Journey through the Lake District of Chile and Argentina on our mountain biking holiday in Patagonia.

We cycle through a landscape of snow-capped volcanoes, deep valleys, lakes and monkey puzzle tree forests set against the awesome backdrop of the Andes.

Cycling in an environment of tranquility, this is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Well paced, the route is on a combination of quiet roads, gravel tracks and earth roads that skirt immense lakes and pass through sleepy villages.

More on Patagonia cycling tour

We take in superb views of Volcano Osorno in Chile, as well as visit Bariloche, famous for its chocolates and Swiss style architecture.

For many the highlight of the trip is when we wind our way through stunning scenery of Conguillio National Park.

Cycling allows you to absorb yourself fully in the Lake District, its people and their way of life.

Accommodation is a combination of small hotels, lodges, cabañas and family run hospedajes, chosen for their location and hospitality.

Previous experience is not essential, though we recommend your build-up to the expedition should include plenty of biking time.

A reasonably good level of fitness and a sense of adventure are important. You may wish to bring your own mountain bike, or these can be hired at an extra cost.

Trip Highlights

Print Share
Download as PDF
  • Cycling tour around the Lake District of Chile and Argentina.

  • Views to majestically conical Volcan Osorno and its snow-capped peak.

  • Tasting the chocolates of Bariloche.

  • Biking the Seven Lakes Route to San Martin de los Andes.

  • The monkey puzzle trees forests of Conguilli.

  • Hiking the lofty heights of Volcan Villarica.

  • Fantastic overview of remote Patagonia.

I write you to thank you for organising the trip for us. Everything was perfect.

R. Mihalache & C. Pruteanu, Patagonia Lake District Cycling Tour


Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Puerto Montt, transfer Puerto Varas, introductory talk, hotel

Transfer to hotel in Puerto Varas. The remainder of the day is spent resting from our travels and preparing the bikes for tomorrow. At a convenient point the group meets for an informal talk to discuss the events of the forthcoming tour.

You may wish to explore the numerous handicraft stalls lining the seafront and for those in search of tasty Chilean dishes and some of the weirdest shell-food on the planet, the choice is ‘eye-brow risingingly’ vast at the fishing port of Angelmo, on the outskirts of the town.

Here you will have the chance to sample Chilean seafood dishes and may even wish to try the local speciality, Parillada de Mariscos (grilled mixed seafood served from a piping hot charcoal brazier).

Day 2: Ride Puerto Varas - Puelo (40km/25 miles, 700 m ascent ), lodge (B,L)

Following breakfast we load up our bikes and leave Puerto Varas by our support vehicle. This initial section takes us southwards firstly through the small settlement of Chamiza and then shortly after passing through Lenca, we skirt the dramatic Alcere Andino National Park for the final few kilometres to Caleta La Arena.

Here we board the small local ferry for the 40-minute crossing of the narrow Estuario de Reloncavi to Caleta Puelche. It’s here that we unload our bikes for the undulating unsurfaced track/road alongside Estuario de Reloncavi to Puelo. This is a truly stunning section and is a wonderful introduction to our trip and a fabulous way to begin our biking journey.

Tonight we stay in the beautiful Patagonia Puelo Lodge.

Day 3: Puelo - Las Cascadas (75km/47 miles, 890m ascent), hotel (B,L)

Leaving our cosy lodgings by bike and following a brief crossing of one of the arms of the Estuario de Reloncavi we continue our progress northwards towards Río Puelo and to Cochamó situated at the far tip of the Estuario de Reloncavi.

We reach Cochamó after 32kms/20 miles and then continue alongside the fjord for the last 14kms/9 miles, on an unsurfaced yet well packed section. For the remaining 36kms/22 miles, we’ll be cycling on a superb smooth tarmac section and finish our cycling in Ensenada.

During this last section of cycling you’ll be able to see the incredible Volcan Osorno that now dominates the skyline, with your roadside accompaniment the bright yellow shrubs of this region.

Once the bikes have been loaded up, we visit the ever impressive Saltos de Petrohué – a series of rapids and waterfalls passing over an impressive sculpture of extruded volcanic rock. We’ll be now in the centre of Chile’s first National Park – Parque National Vincente Pérez Rosales (established in 1926). Accommodation tonight is in the relaxed surroundings of Las Cascadas, which is reached after a short transfer, by our support vehicle from Saltos de Petrohué.

