Where to stay? What to do? What to look out for? These are the basic tips to keep in mind when planning your trip to Patagonia to ensure that it’s a memorable experience.
Perhaps one of the best things about solo travel is the freedom to choose what you want. On this type of adventure, everything can be tailored to your own needs, from the travel dates to the places that you visit.
Here’s some general advice to make sure that this endeavor is unforgettable.
There are many accommodation options in Patagonia but staying in hostels is an excellent alternative for people traveling alone. In “How to meet solo travelers in Chilean Patagonia,” we told you that hostels have more shared spaces and offer more opportunities to meet travelers who are living a similar adventure to yours. As well as making new friends, you can save money by sharing tours or forms of transport, and exchanging tips, among other benefits.
Don’t isolate yourself
Although you may enjoy being alone, take advantage of occasions to spend time with other travelers and locals. Talk to people even if your aim is not to make new friends. Their travel experiences may be beneficial and enhance your journey.
Traveling in Patagonia is synonymous with outdoor adventures, and you may return exhausted at night. Either way, take the time to interact with other people. Choose places like the Baguales brewery, in Puerto Natales, or Cirus Bar, in Puerto Montt; both have long bars where you can chat to the bartender or another guest.
Obviously, you’ll want space for yourself but take the chance to meet new people. You’ll have a lot of time to enjoy the silence.
Arrive in daylight
There’s an accepted rule you should try to respect when traveling on a tight budget and especially when going alone: arrive at new places while there’s still daylight. This will give you greater freedom of action as there are usually more transport options than taking a taxi. What’s more, you’ll begin to familiarize yourself with the place.
Another tip is that services such as Uber don’t operate in all Chilean cities (in this case, they are only available in Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas). So if your hostel provides a transport service, we recommend that you book it in advance.
There are also alternatives such as Bus Sur which provides transport from Punta Arenas airport to the bus station in Puerto Natales. The last bus leaves at 9 pm. Bear in mind that at the bus station you will also have to take some kind of transport to reach your lodgings.
And last but not least: don’t forget to take cash to pay with.
Choose public transport
Traveling by car through Patagonia can be a great experience, but it’s not convenient for solo travelers. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend options such as bus, airplane or ferry (there are no trains in Patagonia).
The distances are vast in southern Chile, so fuel expenses will be high. One dollar buys only 0.90 liters of gas in the country, one of the most expensive in Latin America.
You also need to consider the cost of the toll roads. Some are over CLP4,000 (about $6) but not all highway operators provide assistance in the case of emergencies.
If you’re planning to travel alone through Patagonia, it’s best if you do a little research and plan ahead of time. There are alternatives that work very well for groups but not for solo travelers.