Destination Fly Fishing on a budget
Countless articles have been written about fly fishing Patagonia.
It is a dream location for those looking for pristine nature, breathtaking scenery and unmolested wild trout.
The problem is, you have to pay to play.
The average cost of a week long trip was $5000 per person.
We decided there had to be another way.
Our challenge was to find out the plausibility of traveling to Patagonia on a shoestring budget.
Internet research came up with very little information on fly fishing Patagonia without a guide or lodge.
So we had to start from scratch.
We decided upon the Chilean side of the Patagonias to embark on our journey.
Chile is a well developed country and has the strongest economy of South America, providing safe traveling.
The seasons are perfectly reversed for great fly fishing in the dead of our North American Winter.
We bought our plane tickets through LAN airlines for a round trip ticket costing $1,200.
This would take us from NY to Santiago, the capital of Chile. Upon arrival in Santiago we had to pay a reciprocity fee of $120USD.
Although you do not need a visa this fee was charged as, Chilean nationals entering the U.S. have to pay the same amount.
*To Date 2014, the US has added Chile to the Visa Waiver Program. Chile is expected to drop the reciprocity fee.
We needed to go farther south and quickly realized that flying would be the best option.
Flying via the intercontinental airline SKY that many South Americans use, turned out to be the cheapest option.
The flight from Santiago to Balmaceda airport cost roughly $80USD.
From Balmaceda we rented a great looking Ford pickup truck from the airport.
The rental cost about $90USD per day, and had 4 wheel drive for the many dirt roads we were expecting.
Although many of the roads were dirt roads, it would have been cheaper and still doable with a sedan or non 4×4.
The diesel pickup throughout the trip was very efficient and only came out to $150 to fill throughout the trip.
We made our way down south from Balmaceda to our jump off point, a little town called Coihaique.
Prior to the trip we had decided that this little town was close enough to many of the rivers as well as being the last real bit of civilization.
In town we stocked up on groceries from the big clean market much like the ones we have at home.
Also, the tourist information center located in a cafe/restaurant issued fishing licenses, costing around $30USD.
As we were on a budget we decided to camp for the entirety of the trip.
This required highly packable gear.
As there seemed to be very few trees to hang from, we opted to use one man tents rather than our hammocks.
The sleeping pads were essential for a good nights rest after a long day of fishing.
Hot food came in the way of small campfires and our portable whisper lites.
Also, the water was always steps away and quite refreshing. To be safe we filtered the water using our filter.
Prior to the trip we decided the first night was to be spent at a paid campsite.
This proved to be a great choice as there were showers, and a small stream running right through the property.
We met two amazing Americans there that we continued to meet throughout our trip.
It seems every running stream and river here holds trout.
There are plenty of opportunities to wade and fish.
The people were all very friendly and eager to help although it helps to know a bit of Spanish.
For the entertaining details of our trip check out Rich’s Patagonia Journal.
If you’ve been keeping count the trip cost us roughly, $1,940 per person for an 8 days trip.
The trip could be cheaper as the main cost besides the plane was the truck rental.
With 3 people the shared cost would drive down the final cost.