Please note: Although the cycling distance today is longer than other days, today’s riding will adhere itself to this longer distance. As always, the support vehicle is at hand for those wishing to do a little less time in the saddle.

Day 4: Cascadas - Villa Angostura (42km/26 miles, 325 m ascent), hotel (B,L)

Dominating the skyline now is the impressive Volcan Osorno (2,660m/8,727ft) which we pass-by on our morning transfer from Cascadas to Salto del Indio. As we reach the edge of Parque National Puyehue it’s time to leave Chile at Paso Cardenal Samore and cross over by bike into Argentina.

With our passports stamped we take a superb well surfaced and pre-dominantly downhill route to Villa La Angostura. Situated on the edge of Lago Nahuel Huapi with its Alpine style architecture set against a backdrop of snow capped peaks and the crystal clear waters.

Day 5: Villa Angostura - Bariloche (59km/37 miles, 525 m ascent), hotel (B,L)

From Lake Nahuel Haupi we follow a largely flat route along the lakeshore. As we pedal make sure to keep your your peeled for Nahuelito, Argentina’s answer to the Loch Ness monster!

Today’s ride really sums up what cycling in the Lake District is all about with views of snow dusted peaks to the left and to your right serene brightly coloured waters. The ride will be around 59km / 35 miles in total with most of the cycling done before lunch, which is taken at Mirador de Bariloche.

This is a great place to take a rest after the morning’s exertions with its stunning views over the Andes and lago Nahuel Huapi, the perfect accompaniment.

We end our cycling day in style with a fast 11 km / 6 miles downhill on asphalt to the junction of Ruta 40 where today’s ride ends.

From here we hop aboard our support vehicle for the 20-30 minute transfer to Bariloche.

With its Swiss style architecture and chocolates, it is known as the St. Moritz of South America and we have set aside the rest of the afternoon to explore this lovely place.

There is perhaps only one way to end the day such a day – a juicy Argentinean steak and majestic Malbec, followed by some tasty chocolate treats.

Day 6: Bariloche - Villa Tráful (35km/22 miles, 560m ascent), cabanas, (B,L)

Having enjoyed the streets of chocolate shops, bars, and the numerous restaurants offering Swiss fondue and huge steaks, we bid farewell to this little part of Switzerland. Initially travelling by support vehicle we soon start our cycling on the road towards Confluencia.

En route there are wonderful rock formations high above us with equally wonderful names, – Tren Expresso, Centilla and Dedo de Dios. We are now in the Valle Encantado, and it certainly feels like it; the views are superb.

From here we follow a gravel and earth track into another very pretty valley with more rock formations and the backdrop of snow capped mountains- this is great cycling. Just before the cycling ends for the day, we spend a little time at Mirador de Lago, which offers not only spectacular views of Lago Traful, but also of the route which you have cycled today.

Pictures taken and superlatives exhausted, we cycle a series of enchanting dips, twists and turns along a wooded track that skirts Lago Tráful, for the final few kms to reach our stop for the night, Villa Tráful.

These cabanas will serve as our lodgings for the night, with dinner taken in the lovely surroundings of this small town.

Day 7: Villa Tráful - San Martin (72km/45 miles, 1200 m ascent), hotel (B,L)

We start our journey cycling directly from Villa Tráful along the beautiful and spectacular Ruta de Siete Lagos (the Seven Lakes Route).

The cycling route today is a real treat as we head towards the town of San Martin de los Andes. Again following a good earth road we roll and wind through woods, past beautiful lakes with snow dusted mountains in the distance.

Shortly before lunch we hop in the support vehicle for a 30-minute transfer to a great picnic spot with beautiful views to help you digest another tasty lunch. This is a very tranquil and special area as we enjoy lunch amongst our surroundings and continue past the lakes.

Back on the bikes the views again are spectacular as we ‘scoot’ along the smooth road towards San Martin de los Andes. Before reaching it we pause to take in the fantastic views and then set off on a ‘grin inducing’ descent to San Martin along kilometers of winding road. Nestled by Lago Lacar and surrounded by mountains San Martin is a real treat.

