Patagonia is Freaking Expensive and Worth It

· by dusty


So, in March our steady incline in spending continued, this time at an exponential rate. As I mentioned last month in Expensively Delicious, Argentina and Chile have been more expensive than the other countries we have visited. In addition, we also decided to cover a lot of ground and head to the most southern city in the world!


Category Budget Actual Difference Notes
Transportation 300 1928 (1628) buses and taxis and ferries and planes
Rent 800 1113 (313) hostels and an apartment
Misc 225 557 (332) coats, clothing and hats
Activities 200 627 (427) lots of fun
Food 560 533 27 food and dining
Allowance 160 160 0 coffee and beer
Health 380 380 0 health and travel insurance
TOTAL 2625 5298 (2673)

Over budget by $2673!!

Yes that is correct! It is freaking expensive to get to the bottom of the world.


You may notice a new health category in the budget. We’ve been showing most of our numbers, however, there are still some expenses going on behing the scenes. We’ve been leaving things out that don’t really apply to travel (such as rental properties), so you can see a cleaner picture of how much it is costing us to travel.

It occurred to me that we were leaving out the Health Insurance part. Since we are both self-employed we have our own plan, which is a high deductible HSA plan. It costs about $330/month and we bought some extra travel insurance (~$50/month) that will cover us if we need to be evacuated for medical or political reasons. Since those are related to the trip, I added them to the budget. You should see both the budget and the expenses go up and this should now be a pretty comprehensive look at what it costs us to travel.


We did well on Food this month. The restaurants were pretty expensive so we ate at “home” most often. The grocery prices were reasonable and when we stay in an apartment it makes it extremely easy. When we stay in a hostel we try to find one with a kitchen that we are allowed to use. If we did go to a restaurant, we always tried to share a meal.

In Mendoza we ate a lot of steak and eggs and we even took a class at our Spanish school and learned to cook Empanadas, which are insanely popular in Argentina. Also, since you could find wine for under $2/bottle, we ate and drank well while keeping our food costs low for the first half of the month.


We killed rent before we even started in March. We rented an apartment in Mendoza for the last half of February and the first half of March. So, we had already started March with $750 paid towards rent, but that only covered the first two weeks of the month.

So, we technically had only $50 left in the budget for the last two weeks. Well, that didn’t stop us. We wanted to see penguins damnit! We had typical Chilean and Argentinian hostel and hotel prices for the rest of the month, which put us over budget by a few hundred dollars. However, we didn’t even include the nights we stayed on the Ferry, those were thrown into the Transportation category. It could have technically been more.


I don’t even know where to start on Activities. March was as awesome as it was expensive. Sometimes you really can buy happiness! Some of the fun was in the traveling part itself, but as far as activities go, we:

It was absolutely incredible, but stuck us with a nice bill that pushed us over the Activities budget by $600. Totally worth it.


Wendy knew that there would be some cold parts of South America, but it didn’t really enter my mind. I imagined jungles and beaches. Regardless, we didn’t pack any clothes for the cold as we didn’t need it for most of the trip. Sure, we had to buy Alpaca Sweaters in the Mountains, but we didn’t need winterish items until we reached Patagonia.

Aside from the regular miscellaneous costs, we also bought two winter hats, two winter coats, thick socks, long underwear, a pair of gloves and a vest. These things added up and pushed us over on this category by a few hundred as well. However, it would have been such a pain to carry all of that the entire trip, so, I’m glad we decided to keep things light and just buy it at the end when we needed it.


The mother load. With all those activities, came a lot of transportation.

We had a lot of ground to cover to get to the bottom of the world and decided to spend some money to get there more quickly. The buses would have saved us a little money, but taken a very long time. Often times the savings of bus over plane was less than $40. So, we decided to go with a 2 hour flight instead of a 30 hour bus ride.

We left Mendoza in the middle of March and in two weeks we:

  • Flew from Mendoza, Argentina to Bariloche, Argentina ($400)
  • Bused to Puerto Montt, Chile ($60)
  • Road the Navimag Ferry through the Chilean Fjords to Puerto Natales, Chile ($800)
  • Bused to Calafate, Argentina ($45)
  • Bused to Rio Gallegos, Argentina ($40)
  • Bused to Ushuaia, Argentina ($145)
  • Flew to Buenos Aires ($400)

Wow, we covered about 3,800 miles in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, with a ferry, two flights, and several busses, we went over by $1600. However, we did ride the Navimag next to glaciers and sea lions, climbed a glacier ourselves and got to play with penguins in their natural environment. It was cold and beautiful. Unimaginable.


We killed the budget in March but it was well worth it. We covered a lot of ground and saw some wonderful things that you don’t get a chance to see very often. We ended the month in Buenos Aires where we rented an apartment for a couple weeks. Hopefully I can work enough to recover those costs.

The adventures continues. Stay tuned to see if we can do better in April.

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Patagonia is Freaking Expensive and Worth It
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