The Tren Patagónico is an epic, overnight, cross-country train journey that crosses Argentina from west to east.
This passenger train travels over 800 kilometres from the city of Bariloche at the foot of the Andes Mountains to the city of Viedma which sits near the Atlantic Ocean.
It takes 18+ hours to complete the full journey which coincidentally also crosses the Province of Río Negro.
Travelling aboard the Tren Patagónico is a great way to experience the magic of the Patagonian steppe and see a side of northern Patagonia beyond lakes and snowcapped mountains.
Plus, it’s an opportunity to see local wildlife; namely, hares, guanacos and lots of sheep!
In this blog post, we’re going to share how you too can travel aboard the Tren Patagónico and what to expect from the train journey.
FAQ’s about the Tren Patagónico
Is there a train through Patagonia?
The Tren Patagónico crosses northern Patagonia from east to west, connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Andes Mountains.
There is currently no train that travels the length of Patagonia from north to south, though there are short tourist train segments for sightseeing purposes.
How much does the Tren Patagónico cost?
At the time of publication, the cost to travel from Bariloche to Viedma is $4,800 ARS. (So $23 USD at the official rate or $12 USD at the Blue Rate).
Where does the Tren Patagónico go?
The Tren Patagónico is a passenger train that travels from the city of Bariloche at the foot of the Andes to the city of Viedma on the Atlantic Ocean.
The Tren Patagónico makes stops in Bariloche, Pilcaniyeu, Comallo, Clemente Onelli, Ingeniero Jacobacci, Maquinchao, Los Menucos, Sierra Colorada, Ministro Ramos Mexia, Nahuel Niyeu, Valcheta, San Antonio Oeste, Winter, Palacios, and Viedma.
How long is the Tren Patagónico train journey?
The Tren Patagónico is an 18+ hour overnight train journey. You board the train in the late afternoon/early evening and arrive the following day around noon.
What days does the Tren Patagónico travel?
The Tren Patagónico typically travels from Viedma to Bariloche on Fridays, departing Viedma at 18:00 and arriving in Bariloche at 12:28 the following day.
It then runs from Bariloche to Viedma on Sundays, departing Bariloche at 17:00 and arriving in Viedma at 11:34 the following day.
That being said, it is always best to check the official website for an updated schedule before you plan your trip, and know that train delays are quite possible.
Is the Tren Patagónico the same as the Old Patagonian Express?
No, the Tren Patagónico and the Old Patagonian Express are not the same train.
The name Tren Patagónico translates to ‘Patagonian Train’ but is not to be confused with the Old Patagonian Express – these are two very different journeys in different provinces!
The Old Patagonian Express is a tourist train in the Province of Chubut that you can ride as a half-day excursion.
Meanwhile, the Tren Patagónico is an overnight journey that crosses the whole Province of Río Negro from the mountains to the sea.
How to book the Tren Patagónico
There are a few different ways to book a journey aboard this train.
The first option is to try booking your train tickets online on the Tren Patagonico official website.
The only thing is that the website is entirely in Spanish, so you’ll need some language skills.
The other issue is that sometimes the website doesn’t show availability even though there are tickets available!
It’s not the most straightforward option, but if you want to try it, click the ‘Venta de Pasajes Online’ button on their website and go from there.
At the train station
The other option is to go in person to the train station. The Tren Patagónico website shows you can book tickets at the train stations in Viedma, San Antonio Oeste, Ingeniero Jacobacci, and San Carlos de Bariloche.
The hours of operation for the train stations differ and some only open on certain days or for a few hours a day, so check the schedule on the official website before you make the trek over.
Via a tour operator
The best option, I would say, is to book your tickets via a tour operator. You can do so in a few select cities:
In Bariloche: Bioceánica Turismo, Mooving Travel, Gerardo de los Cerros, Surface Travel, Huiliches Turismo, Natural Travel, and Vivir Viajes
In El Bolsón: Grado 42
In Las Grutas: Ocasión Turismo
In Viedma: Monatour, Araucarias, Kosten, and Free Time
This is probably the easiest and most stress-free option. Let someone else take care of the details and just hand you tickets!
Travelling Aboard the Tren Patagónico
Since we travelled from Bariloche to Viedma, our train departed at 17:00 and we were asked to be at the station one hour prior at 16:00.
There were 3 classes to choose from when booking our train tickets: First, Pullman and Camarote.
First is actually the cheapest class, Pullman is the in between option, and Camarote is the one with private cabins.
We travelled in the Pullman carriage which featured reclining seats, a fair bit of legroom, and heat or AC (depending on the time of year).
Another thing to note about this train is that it has a movie carriage that’s available to passengers in Pullman and Camarote, and it also has a disco carriage for those who want to dance the night away as the train chugs across the Patagonian steppe.
I have to say, I loved the scenery on this train journey! We got to witness a magical sunset over the Patagonian steppe paired with ever-changing views. The fields were washed in gold with the last rays of day, and it was spectacular.
Shortly after departing the station in Bariloche, an attendant went across the carriage asking each passenger their final destination – that way they know where to stop and potentially wake you up if you’re getting off in the middle of the night.
Then another attendant came by selling snacks, so we got some milanesa sandwiches, and we also confirmed our reservation in the dining carriage.
The earliest time they had available was 21:00, which is a typical dinner time in Argentina. We ended up sharing a table with an Argentine couple and stayed up until 02:00!
We snoozed for four hours and then it was time to get off at our stop. We sleepily disembarked in San Antonio Oeste so that we could continue onwards to the seaside resort of Las Grutas.
And that was our experience travelling aboard the Tren Patagónico from the mountains to the sea!
I’ll leave you with a video below to give you a better idea of what to expect from this train journey.