Antarctica XXI Fly-cruise Tour from Chile

Detailed Itinerary

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Introduction

Fly to the south pole from Chile and cruise this natural wonder on the Antarctica XXI with this fly-cruise tour.

This amazing fly-cruise Antarctic trip sees you fly over and avoid the notoriously rough seas of Cape Horn and Drake Passage.

The Antarctica XXI programme takes you to one of the most remote places – the coldest, highest, windiest, driest, and most inhospitable continent on earth.

Antarctica is a natural wonder that bewitches explorers, scientists and voyagers alike.

There are two itineraries to choose from – an 8-day and a 10-day cruise – for this once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

 

More on Antarctica XXI cruise

Antarctica is fascinating territory that contains more than 90% of the earth’s land ice, which transforms it into the largest sweet water reserve on earth.

It has remained hidden from man during the longest period of time and its first visitors arrived at these virgin frozen lands only two hundred years ago.

Matchless beauty contrasts with the extreme climatic conditions, all of which make it an exotic destination, truly hypnotising for the few that reach this remote corner.

Among the main species that make up marine fauna are whales, elephant seals, Weddell Seals, Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, as well as a variety of birds, such as Albatrosses, Petrels and Snowy Sheathbills.

There is the Classic 8-day itinerary or the longer 10-day Polar Circle adventure to choose from.

Trip Highlights

  • Fly in comfort over the stormy Drake Passage straight to pristine Antarctica.
  • Save time – it takes two hours to fly to Antarctica, whereas the boat crossing takes two days each way.
  • Enjoy life aboard a small ship – maximum 71 guests – so you spend your time exploring and not waiting.
  • Miss out on nothing – cross the Polar Circle and visit all of Antarctica’s class highlights.
  • Chance to kayak, hike and snow shoe (extra cost) in this wonderful environment.
  • Incredible wildlife from whales to penguins and seals.

Antarctica XXI Classic itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, transfer to hotel (D)

Arrive before 14.00 (2pm) to the city of Punta Arenas where you are met by staff, and transferred to Hotel Cabo de Hornos.

In the afternoon, you meet your expedition mates and receive instructions and guidelines that should be followed in Antarctica, such as the procedures for Zodiac boat embarkation and disembarkation.

In the evening, enjoy the welcome dinner.

Please note: You must arrive Punta Arenas at 14:00 hours, at the latest, or you will be listed as a no-show and miss the tour and receive no refund.

Day 2: Transfer to airport, fly Punta Arenas – South Shetland, transfer to cruise (B,L,D)

Our Antarctic adventure begins today with a two-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island (South Shetland Islands).

Upon arrival, we explore the around where the Frei Chilean Base and the Bellingshausen Russian Base are located.

Then, it’s our first time on the zodiacs at the beach on Fildes Bay so we can board our expedition vessel, the Ocean Nova.

Days 3-6: South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Islands, Lemaire Channel, cross Arctic circle (4 x B,L,D)

We cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and between spectacular icebergs.

For company, we have sea birds, penguins, seals and whales.

Our journey southwards may include visits to some of the most magnificent spots on the white continent such as Livingston Island, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Cuverville and Deception Islands, amongst others. These will be dependent on the conditions at the time.

Our day-to-day adventure is very active, with several daily landings and cruises in Zodiac boats.

At night, enjoy lectures and socialising as wish you a very enjoyable time on board.

Day 7: Return to King George Island, fly to Punta Arenas, transfer to hotel (B)

Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas.

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night

(Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program.)

Day 8: Transfer out to airport or bus station, ends (B)

After breakfast, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward travels.


Antarctica XXI Polar Circle itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Punta Arenas, transfer to hotel (D)

Arrive before 14.00 to the city of Punta Arenas where you are met by staff, and transferred to Hotel Cabo de Hornos.In the afternoon, you meet your expedition mates and receive instructions and guidelines that should be followed in Antarctica, such as the procedures for Zodiac boat embarkation and disembarkation.In the evening, enjoy the welcome dinner.Please note: You must arrive Punta Arenas at 14:00 hours, at the latest, or you will be listed as a no-show and miss the tour and receive no refund.

