My Passion and Love For Hitchhiking & Hitchiking in Patagonia
Hitchhiking and I started our relationship quite early. But since I am on world traveling I can not live without surfing and hitchhiking anymore.
So this time I decided to hitchhike in Patagonia.
The best experiences in my hitchhiking career (so far, maybe it will change in the future) were in Taiwan and Australia.
My Partner in Crime & Hitchhiking Partner, Mauricio Valencia
Solo Travels, Inspiration & Encouragement
This might be at the beginning the major reason why I started.
Sharing & Daring
Our original itinerary
But life is full of surprises and traps. And if you follow my blog since the beginning, you know that my life is going up and down like a fun roller coaster. Actually, we were so excited to get to Carretera Austral, a notorious route in Chile but at the end somehow we never got there.
And why? The hitchhiking stories about Patagonia are starting now.
Bariloche until ?
The total distance: 15 km/ 9 miles.
We missed our chance. But come on, what is an adventure without challenges, right?
So we waited 30 minutes until I told Mauri he should greet our hitchhiking companion in front of us. I was sure it was a girl, so I came up with the idea she could join us until El Bolson.
In the following Mauri started to approach her, while I waited alone for the next ride. Within a minute a car stopped for us, but it was a mini van with only one seat. Disconcerted I called loudly Mauri to come back. The other hitchhiker who was supposed to be a girl was actually a boy. But to my defense his petite, small body statue confused me. And due to my last goodbye party night in Bariloche I was already in a semi-conscious state of mind. As soon as we squeezed ourselves into the mini van I fell immediately asleep.
But later Mauri told me our driver is an adventurer and loves extreme sports and mountainbiking. I am honest to you, he didn’t look like that at all but I don’t want starting to allege a conspriracy on my blog now.
The total distance: 110 km/ 69 miles. We waited 35 minutes.
The total distance: 15 km/ 9 miles.
Fourth and Last Ride
While waiting a little bit longer another truck stopped for us.
Rodrigo Our Hero
In the following they shared stories about life, politics, families and much much more.
And Chilean Spanish is really difficult to understand somehow. I can not claim that the Argentine Spanish is better. But most of the Spanish words I have learned are whether from Mauri or in Bariloche from some Argentines.
Our “Patagonia Angel”
We love you, Rodrigo!
Rio Gallegos -El Calafate
Arriving in the afternoon in Rio Gallegos we didn’t have the energy for hitchhiking further. We went to a gas station. There we asked a man if he could bring us to the city center of Rio Gallegos. He was so friendly and took us to Hospedaje El Timon where we stayed one night and paid 200 Argentine Pesos (11$) per person. The lady from the hospedaje is so lovely and friendly.
To be honest, I can’t imagine a traveler would stop freely in Rio Gallegos except for a overnight to get to Ushuaia. Just a layover.
The Ride Of The Day
The next day we woke up with the earliest bird song. And getting ready to go back to the roads. In reality there were no birds, if I would be a bird I would freeze like hell. And probably would have died on my first day in Rio Gallegos. But we started to hitchhike very early, because as every virtuous kiddies know: Only the early bird catches the worm, right?
But I promise, they are at least as sweet as dulce de leche.
The total distance: 300 km / 188 miles.
El Calafate – El Chalten
Being dally with the time, we thought it can’t be that difficult to hitchhike to El Chalten, Patagonia.
After waiting 1 more hour and neither them nor us could caught a ride.
Therefore we started to write on our cardboard “1 Kilometre would be fine!” or “Airport”.
We decided to walk further, so both of our groups could have higher chances to get a ride. If not, people might be afraid to take all four of us.
It was clear we have to move to another place to increase our chances for both parties again. So we moved.
One Hour Waiting
I guess they were bored, just like us.
Except for some animals on a hill looking like cousins from the alpaca family. Unfortunately, I can’t remember their name in Spanish anymore. It’s hard if you have a short-term memory for languages.
