Santiago to Buenos Aires via Ushuaia Trip Notes

Santiago to Buenos Aires via Ushuaia

Last Modified: 23 Jan 2016
Santiago to Buenos Aires via Ushuaia
Trip code: GDOD
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2018
Travel through the windswept beauty of Patagonia on this journey through some of the planet's most stunning scenery. Relax in the cafes of Santiago and be enchanted by the beauty of Bariloche before exploring some of the world's most breathtaking glacial scenery. Admire sweeping vistas while trekking through pristine wilderness, spot exotic animals and marvel at the immensity of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Travel across the vast Pampas of Argentina before finishing the adventure in electric Buenos Aires. Along the way, meet friendly locals and be swept up by the irresistible charm of this region abundant in natural beauty and wildlife.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency contact
ThemesImportant notesEmergency funds
MapGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Physical preparationTransportResponsible Travel
Included activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
KittyJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingFinish point instructions
Style
Basix
  • Our Basix style trips are designed for travellers who want exceptional value, plenty of free time and having the flexibility to choose where and how their time and money is spent. By working plenty of free time into the itineraries and keeping many of the activities optional, we aim to make travel possible for those on even the most slender of budgets. After all, why pay for an activity or excursion you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in? Or a level of comfort you don’t require? As a wise person probably once said, a bed's just a bed when there's exploring to be done.
Themes
Overland
Map
Santiago to Buenos Aires via Ushuaia
Itinerary
Day 1 Santiago
Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport.
Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
Please note that the trip will leave Santiago tomorrow morning, so we suggest you might fly to Santiago at least a day earlier if you want to visit any sites in the city.
In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel
Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel
Happy House Hostel
Moneda 1829
Santiago
Chile
Tel - +56 2 2688 4849
Activity - Approximate Cost
Discover all of Santiago's sights on a hop-on/hop-off bus around the city - CLP 21000
Take in the breathtaking vista of the city skyline
backdropped by the mighty Andes, from the viewpoints at Cerro San Cristobal or Cerro San Lucia - Free
Learn more about Santiago and its history on a free walking tour of the centre from a knowledgeable local guide
- Free
Explore the streets and plazas of Santiago, visit some of its fascinating museums, and discover its incredible
culture, music, and art - Free
About Santiago:
Bisected by the Mapocho River, Chile's capital is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline.
Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There are plenty of interesting museums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s
history to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristobal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia.
As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats, full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central (central market) which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want
to head out to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brasil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here.
If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city. Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it isrelatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valapariso,
which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 2 Pucon
Today we leave Santiago for a full day drive south to the beautiful Lake District of Chile and the lakeside town of Pucon.
In Pucon we will stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors -
flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
About Pucon:
Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alos or New Zealand have to offer. Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy
peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and camping. The attractive small town of Pucon is located at the heart of the northern Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano, a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of
the surrounding area from the summit. In fact the whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some great self-guided walks.Alternatively Pucon offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain-biking opportunities. And if all this talk of activity just sounds a little too much, there are also some great thermal springs to relax in nearby, the natural pools at Pozones have a beautiful setting and is a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening.
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Pucon
We will have two free days in Pucon to enjoy a range of optional activities, including a sunrise expedition to climb the Villarica volcano which looms over Pucon, heading out horse riding through the surrounding forests, or an evening visit to the nearby natural hot springs.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Trek up to the summit of the snowcapped volcano
Villarica to witness the incredible sunrise views over Pucon and the Chilean Lake District - CLP 50000
Discover the beautiful lakes and forests of Pucon on a horse riding trip - CLP 20000
Relax in the soothing waters of the Pozones natural hot springs - CLP 10000
Explore the stunning views and hiking trails of the nearby Huerquehue National Park - CLP 22000
Learn all about Pucon and the history of its people on a free walking tour of the town - Free
Explore the spectacular Lake District near Pucon by mountain bike - CLP 8000
Head on an exciting white-water rafting trip on the rapids of the Trancura River near Pucon - USD 45
Take part in a fantastic canyoning expedition through the gorges of the Chilean Lake District near Pucon - CLP 20000
Climb the stunning volcano of Quetrupillan near Pucon, an ideal alternative to Villarica if that option is closed - CLP 40000
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Day 5 Barlioche
Border information: Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal.
Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route).
In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a friendly family-run hostel outside of town.
Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.
About Bariloche:
The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Hapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a must to get out and explore and take in all the amazing views. In winter, the town is a popular centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat
trip across to Victoria Island.