Day 2: Transfer to airport, fly Punta Arenas – South Shetland, transfer to cruise (B,L,D)

Our Antarctic adventure begins today with a two-hour flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island (South Shetland Islands).Upon arrival, we explore the around where the Frei Chilean Base and the Bellingshausen Russian Base are located.Then, it’s our first time on the zodiacs at the beach on Fildes Bay so we can board our expedition vessel, the Ocean Nova.

Days 3-8: South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, Deception Islands, Lemaire Channel, cross Arctic circle (6 x B,L,D)

We cruise between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing along ice-filled fjords and between spectacular icebergs.For company, we have sea birds, penguins, seals and whales.Our journey southwards may include visits to some of the most magnificent spots on the white continent such as Livingston Island, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Cuverville and Deception Islands, amongst others as well as reaching the Polar Circle. These will be dependent on the conditions at the time.Our day-to-day adventure is very active, with several daily landings and cruises in Zodiac boats.At night, enjoy lectures and socialising as wish you a very enjoyable time on board.

Day 9: Return to King George Island, fly to Punta Arenas, transfer to hotel (B)

Return to King George Island and bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas.Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night.(Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program.)

Day 10: Transfer out to airport or bus station, ends (B)

After breakfast, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward travels.


What's Included?

Transfers as listed, meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on last day, drinks with meals, flight Punta Arenas – King George Island – Punta Arenas, sea voyage and lodging on board ship, shore excursions, conferences and shipboard entertainment, waterproof boots, hotel on first and last night

What's Not Included?

International flights (we can look for these), arrival and departure taxes, insurance, laundry service, telephone calls, bar drinks, use of Internet or other means of communication, tips, personal items


Accommodation

Ocean Nova is a modern expedition vessel originally built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the the waters off Greenland.

Refurbished in 2006, her ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for expedition travel in Antarctica. 

There is a glass-enclosed observation lounge and presentation room, spacious dining room, bar, library, gym and an infirmary.

The ship also has seven Zodiac boats that are used for disembarking and wildlife watching.

Capacity for 71 passengers in comfortable outside cabins.

 

CABINS

 

Category                Average size                    Details

Single cabins                87 sq. ft. / 8 sq. mt.     One lower single bed

Twin cabins                 106 sq. ft./ 10 sq. mt.   Two lower beds

Triple cabins                150 sq. ft. / 14 sq. mt.  Two lower beds and one upper bed

 

All cabins feature a picture window, a writing desk with chair, a wardrobe, individually controlled heating system, and a private bathroom with shower.

Tour Staff

Veteran Antarctic aircraft pilots, experienced sea captains, an international team of polar guides and academics, and a team of seasoned travel professionals come together to create the Antarctica XXI experience.

You travel with at least twelve polar guides.

Professional, experienced, and passionate, they are a well-staffed team of extraordinary leaders and experts.

Charming and engaging, they will make your trip memorable.


Meals

Excellent international cuisine is prepared for you for every meal aboard, and all dietary requirements can be catered for – please let us know at the time of booking.

Meals are accompanied by a great selection of premium wines, carefully chosen by the Hospitality Team to complement and enhance each meal.

Activity Level

Antarctica XXI cruises are open to almost everyone.

You must be able to endure cold temperatures and living on a comfortable boat, as well as be able to embark/disembark from zodiacs.

None of the walks are strenuous but the unique terrain offers its own challenges. The fitter and more mobile you are before the trip, the more you will enjoy it.

A flexible and positive approach to changes in itinerary and weather are good to bring a long.

Anyone wishing to kayak must have previous kayak experience and be aged 16 years or above.



Practical Information

Weather in Antarctica

Antarctica is going to be cold, whenever you go – the question is more what you want to see.

The season runs Nov-March and is the only travel window as the ice has broken up enough to let ships pass.

