A few readers have written us recently asking the status of flights within Argentina. In case you haven’t heard, the in Chile has been erupting since June of this year and the volcanic ash in the atmosphere has caused the cancellation of thousands of flights, both domestic and international.
Well unfortunately the volcano continues to erupt and flights to parts of Patagonia continue to be cancelled. The airport in Bariloche is closed for repairs until late December, but flights are being rerouted to Esquel. From Esquel there is free bus transport to the airport in Bariloche.
Esquel is about 4 hours by bus to Bariloche. The countryside between the two cities is gorgeous.
And with the airports in San Martin de Los Andes and Neuquen also closed, the only way to get to the Lakes district other than flying to Esquel, is by bus or auto.
Now as we have said countless times before, the option of taking a bus to Patagonina might not be as bad as you think it is. Buses in Argentina, especially the first-class Cama buses, are confortable and quiet. It is entirely possible during a long trip to get a full night’s sleep, eat well and watch a couple of movies. Overnight 12 hour trips can be completely comfortable.
But after 12 hours one starts to get anxious, and the bus ride from Buenos Aires to Bariloche is a 20-23 hour journey.
If you do decide to travel by bus and have the time, we suggest you break the trip up with a stopover in Santa Rosa or even Neuquen. Now we will be the first to admit that neither of those towns is among the most exciting cites in the world, but if it’s just for one night, you should be fine.
If you decide to fly to Esquel make sure you reserve your tickets in advance. Even though currently it is not high travel season, prices for foreigner passengers on these flights can get quite steep if not purchased in advance. To check on availability of flights to Esquel, use the search box on the right. The code for the airport at Esquel is ESQ.