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Family Patagonia: Glacial lakes and mountains

Transport

4 flights (longest 5hrs); 2 scenic road journeys (longest up to 7hrs).

Accommodation

This holiday offers good mid-range accommodation, from functional, modern and well-equipped hotels in the towns and cities to a fixed tent camp with cosy furnished en suite domed tents; well located in Torres del Paine National Park with staggering views.

Meals

Breakfast daily; lunch days 3, 5; dinner day 7; full board days 8-10; 13, 14.

Guides

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.

Included excursions

  • Guided excursion to gaucho ranch, with show.
  • Guided adventure in 4WD vehicle, Los Glaciares National Park. 
  • Guided excursion to Perito Moreno glacier and mini-trekking or boat trip on the lake.
  • Excursions and activities in Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Guided city tour in Santiago.
  • Guided explorations in the Atacama Desert.

Summary of nights

16 days, 15 nights: Buenos Aires 3; El Calafate 3; Torres del Paine 3; Santiago 2; San Pedro de Atacama 3; Santiago 1.

Included in the journey price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office.
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
  • All land and air transport within Latin America.
  • Accommodation as specified.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• International flights to Latin America.
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions.

Currency

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

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of US$35-50 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.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

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.

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.

Journey grade

There are several flights and some long drives but the road surface is generally good. 

This holiday is suitable for all able-bodied, reasonably fit family members.  If any of you have a disability or other special requirements, please call us.

In Torres del Paine National Park all walks are optional. Hikes vary in length (between 2 and 8 hours) and difficulty (most are easily followed and relatively flat).  

The glacier mini-trekking is limited to those over 10 years of age and under 65 years; and is not appropriate if you have mobility problems or are pregnant. In the case of those excluded we will offer the regular Perito Moreno excursion with a boat trip. 

Be prepared for some early mornings, and for extreme weather conditions in the south.

Climate

Winter in the Southern Hemisphere is between May and September. In Buenos Aires and Santiago, temperatures can be cool (5°C – to 15°C). While sunshine is possible, so is rain. Spring and autumn temperatures, October to November and March to April respectively, are between 15 and 25°C and there is a good deal of pleasant sunshine. January and February are hot, around 30°C, and while mostly dry in Santiago there can be tropical downpours in Buenos Aires. 

The weather in the far south is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. During the southern hemisphere summer (October to March) there can be blizzards or heat waves.  The adage “four seasons in a day” is very apt here. In winter, days are short and snow is not uncommon, but it is rarely much below freezing, because of the moderating influence of the sea.

The Atacama Desert is hot (18-30°C) and dry for much of the year, though temperatures fall substantially at night when it is clear and the mornings are chilly. In January and February the region can be susceptible to heavy rains coming from the Bolivian Andes.

Clothing and special equipment

Even in stylish Buenos Aires, dress is casual or smart casual except for the classiest restaurants. For the holiday as a whole you will need a variety of clothing, from light trousers, shorts, cotton dresses, skirts or T shirts through to fleeces and waterproof outer shells. A hat and gloves are advisable for the far south.  Good comfortable footwear is essential.

A day pack is advisable, for carrying rainwear, snacks, books and a water bottle.  The sun in summer can be strong so take a hat with a visor, sunglasses and sunblock. Some families find hiking poles helpful and binoculars are useful for wildlife spotting. 

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.

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 wesite.

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.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

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

This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.

Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.
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Family Patagonia: Glacial lakes and mountains

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Family Patagonia: Glacial lakes and mountains

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The total price above excludes international flights at beginning and end of your trip. To add flights speak to one of our experts on 020 8747 8315.
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