November is very cold and the best time to see pristine ice and snow and huge icebergs.

December-January are the most popular times to visit. There are up to 20 hours’ sunshine every day, and the relative warmth (temperatures hover around freezing) make for perfect conditions for seal pups and penguin chicks.

As you move from January towards February the chicks here fledge and many more whales start to arrive. February is warm and means you may be able to cross the Antarctic Circle.

March sees the continent head back towards sub-zero temperatures as the long nights draw in. Water is clear and good for diving/seeing whales.

Then the ice freezes over once more and Antarctica is impossible to visit April-Oct.

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

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When planning for the extreme climatic conditions encountered in the Antarctica, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.

It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create. To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers.

Layers should have the following qualities:

 

  1. Breathability (able to wick away the humidity produced by sweat);
  2. Isolation (able to keep in the warm air our body produces); and
  3. Impermeability (able to impede the passing of wind and water).

 

First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.

Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.

Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.

 

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

Below is a more detailed guide.

 

Feet

  • 2 pairs synthetic inner socks (e.g. polypropylene, thermastat, coolmax)
  • 4 pairs thick loop-stitch/wool socks for cold.
  • Trekking boots – should be well broken-in, waterproof and provide good ankle support, as well as able to cope with snow and temperatures of -25 degrees.
  • Trainers/sandals, for city-wear, evenings etc

 

Legs

  • Base layer leggings (1-2 pairs).
  • Thick fleece leggings (or salopettes) (2 pairs).
  • Goretex-type over-trousers (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Trekking trousers (2 pairs).
  • Shorts – wear sparingly in early stages at altitude, as sun burns.

 

Body

  • Thermal base layer shirts (2).
  • Microfleece mid-layer shirt (1).
  • Shirt/T-shirt 1 or 2 for lower altitudes. Long-sleeved, collared shirt protects against sun.
  • Fleece jacket or similar (1).
  • Warm jacket (down or synthetic) with hood. For camp and upper slopes.
  • Waterproof Goretex-type jacket.

 

Head and neck

  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Warm hat, fleece or wool. (N.B. Up to 30% of body heat can be lost through the head).
  • Balaclava (1)
  • Sunglasses with UV filter and nose and side-pieces. Ski goggles may be useful, too.
  • 1 pair of glacier compatible sunglasses (full coverage – ask salesperson if you are not sure)
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna  – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • 1 cap with visor

 

Hands

For the extreme cold, we recommend a 3-layer scheme:

  • 1 pair of Gore-Tex shell gloves
  • 2 pairs of removable fleece glove liners
  • Mittens allow you to keep the fingers together, and better conserve heat (though they also make it difficult to perform certain tasks).

 

Technical kit

  • Large backpack (80-90 litres) or suitcase for main belongings.
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Pair of telescopic trekking poles (optional).

 

Other kit

  • Water bottle (1-2 litres ).
  • Pee bottle.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 40+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (Plus spare bulbs and batteries x 2 at least).
  • Penknife.
  • Alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other for free time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

Note: Campers and kayakers will need additional items, please ask for details.

Communication

Internet

Availability, speed and cost of internet connection varies per boat.

Cruise ships use satellites to connect. Speed and quality is dependent on weather conditions and your itinerary for the day. At best, expect slow, dial-up type speeds.

 

You may get enough connection to send a few emails / messages / texts, but uploading heavy pictures, files and web browsing will probably prove difficult.

Similarly, mobile phones will not be in range of satellites.

At present, it’s best to consider yourself out-of-range when on a cruise.

 

Dialling codes

Most cruises leave from Ushuaia in Argentina.

To call Argentina from abroad, or using your mobile phone in Argentina, follow these steps.

Example number: Buenos Aires (0)11 1234-5678, you would dial:

  • +54 is Argentina’s country code
  • 11 is Buenos Aires’ city code, minus the (0)
  • +54-11-1234-5678 is the final number you dial.

