Patagonia — an ecologically diverse region that covers over 600,000 square miles of southern Chile and Argentina — is a dream destination for many travelers. But, the hefty price tag normally associated with the trip can be a deterrent. However, It doesn’t have to be, especially if you consider these tips for taking a Patagonia trip that won’t break the bank.
Plan Your Trip for the Right Time of Year
One of the most effective ways to save money on your Patagonia trip is to plan it for a time of year when flights are cheapest. The “shoulder season” (October, November, March, and April) is the best time of year to fly to this natural wonderland, when you’re also most likely to find reduced rates in hotels during this season. Be advised that the most expensive time for flights and accommodation will be during December – February, which is its summer peak season.
Camp Your Way Through Patagonia
Instead of staying in expensive hotels or lodges, try camping your way through the region. It’ll take a bit more planning and research before you leave (no worries – there are numerous blogs and websites to help you with that), but the savings will be well worth it.
Eat Your Fill in Small, Local Restaurants
Eating local cuisine is a great way to experience new foods and learn more about the culture of the place you’re visiting. It’s also an effective way to save money. Eating in small local restaurants will benefit the local economy and your budget. Patagonia is a huge region, so, as you might expect, the cuisine varies depending on the climate. The good news is that most Patagonian cuisine is very filling with lots of meats and starches, which means you can go for many hours before having to eat again. Lamb is a staple in the central part of the region. One signature lamb dish is called ‘Cordero al Palo’ — it’s spit-roasted and mouthwateringly good. Of course, lamb empanadas (ground lamb and spices in a fried dough pocket are ubiquitous and inexpensive). Another quintessential Patagonian dish is ‘Filete de Guanaco.’ Guanacos are camelids (similar to llamas) that are native to South America. The meat is incredibly lean and delicious. Boar medallions accompanied by sauerkraut is a typical dish eaten in the southern part of the region. All this to say, you’ll definitely be able to eat well without breaking the bank.
Travel with People Who Have Similar Interests
Traveling with people who have similar interests can be an effective way to save money (and have fun!). From splitting transportation costs to sharing a guide on hikes, you’ll find yourself saving a little bit each day (which adds up to a lot by the end of the trip). Another benefit to traveling with people who want to do the same things as you is that you can divide the tourist research tasks before you leave, and even as you’re traveling, to really make the most of your trip and get the most bang for your buck.
Have you traveled to Patagonia? What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments section.