Just because I wanted to take one more photo.
Just because I wanted one more photo. #millennials
The couple was French and cursed at us and the situation. My French isn’t that miserable, so unfortunately I was able to understand what they shouted and cursed. Oops! I guess at this point we’ll never make it on their Facebook friend lists in our lifetimes anymore.
2 & 3 Hours Waiting
You should have seen our faces while running towards the car.
“So much later that the old narrator got tired of waiting and they had to hire a new one”
But they already did so many things for us and we didn’t want to be a burden for them.
At the end the money doesn’t matter for us.
Long story, short meaning: Sometimes you just need to surrender and learn from it. Better things in life are just about to come. Even if we don’t realize it in the moments of our miseries.
El Chalten – Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine
First Ride to El Calafate
Wilhelmina almost didn’t believe we would get out of town.
Come on, we could join Fast and Furious.
B movie in Patagonia. Why not?
His family passed us by and didn’t want to take us. Maybe we looked like gangsters on that day. We waited at the beginning quite long. But then I suggested to Mauri he should hide behind some bushed.
Sometimes (sadly) there are higher chances of a ride when a girl is putting up her thumb alone.
After a long time I told him the same I said to Mauri.
At least he was not surprised once Mauri jumped out of the bushes and ta-da! We are actually two. Oops!! Sorry.
Distance in total: 180 km/ 112 miles.
Second Ride To Esperanza
One of the most silent rides so far. The old man’s name was Julio.
BUT, before I am narrating more, I have to insert a small narration in between. Sorry, guys.
So as soon as we got out of the car in El Calafate. The first car stopped for us. I couldn’t believe our luck!! And where did the couple wanted to go?
I’ll give you three guesses. Right! They wanted to go to El Chalten!
Unbelievable, right?! We have waited the other day 5 hours and nobody wanted to take us. And now we are standing frigging 1 minute on the road and the first car wanted to take us to El Chalten.
It gets better, so of course we had to say no to this lovely couple.
The next and second car also stopped for us.
And guess what? This guy also wanted to El Chalten!
Was life trying to make fun out of us? I guess somehow yes.
I didn’t think it was funny. Even though I couldn’t believe my ears.
Sometimes I feel like it must be “Candid Camera”.
Nevertheless, we waited under 10 minutes and Julio was our next driver.
He seems to be rich, at least he could afford it to buy all his children their own houses. But a humble, friendly man at heart.
Like I said we didn’t talk much. Silence is golden.
Third Ride To Rio Turbio
After meeting Rodrigo on our first day, we always hoped to find a Rodrigo 2.0 again. Somehow we found him in a truck driver with the name Alfredo.
He thought my idea going to Ushuaia is amazing.
Thank you, I think so too. At least it was my genius plan right?
Just kidding, he was so humble and shared with us lots of coffee.
We talked with him about everything and anything.
He totally supported me in my plans of world traveling and believes I can do everything I want to. You can not believe, how much it means to me.
Such a great person. And don’t ever judge a book by its cover!
We have better experiences with truck drivers who took us, rather than business people. I think they might be too afraid to take some tramps.
From Rio Turbio we walked to the border of Chile. Twenty minutes up and down with a backpack of 12 kg can feel like 1 hour. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the weather on this day incredibly.
Distance in total: 170 km/ 105 miles.
We waited 25 minutes.
Fourth & Last Ride To Puerto Natales
We walked to the the border and emigrated out of Argentina.
Right next to the offices, there are loads of cars waiting.
Therefore, we just asked a couple if they could take us to Puerto Natales.
Daniel and his girlfriend nodded without any hesitations.
Driving all together to the immigration of Chile and getting in 25 minutes to Puerto Natales, we were super exhausted.
It’s funny that both only came to Chile for shopping some groceries.
I guess this is the same for Swiss people who are crossing the border to Germany just for grocery shopping.