 

Argentina mobiles start with the number 15. If using your mobile phone to call an Argentine mobile, follow these steps.

Example number: Buenos Aires mobile 15-8765-4321, you would dial:

  • +54 for Argentina’s dialling code
  • Remove the 15 from the start of the mobile number
  • Add in a 9, and the area dialling code minus the (0) – in this example Buenos Aires, code = 11
  • +54-911-8765-4321 is the final number you dial.
  • From an Argentine landline or mobile, simply dial 15-8765-4321.

 

Mobile phones

If taking a mobile phone with you, check roaming rates with your operator before leaving – they can be very high.

A good way to avoid expensive charges is to bring own unlocked tri- or quad-band phone to Argentina and then buy an inexpensive SIM chip with a local number. These are available in many kiosks and locutorios and offer ability to make cheap calls as well as affordable data for the internet.

 

Post

Correo Argentino is the national, state-run postal service.

 

Arrival and departure

You must plan to arrive with a flight that is scheduled to land in Punta Arenas no later than 14.00 (2PM) on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Those not flying in MUST be at the hotel and before 2 pm on day 1.

In the afternoon there is a mandatory safety and Antarctic guidelines briefing. You will also be fitted for your expedition boots. Participation in these activities is essential for the success of the expedition.

Travellers who miss the 2 PM arrival deadline will be considered “no-show”.

They will not be able to participate in the expedition and will receive no refund.

 

Advice

Don’t schedule tight connections.

Protect your travel investment by building some buffer time in your travel plans in case of problems such as with lost baggage, flight delays etc.

In case your flight into Punta Arenas is delayed for reasons beyond your control, ANTARCTICA XXI will do everything possible to accommodate your late arrival.

However, ANTARCTICA XXI cannot assume any responsibility for any resulting complications, including your inability to join the expedition.

Extra, optional activities

Sea Kayaking

Maximum of 10 people, led by experienced kayak master.

Each kayaking excursion will be approximately one and a half hours in duration. At the end of the excursion the Kayak Master will strive to offer the group some time at the landing site so you can explore.

The 2018-19 per person price is $895 USD.

The sea kayaking option is available on all Classic Antarctica Air-Cruises and all Polar Circle Air-Cruises. Payment of the participation fee is due at time of reservation. In case of cancellation 120 days or more prior to departure, ANTARCTICA XXI will refund 50% of the participation fee.

In case of cancellation 119 days or less prior to departure, there will be no refund.

 

Hiking and Snowshoeing

Maximum of 12 people, led by mountain guide.

The Expedition Leader to look for the best hiking or snowshoeing opportunities within the trip’s schedule, based on suitable and safe weather conditions. Each excursion will be approximately one and a half hours in duration.

To take part in the hiking and snowshoeing program you do not need previous experience. However, your level of physical fitness should be good. Minimum age for participation is 12 years.

The 2018-19 per person price is $195 USD.

The hiking and snowshoeing option is available on all Classic Antarctica and Polar Circle Air Cruises. In case of cancellation 120 days or more prior to departure, ANTARCTICA XXI will refund 50% of the participation fee.

In case of cancellation 119 days or less prior to departure, there will be no refund.

Preferred seating on flight and baggage

For an extra level of comfort, travellers can now purchase Preferred Seats on their Antarctic flight.

This is a guaranteed aisle or window seat at the front of the aircraft, and a guaranteed empty middle seat, priority boarding in Punta Arenas and an amenities kit.

Capacity is limited to aisle 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the aircraft.

 

2018-19 price, per person:

Classic Antarctica Air-Cruises (round-trip): $495 USD

Polar Circle Air-Cruises (round-trip): $495 USD

 

Baggage allowance

The maximum weight allowed on the flights to and from Antarctica is 20kg (44lb.) per passenger, including hand luggage, for both Classic Antarctica and Polar Circle Air-Cruises.

Excess luggage will be kept in custody in Punta Arenas and will be handed over to travellers upon their return from Antarctica.

