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Private Journeys

Patagonia cruise: Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn

13 days from £3,950pp

Chile / Argentina

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Essentials

Transport

Two domestic flights. 5 day cruise in Patagonia.

Accommodation

This holiday incorporates a comfortable voyage on board an expeditionary cruise ship, Stella Australis or her sister Ventus Australis (date dependent).

Your hotel in Santiago and Puerto Madryn lodge are mid-range; your accommodation in Buenos Aires is first class.

Meals

Breakfast daily, dinner and full board on the cruise ship days 3-6. On board ship, all meals and snacks are included, as are drinks when the bar is open. Dinner day 7, full board days 8,9.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 30 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. Guides, lecturers and presenters on the cruise ship are all qualified in a field of expertise relevant to the cruise.

Summary Of Nights

13 days, 12 nights: Santiago, Chile, 2 nights; cruise 4 nights; Valdés Peninsula area 3 nights, Buenos Aires 3 nights.

Journey Grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. If you have doubts about your fitness for the cruise, we will send you a medical questionnaire. 

Children are accepted without a minimum age limit but there are limited facilites and no special entertainment programme on board for children.

Climate

The weather in Patagonia from October to March can vary wildly; in high summer it can even get hot with temperatures in the 20sC. However as a general rule, expect any or all of the four seasons in one day – sun, rain, hail, snow, wind.. Be prepared for zero temperatures and a cold wind, though you may be lucky and have calm, warm, sunny weather throughout. it is completely unpredictable.

It can get very hot in northern Patagonia in the summer months Dec-Feb; while temperatures are frequently pleasantly warm – 20s C – in spring and autumn. The wind can blow hard at any time.

< >In Santiago and Buenos Aires, expect sun and high temperatures (30sC) in summer Dec-Mar where there is little rain in the Chilean capital but the Argentine equivalent may be subject to heavy tropical showers at this time.  In Oct-Nov and March, expect a warm and sunny climate to prevail in thee two cities. 

Currency

The unit of currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso, in Argentina it is the Argentine Peso.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in Santiago, Puerto Madryn and Buenos Aires, 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 spend as the dollar is the local currency. 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.

On the ship, items from the onboard shop (such as souvenirs, books and sportswear) can be purchased with Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners credit cards, travellers checks, U.S. dollars, Euros, Chilean pesos or Argentinian pesos.

For our latest currency advice for Argentina please see our FAQs section.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals, drinks and the odd souvenir on those days in the holiday itinerary or extension outside the cruise. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more. On the cruise, excursions, drinks, meals and tips are included.

Tipping

On the cruise, tips are at the discretion of the passenger. But we suggest US$15 per day per passenger for the staff and crew, handed in at the reception desk on the last day of the cruise.

Local guides onshore will welcome a gratuity: they often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. Most service industry workers will hope for a tip so it is useful to have spare change for waiters, hotel porters, taxi drivers etc. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.  Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Clothing And Special Equipment

Pack for both warm and cold weather: layered clothing is best. Include summer-weight loose, comfortable clothing including shorts and trousers (bear in mind that you have to get in and out of Zodiac boats but also that you are in cities for a few days). Brings sun-protective headgear, swimwear, smart casual for the evening, light sweater or jacket for cool evenings on and off shore. There is no dress code on the ship, and there is no formal night, though there may be a Captain’s Dinner, when passengers dress up slightly more formally (men wear a jacket, women a dress).

For southern Patagonia bring a warm fleece or two, woolly-type  hats and gloves, scarf, and wet weather gear with waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers, rain-cape or coat, comfortable non-slip footwear including stout walking boots or shoes. You may consider bringing collapsible walking poles.

Sun block and insect repellant are essential. Don’t forget your sun-glasses, binoculars, camera, charger and memory cards. Consider taking sea-sickness prevention (consult your pharmacist). A small first aid kit with blister pads, aspirin etc may come in handy. .

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

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.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Chile?

Thanks to its size and shape, Chile is a year-round destination. The southern hemisphere summer is the reverse of our own, with Dec-Feb being high summer in Patagonia. Spring (Oct-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-Apr) can still be very pleasant and are quieter. While summers in the lake district are generally warm and sunny, as a rule the further south in Patagonia you go the more unpredictable the weather. Santiago and Valparaiso have a Mediterranean-type climate, with very warm summers and cool winters (ski season is Jul-Aug). San Pedro de Atacama enjoys sunshine and warm temperatures year-round, influenced by altitude and the high Andes, with cool nights Jul-Sep and a chance of heavy rains in Jan-Mar. Easter Island has pleasant temperatures all year, warmest Oct-Mar, cooler Jun-Sep.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Chile?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Chile?

Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor. Non-resident foreign guests at hotels in Chile do not normally pay the 19% VAT on most extras (such as food and drink consumed on the premises) if the bill is settled in US$ (cash or credit card) upon checking out.

What's the time difference between Chile and UK?

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar.

What countries combine well with Chile?

Bolivia, accessing the south of country from San Pedro de Atacama, travelling via salt lakes of the Salar de Uyuni; Argentina, crossing the Andes over one of several scenic passes: from the Atacama Desert in the north to Salta, from Santiago to Mendoza, via the lakes crossing from Puerto Varas to Bariloche in the lake district and from Torres del Paine to El Calafate in Patagonia.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Chile?

Tapati festival, Easter Island: normally during the first 2 weeks of February with traditional music, dance and sports.

New Year’s Eve, Valparaiso: impressive firework displays.

What do I need to know about altitude in Chile?

Whilst a typical holiday in Patagonia presents no challenges with altitude, parts of northern Chile (Lauca National Park and parts of the Atacama Desert) offer a spectacular introduction to the high Andes, with several attractions at over 3,000m. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude. If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on  www.travelhealthpro.org.uk.

Country info

When is the best time to visit Argentina?

Argentina is so large it’s always a good time to go somewhere. The southern hemisphere summer is the reverse of our own, with Dec-Feb being high summer in Patagonia. Spring (Oct-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-Apr) can still be very pleasant and are quieter. While summers in the lake district are reliably warm and sunny, the further south in Patagonia you go the more unpredictable the weather. In Winter (June-Sept) some hotels in Patagonia close, while others stay open for skiers. Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Córdoba enjoy a Mediterranean-type climate, with cool winters and very warm summers. North-west Argentina (Salta and Jujuy) enjoy sunshine and warm temperatures year-round but are influenced by altitude and the high Andes, with occasional cold snaps (June-Sept) and a rainy season (Jan-Feb). Iguazú Falls and Misiones has a subtropical climate, although it can be chilly July-Sept.
For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What is the official language of Argentina?

Spanish.

What is Argentina's official currency?

Argentine Peso.

Argentina is cash-orientated. Although in Buenos Aires and main tourist centres cards are widely used, in more remote areas often only cash is accepted. It’s best to take US Dollars cash and change these into Pesos within Argentina. This can be done at a Casa de Cambio (passport needed) and some hotels. Many (mid-range and up) restaurants will also accept US Dollars cash for payment and give you change in Pesos. Tips are always given in cash, even if you pay for a meal using a card.
Although ATMs are available in Argentina some clients have reported difficulties withdrawing cash so it’s best not to rely on them. Local ATM fees can be high and the amount you can withdraw is usually much lower than in the UK. When using an ATM with a debit card you may be offered a choice of account type from which to make your withdrawal. Select ‘credit card’ (not ‘checking account’ or ‘savings account’ options).
Check your insurance limit for carrying cash and avoid having lots of Pesos left over: these are accepted at the duty-free shop in Buenos Aires airport but outside of Argentina it’s hard to exchange unwanted Pesos.

What's the time difference between Argentina and UK?

GMT -3 hrs. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar, but not every year.

Which other countries combine well with Argentina?

Chile, accessing the country by crossing the Andes over one of several scenic passes: from Salta in the northwest to the Atacama Desert, from Mendoza to Santiago, via the lakes crossing from Bariloche to Puerto Varas in the lake district and from El Calafate to Torres del Paine in Patagonia; Brazil, via the land crossing at Iguazú.

What are the festivals and other cultural or sporting events in Argentina?

Tango Festival: Buenos Aires, August.
Polo Open: Buenos Aires province, weekends in November.
Gaucho Festivals: The pampas, early November.

How do I adapt to the altitude in Argentina?

Whilst a typical holiday in Patagonia presents no challenges with altitude, Argentina’s north-western provinces offer a taste of the high Andes with some spectacular road trips on offer. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude. If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives on the mainland
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • All inclusive cruise as specified, including land and sea excursions
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Guided city tour in Santiago
  • Guided excursion to the Maipo Valley vineyards with wine tasting
  • Land and sea-based excursions and activities on the expedition cruise
  • Wildlife spotting outings from El Pedral lodge
  • Guided city tour in Buenos Aires

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities on the mainland and mainland excursions
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Excursions designated optional

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives on the mainland
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • All inclusive cruise as specified, including land and sea excursions
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Guided city tour in Santiago
  • Guided excursion to the Maipo Valley vineyards with wine tasting
  • Land and sea-based excursions and activities on the expedition cruise
  • Wildlife spotting outings from El Pedral lodge
  • Guided city tour in Buenos Aires

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities on the mainland and mainland excursions
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Excursions designated optional

Inspired by this trip

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration

Real Latin America Experts

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    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Evie Oswald
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    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Carrie Gallagher
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    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

Meet the team