This is the insane story of my adventure getting to Patagonia. Most of the time, I like to write informative articles to help you plan your next adventure. But, sometimes stories are just a little too crazy that I have to share them with you!
So, here it goes! The craziness starts before I even left for Patagonia.
Before I left to Patagonia
Two nights before my departure date to Patagonia I decided I wanted to try out this new elite gym in San Diego. The gym was called The Glute Lab and it is run by Brett Contreras from Booty by Brett. So, obviously I went there to try to grow my booty.
Because I mean, come on, what girl doesn’t want a round, plumb booty? 😉
Of course, going into the gym I felt super self conscious. Here I am, a small little girl with basically no butt walking into a gym filled with ripped girls who have the best butt’s I’ve ever seen.
Ok, enough about butts. Anyways, so clearly I was trying to keep up with everyone and decided to try a new exercise for my hamstrings that I had never done before.
Whelp, wam bam, snap, crackle, pop. I heard my right hamstring tear. Immediate pain. I literally got up, grabbed my bag, and hobbled to my car. Freaking out about how I was going to do two 14 mile hikes in the next 5 days.
Obviously, I started crying.
So, I went home and iced the sh** out of my hamstring. I was determined to not let it stop me from hiking. I wrapped it in an ace bandage, elevated it and iced it.
I iced it the whole next day and while I was on the plane on my way to Patagonia.
But, wait, we need to back up about and talk about my airport/flight fiasco.
My planned flight was this: fly out of LA to Atlanta, Georgia. Fly from Atlanta to Buenos Aires and then Buenos Aires to El Calafate. So, my husband drove me up from San Diego to the Los Angeles airport with all my bags and a big smile on my face ready to go!
Everything was looking good until… my flight started to be delayed from LA to Atlanta. At first it was a one hour delay. I was fine-not too stressed yet because I had a 3.5 hour layover in Atlanta.
Then the flight delay got a bit longer. 1.5 hrs, but then! They announced that the plane was having a mechanical error, but not to worry because they just needed to replace one part which they had in stock and then the plane will be ready.
So, at this point I was like ok, cool I should still be able to make it, but also slightly freaking myself out about the mechanical problem. I didn’t want to get on a dysfunctioning plane when I am already scared of flying.
No news on the plane being fixed yet. As the 2 hour delay mark roles around they announce somehow the part got lost in transit from the warehouse to the plane and they are looking to find another part.
Like what? How do you lose a part in transit? I was beginning to get irritated at this point.
2.5 hours rolled around and now I started to freak out. I was stressed I would miss my main flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires. Finally! They announce we have found a new plane for you all! You just need to head over to a different gate (which was in the complete opposite terminal all the way across the other side of the airport.) I thought! This is great! The plane will be loaded up quickly and we will be off in no time and I won’t miss my next flight.
Whelp, I was wrong. It took FOREVER to load up the plane and for the pilots to start over with all their checks.
I still had some hope as we were making up quite a bit of time in the air, but unfortunately I did not make my connecting flight. I literally watched it take off online while the plane I was on was landing at the Atlanta airport.
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It is now 10pm in Atlanta. I get off the plane and they route about 80 of us who missed our connecting flights to an agent to help us re-book the flight we missed.
Come to find out there is only one flight a day that goes out from Atlanta to Buenos Aires and it is at 9pm every single night. I was pissed at this point. You are telling me I am going to have to sleep here in Atlanta and wait an entire day for my flight which will now cause me to miss my other connecting flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate.
I was freaking out even more because the group I was meeting up with in El Calafate would now have moved on by this point to a different location 3 hours away from El Calafate.
What was I going to do? I don’t know how to get around Argentina by myself. But there was nothing I could do. I considered turning around and going home, but obviously I didnt.
So, I am still in the Atlanta airport. I am starving. All the shops are closed because it is now about 11pm since it took so long to wait in line and have my flight rebooked. They give me (along with others) a hotel voucher and send us outside to wait for a hotel shuttle to take us to the hotel.
