vanpanam.com Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
October 21st, 2020 Potash Road

at this spot the road transitions from gravel (towards Moab) to unpaved rough road through about 12 miles of canyon, then hairpin turns along the cliff up to the Canyonlands visitor center. Ranger said it would take 2 hours but it nearly took that long from the visitors center to this spot. Really really beautiful but make sure you have high clearance and good tires. We did it in a 2wd sprinter

October 19th, 2020 Bryce Canyon Market Area - Laundry & Showers

showers close at 4:45 - no exceptions. very clean!

December 6th, 2019 EX Ruta 40

Would definitely recommend to follow google maps and NOT avoid Ruta 40 if you’re headed towards Chalten from here. The unpaved part is only 70km and some of the best gravel roads we’ve ever driven.

December 6th, 2019 La Cerveceria

They now have a weissbier as well that is quite good. Prices are totally fair and in regards to the last review, the only people who were loud were the other tourists. Still no WiFi

December 6th, 2019 Camping El Relincho

Absolutely TONS of overlanders here. WiFi did not work (probably too many people on it) and the price is 200pesos for the van plus 500pesos/person (or 450 if you pay in cash). We did not stay

December 6th, 2019 Road Sign: Do Not pass through by rain

Totally dry when we drove this just before summer. One of the best gravel roads we’ve ever driven on- took exactly 53min to go the 70km

December 6th, 2019 Chilean Immigration and Customs – Paso Roballos

One super friendly officer here. Going to Argentina took <15 minutes to cancel our TIP

December 6th, 2019 Argentinian Immigration and Customs – Paso Roballos

One of the more unfriendly (though fast and easy) border crossings we’ve had. The first thing the officer asked us for was proof of car insurance. Went out to the van to get it and when I brought it in, he never looked at it. Filled out our TIP twice Bc the first time it wasn’t dark enough, then came out to check the van. Said he was gonna look for fruits and veggies, we didn’t say anything (had a few we would prefer not to have thrown away), he opened one drawer and that was it. Didn’t open the fridge. Our compost bag full of all the veggie scraps actually fell out of the van when we opened the door for him, in clear view. He couldn’t have cared less- didn’t take that or anything else. There was super weak open WiFi in the building- enough to get a few messages but not enough to load our email.

Also of all the (many) perros we have met on this trip, the one here was the least friendly- growled at us the whole time and seemed to just be waiting for a reason to bite. Beautiful drive to and from here though!

December 5th, 2019 Sendero Lagunas Altas

Really beautiful hike. One of the most clean, untouched, and well marked trials we have ever done- did not see another person! Took us 5hr15min to do the full 21km. Agree with another poster who recommended leaving your vehicle at the first parking lot and walking to the start at the second parking lot (close to the campground). There’s also markers every km which is nice. First 3km (from the official start, not including the 1.5km on the road between the parking lots) are a mild incline. Next 4km are overall uphill with a lot more steep portions. After that it’s all pretty flat until the last few Kms of descent. Really nice trail, would definitely recommend. We left early and were done by 1pm

December 5th, 2019 Mirador Douglas Tompkins

Absolutely well worth it, even if you have to walk from the 2WD 3km below

December 5th, 2019 2WD parking lot

We have a 2wd sprinter with all terrain tires and have made it up some pretty terrible roads in South America so we decided to attempt this. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it up the first big hill past this lot. It’s just too steep and the gravel too loose for a good grip so we had to turn around and come back here. Good luck if you try!

December 5th, 2019 Parque Patagonia – Alto Valle

Lovely and well maintained campsite. Bathrooms are super nice with large sinks outside for washing dishes. Showers are not hot by any means, but they are warm enough for a quick rinse and lather after a long day of hiking. The ranger came and told us we were supposed to have paid 8k/person when we entered (no idea where) and 8k/person to stay the night. We never paid when we came in so he said he’d just charge us to stay the night. A bit expensive but worth it considering how nice the campsite, trails, and park as a whole is

December 4th, 2019 BancoEstado ATM

Fee is 5,500 pesos, we were able to withdraw 200,000

December 4th, 2019 Parque Patagonia – Westwinds

We parked at the Lagunas Altas trailhead a little above the campground since the campground looked busy and the views seemed better a bit higher up. We moved our van to the other parking lot for the hike early in the morning, no ranger ever came by and we did not pay

December 3rd, 2019 Start roadworks and limited transit 8-10-2019

Still the case as of December. We arrived at 16:45 and they opened at exactly 17:00

December 3rd, 2019 Trailhead Laguna

Seems like some of the comments on this thread are actually referring to the official Conaf trail which is nearly 6km down the road (marked as a wind camp spot for some reason). We did this in early December and there is really minimal snow, quite easily passable. The hike is pretty but really straight up and straight down. Also, not that this is the trialhead for the DAY hike to the mirador only and this is privately owned (NOT Conaf run) and costs 4,000-6,000 pesos/person (prices seemed based on the whim of the person running it). If you want to do a multi day hike or start here and come down at the other trailhead (6km down the road), you will have to pay twice- here and to the Conaf rangers at the other end. It’s extremely confusing- see another post on the other trailhead if you’re interested in going that way. The guys here did allow us to leave our van in this parking lot overnight while we hiked to the other trailhead, started there, and ended here.