Bariloche itself is also an interesting place to wander around. The town is famous for it's handmade chocolates and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops. Because of it's popularity with
Argentinians as well as international tourists, the town has a lively bar and restaurant scene, with some great places to choose from. This is a particularly good place to sample some world class Argentinian steak, and wild boar and Patagonian lamb is also worth a try here too.
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Bariloche
We will have two free days to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak, boat, or even a historic steam train!
Activity - Approximate Cost
Explore the beautiful scenery of Bariloche by horseback on a riding trip through the area - ARS 450
Take a stunning journey on the historic steam train
between Bariloche and Perito Moreno Los Juncos, taking in the amazing scenery of the Patagonian steppe - USD 50
Freely explore the best viewpoints around Bariloche and some of the locals' favourite spots, such as the summit of Cerro Campanario, the beautiful beach of Playa Bonita, and the delightful waterfalls of Los Duendes - Free
Explore the nearby Lago Gutierrez and take in its amazing views from the water on a half-day tandem
kayaking trip - ARS 200
Visit the interesting Fenoglio Chocolate Museum in Bariloche, and learn all about the town's tradition of
chocolate making - ARS 50
Hire mountain bikes to explore the forests and hills surrounding Lake Nauhel Huapi and Bariloche - ARS 180
Discover the incredible scenery of the Nauhel Huapi Lake and the Victoria Islands on a boat trip from Bariloche - ARS 150
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Day 8 Argentinian Patagonia
Today we embark on a full day drive south towards the Patagonia region on the
legendary Ruta 40 (Route 40).
Tonight we will wild camp in the Rio Mayo area.
Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.
About Argentinian Patagonia:
Patagonia is the name of the region in the far south of South America, the southernmost stretch of the Andes and the surrounding plains and plateau. The area is split down the middle, with Chilean Patagonia on the east, and Argentinian Patagonia on the west. Renowned for its desolate landscape, unrelenting winds and magnificent lake, mountain and glacial scenery, the name Patagonia comes from the word "Patagon", used by the explorer Magellan to describe the local people who he believed to be giants. Today historians
believe that the Patagons were actually Teheulches, with an average height of about 1.8m (or 5' 11) as oppose to 1.55m (5' 1) which was the average height of a Spaniard at the time. Argentinian Patagonia includes the spectacular national parks of Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego, home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Argentinian Lake District and the Fitzroy Range.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 9 Rio Pinturas/Cueva de las Manos
Today we continue our drive south to the Rio Pinturas area, where we have an included visit to the mysterious Neolithic cave-art site of Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands), some of the most well-preserved ancient art in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Tonight we will wild camp near the Cueva de las Manos.
Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Visit the UNESCO site of Cueva de las Manos, a set of mysterious rock paintings made by hunter-gatherers over
10,000 years ago - Included in Kitty
About Cueva De Las Manos:
The world heritage site of Cueva de las Manos lies in an isolated spot in the valley of Rio Pinturas. The cave takes it's name from the hundreds of paintings of hands made by it's indigenous inhabitants some 9000 years ago - possibly the forefathers of the Tehuelche people. As well as the hand impressions, there are also depictions of of human beings, guanaco, rhea and other animals, as well as representations of the sun, moon and hunting scenes.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 10 El Chalten
Today we will drive into the heart of the Patagonia region and reach the tiny town of El Chalten, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities.
In El Chalten we stay in dorm beds in a hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.
About El Chalten:
The clouds that form around the summit of the surrounding mountains were mistaken for smoke, which gave the name "Chalten" which means volcano. The picturesque landscape is a perfect place for hiking, as there is so much to explore and the rewards of constant beautiful sights gives a perfect reason to hike.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 11-13 Los Glaciares National Park/El Chalten
We will have three free days to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and the incredible scenery of the nearby Mt. Fitzroy. There are lots of trekking and walking opportunities here, as well as boat trips, ice climbing on the Viedma Glacier, horse riding, and many other fantastic options.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Head out horse riding around the phenomenal scenery of El Chalten - ARS 600
Freely explore and trek around the walking trails of Los Glaciares National Park, taking in the marvellous vistas of the Fitzroy mountain range - Free
Take a boat out onto the stunning Viedma Lake, and get up close to the Viedma Glacier to see its impressive
facade (with options to do some ice trekking on the glacier!) - ARS 700
Enjoy an exhilarating day of ice trekking and climbing on the Cerro Torre Glacier, dramatically located at the base of the impossibly-steep spire of Cerro Torre - USD 74
Visit the majestic Lago del Desierto, a remote and serene lake surrounded by stunning forests and mountains - ARS 500
About Los Glaciares National Park:
Los Glaciares National Park is probably home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Argentina, if not South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest. By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot. There are plenty of well established trails through the park and maps can be picked up locally, so you can plan a short walk that will just take you a couple of hours, or the more
adventurous might choose to hike out for a whole day or even overnight. Los Glaciares covers a massive area and there are two main gateways to the park; to the south, El Calafate provides access to Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier and surrounding area, then in the North, the small town of El Chalten can be used as a base to explore the Fitzroy Mountains and Lake Viedma and it's glacier.