I head outside and begin to wait for the hotel shuttle with about 15 other people. 30 minutes has gone by and no shuttle. We ask the other shuttle drivers if there is a shuttle for this hotel (a Holiday Inn) and they all just said “oh yeah it will come.”
Now an hour goes by. It’s midnight. I am exhausted, angry, sad, scared… so many emotions.
You don’t want to get Chelsey upset. No one was doing anything about the shuttle situation, so of course I take the liberty of calling the hotel desk multiple times until they answer. Finally, someone answers, I tell them there are a bunch of us waiting here for a shuttle and she goes “oh we didn’t know. We will send the shuttle and it will be there in 30 minutes.”
WHAAATTTT, they just decided to stop doing their shuttle runs. We would have never gotten there if I didn’t call. Oh and the hotel voucher was only good for until 11am. They wouldn’t let me have a late checkout. I explained my situation and they didn’t care.
So, the next day I showered, packed my stuff up. Walked to breakfast and then took the shuttle back to the airport. I sat in the airport from 1130am until my 9pm flight. Talk about a long day.
BUENOS AIRES TO EL CALAFATE
Alright, so I made it to Buenos Aires finally land at 920am and my next flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate is at noon.
Well of course, since you are in a new country you have to go through customs and immigration. This took forever, but thankfully I met the kindest gentleman who lives in the US for 6 months and Patagonia the other 6 months and he was able to help me navigate through the airport.
He directed me to my new terminal, which was super helpful because it required me going outside of the airport and walking quite a bit to a new area of the airport.
But here comes more of the flight saga. I went to check my bag in at the check in counter and they asked for my flight ticket. I handed them the new ticket that was printed when my flight was rebooked back in Patagonia. THey proceed to tell me that I don’t have a seat on the flight.
Oh and of course this is in broken English and Spanish between me and the airline concierge. She told me I had to go to the customer service desk and get it fixed. So, I head over there and end up having to cut the line because it was going so slow that I was about to miss this flight now too.
I talk to the customer service people and they tell me the same thing. That my ticket is an old ticket and I don’t have a seat on this flight. They get on the phone and try to fix it. As they are on the phone, I call my mom balling in tears.
Mind you it is like 2am in the US. Thank God she answered. I was freaking out. I told her to just buy me a whole new ticket and I will pay her back. She tried, but it said the flight was too close to departure time that a ticket could not be purchased. I was now down to about 30 minutes until the plane took off.
I said screw it-walked away from the customer services desk. Walked to the security line and just handed them my old ticket hoping to get through.
Somehow this worked. I made it through security went up to the departure desk, explained the whole story and he got me a seat right away.
I immediately walked on to the plane and felt such a huge sense of relief, well kinda. I still did not know how I was going to get to my group considering they were now 3 hours away from El Calafate.
But whatever, I was on the plane to El Calafate.
El Calafate to El Chalten
Alright this story is getting long. Sorry everyone! But it truly was insane. Just one thing after another.
Once I landed in El Calafate, thankfully my group tour leader from Trova Trip purchased a bus ticket for me to take me straight from the El Calafate airport to the hotel they were staying at in El Chalten.
Thankfully, it was pretty easy once I got off the plane. I picked up my bags, headed to the bus stop sign and they were there waiting for me with my name on a paper.
I almost cried I was so happy and exhausted. That was the smoothest part of my trip.
I had to wait about 2 hours for the next bus to El Chalten and while I was waiting I plugged my phone into one of the outlets.
My phone charger literally sparked and started burning. Obviously it no longer worked. The prongs were literally charred. I quickly unplugged it and decided to just grab some food and relax until the bus came.
It was a smooth ride on the bus from El Calafate to El Chalten. Just me and one other person on the bus.
I Finally Met Up with Everyone
Oh my goodness! After three hours on a bus through nowhere land, with one-stop to go to the bathroom, I finally made it to El Chalten!
The bus dropped me off at the hostel around 730pm, I quickly showered and then headed out to meet up with the group at dinner!
I walked into the restaurant and the entire group greeted me with hugs and a warm welcome! I couldn’t have felt more relieved to see 19 new strangers I had never met before.
And the rest is history! The trip was epic and so beautiful and I still highly recommend going!