The Patagonia region extends beyond Chile into Argentina.  The Chilean side is more famous for trekking, but the Argentina side offers several nice day hikes from El Chalten.  Also nearby is the easily accessible Perito Merino Glacier. Instead of spending more time hiking, I opted to fly to Puerto Iguazu for a few days to visit Iguazu Falls.  The trip ended in Buenos Aires, a city I visited a few years prior that left a good impression.

THE PLAN
Day 1: bus from Torres del Paine to El Calafate, overnight in El Calafate
Day 2: Big Ice Trek on Perito Morena Glacier, overnight in El Calafate
Day 3: bus to El Chalten, rest day, overnight in El Chalten
Day 4: Laguna de Los Tres hike, overnight in El Chalten
Day 5: bus to El Calafate, fly to Iguassu via Buenos Aires, overnight in Puerto Iguassu
Day 6: visit Iguassu Falls (Argentina side), overnight in Puerto Iguassu
Day 7: fly to Buenos Aires, overnight in Buenos Aires
Day 8: explore Buenos Aires, overnight in Buenos Aires
Day 9: explore Buenos Aires, late overnight flight to New York

FLIGHTS
Aerolineas Argentina (economy): FTE-AEP-IGR
I paid 12.5k Delta miles for both flights.

LAN (economy): IGR-AEP
Short, comfortable flight.

HOTELS
Bla Guesthouse, El Calafate – basic
The location of the guesthouse is good, but the bed was the smallest twin bed I’ve ever seen and the breakfast was very basic and not great.  For the price, the place is not worth it.
Recommend: No

Confin Patagonico, El Chalten – moderate
After a week of refugios and hostal-like guesthouses, this place felt luxurious.  Nice comfortable rooms and beds and a great breakfast.
Recommend: Yes

Jardin de Iguazu, Puerto Iguazu – basic+
Recommend: No

Anselmo Hilton Curio, Buenos Aires – luxury – good price
This hotel has the perfect location on El Dorado Square, convenient for nightly tango and the Sunday antique fair.
Recommend: Yes

HIGHLIGHTS
Iguassu Falls – Argentina Side
I didn’t have sunny, clear, blue skies when I visited Iguassu Falls but I still enjoyed the experience.  The falls are powerful extensive.  The boardwalks allow you to visit the upper and lower sections of the falls, in addition to the Devil’s Throat.

Palacio Paz
It’s hard to tell what’s inside the Palacio Paz from the outside. The entrance is an enormous gate with “Circuito Milatar” inscribed on it.  I originally thought it was a private government building.  But careful research revealed that there are public tours a few times a week.

San Telmo neighborhood
I stayed in San Telmo during my first trip to Buenos Aires and loved the area.  It’s still rough around the edge but has tons of cafes and antique stores.

Perito Moreno Glacier
The glacier is impressive and the ability to see if from the boardwalks, take a boat along its façade, and hike on top of it – make it very accessible.  We did the Big Ice trek and it was great fun, but I didn’t think it was worth the $200 cost.  I would recommend the Mini-trek for some time on the ice, but not an entire day.

El Chalten
The hiking and views around El Chalten are incredibly beautiful.  Unfortunately, the peaks were covered in clouds the majority of our time in the small town.  We did part of the Laguna de los Tres hike and were rewarded with nice views, but we were unable to view Mt/ Fitz Roy in its full glory.  If I return to this region, I would spend a few extra days in El Chalten to allow the weather to cooperate.

WHAT I MISSED
Iguazu Falls – Brazil side
After a cloudy and rainy day on the Argentine side, I opted for an earlier flight to Buenos Aires.  That was a bad decision since the weather was beautiful on my way to the airport. I will therefore need to return to Iguazu again.

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