The baggage weight limit is a technical requirement imposed by the flight operation.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to purchase extra allowance.

Itinerary changes

Every effort will be made to adhere to the planned program.

However, with this type of adventurous travel to Antarctica, changes to the itinerary may occur due to severe and unpredictable weather.

We need to emphasise the fact that weather conditions are unpredictable and that safety is always the paramount concern on any Antarctic voyage.

For this reason ANTARCTICA XXI reserves the right to change the itinerary described due to weather conditions or other factors beyond ANTARCTICA XXI’s control without consulting the participants.

Flights to and from Antarctica operate based on weather conditions.

While historically only a minority of flights have experienced a delay, you should be prepared for that possibility.

Travelling with children

 

Travelling with children

Children are admitted from the age of 8 years if accompanied by a fully responsible adult.

A 5% discount on the rate per person is offered for children up to 12 years of age.

Single travellers

Single travellers can choose between:

  1. a) Booking a single cabin.
  2. b) Booking a twin cabin for single use. An 85% supplement applies – available in a limited number of twin cabins.
  3. c) Sharing a cabin with another passenger of the same gender in twin cabin.

Accommodation in Punta Arenas will be a single room and a single room supplement applies.

Money matters

Aboard Antarctica cruise ships

In general, boats run a ‘tab’ system, which you can settle in either cash (US dollar or Euro) or by credit card at the end of the cruise.

Cards cannot be accepted for tips, which must all be in cash.

Every boat has a different policy and way of operating its tab system, please ask for more details.

Almost all Antarctic cruises start in Ushuaia, Argentina, with a few from Chile.

 

Currency & Money Exchange

Argentina’s monetary unit is the “Argentina Peso”.

Argentina has had several years of economic instability and with a previous government there were tight exchange controls.

These have now been relaxed so payments with debit and credit cards are widely accepted.

However, there may be controls on ATM withdrawals (possibly a max of AR 1000 / GB 50 per day and you may well be charged substantially for each withdrawal). ATMs can also be unreliable and we have had several reports of “empty” cash machines.  We suggest that you have enough cash to cover your needs, especially in more remote areas.

ATM debit/credit cards are now widely used in major restaurants, hotels and shops (with fees).

Take US dollars with you (preferably new notes or at least unmarked and undamaged notes) in smaller denominations of 10s, 20s and maybe some 50s. Do not take USD 100 bills as they are unlikely to be accepted.

On arrival to Argentina , at the airport/border, exchange US dollars so that you have some local peso. Some businesses, particularly in tourist spots may accept payment in US dollars – ask first.

Exchange rate: USD 1 = 25 Argentine Peso (approx.), June 2018.

Peso banknotes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 pesos.

Peso coins: 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, 1 peso, 2 pesos.

 

Eating and drinking in Argentina

Argentina has a world famous culinary and wine reputation.

There are more and more top-end restaurants almost everywhere, and you can easily spend USD 100pp and more on meals.

Prices vary greatly, below is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay in Argentina.

 

Local café/restaurant

Beer/soft drink: USD 4

Menu del dia: USD 10-15

Coffee: USD 2

Bottle of wine: From USD 15 upwards

 

Tourist style restaurant

Beer/soft drink: USD 5-7

Main dish: USD 20 upwards

Coffee: USD 3

Bottle of wine: From USD 20 upwards

Plugs and voltages

Electricity

220 volts (110v in some hotels), 50 Hz, in both Chile and Argentina, and aboard most boats.

Most cameras, phones and computers are dual or multi voltage and probably won’t need a convertor – please check before leaving.

Some items you may bring, such as hairdryers, may need a convertor. They may short if you use them without the correct convertor.

 

Plugs

Most boats take the two pin, round-pronged Type C plug show below. Onward travel to Chile or Argentina requires more plug types.

Argentina uses Type i (I) plugs, although some Type C plugs can be found in older buildings and bathrooms.

Type I plug

Type i (I) plug

Type C plug

Type C plug

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chile uses Type C as above and Type L plugs.

