2 flights (longest 3.5 hours); 6 road journeys (longest 6 hours - note many days are spent travelling, yet the journeys are in stages with frequent stops).
On our Discovery Journeys the standard of accommodation varies. We aim to keep the price competitive while ensuring the basic comforts. Hotels/guesthouses are comfortable and attractive in most places, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Where these do not exist, accommodation is necessarily purely functional. All properties are well maintained and all will have a private bathroom with hot water. (If you prefer greater comfort please see the Classic Journeys or Private Journeys on their respective pages on our website).
On this journey we stay at simple hotels and guesthouses (generally with private bathroom yet in the more remote places a shared bathroom may be necessary). The nature and size of the accommodation means that we use a number of properties depending on availability.
Examples of hotels used on this journey include:
• Buenos Aires: Hotel Bristol for 2016
• Esquel: Plaza Esquel
• Futaleufú: Hosteria Rio Grande
• Puerto Puyuhuapi: Casa Ludwig or Hostal Alemana
• Coyhaique: Belisario Jara
• Puerto Bertrand/Puerto Guadal: Terra Luna
• Puerto Tranquillo: El Puesto
• Santiago: Hotel Torremayor Provendencia
• Buenos Aires: City tour
• La Trochita train journey or Los Alerces National Park, Esquel
• Queulat National Park and glacier
• Puerto Rio Tranquilo: Glacier Exploradores and boat trip to Capillas de Marmol
Summary of nights
15 days 14 nights, Buenos Aires 2, Esquel 2, Futaleufú 1, Puerto Puyuhuapi 2, Coyhaique 1, Puerto Bertrand/Guadal 2, Puerto Rio Tranquilo 2, Santiago 2.
Included in the journey price
• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader.
• All land and domestic air transport.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions
There is a range of optional excursions available throughout this holiday which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $250 USD should cover participation the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:
• Buenos Aires: tango show
• Buenos Aires: boat along the River Plate
• Futaleufú: Reserva Nacional
• Futaleufú: white-water rafting
• Puerto Bertrand: floating down the Rio Baker
• Puerto Bertrand: zip lining
• Puerto Bertrand: horse riding
• Santiago: Valparaiso visit
There is no extra charge for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge. In some places single rooms may not be available in which case you’ll share with another member of the group of the same sex.
The unit of currency in Argentina the peso Argentino and in Chile is the peso Chileno.
A budget of around $35 USD per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir. If you choose to participate in all optional excursions you should budget an extra $250 USD. Excursions should be paid for in local currency, and your tour leader will give you details of current and exact prices for the individual excursions.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by travellers who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).
Tipping is welcomed and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3 USD per person per day for guides and drivers. This may be given individually or your tour leader may collect it on behalf of the group.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6 USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
International and domestic departure taxes are normally included in the price of the ticket.
This is a reasonably active trip and there will be several opportunities for walking. Walks will vary in length and cover steep and sometimes slippery terrain. Consult your tour leader if you need any advice about the specifics of the walks. Throughout the Journey there is time to relax and explore on your own if you wish. Be prepared for some early mornings, long days driving and for extreme weather conditions in Patagonia.
In Santiago and Buenos Aires February-March and November sees temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine, although in Buenos Aires rain is not uncommon. The weather in the south is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. Be prepared for everything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time and it can get extremely cold.
Clothing and special equipment
A daypack is essential for carrying rainwear, snacks, books and a water bottle. Those who feel the cold should take thermal underwear. To ensure your comfort while walking in Patagonia, you should bring good waterproof walking boots as well as a good water- and wind-proof (not just shower-proof) jacket and trousers, a warm hat and a scarf.
You should bring your personal effects in an easy-to-handle duffle bag, soft holdall or rucksack. A hard suitcase is not appropriate for this journey.
The sun can be strong so take a hat with a visor, sunglasses and sun block. Some walkers find hiking poles helpful, and binoculars are useful for wildlife spotting. Bring a torch (a head torch is recommended), a penknife and a small towel for your stay in the more remote locations.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP. You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Clients with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulates. Even where visas are not required, there may be a reciprocity fee to pay (e.g. USA and Canada).
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.