Our 11 nights/12 days stay in Ushuaia could of been longer but with the ski season around the corner, it would have got prohibitively expensive…even snowed for our stay!
Woke up at 4:15 am for the 5:20 am 15-hour bus trip to Puerto Natales, but our booked taxi didn’t arrive until 6:15am. Missed the bus and lost the cost of the bus trip (AR$240, wouldn’t refund even a portion of the fare). Another night in Ushuaia, another fare with another company (AR$210 with Pacheco), another try for the next day starting another hour later…shit happens!
Finally on our way to Puerto Natales! The start of the trip was dark, icy, with winding roads but eventually opened up to flat plains with tuffs of shrub once more as we made our way north-west across to Pt. Natales.
Make sure you eat all your fruit, especially bananas before getting to the border, otherwise you’ll lose the lot. The rotund female Customs Officer was very insistent and wouldn’t let us eat our bananas. Instead, she placed them gently on the counter beside her but didn’t throw them out in the bins provided. Quelle surpris!
The bus stopped at Punta Arenas and although we had an hour and a half to wait until the next leg, managed to change our tickets to the bus waiting at the office, so got in earlier than expected.
Arrived at Pt. Natales and walked a few blocks to Yagan House (CH$22500 Dbl). Small and cosy the night spent here was awful. The owners were minding 5 small pups under the hostel, which resulted in them sleeping under our floorboards and yelping all night… no sleep at all as it felt as if one of the pups was sleeping with us!
Tired and annoyed, we mentioned the experience to the owners next morning and advised the dogs would be collected that day. We agreed if not collected, we’d moved upstairs to another room.
Explored Pt. Natales for the day, which after walking all over town, shops, waterfront, having a cafe, there’s not much else to offer. Travellers come here mainly to take various ferries to various destinations depending on the season or hike the Torres Del Paine national park.
Returned to Yagan House to find the puppies still there but “moved to another part of the house”, our new promised room booked out, and only our previous room available! Annoyed, we collected our packs and by then it was 20:30, walked down the road to Lilli Patagonicas (CH$25000/dbl). The owners of Yagan House were very apologetic, didn’t charge us for the previous night’s accommodation, and offered to phone around for a new place…very sweet but in Pt. Natales, the walk is not long before bumping into another Hostel to make your home. The town is full of available hostels, hotels, and homes to accommodate any purse!
Lilli Patagonicas became our home for 9 nights over two trips to Pt. Natales waiting for the Navimag ferry. The hostel boasts a well-equipped kitchen and the most comfortable beds in South America so far, friendly staff, and is in a good location – good value-for-money.
If you’re not intending to do a full-on hike through the Torres Del Paine national park, at least do the one-day tour (CH20000), which takes you to the best places in the shortest possible time. The scenery is absolutely breath taking with our bus stopping numerous times and long enough for everyone to take photos. I was impressed at the number of times it stopped; too many for some of the locals through as towards the end of the day, some didn’t even bother to get out and take a closer look at the panoramic scenery.