise and you will be spoiled with delicious steak and amazing Patagonian lamb. We spent the majority of our time in Argentinian towns so our food & drink recommendations are related to Argentine food. Whilst in Chile we spent most of our time in the Torres del Paine national park so were cooking ourselves rather than eating out, sampling the local cuisine. 

Read our Argentina food & drink blog for a list of delicious dishes and must tries whilst in Argentina Patagonia.  

12 - Patagonia visa requirements

When visiting new countries we would always refer to the GOV.UK website before travelling as we find we can rely on them being up to date & we found some foreign governments websites entry requirements page a little confusing at times.


The UK governments entry requirements page currently states for Argentina;

"On presentation of a valid British passport you will be granted permission to stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. You can obtain proof of your last entry or exit from Argentina from the Argentine Migration Office website. If you wish to extend your stay for another 90-day period, seek advice from the Argentine Migration Office before your current authorised stay runs out."


The UK governments entry requirements page currently states for Chile;

"If you are a British passport holder visiting Chile for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required."

13 - What vaccinations do you need for Patagonia?

Even if a country doesn’t have specific vaccination requirements for entry, we always check Fit4Travel & Travel Heath Pro to see what is advised. You should speak to your travel nurse 12 weeks before travel to ensure you have enough time to receive the vaccinations recommended.


For Patagonia you need to check both Argentina & Chile. There are currently no required vaccines.

Advised/ to be considered


Hepatitis A



Yellow Fever (is down to be considered on the Argentina page however this relates to the tropical far north of the country)

14 - Patagonia plug type

The 'type C' is used in both Argentina & Chile however in addition 'type I' is used in Argentina & 'type L' in Chile,

Type C (two round pins)

Type I (three flat pins arranged in a triangular pattern)

Type L (three round pins)

Both countries operates on a  220 supply voltage, 50 Hz AC.

​I recommend buying this universal adapter, as it is the best one we've had.

Patagonia blog posts

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