As we pull into San Martin we are further enthralled by its prettiness. We take our lodgings at a nice hotel in town and suitably refreshed set off to explore the streets.

Day 8: San Martin - Pucon (53km/33 miles, 450m ascent), hotel (B,L)

Today we are re-entering Chile! By vehicle we pass through Junin de los Andes and head for the border at Paso Tromen, unloading our bikes at Mamuil Malal. En route we get our first views of the stunning Volcan Lanin, with its almost perfect snow covered cone.

After the border crossing we are soon in Parque Villarica where the ‘monkey puzzle’ tree forests abound. Today, as with all days, there is the option to cycle as much or as little as you wish, with some people opting to cycle all the way from the pass to El Turbio.

It’s here that we re-board the support vehicle for the short drive to Pucón and our lodgings.

Day 9: Rest day (B)

Pucón is a pleasant town with a good climate which stands on the shores of the beautiful Lago Villarica. We spend the day here exploring the surrounding countryside by bike. Popular routes include rides to one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the area.

For those looking for more adventure there is always a spot of white water rafting or the option to climb Volcan Villarica, a fantastic guided climb up its snowcapped slopes. Please note there is an additional cost to cover the guide and equipment rental.

This is a truly memorable experience as you mount the top and stare into its molten centre. Literally staring into the centre of the earth is a very special feeling. The sulphur fumes are not so special but the ‘surprise’ descent is simply the icing on the cake – certainly a must do!

Overnight in Pucón.

Day 10: Pucón - Conguillio National Park (50km/31 miles, 595m ascent), lodge (B,L)

Breakfast finished we jump into the support vehicle for the transfer to the start of today’s ride.

Today’s riding is mostly on smooth tarmac and largely flat with a gravel climb towards the end of the day, taking us in to the beautiful Parque Conguillio national park.

Today’s ride follows the bottom of a valley devoted to agriculture and makes for a gentler day on the bike.

Our lodgings are in a beautiful wooden lodge in the heart of the park, where we are sure to receive a warm welcome, set in a very private and tranquil setting.

Day 11: Conguillio - Temuco (50km/31 miles, 630m ascent), hotel (B,L)

So if you thought you had seen it all, think again! Parque Conguillio is an absolute gem, as within it stands Volcan Llaima, one of the most active volcanoes in South America.

Initially the riding is through woodland and then suddenly, as if the trees had been blown away, you are confronted with a barren, rocky and ash landscape, the contrast is incredible.

This is the solidified lava flow from previous eruptions and the track of the solidified ‘rivers’ of lava have spread out like fingers over the landscape destroying all in its path. Soon the route re-enters the untouched forests of beech and araucaria where the sun is obliterated by their denseness.

Also passed are the wonderful and tranquil spots of Lago Verde and Lago Conguillio, that serve as a truly fitting end to our cycling as we reach the town of Curacutin. Once here we can change from our cycling clothes and after a celebratory beer or hot drink, make a transfer to our lodgings in or near to Temuco.

Our last night is spent reminiscing about our cycling adventure, with perhaps another glass or ‘two’ of lovely Chilean or Argentinean vino which you’ve been no doubt enjoying during your trip.

Day 12: Transfer out, ends (B)

Having rested at our lodgings and had a final glimpse of the mountains and volcanoes we make our way to Temuco Airport (ZCO). Here you can catch your flight to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, from where you can then catch your international flights home (flights not included).

Prices From $3,950 / £3,350 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Accommodation (shared twin rooms), all meals as per the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner), full tour service including guides, back up vehicles, etc. unless stated at least one leader qualified in First Aid procedures, entrance fees to National Parks or sites which are an integral part of the itinerary, airport collections from Puerto Montt airport and drops offs at Temuco airport on scheduled departure and arrival dates.

What's Not Included?

Flights (we can arrange these for you), visas, medical check up and inoculations, tips for guides, etc, insurance, bar bills, hotel refreshments, laundry, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc, entrance fees to historical sites and museums, airport taxes (if applicable), personal clothing and equipment, bike hire, flight costs for travelling with bike.