Type L plug

Type L plug

Useful Spanish phrases

Learning a few words of Spanish can really ingratiate you with the locals you’ll encounter, adding to the enjoyment of your holiday.

Below are some basics to get you started.

 

Greetings:

Good morning                                         Buenos días

How are you?                                         ¿Cómo estás?

Good afternoon                                      Buenas tardes

Good bye                                               Adiós

 

Most frequently asked questions (theirs):

Where are you (plural) from?                   ¿De dónde eres (son)?

What time is it?                                           ¿Qué hora es?

Where have you come from?                    ¿De dónde vienes?

Give me (frequent, unwelcome question)    Dáme / regálame

 

Most frequent questions (yours):

How much is it?                                      ¿Cuánto vale?

What is this place called?                       ¿Cómo se llama este lugar?

What’s your name?                                 ¿Cómo te llamas?

Do you have a map?                                ¿Tienes un mapa?

 

In the street / places:

Where can I find a currency exchange?    ¿Dónde encuentro una casa de cambio?

Where is there a cash machine?                ¿Dónde hay un cajero automatico?

Where is the underground/subway station? ¿Dónde esta la estacion de metro/subte(Buenos Aires)?

Where can I find a taxi?                             ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?

Where can I find a Supermarket?            ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un supermercado?

Where is the hospital?                               ¿Dónde esta el hospital?

Where can I find a restaurant?               ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un restaurante?

 

In the hotel:

What floor am I on?                                   ¿En qué piso estoy?

Where are the elevators/lifts?                 ¿Dónde están los ascensores?

How do I access the Internet?                 ¿Cómo puedo acceder a Internet?

How do I call for room service?                ¿Cómo llamo para el servicio de habitación?

How do I call down to the front desk?      ¿Cómo llamo a la recepción?

 

In the restaurant:

A table for two/four please                     Una mesa para dos/cuatro, porfavor

I would like to drink…                             Me gustaria tomar….

May I see a menu?                                   Puedo ver la carta/menu?

I would like to order..                              Me gustaria pedir…

Can you bring me the check/bill please.     Me trae la cuenta por favor

 

Emergency:

I need help.                                              Necesito ayuda.

I have lost my passport.                        He perdido mi pasaporte.

Someone stole my money.                    Alguien robó mi dinero

I have been robbed.                                Me han robado

I need to call the police.                         Necesito llamar a la policía

I need to call the (country) Embassy     Necesito llamar a la embajada de (country)

Help!                                                           ¡Socorro!

 

Visas for Patagonia

UK and USA citizens do not require a visa to enter Argentina or Chile as a tourist.

Please ensure your passport has at least six months remaining validity.

On presentation of a valid UK or USA passport you will be granted a 90-day stay in either country. Please keep any tourist card you are given safe – you need this to leave the country.

Australians have to pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina, and this must be obtained before travelling to Argentine.

Australians entering Chile at Santiago International airport must also pay a reciprocity fee, paying cash on arrival.

All non-UK nationals should check with their nearest Chilean/Argentine consulates for the latest visa and fee information.

All requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

Quick facts about Patagonia

Chile

Official name: Republic of Chile

Country population: 17,000,000

Capital city: Santiago (6 million)

Largest cities: Santiago, Concepcion, Valparaiso

Languages: Spanish (official)

Official currency: Chilean Peso

Major industries: Copper mining, agriculture, fish

Time zone: GMT-5 in winter (Mar-Sep) and GMT-4 in summer (Sep-Mar)

 

Argentina

Official name: Argentine Republic Country

Population: 40,000,000

Capital city: Buenos Aires (11 million)

Largest cities: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario

Languages: Spanish (official)

Official currency: Argentine Peso

Major industries: Agriculture (Soy), motor vehicles, chemicals

Argentina: GMT-3

Flight advice

Andean Trails can book all your international and domestic flights for this trip and for UK passengers; we have full ATOL bonding and can book flights with most airlines.