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Day 12 Itinerary
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 14 Argentinian Patagonia
Today we will leave El Chalten and head south, overlanding across the Patagonian steppe and heading towards the southern island of Tierra del Fuego.
Tonight we will wild camp at a stunning ancient crater called Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon).
Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 15 Tierra Del Fuego
Border information: Exit Argentina at Integracion Austral, enter Chile at Integracion Austral
Continuing south, we head back into Chile to cross the Magellan Straits over to the island of Tierra del Fuego. Here we will visit the small King Penguin colony that have recently set up home at the remote Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay).
Tonight we will wild camp near Bahia Inutil.
Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Head out to the remote corner of Chilean Tierra del Fuego to view the King Penguin colony at Bahia Inutil, the
only colony of these type of penguins outside of Antarctica - Included in Kitty
About Tierra Del Fuego:
Tierra del Fuego ("Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits. Most of the island belongs to Chile, but 30% of the archipelago is in Argentina, including Argentina's southernmost town, Ushuaia. This is Patagonia at its most remote,with a landscape of windswept
plains, forests and swamplands, home to Rheas, Condors, Buzzard Eagles, Seals and Sea Lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. Originally the home of the Yamana and Ona Indians, sadly there are not any indigenous communities left here. The people who inhabit Tierra del Fuego today are the descendants
of the colonial settlers who came here from Europe in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mostly from Britain, Spain and Yugoslavia.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 16 Ushuaia
Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San Sebastian
Today we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world!
In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.
About Ushuaia:
Ushuaia lies at the southernmost tip of the Americas, the most southerly city on the island of Tierra del Fuego and often referred to as "the city at the end of the world". The town itself is low-lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel. Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a Britishfunded mission in the late 1800's and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a sleepy small town has grown
rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here.
There's plenty to do in Ushuaia and the surrounding area. The town itself is home to an interesting museum where you can learn more about the history of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and the indigenous people who originally lived here. The surrounding scenery is also impressive, so it's worth getting out on a boattrip
into the Beagle Channel, which will give you some great views of town with the Martial range in the background. You can also explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, another beautiful spot with some spectacular lake and mountain scenery.
The area is famous for its biting winds, so remember to pack your thermal undies if you're heading here, whatever time of year you're going to be visiting!
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 17 Tierra Del Fuego, Ushuaia
We will have two free days in the wonderful remote town of Ushuaia, with plenty of time for optional activities such as a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park, boat trips to see the scenery and wildlife of the Beagle Channel, or heading out horse riding along the coast.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Take a boat trip out on the famous Beagle Channel to view the native sea lions and birds - ARS 650
Explore the haunting beauty of Tierra del Fuego National Park and wander its atmospheric walking trails on a day tour from Ushuaia - ARS 500
Head out to the impressive Martial Glacier near Ushuaia, taking in the beautiful scenery of the Darwin Mountains and the Beagle Channel - USD 25
Learn all about Tierra del Fuego's history and nature at the 'Museum of the End of the World' in Ushuaia - ARS 90
Discover the beautiful scenery of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel on a horse riding trip to the nearby Susana's
Mountain viewpoint - ARS 1100
Enjoy an active day out in Tierra del Fuego National Park with a 7-kilometre trek to the scenic Lago Roca followed by a canoeing trip down the Lapataia River - ARS 700
Explore the excellent trails around the hills and forests of Ushuaia by hiring a mountain bike - ARS 150
Take a journey along the Rio Pipo on the 'Train to the End of the World', once built by prisoners at Ushuaia's old penal colony - USD 30
Delve into Ushuaia's past and learn about its maritime tradition and former prison colony at the Maritime
Museum - ARS 150
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 18 Itinerary
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 19 Magellan Straits
Border information: Exit Argentina at San Sebastian, enter Chile at San Sebastian.
Today we start heading back north on a full day drive back across the Magellan Straits and up the Chilean side of the mainland.