We aim to use accommodation which showcases the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting.

Accommodation is a combination of small hotels, lodges and cabañas chosen for their location and hospitality.

Tour Staff

These holidays have at least two guides, and support staff as appropriate. From the very start to the very end of your holiday, the guides take care of all of the daily planning and organisation, leaving you free to get on your bike and enjoy your holiday.

Chile and Argentina cycling holidays are led by our local guide Ernesto, who has been guiding our trips for over 12 years. Ernesto describes his job by saying ‘My passion is to travel, enjoy getting to know cultures at the speed of the bike and then to discover these places and their secrets.’

Ernesto and his team were the first people in Chile to be qualified to Level Two of the Mountain Bike Instructors’ Award Scheme (MIAS), which includes the Road Cycling Module.


Vegetarians and those with specific dietary requirements are be catered for – please indicate at the time of booking if you have any special requirements.

Breakfast and the majority of lunches are included in the holiday cost. Breakfast will generally be a selection of fruit, breads and toppings, tea and coffee.

Lunches will be picnic style bursting with fresh local produce. Dinner will be taken predominantly at local restaurants.

Specialties of the Chilean and Argentinian Lake District includes Parillada de Mariscos (grilled mixed seafood) and for meat lovers, make sure you don’t miss out on a delicious steak.

Activity Level

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness.

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs and possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc).

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Patagonia

For most people, Patagonia evokes a vast, windblown plateau, jagged mountains and the life of the gauchos.

The steppe that occupies much of southern South America is only one aspect of a magical region, jam-packed with amazing and contrasting landscapes.

Patagonia (latitudes 40°-55°, approximately) embraces a vast portion of southern Chile and Argentina, from the Rio Colorado in the north, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.

For convenience, we have divided the region into three zones: the Lakes District of northern Patagonian, central Patagonia and southern Patagonia.

Geography of Patagonia

Southern Patagonia (latitudes 49° to 55°), encompassing the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina plus Tierra del Fuego, has an altogether more vertical aspect than the rest of Patagonia.

As the continent tapers towards its southern point, the Andes take on new characteristics and offer some truly impressive panoramas.

Much of southern Patagonia is characterized by virgin landscapes where man’s hand has either not been present or, because of the scale of the landscapes, goes almost unnoticed. To the west of the semi-arid Patagonian plateau, mile-high granite spires – e.g. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy in Argentina and the Torres and Cuernos del Paine in Chile – rise abruptly from the Andean foothills, while vast blue glaciers, fringed by southern beech forest, gouge out thevalleys below.

At the heart of these magnificent landscapes lies the South Patagonian Ice Field, an utterly remote icy wilderness spanning hundreds of kilometers, whose glaciers – including the Perito Moreno and Upsala – are tens of kilometres long by severalkilometers wide.

Also characteristic of the southern Patagonian Andes are its turquoise, iceberg-filled lakes. To the west lies the southern portion of the Chilean Archipelago, comprising snow-capped islands and fjords.

Across the Magellan Straits from mainland Patagonia lies Tierra del Fuego which, like the rest of Patagonia, is divided between Argentina and Chile.

The north and east of Tierra del Fuego is flat, but flanking the Beagle Channel in the south, the tail end of the Andes provide very dramatic mountain scenery.


The Lake District (latitudes 40° to 45°) or the Araucania, is a region of dramatic conical volcanoes, evergreen, high-canopy forests and, of course, lakes.

It straddles the Chile-Argentine border, and also takes in Chiloe island, in the extreme north of the Chilean Archipelago. This region stretches from Temuco in the north to Chiloe in the south.


Central Patagonia (latitudes 45 to 49) is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. The vast wilderness area can be divided in two:

  • The dry band of Andean foothills and wind-blown plateau lying on the Argentine side of the Andes. This remote area is traversed north to south by a gravel highway known as the Ruta Cuarenta (Highway 40).
  • The Chilean portion to the west of the Andean watershed, often referred to as the Careterra Austral (after the little-used gravel highway that crosses it from north to south).