International flight prices are variable and usually can only be guaranteed at the time of booking. If you would like to upgrade to business or first class, or even arrive at an earlier date/depart at a later date we can also arrange this for you.

Typically, you fly to a country’s capital city and then overnight there or make a connecting flight (if available) to your next destination.

 

Flight connections

Please contact us for flight advice especially if you do make a connection on the same day. It is important to purchase a through ticket and not separate tickets for connections, so that you are covered for any delays. Passengers with separate tickets that are delayed run the risk of having to buy an entirely new ticket to continue their journeys.

Please note all airline schedules are subject to change and are out of our control.

 

Tickets

Almost all flight tickets are now e-tickets. Any that are not will be handed to you on arrival in South America – this is most common for flights on smaller planes in Amazon areas such as Guyana/Bolivia.

The final travel instructions we send you some 2-3 weeks before departure will list the latest flight times, flight numbers etc as well as list your e-ticket numbers and booking reference code (6 characters i.e. GB75RK). This is what you will need to check in with.

 

How do I check in?

Depending on the airline, we can reserve some seats for you at the time of booking your international flights with us.

If we cannot reserve seats at the time of booking, you have to wait for online check in to open (usually 24-72 hours before departure).

To check in online you will need to go to the website of the airline you are travelling with, and have your e-ticket number/booking reference to hand. Click check in online, enter your details, and choose your seat.

Some flights will allocate seats at the check in desk at the airport and some may not allocate seats at all.

 

Help flying via the USA (ESTA form).

The United States (USA) has an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) which all travellers to and via the USA must complete BEFORE travel to/via its airports and shores.

More information can be found on their ESTA website.

Passengers who have not completed the form will be denied boarding.

Before you begin this application, make sure that you have a valid passport and credit card available.

This application will only accept the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club).

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Be safe in Patagonia

Patagonia is a relatively safe region, but we still recommend that in large towns and cities you take certain precautions (see below).

Chile and Argentina are, overall, among the safest countries in South America.

However, in Buenos Aires and Santiago, muggings and opportunistic crime – although not common – do occur.

In Buenos Aires, ‘distraction muggings’ sometimes happen in quiet streets, in the daytime as well as at night.

We suggest that you take the following precautions:

  • Leave paper valuables in the hotel safe (caja fuerte), taking out with you only what you need for the day.
  • Carry a copy of passport (leave original in safe). N.B. When travelling, carry paper valuables in a money belt under clothing, not in a ‘bum-bag’.
  • Beware of distraction techniques, e.g. where X sprays you with mustard or similar substance, and accomplice Y comes up to offer to clean you off, but takes your bag or wallet while you’re distracted. If you do get sprayed, just walk straight on.
  • Avoid marginal areas and be alert in lonely streets in the day and at night. Also, always take special care in busy streets, around markets and in and around bus terminals; either avoid carrying a bag in such areas, or secure it, as bag-slashers and pickpockets sometimes operate.
  • NEVER leave your bag(s) unattended, especially in airports, bus terminals and hotel lobbies.
  • It’s best to use taxis at night, wherever you are.

Responsible Travel - our ethos

Andean Trails believes in Responsible Travel and actively supports several community projects.

Please see Our Advice and Our Ethos for more, and learn about the Projects We Support.

We operate the Inca Trail, our treks and tours with local firms.

We make sure that on our tours and Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages.

With the Inca Trail, We provide free life insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for all trekking staff as well as foam mats, sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided the staff with trekking shoes. We ensure our porters carry a maximum of only 20kg. We offer them backpacks and they generally use back supports.

Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.

Our additional support helps the Huchuy Yachaq project which supports children and families in one of the poorest communities in the district of Cusco.

