2 flights (longest 4hrs); 3 scenic road journeys (longest 7hrs).
In Santiago and Puerto Varas you’ll be staying in mid-range hotels. At the EcoCamp you’ll spend 3 nights in igloo-type tented domes. The rooms have either double or twin beds and shared bathroom facilities with hot water. During your trek, 1 night is spent at a mountain refuge in multi-bedded accommodation with shared bathroom facilities and hot water.
Breakfast daily; lunch day 3; dinner day 8, full board days 9-11.
We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.
Summary of nights
13 days, 12 nights: Santiago 1; Pucón 3, Puerto Varas 3; Torres del Paine National Park 4; Santiago 1.
Included in the journey price
- Services of our team of experts in our London office.
- Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
- All land and air transport within Latin America.
- Accommodation as specified.
- Meals as specified.
- Climb and hikes as specified, including entrance fees.
Not included in the journey price
- Tips and gratuities.
- Meals other than specified.
- International flights to Latin America.
- Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
- Optional excursions.
The unit of currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40 for the few days when you are not on the trekking excursions will cover food, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay more.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number 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 additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.
Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.
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.
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.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
This is an active outdoor journey. There are several public coach or minivan rides, and three internal flights.
The holiday includes hikes in rocky and hilly terrain. You need to be fit and preferably have some walking experience. You do not need rafting experience as you will be well briefed (you must follow the captain’s instructions when you are on the water!), but you may well get wet, and there will be exhilarating moments when you plunge through the rapids. The cycling is gentle and mostly flat, and away from busy roads.
Be prepared for 3 nights’ camping in furnished and relatively comfortable fixed tents and 1 night in a mountain refuge.
There’s an age minimum of 12 years for this holiday (the rafting element).
In Santiago, October and November and March and April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine. January and February are hot, around 30°C.
Expect a temperate climate in the lake district, with plenty of warm sun but also showers in summer. January and February are very crowded with local holiday-makers.
In the Torres del Paine National Park, the best months for hiking are March to April. It can be quite busy in summer (December to January). Days are long and mild then but it can be windy, as in spring (September to October).
Clothing and special equipment
Bring practical, comfortable clothing and a light-weight jumper. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants, although clothing is not formal (no need for jacket and tie), something quite smart would be appropriate.
For the hiking, light and preferably waterproof walking boots with good grip are essential. Protective clothing such as a fleece and GoreTex-type breathable and waterproof outer shell are advisable. You may need a sun hat and also a woolly one, gloves and a scarf. That said, it can be hot in the summer, so bring along some shorts and a T shirt and be prepared to carry the rest!
Hiking poles are also an asset.
Life-jacket and helmet are provided for the rafting.
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 Latin America.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; polio; tetanus; typhoid; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health
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. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.
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.