At this day we tried to save our energy for Torres del Paine.
Unfortunately, both of us didn’t sleep at the night for more than 4 hours.
And if you want, you can read in my post about Torres del Paine how our trip became a nightmare.
But it is definitely one of the most beautiful National Parks I have ever been to, I promise! And maybe the best one in Patagonia?
Distance in total: 30 km/ 19 miles.
We waited 0 minutes.
Puerto Natales – Rio Grande
Ride From Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas
After just waiting 20 minutes a guy with the name Patricio picked us up from the road. I was too tired from my experiences in Puerto Natales and fell asleep immediately. Unfortunately, I can’t tell much about this ride. But he talked most of the time on the phone with his business partners, I guess.
We waited 20 minutes.
A Ride With A German Couple
After arriving in Punta Arenas and standing in the middle of the rugged landscape of Patagonia, I had doubts we would find a ride. And getting whipped by the wind and freezing in the middle of nowhere is not a nice experience. But the first car came within 10 minutes and I jumped for joy.
Right when the couple started to talk to us, I could recognize their German accent and replied back in German. Both of them totally surprised, we started a conversation in which directions we would go.
They arrived in Chile just one day before we met them and did some grocery shopping. Therefore the backbench was overloaded with food and camping gears. They were so kind and immediately put their stuff in the trunk.
Sitting in the car they shared with us their life stories and travel experiences. I am still impressed by all their travels to all continents.
Amazing couple with a huge career in world traveling. I hope to collect as many travel experiences as they did in the near future. But who knows?
They wanted to explore the remote areas of Patagonia with camping.
I really admire them for their way of traveling. And both of them are close to 50 years old.
Here I want to say a big thank you to Rainer and Connie who took us and shared great conversations with us.
They dropped us off at an intersection of Ruta 255 and Ruta 257. On Ruta 257 we stopped a truck driver named Jorge in less than a minute. Then he drove us to the port to catch a ferry from Faro Punta Delgada to Cruce Bahia Azul.
Rainer has his own blog about caves and beautiful pictures on this topic. Please have a look on it, I highly recommend it : http://rainerstraub.de/
Distance in total: 170 km/ 106 miles.
We waited 10 minutes for the first ride and 0 minutes for the second ride.
A Ride To ?
I don’t even know anymore how many drivers we have met with the name Jorge. So it wasn’t a big surprise, once our next driver told us his name is Jorge. In Jorge’s truck I looked outside and while dreaming about desserts and chocolate I fell asleep.
Jorge was so nice to take us to a remote tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The city’s infamous name is Cullen. I will never forget this place in my life. Nothing. Nada. Patagonia in its pure beauty. Just strong wind and there wasn’t a soul in sight.
Right out in the sticks of Patagonia we prayed for a miracle.
And when you lost all hope, there is still a ray of hope.
Distance in total: 111 km/ 68 miles.
We waited 0 minutes.
Miracle & Final Ride to Rio Grande
The miracle appeared after 25 minutes, which actually felt like 3 hours in the cold. And this miracle took the shape of two men: Pedro and Javier.
After waiting nearly half an hour in the cold, a car and truck passed us by. We lost completely our hope of getting a ride and out of Cullen.
But suddenly the car returned and stopped for us.
Two angels stepped outside and took us to Rio Grande. In the following we crossed the border between Chile and Argentina.
Both of them shared with us a great sunset, mate and food.
I will never forget them in my life – just like Cullen.
Cullen could be the surname of a guy called Edward, the vampire of Twilight, right?
Oh, it is even the surname of this weird sparkling vampire!
That’s why I disliked this mini town called Cullen.
Now everything makes sense!
Nevertheless, we arrived after 9 pm in Rio Grande and checked in at Viento del Sur. ( 22 Dollars for a private double room per night)
I highly recommend this hospedaje. The owners Jose and Viviana are taking great care of their guests and B&B.
