Insurance and documents
Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance
Your vehicle hire includes limited CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance with an excess payable of between US$300 and US$1,200 in the event of loss or damage. Limits and certain exclusions do apply. Please contact us for further details.
3 flights (longest 4hrs); self-drive car routes.
Here in towns we use a mix of hotels and rural lodges or different grades, choosing accommodation we think is comfortable and well located for exploration of the area. They all have well-equipped rooms, private bathrooms and heating.
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.
• City tour of Santiago.
Summary of nights
14 days, 13 nights: Santiago 1, Pucon 2, Puyehue 2, Petrohue 1, Puerto Varas 1, Puerto Natales 1, Las Torres area 2; Lago Grey area 2, 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.
• Vehicle hire with limited insurance for lake district and southern Patagonia sections.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.
Not included in the journey price
• International flights to Latin America
• Airport taxes where not included on your tickets
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
• Fuel and entrance fees whilst self-driving
The unit of currency in Chile is the peso.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per person per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.
A budget of approx US$250 should be sufficient to cover fuel costs for the self drive sections.
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. 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
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
This predominantly self-driving holiday is for independent-minded clients seeking the freedom to explore without the support of local guides and drivers but with the security of pre-booked accommodation. You should be confident to navigate along roads outside the UK, driving on the right. Some Spanish as well as mechanical knowledge, for example the ability to change a tyre is highly recommended. Routes travelled in Patagonia include some stretches on gravel roads for which 4-wheel drive may be necessary. We advise you to let us know if you have a strong preference for automatic or manual transmission as vehicles supplied can vary. GPS equipment is not normally available but you will receive basic written directions and we will send you our Rules of the Road document with helpful tips specific to driving in Chile.
In the Santiago area expect a Mediterranean type climate though it can snow in winter (June-August). In October, November, March and April temperatures range between 15°C and 25°C and there’s a good deal of sunshine. January and February are hot, around 30°C or higher.
The lake district has a weather pattern not dissimilar to that of the UK, though summers tend to be hotter and sunnier and winters wetter.
The weather in Patagonia is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. During the southern hemisphere summer (October to March), be prepared for everything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time but especially in spring and autumn, and it can get cold with snow in winter, but seldom much below freezing.
Clothing and special equipment
For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both clothing for both hot and cold conditions including sun hat a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex (or similar) outer shell. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. 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. Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring umbrella, insect repellent, sun block and sun glasses. You might take swimwear for the odd dip in a natural pool.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health
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 applied for by you personally.
Passports must also be digital e-passports with an embedded chip. 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.