This huge region, embracing the sparsely-inhabited southern Araucaria and Aisén Region, features temperate rainforests, snow-peaks (often extinct volcanoes), lakes and, to the west, the Chilean Archipelago: a labyrinth of fjords and mountain-islands. This, the Chilean portion of central Patagonia, boasts the northernmost of Patagonia’s many giant, sea-level glaciers.

The San Raphael Glacier, probably this region’s most famous landmark, is an immense hanging glacier whose seracs calve into an iceberg-filled lagoon.


Find out more about Patagonia with our blog about its wildlife.


Patagonia, the very southern tip of South America, has a four-seasons-in-one day climate.

Summer (Nov-March) see temperatures reach up to 20°C, when glorious light pours over the region for up to 18 hours. This is the best time to visit, nevertheless, spring and summer is also when the central and southern Patagonian regions sometimes get buffeted by strong, westerly winds.

Summer days in national parks can also bring sunny, windless conditions, and you may well find yourself hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Afternoons can be warm with lots of sunshine. (Note: Patagonian UV rays are very strong).

It is usually cool and windy all year round but seldom does the temperature fall below freezing point. Some days start with snow and end in balmy sunshine. It is always interesting, and can range from 10°C-20°C in the summer, although the wind can make it feel chilly.

Even in summer (Dec-Mar) you should come prepared to find cold, strong winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfalls. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºC max, 2ºC min). It has been known to snow in camps in summer!

In general, the further south you go, the cooler it gets and the further west you go – towards the Andes and Pacific coast – the wetter and less predictable the weather is. The further east – towards and across the Patagonian plateau – the drier and more stable.

Winter (May-Sept) visits to these southern areas are possible, but many hotels close and not all trips are possible. Daylight hours can be very short and temperatures typically range from -2°C in the winter.

The lack of visitors can greatly improve chances of seeing wildlife in parks such as Paine. Winds tend to die down.



On the South Patagonian Ice Field (average height, 1,500 metres), the appearance of lenticular clouds – signifying changing conditions – can translate into extreme winds (up to 150 kmh) and heavy snowfall. Here, summer pre-dawn temperatures commonly reach -20°C, with wind chill lowering temperatures even more. However, on sunny, windless summer days, you might get away with wearing just a couple of thin layers.

In Peninsula Valdes, it does not rain much in the region on an annual basis, summers are usually mild, and the temperature sometimes gets very hot (touching 30ºC) and then eases off in the evening. The area does get very windy at times, especially on the peninsula, and warm and water/windproof clothing is recommended.

If you head to Ushuaia, due to its extreme southern location, temperatures may remain chilly during summer (Oct-March) the use of plenty of warm layers of clothing. Winter and Antarctic visits will require extreme clothing.

Bike hire, FAQs and more

Extra costs – 2018/2019
Bike Hire: £180
Electric Bike Hire: £195
Single Room Option: £625
Insurance – WW ex N America 17 Day: £100


Bike hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire.

The current models available are 27.5” Giant Talons or Giant XTC’s. All models with front suspension and hard tail, 27 gears, disc breaks and Shimano transmission.

If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.


Travelling with your own bike

The vast majority of airlines will charge you to transport your bike. This amount varies from carrier to carrier but we recommend always booking and paying for this in advance which will usually save you money compared to paying at the airport. Please contact your airline for specific details.

Most airlines will also require your bike to be properly packaged for transport. Most commonly this will be in a bike bag or box specifically designed for the job. There is a wealth of options when it comes to picking the right box or bag for your needs and we would be happy to discuss these with you.



We will cycling on both side of the Andes mountain range at all times in Chile and Argentina Lake district, passing fjords, rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain ranges and of course lakes.

There aren’t any major elevation changes, and the route is approx. 60% on sealed roads and 40% on compacted wide gravel tracks, with light traffic on most of the days. We‘re going to face some steep but short climbs and with fast descents, both on paved and gravel terrain. Great cycling with amazing scenery every day.


Vehicle support

At strategic points (where access allows), you have the security of our support vehicle. In the vehicle there will be some space for tired bikers, allowing the chance of a well-earned break if needed. You will also be able to leave extra layers or spare kit here during the day meaning there is no need to carry any equipment other than that you would carry on a normal day ride.



