Right smack in the middle of my trip, there is a question of how I’m going to get from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche. Most people would probably elect to fly, but I want to minimize my exposure to Aerolineas Argentinas, a state-run airline with a laughably intricate labor union structure. There are a dozen or more unions, any of which can decide to call a strike any time. In 2011, they decided to fly us to Ezeiza’s Ministro Pistarini Airport rather than Aeroparque Jorge Newberry, necessitating a fifty dollar cab ride in the middle of the night to our hotel in the Congreso district.
(As currently planned, I will use Aerolineas to fly from Puerto Iguazu to Aeroparque, and Santiago, Chile, to Aeroparque. Let’s see how badly they screw me up this time.)
What I would like to do is to take an overnight bus to Viedma on the coast, and the Tren Patagonico from Viedma to Bariloche. Below is a map of the route:
Part of this was traveled by Paul Theroux on the trip covered by his book The Old Patagonian Express—except he got off at Ingeniero Jacobacci and transferred to a southbound narrow-gauge train from Jacobacci to Esquel.
The only problem is that I have not so far succeeded in making a reservation for the November 13 train. If they do not respond to my reservation request by October 15, I will take a bus from Buenos Aires to San Martín de los Andes. From there, I will take the scenic Ruta de Siete Lagos (Route of the Seven Lakes) to Bariloche. In either case, I have a reservation for Bariloche beginning November 14.
Either way, I’ll probably have a good time.