MY WIFE AND I ARE LOOKING TO TRAVEL TO PATAGONIA FOR FOUR WEEKS, RENTING A VEHICLE AND CAMPING. IS THAT POSSIBLE? WHAT'S THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL THERE? S. MCKAY, SPRINGWOOD, NSW
Camping is very popular among Chileans and Argentinians visiting Patagonia. In Chile's Torres del Paine National Park there are official free campgrounds operated by CONAF, the national parks organisation, and also fee-for-use campgrounds operated by refugios, privately operated guesthouses. The park campgrounds have a cooking shelter and basic bathroom facilities. Refugio campgrounds vary quite a bit but they're higher quality. They will often serve meals as well as packed lunches. The entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park is CLP$21,000 for foreigners. In Argentina's Patagonia there are municipal campsites, sometimes called balnearios, and they're either free or at minimal cost, although they're often fairly simple. You'll also find private campsites, campsites in national parks and also wild camping, which is legal, although not on private land. The optimal time for travel in Patagonia is between November and March. December and January are peak season and you can expect the more popular free campsites to be crowded. For a four-week trip, my choice would be starting from the last week in February. Google this topic and you'll find plenty to inspire you. With four weeks in hand you've time to explore the Patagonian region of both countries.
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