We provide everything except a bike (although you may hire these from us), personal equipment and clothing. If you are taking your own bike it ideally should be an ‘All Terrain Mountain Bike’ possessing a minimum of 24 gears. Tyres should be suitable for riding on varying terrain – a light mountain bike tyre or heavy touring type. Please contact us if you are unsure whether your bike will be suitable.

During the holiday you will be travelling over some demanding terrain and it is imperative that your bike is in good mechanical order. If you are not mechanically minded your local bicycle dealer should undertake this service. We will of course be taking a full tool kit and a selection of spares.
Details of which spares (if any) you should take and instructions on how to dismantle your bike for the flight(s) will be included in the Information Pack sent with your booking confirmation.


Your allowable baggage is one main piece of luggage per person other than your bike and a small day pack. Your main luggage should preferably be either a backpack / rucksack or ‘sports bag’ so as to assist in transportation. The daypack may be useful for carrying your additional outer-layer clothing and snacks while cycling. This will also be useful as your ‘travel’ bag for items such as cameras, MP3 Players etc.

Please note, if you are flying, baggage allowances vary from airline to airline and all excess baggage charges must be met by you. Some airlines may only include cabin baggage as standard and you will need to request hold baggage separately. Check with your airline or contact us if you are in any doubt about your luggage allowance.



We ask that you fly into Puerto Montt airport (PMC) and back from Temuco airport (ZCO). There are no direct flights to Puerto Montt from the UK, so you will need to fly into Santiago airport (SCL), and then take a connecting flight to Puerto Montt. There are also no direct flights back to the UK from Temuco, so again, you’ll need to fly via Santiago.

Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our transfers.

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.



We provide everything except a bike, personal equipment and clothing.


During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It can and will get cold, especially in the evenings so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for cities.

Below is a more detailed guide.


Detailed kit list – clothing

  • Cycle gloves and helmet.
  • Medium weight parka or a down jacket.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. The jacket needs to be water proof and roomy. Side-zip pants are recommended.
  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts – no cotton
  • 2-3 short-sleeve cycle shirts – no cotton
  • 2 pair of hiking trousers- cotton or synthetic material (no jeans)
  • 1 fleece or sweat trousers (for cold evenings)
  • 2-3 pairs shorts.
  • 2-3 pairs padded cycling shorts.
  • Long thermals – synthetic or wool – light to medium weight top & bottoms.
  • 2-3 mid-weight (wool or synthetic) socks.
  • 2-3 liner socks if needed
  • Athletic-type socks, several pairs, city use
  • Running/tennis shoes or sandals are very comfortable when you are off the bike.
  • 1 lightweight wool sweater or windproof fleece
  • 1 wool or synthetic warm hat for evenings.
  • Cycling hat.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.



  • Bike bag/box (if bringing own bike).
  • Large holdall/rucksack (80-90 litres) for main luggage.
  • Small daypack (25-20 litres).
  • Water bottles / camel-bak.
  • SPDs pedals / shoes / toe clips.
  • Basic repair kit: pump, spare inner tubes and brake pads (we provide a general toolkit on all trips, but please bring any specialist spare parts for your bike with you i.e spokes etc.)



  • 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.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel 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 to help pass the time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.


Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life.

Quick facts about Patagonia


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)



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

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.

A typical day (Salkantay Lodge)

You only carry a lunch bag on Day 1. On day 3, 5, and 6, picnic lunch will be prepared fresh on-site by the cooks and will consist in hot soup, gourmet sandwiches or a hot lunch, snacks and salads.

Additionally, you will be handed a “snack-pack” to carry in your day pack with dry fruits, peanuts, chocolates and fresh fruits.

The trek is rated as moderate to challenging and covers approximately 63 km / 32 miles on uneven, rocky terrain with steep uphill and downhill sections.

Day 3 is the most challenging with an elevation gain of 1,000m / 3,000 feet in a span of 5 km / 3 miles to reach a maximum altitude of 4,640m / 15,200 feet. Prior hiking experience is recommended.

We walk 5-8 hours a day, taking lots of breaks. We wake early, have a hearty breakfast, and lunch is around 12.00-13.00. We aim to get to the lodges in good time, to allow you to relax and enjoy the comfort afforded.

Contact Us
Get in touch