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Group - Discovery

Untouched Aisen: Little-known Patagonia

15 days from £3,688pp

Argentina / Chile / Patagonia

Carretera Austral

Essentials

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Tour Leader

On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.

Summary Of Nights

15 days 14 nights, Buenos Aires 2, Esquel 2, Futaleufú 1, Puerto Puyuhuapi 2, Coyhaique 1, Puerto Bertrand/Guadal 2, Puerto Rio Tranquilo 2, Santiago 2.

Accommodation

For our Discovery Journeys we aim to use good quality, value-for-money accommodation, in a mix of larger more modern and smaller family run hotels. All the properties we use are well maintained and rooms will have a private bathroom with hot water.

The focus of these trips is on getting outside, seeing the sights, and experiencing local restaurants and cafes, therefore a few hotels may not have evening dining facilities. If you prefer more luxurious accommodation, please see our classic tours range.

The nature and size of the accommodation means that we use a number of properties depending on availability.We normally use the following properties on this tour:

• Buenos Aires: Hotel Kenton Palace
• Esquel: Cumbres Blancas
• Futaleufú: Hosteria Rio Grande
• Puerto Puyuhuapi: Casa Ludwig or Hostal Alemana
• Coyhaique: Belisario Jara
• Puerto Bertrand/Puerto Guadal: Terra Luna
• Puerto Tranquillo: El Puesto
• Santiago: Hotel Torremayor Provendencia

Transport

2 flights (longest 3.5 hours).All land transport is operated privately for the group.

Meals

Breakfast daily.

Optional Excursions

On this tour the price includes excursions in all the places you visit as per the itinerary. There will however likely be some free time when you may choose to take part in an optional excursion. These are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America, however we are more than happy to advise you of what is on offer in advance of your holiday so you can best plan the excursions that suit you.

Travelling Alone

There is no extra charge for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge. In some places single rooms may not be available in which case you’ll share with another member of the group of the same sex.

Trip Suitability

This is a reasonably active trip and there will be several opportunities for walking. Walks will vary in length and cover steep and sometimes slippery terrain. Consult your tour leader if you need any advice about the specifics of the walks. Throughout the Journey there is time to relax and explore on your own if you wish. Be prepared for some early mornings, long days driving and for extreme weather conditions in Patagonia.

Climate

This holiday only operates in October with Argentina and Chile having the opposite seasons to the UK, it will be entering the warmest summer months. The further south you travel in the country the cooler it gets, although this varies with altitude. A comprehensive overview of the weather in all the regions you are visiting can be found in our Destination pages. Our Travel Experts can answer your questions on climate and further details will be sent with your confirmation documents.

Clothing, Equipment and Luggage

A daypack is essential for carrying rainwear, snacks, books/tablet and a water bottle. To ensure your comfort while walking in Patagonia, you should bring good waterproof walking boots/shoes (tried and tested so you don’t get blisters) as well as a good water/windproof (not just shower-proof) jacket and trousers, a warm hat and a scarf. Some walkers find hiking poles helpful, and binoculars are useful for bird and wildlife spotting. Bring a hat with a visor, sunglasses and sun block. Because the weather can be changeable, we recommend wearing layered clothing for excursions.

Please take note that Aerolineas Argentinas (who will operate some of the internal flights) permit a maximum of 15kg hold luggage on most domestic flights. Excess luggage can be paid for locally for a small fee. Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts.

Money

Please see the Country Info tab on this holiday for our latest currency information and advice about how to take your spending money. Tipping in Latin America is almost always done using cash. It is customary to tip tour leaders, local guides, drivers, boat crews and other service providers such as restaurant staff and porters. Full tipping guidelines are sent with your confirmation documents as is advice on local costs.

Health, Entry Requirements and Insurance

For health information on travelling to Argentina and Chile including recommended vaccinations, please see https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

All Latin American countries have specific entry regulations related to Covid 19. Please also check our Travel Hub for further information.

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Other nationalities should enquire with us or check with the consulates.

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on the Travel insurance website.

Our full briefing dossier contains more information on vaccinations, visas and insurance and will be provided with your final travel documents or can be requested from your travel consultant at any time.

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.
For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What is the official language of Argentina?

Spanish.

What is Argentina's official currency?

Argentine Peso.

Argentina is cash-orientated. Although in Buenos Aires and main tourist centres cards are widely used, in more remote areas often 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 some hotels. Many (mid-range and up). Tips are always given 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).

It is easy to obtain Argentine Pesos at ATMs and Casas de Cambio at the official exchange rate. You may hear the term dólar blue (blue dollar), which refers to US Dollars bought by black market currency traders who operate in major cities, often on the street or in so-called 'cuevas'. Substantially better rates of exchange are available on the black market. Although widely used you should be aware that obtaining funds in this way is not risk free (nor is it legal). If you use unofficial money changers be aware of your surroundings and alert to the higher likelihood of receiving forged notes.

It is common for shops and businesses to offer substantial discounts if you pay in US Dollars cash. Also, you may receive your change in Pesos, often at a much better rate than the official rate.

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

Country info

When's the best time to visit Chile?

Thanks to its size and shape, Chile is a year-round destination. 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 generally warm and sunny, as a rule the further south in Patagonia you go the more unpredictable the weather. Santiago and Valparaiso have a Mediterranean-type climate, with very warm summers and cool winters (ski season is Jul-Aug). San Pedro de Atacama enjoys sunshine and warm temperatures year-round, influenced by altitude and the high Andes, with cool nights Jul-Sep and a chance of heavy rains in Jan-Mar. Easter Island has pleasant temperatures all year, warmest Oct-Mar, cooler Jun-Sep.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Chile?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Chile?

Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor. Non-resident foreign guests at hotels in Chile do not normally pay the 19% VAT on most extras (such as food and drink consumed on the premises) if the bill is settled in US$ (cash or credit card) upon checking out.

What's the time difference between Chile and UK?

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar.

What countries combine well with Chile?

Bolivia, accessing the south of country from San Pedro de Atacama, travelling via salt lakes of the Salar de Uyuni; Argentina, crossing the Andes over one of several scenic passes: from the Atacama Desert in the north to Salta, from Santiago to Mendoza, via the lakes crossing from Puerto Varas to Bariloche in the lake district and from Torres del Paine to El Calafate in Patagonia.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Chile?

Tapati festival, Easter Island: normally during the first 2 weeks of February with traditional music, dance and sports.

New Year’s Eve, Valparaiso: impressive firework displays.

What do I need to know about altitude in Chile?

Whilst a typical holiday in Patagonia presents no challenges with altitude, parts of northern Chile (Lauca National Park and parts of the Atacama Desert) offer a spectacular introduction to the high Andes, with several attractions at over 3,000m. 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 Journey Latin America tour leader
  • All land and domestic air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Buenos Aires: City tour
  • La Trochita train journey or Los Alerces National Park, Esquel
  • Queulat National Park and glacier
  • Puerto Rio Tranquilo: Glacier Exploradores and boat trip to Capillas de Marmol

What's not included in the price

  • 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 Journey Latin America tour leader
  • All land and domestic air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Buenos Aires: City tour
  • La Trochita train journey or Los Alerces National Park, Esquel
  • Queulat National Park and glacier
  • Puerto Rio Tranquilo: Glacier Exploradores and boat trip to Capillas de Marmol

What's not included in the price

  • 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 Expert

    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 Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    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 a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Millie Davies
    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

Meet the team