Just be careful not to get lost in this interleave green house like I did.
Distance in total: 138 km/ 86 miles.
We waited 25 minutes.
Rio Grande – End Of The World !!!
Fernanda & Javier
Oh how much do I love this couple who took us until Tolhuin!
Both of them, especially Fernanda was so interested in our stories and lives. She is such an adorable person and without any hesitations they stopped for us. And Javier is such a humble and friendly guy from next door. Moreover, they invited us for a picnic with them at the lake in Tolhuin with delicious empanadas.
We shared an amazing, even though short time together.
So hopefully I will meet this beautiful spouse in the near future again.
Distance in total: 109 km/ 68 miles.
We waited 10 minutes.
Final Ride To Ushuaia
While Mauri took some pictures of me next to the sign to Ushuaia, a car stopped for us. To be more precise, the two sisters Mariana and Jessica were kind enough to give us a ride.
Again some mate and narrating dozens of times our adventures of the past 2 weeks, we couldn’t believe we were finally on our way to Ushuaia.
Fin del mundo, Ushuaia. I repeated it internally again and again.
Just to make sure I was not dreaming I pinched myself a hundred times.
When we passed the entrance gate of Ushuaia I was closed to weep for joy.
Distance in total: 102 km/ 63 miles.
We waited 0 minutes.
We finally made it! After 15 days of adventures, ups and downs, joy and sufferings we finally made it to Ushuaia!
At this moment I could have burst with joy!!
Tears of emotions. Smiles of accomplishment. Scents of freedom.
Thank You Very Much
Here I want to say a big thank you to all of our wonderful drivers we met in Patagonia.
A big thank you to my family and especially my friends, who always stand behind my back. My wonderful mother, who will never read this, but give me the freedom since I was young to chase all of my dreams.
The wonderful friends I have made in South America who stayed continuously in touch with me and motivated me once I was feeling down.
My friends all over the world who are supporting and pushing me to keep going. And all the great people we have met in between of our 15 days of hitchhiking through Patagonia. Also a big thank you to all the people who are an inspiration to me and always believed in me.
But most of all, I want to say a huge thank you to my partner in crime and nowadays friend – Mauricio.
He was always there for me, we went through thick and thin in Patagonia.
He organized many things and shared with me laughter, sadness and the joy of life.
I can highly recommend everyone to hitchhike through Patagonia. But bring heaps of energy with you. If you have any questions you can always contact me. Or do you want to share your stories with me about hitchhiking?
Write me! Don’t worry, I won’t bite.
Good travels everyone and cheers!
PS: If I count it right, we hitchhiked in total 3350 kilometres.
2081 miles in 15 days.
10 thoughts on “Hitchhiking Through The Rugged Landscape of Patagonia”
Wow Hong! The End of the World at last! I am so happy you made it. Now for Antarctica!
Yes, I made it!! And my inspiration for hitchhiking through Patagonia got totally affirmed to a 100% by you and Tersia at the end:D.
You say you have experience in hitch hiking but you don’t know the basic rule while hitchhiking? If there are people who came first, you wait until they catch a ride, then you start your way. I totally understand why french pair was angry at you. And you are writing about hithhikers family? It was a very rude behavior….
It‘s quite interesting I think I wrote it like 5 years ago. And I do understand your point. Thank you for reflecting me on that.
It was a pleasure having you on board. Regards Rainer and Conny.
I’m happy to got a comment from
you here! One of my biggest dreams might become true. Stay tuned :). Thank you for taking me, it was my pleasure to talk to both of you! 😀
Lol that s Awesome HONG….
Keep it real / the way.away
Thanks :D! See you in Morocco! 😀
*Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!
Thank you very much for this comment, it means a lot to me and conjured a big and huge smile on my face. I hope I can help other backpackers in the future with my travel advice and inspire more people to explore our beautiful planet Earth. Lots of love and Hugs. H xx