Group - Discovery

Charito: Pure Patagonia

12 days from £2,805pp

Chile / Argentina / Patagonia

CHI_Chiloe_Castro_iStock_868314570

Essentials

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.

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.

Transport

3 flights (longest 3 hours), 4 road journeys (longest 6 hours), 1 journey by boat.

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 the Lapwing Tour which follows a very similar route.

Examples of the hotels include: 

• Santiago: Hotel Torremayor Providencia
• Puerto Varas: Hotel Puelche
• Puerto Natales: Hotel Vendaval
• El Calafate: Hotel Kapenke 
• Buenos Aires: Hotel Kenton Palace

On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch days 4 and 6.

Summary Of Nights

12 days, 11 nights: Santiago 2; Puerto Varas 2; Puerto Natales 3; El Calafate 2; Buenos Aires 2.

Optional Excursions

There is a range of optional excursions available which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $150 USD should cover participation in most of the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. 

The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:  
• Santiago: a day trip to the port town of Valparaiso
• Buenos Aires: evening tango show with dinner

Budget

A budget of around $45 USD per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir for most of the tour. In Argentina this might be more like $50-60 USD. Although economic instability in Argentina means that prices can change frequently.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN 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 you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by travellers who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).

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

Currency

The unit of currency in Chile is the peso chileno, and in Argentina the peso argentino.

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

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.

If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6 per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport Taxes

International departure tax and domestic airline taxes are normally included in the price of the ticket.

Journey Grade

This is an active trip. Walks vary in length from 4-10 hrs and cover steep and sometimes slippery terrain. On the whole trails are clear and good underfoot. A good level of physical fitness is required to make the most of walks in Torres del Paine. Paths are linear, so you can turn back if you feel that you do not want to carry on. If you don’t want to walk, alternative ways of enjoying the landscapes can be arranged.

Consult your tour leader if you need any advice about the specifics of the walks. Be prepared for some early mornings, and for extreme weather conditions in Patagonia.

Climate

In Santiago and Buenos Aires, October, November, March and April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine.  January and February  are hot, around 30°C or higher, with tropical rain showers possible in Buenos Aires. 

The weather in the south is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. During the southern hemisphere summer (October to March) you may be subjected to anything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time and it can get extremely cold.

Clothing And Special Equipment

A daypack is essential for carrying rainwear, snacks, books and a water bottle. Those who feel the cold should take thermal underwear. To ensure your comfort while walking in Patagonia, you should bring good waterproof walking boots (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.

The sun can be strong so take a hat with a visor, sunglasses and sunblock. Some walkers find hiking poles helpful, and binoculars are useful for bird- and 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: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Travelling Alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.

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.

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

What's included in the price

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

Included Excursions

  • Santiago: walking tour of city
  • Chiloé: full day tour of the island
  • Puerto Natales: full day boat excursion to Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers
  • Torres del Paine: 2 full days in the national park
  • El Calafate: Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Buenos Aires: city tour

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and insurance
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions
  • Some domestic flight taxes

What's included in the price

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

Included Excursions

  • Santiago: walking tour of city
  • Chiloé: full day tour of the island
  • Puerto Natales: full day boat excursion to Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers
  • Torres del Paine: 2 full days in the national park
  • El Calafate: Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Buenos Aires: city tour

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and insurance
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions
  • Some domestic flight taxes

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

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Real Latin America Experts

  • 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.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

Meet the team