Tonight we will wild camp near the ruins of an abandoned estancia!
Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 20 Torres del Paine National Park
Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and the main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders! We will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up our local guides and cook who will accompany us during our time in the National Park.
Tonight we will camp at a stunning lakeside campsite inside the National Park with incredible views of the main mountain range.
Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Entrance into the phenomenal Torres del Paine National
Park in southern Chile, an area of some of the most outstanding natural beauty, breathtaking mountain vistas, and idyllic trekking opportunities in the world - Included in Kitty
About Torres Del Paine National Park:
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park it's name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it's also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as flamingoes, condors and other birds.
The best way to explore is definitely to get out there on foot or perhaps on horse-back. The park is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes, or by doing a circular hike like the W-walk, taking a few days and stopping off at the parks refugios or camping along the way. Horse-riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoe in season.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 21 Torres Del Paine National Park
During the next few days our included package in Torres del Paine (referred to here as the 'base package') will get to walk part of the famous W-walk circuit with a local guide.
You can also complete the full W-walk if you have pre-booked this option - this cannot be booked on arrival, so please contact Dragoman Sales if you would like to take part in the full trek.
Today we will all take the catamaran across a lake to the Paine Grande campsite. From here, our group will split into two - the base package group and the W-walk extension group. Each group will then walk with their respective local guides to a viewpoint over the spectacular Grey Glacier. We will then walk back down to Paine Grande, where we will spend the night camping.
Approximate walking distance: 22 km, estimated duration: 8 hrs.
Activity - Approximate Cost
The extension package is to include the entire of the famous W-walk in Torres del Paine - included are two extra nights camping on the trail with facilities, food for the duration of the trek ,and the service of an expert
English-speaking local guide.
Please note that this package must be pre-booked in advance through your sales agent. Please book as early as
possible to ensure availability and avoid disappointment! For further information on the W-walk
please refer to the detailed trip notes.- GBP 140
Base package
Guided 'base package' to trek part of the famous W-walk - included is the trek to Grey Glacier and the trek to the
towers of Torres del Paine. The package includes camping with facilities in Paine Grande, food during the
trekking days and the service of an expert Englishspeaking local guide. - Included in Kitty
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 22 Torres Del Paine National Park
Base package group: If you have not opted for the optional W-walk extension package, you will have free time around Paine Grande this morning to freely explore. You will then board the catamaran back across the lake, where the truck will meet you and drive you to back to our base campsite for the night.
W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional W-walk extension, you will leave Paine Grande and trek up the French Valley with your local guide. From here you will continue trekking to Campsite Cuernos where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 27 km, estimated duration: 11 hrs.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 23 Torres Del Paine National Park
Base package group: Today is a free day for those that have not booked the optional W-walk extension package. There are many short walks and other fantastic optional activities available near our campsite, or alternatively it's a
great day simply relax and enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite.
W-walk extension group: For those on the optional W-walk extension package, you will continue your trek with your local guide along the Lago Nordenskjold to Las Torres Campsite where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 11 km, estimated time: 5 hrs.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Take in the stunning views of Torres del Paine on a horse riding trip through the National Park - CLP 30000
Head out on a fantastic boat trip on the Grey Lake to get up close to the colossal Grey Glacier - CLP 55000
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 24 Torres Del Paine National Park
Today is our last full day in this beautiful National Park.
Base package group: The Dragoman truck will take you to the base of the famous three peaks which give the National Park its name. From there you will walk up to the breathtaking viewpoint of the Torres with the base
package guide, before making your way back to the truck, reuniting with the W-walkers and heading back to the base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.
W-walk extension group: This morning you will trek up to the incredible viewpoint of the Torres with the W-walk guide, then come back down to Las Torres Campsite where the Dragoman truck will be waiting to return everyone to the base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 25 Perito Moreno Glacier/El Calafate
Border information: Exit Chile at Cerro Castillo, enter Argentina at Cerro Castillo.
Today we re-enter Argentina for the final time and drive to El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier.
In El Calafate we stay in dorm beds in a lovely hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.
About El Calafate:
El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling small town atmosphere thanks to a growing tourist trade. Most people base themselves here whilst visiting the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are
guaranteed to return to Patagonia.
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 26 El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier
Today we will head out on an included full day guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia.