December 3rd, 2019 Chacabuco Wild Camp

Unclear exactly where the original poster meant, but we wild camped on the street right in front of the Loberias Del Sur and felt totally safe- would recommend

December 2nd, 2019 road to trailhead for las horquetay/ np cerro Castillo

We didn’t drive this but walked to the trailhead after reading the other reviews. After looking at it, it doesn’t seem worse than a lot of other South American roads our 2wd sprinter has been able to handle. If you’re thinking about driving it, at least come to this point and check it out

December 2nd, 2019 Trailhead for Camp. Neozelandès etc.

It’s extremely confusing bc this part of the park is a national reserve and run by Conaf- the day hike portion to Laguna Castillo is privately owned and you have to pay for both if you are using them both. What we did was quite expensive but beautiful and if you have the funds, we would recommend— we left our van at the parking lot for the day hike to Laguna Castillo and walked the 5.5km to this point. From here, we headed up. You do hit the red tent and you have to pay. Unfortunately it seems they have raised their prices again- 29,000 pesos/person if you are doing more than just a day hike. We hiked to Porteadores and left our gear there, then hiked the next 6+ km to Laguna Duff. Really really beautiful with NO ONE else there. We spent the night at Portadores then the next day hiked the 12km straight up and straight down to Laguna Castillo and back down the private trail to the parking lot where we left the van. Unfortunately, you have to pay another 4,000 pesos/person to use the private trail as well so the entire hike is not cheap but really really beautiful. Would definitely recommend!

November 30th, 2019 Catamaran Laguna San Rafael

Definitely would recommend. It’s not cheap but such a neat experience. You spend the whole day out on the catamaran headed to the San Rafael glacier and then a dingy our to get closer (though admittedly, it’s not THAT close). The meals leave something to be desired but honestly, you’re really paying to get close to the glacier and just for that- it’s worth it. Very reminiscent of glacier bay in Alaska. Also, while it’s not usually our thing, the Chilean karaoke on the way back was one of our favorite parts of the whole trip. Easy to wild camp the night before and after the trip on the street right in front of the hotel

November 30th, 2019 Lavaseco-Lavandería Mahuen

Definitely recommend. Not the cheapest for sure (2,000 pesos/kg for wash/dry; 2500 if you want them ironed) but the woman was so lovely and accommodating. We dropped them off on a friday night right before closing and told her how we were taking the catamaran to San Rafael glacier the next day and wouldn’t return til 8pm. Even though they officially close at 1pm on Saturday, she just gave us her number and told us to text her. The boat was super late and we didn’t arrive back at Puerto Chacabuco til 9:30pm and she was so lovely and accompanying and came right downstairs when we texted to give us all our clothes. Definitely recommend. Also, she really wants to start traveling in a van and asked to take pictures of the inside of ours so she’ll be super interested if you show up in a van!!

November 29th, 2019 Unimarc

Seems to be closed these days? Unclear but was not open anytime the two days we drove by

November 26th, 2019 Casa Fei

This is a store with lots of hiking boots and other random stuff but the real reason we are adding it is because the owner is also an awesome seamstress. The strap of our hiking pack tore back in Peru on the Huayhuash. We asked around in town if they knew anywhere that we could get it repaired and we were directed here. In 5 minutes he had completely sewn the strap back on and only charged 1,000 pesos. If you need a good seamstress for some reason, we definitely recommend this place!

November 26th, 2019 Wild camp Futaleufu

Safe, quiet and free. Couldn’t get any WiFi but good service from moviestar.

November 25th, 2019 Termas Amarillo

Pretty disappointing especially compared to the last hot springs we were at - Termas Geométricas. Now 7000/person. There’s two swimming pools. Not quite as hot as you would hope and there was tons of children playing and splashing around like a normal pool. Not worth the money for us.

November 25th, 2019 Camping Tierra Viva

Nice spot with really lovely hosts. Showers were warm- not quite as hot as we hoped but that’s probably because it was so cold and rainy out and we were so cold, but still quite warm with really good pressure. Bathrooms were quite clean and they have a nice little common area/dining room. Water is potable and we were able to fill up our 40L tank with the hose but they said only that much, as water for them is quite expensive, but they didn’t charge us any extra. Seems like you would have a nice view of the mountains but it was so cloudy we weren’t able to see anything. Still 5000 pesos/person. Would definitely recommend.

November 25th, 2019 Parque Pumalín – Sendero Cascadas Escondidas

Nice hike even in the rain, though beware of the usual slippery boards. Took one hour to the top

November 24th, 2019 Parque Pumalín – Sendero Cascadas

There’s a sign up at the entrance that says peligroso no entrar. We went past- nothing dangerous perse though there are lots of slippery/broken boards. The first part is mostly boardwalks and stepladders- some missing handles. The second part is fairly rocky. We were able to make it to the little island in the middle of the river but not completely across- if you are daring you may be able to make it all the way but the thought of falling in the cold river wasn’t worth it for us. Still a nice hike though. Took one hour to the river.

November 24th, 2019 Parque Pumalín – Sendero Laguna Tronador

Nice hike but definitely lots of stairs. As with other hikes, the wood is fairly slippery and a good amount of the step ladders are missing the handles - did slip and fall a few times. The viewpoint is nice- we didn’t head all the way down to the lake as it started to rain pretty hard. A little under an hour from the start to the laguna mirador.

November 24th, 2019 Parque Pumalín – Campsite Cascadas Escondidas

Open now though no one came to collect any money.


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