So we had made almost 6 months without having to take a night bus….. and in fact we thought we were free and clear – as we had found a bus leaving Puerto Deseado at 4am, where we could transfer at Caleta Oliva, and still get to Rio Gallegos for that evening.
Now a 4am bus is pretty much in the middle of the night, so we weren’t OVERLY pleased – but it was for 3 hours, then a break, then 8 hours to Rio Gallegos. When we went to the bus station to buy the tickets, we were even more pleased, as there was another bus at 6am that we didn’t know about. So instead of 4am, we could go at 6am and we could still make the connection – YES! 🙂
So we purchased the 6am tickets, and then went to the next window for the Rio Gallegos connection. The lady there told us the time and price and started the booking….. but for some reason when she tried to book them on the online system, it wasn’t showing up. She looked puzzled and picked up the phone…
‘Hello, can I book 2 tickets for Caleta Oliva to Rio Gallegos? It’s not showing on my computer’
‘Oh…. really… Oh….’
She turned back to us and told us that they were no longer running that service – since YESTERDAY…
WHAT!? We enquired if anyone else was running at that time, and she asked the guy in the next window from yet another company (there are 3 company windows in Puerto Deseado bus terminal) (that’s not actually that many, there’s often around 20 different company windows….) NO… No daytime services to Rio Gallegos anymore….
SO THAT WAS IT…WE WERE DOOMED TO TAKE THE NIGHT BUS…. 🙁 🙁 🙁
So, in the end we had to take 3 buses in a row:
Puerto Deseado – Caleta Oliva (6pm – 9pm)
Caleta Oliva – Rio Gallegos (10.30pm – 7.30am)
Rio Gallegos – El Calafate (9.15am – 1.15pm)
Yes, a MARATHON by our standards…. (but not really that bad compared to hardcore bus travellers)
So, what was the night bus like? Well we got on at 10.30pm and off we went – it was just going dark as we are so far south. Now you are probably thinking that they would then just turn off the lights at around 11pm and everyone could try and get a nice sleep?
ARE YOU KIDDING? – THIS IS ARGENTINA… 11pm is practically dinner time 🙂 What they actually did at 11pm was serve everybody a coffee and put on a loud movie! 🙂
So 1am was the official sleep time, and it wasn’t too bad – not very comfortable, but could be worse…. so we survived our first night bus of the trip…..