Private Journeys

Family Patagonia: Glacial lakes and mountains

16 days from £7,430pp

Argentina / Chile / Patagonia

iStock ©

Essentials

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.

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.

Currency

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

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.

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

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of 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.

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.

Country info

When is the best time to visit Argentina?

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

What is the official language of Argentina?

Spanish.

What is Argentina's official currency?

Argentine Peso (updated Oct 2019)

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

What's the time difference between Argentina and UK?

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

Which other countries combine well with Argentina?

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

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

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

How do I adapt to the altitude in Argentina?

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

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

What's included in the price

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

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

What's not included in the price

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

What's included in the 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

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

What's not included in the price

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

Inspired by this trip

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

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

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

View Extraordinary Inspiration

Real Latin America Experts

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • JimAshworth
    Jim Ashworth - Travel Consultant

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

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

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

Meet the team