Responsible Travel - travel tips

Responsible Tourism – Code of Conduct:

  • Find out about your destination – take some time before you go to read about the cultural, social and political background of the place and people you are visiting.
  • Go equipped with basic words and phrases in the local language – this may open up opportunities for you to meet people who live there.
  • Buy locally-made goods and use locally-provided services wherever possible – your support is often vital to local people.
  • Pay a fair price for the goods or services you buy – if you haggle for the lowest price your bargain may be at someone else’s expense.
  • Be sensitive to the local culture – dress and act in a way that respects local beliefs and customs, particularly at religious sites.
  • Don’t undermine the local economic systems – we recommend you don’t give gifts, especially sweets as there are few dentists in the Andes. Much better to spend time chatting, playing and showing postcards of home. If you would like to donate clothes and shoes etc we are more than happy to do so through the relevant channels. Your tour leader can do this for you and some of the projects we support can be visited.
  • Ask permission before taking photographs of individuals or of people’s homes – and remember that you may be expected to pay for the privilege.
  • Avoid conspicuous displays of wealth – this can accentuate the gap between rich and poor and distance you from the cultures you came to experience.
  • Make no promises to local people that you can’t keep – be realistic about what you will do when you return home.
  • Minimise your environmental impact – keep to footpaths and marked routes, don’t remove any of the natural habitat and reduce the packaging you bring.
  • Don’t pollute local water courses- use biodegradable products, and wash basins.
  • Slow down and enjoy the differences – you’ll be back with the familiar soon enough.

Our environmental policy

All our activities are governed by our respect for the environment and the people who live in it. We aim to make a positive impact both in the UK and in the Andean countries we work in (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).

We agree with the principals of sustainable development and specifically promote environmentally aware tourism in the Andean countries, in order to preserve the heritage of the people who live there and to help protect their environment.

In the UK we use recycled paper where possible, recycle what we can and attempt to keep waste to an absolute minimum.

Throughout South America we work together with local people, paying them a fair price, and putting money into the local economy. We do this by using local agents, local trek staff and experienced and qualified local mountain and cultural guides who have an in-depth knowledge of their own country. Our porters on the Inca Trail are fairly paid, carry a maximum load of 20kg and are supplied with tents and food. In other areas we use donkeys or horses to carry loads.

We use locally owned services such as hotels and restaurants, wherever possible. We buy fresh local produce for all of our treks from markets in each departure town. We use public transport whenever possible and feasible.

We have ongoing contact with the teams that we work with and also with local families in the areas we trek through, developing relationships with them and donating goods such as clothes and shoes to their communities, through appropriate local agencies. We also support local Peruvian charities, specifically NIÑOS in Cusco, and CARE in the Huaraz area, plus Huchuy Yachaq.

If you have any suitable (warm) clothes and shoes that you would like to donate to Peruvian children please take them with you and give them to your tour leader, who will ensure they go to a suitable organization.

When out on tour we encourage learning about the countries we travel in, the local culture of the teams we work with and the areas we pass through. Our guides hold informal talks with groups to inform about and discuss with them all aspects of local life. This helps understanding of the area and appreciation of the people who live there.

Our group sizes are kept to a maximum of 16 people, and we encourage smaller groups where possible. This minimises the negative impact we make on the local people, the wildlife and the environment, and increases the quality time spent in contact with the local people and environment.

When trekking we adhere to a responsible tourism code of practice and are also involved in ongoing training of our trek staff.

Health and Safety

A full Health and Safety document will be sent to you at the time of booking and before you travel.

You can also read it on our website, or contact us for more information.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking any of our holidays that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for trip cancellation (by you), activities involved and destination. This cover should include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue.

We work with Travel Nomads, who offer insurance solutions to people in more than 140 countries across the world.

Should you decide not to purchase this insurance, you must provide us with details of your alternative insurance with or before your final payment.

And lastly...

Many of our tours travel through remote areas.

We believe our clients should be aware that the remoteness of some of our tours so very special could also cause certain problems.

Thus, whilst we endeavour to minimise the chances of anything unexpected happening, it has to be noted that no itinerary can or should be rigidly adhered to.

This is the very nature of adventure travel and we expect our clients to be prepared for delays and slight alterations in our programmed events.

 

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