Activity - Approximate Cost
See the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier from the most breathtaking and photogenic viewpoints on a guided day tour from El Calafate - Included in Kitty
Get even closer to the impressive glacier of Perito Moreno with a boat trip in front of its mighty face - ARS 200
Learn all about glaciers at the fantastic modern Glaciarium Museum in El Calafate, and visit its cool ice bar in the basement! - ARS 200
Explore the Perito Moreno glacier on an incredible full day expedition, trekking through the forests and onto the
glacier itself using crampons (please note that this is an alternative to the regular tour as there will not be enough time for both - however you will stop at the main viewpoint on your way back to El Calafate at the end of the excursion) - ARS 1200
Accommodation
Hostel (1 nt)
Day 27 Camarones
Today we will have a full day drive across the plains of Patagonia towards the South Atlantic coast.
Tonight we will camp in a basic campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.
Activity - Approximate Cost
See the incredible fossilised conifer trees of the Jaramillo Petrified Forest, the remnants of a 40-million year old forest naturally preserved in stone (if time and road conditions allow) - Free
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 28 Camarones
Today we continue our drive north up the Atlantic coast to the small town of Camarones. If time and conditions allow we might visit the Jaramillo Petrified Forest en route.
In Camarones we will camp in a basic campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Visit the huge colony of Magellanic Penguins at the
remote area of Cabo Dos Bahias near Camarones on the South Atlantic coast - Included in Kitty
About Camarones:
Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías are both important nesting sites for large colonies of Magellanic penguins, Camarones alone is home to around 25,000. Between September and April, the penguins come to these sites to incubate their eggs and prepare their offspring for migration. Each couple stand in front
of their nests, protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 29 Puerto Madryn/Valdez Peninsula
This morning we have an included visit to the incredible remote colony of Magellanic Penguins in Cabo Dos Bahias (Cape Two Bays), close to the town of Camarones. After seeing the phenomenal sight of thousands of penguins nesting on the shore, we will continue our drive north to the coastal town of Puerto Madryn.
In Puerto Madryn we will camp in a basic campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.
About Puerto Madryn:
Puerto Madryn is a port town on the atlantic coast of Argentina, gateway to the Valdez Peninsula, known for its wildlife. The town is also popular with locals as a beach destination and it can become quite busy in summer months with Argentinian holiday-makers. The original settlers here were Welsh, founding the port and colonising the Chubut River valley. Some of the smaller communities are still fiercely Welsh, retaining many of the original immigrants traditions and customs, and in places like Gaiman you can even go for a Welsh afternoon tea in one of the local tea houses. Whilst the Welsh language was kept alive for over four generations, it is now gradually dying out, although the area still offers an interesting insight into the lives of the people who landed here during the latter part of the last century.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 30 Puerto Madryn
Today we will have a free day for optional activities in and around Puerto Madryn. There is the opportunity to take a tour to the Valdes Peninsular to see its desolate scenery and abundant marine life, head out on a boat trip in search of dolphins and whales, or perhaps go for afternoon tea in a Welsh tea house in the nearby towns of Gaiman or Trelew.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Make a trip to the desolate Peninsular Valdes near Puerto Madryn, a UNESCO World Heritage site full of elephant
seals and sea lions in their natural habitat - ARS 800
Set off on a boat trip on to the Atlantic Ocean from Puerto Madryn or Rawson, in search of playful Commerson's or Dusky dolphins and Southern Right whales! - ARS 400
Visit the fascinating modern marine interpretation centre of EcoCentro Mar Patagonia, and learn all about the
unique ecosystems of the Patagonian sea - ARS 125
Explore the incredible shipwrecks and rocky reefs under the water on a scuba diving trip in the Golfo Nuevo off
the shore of Puerto Madryn - USD 150
Discover the incredible colony of sea lions at Punta Loma, near to Puerto Madryn - ARS 100
Visit the outstanding Museum of Paleontology in the near Welsh town of Trelew, and see the impressive ancient
remains of the the dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures found in the area - ARS 95
Explore the intriguing Welsh village of Gaiman near Trelew, visit one of its iconic tea houses, and see the famous junk-art installations of the Desafio Park - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 31 Monte Hermoso
Today we have a full day's drive heading north towards Buenos Aires. We will see a definite change in the landscape today as the vegetation becomes more and more lush and green as we come out of the Patagonia region and into the pampas of Buenos Aires.
Tonight we will wild camp en route, possibly in the coastal village of Monte Hermoso.
Estimated Drive Time - 12 hours.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 32 Buenos Aires
Another full day drive will take us across the beautiful grasslands of Buenos Aires province and to the cosmoplitan Argentine capital itself.
In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 11 hours.
About Buenos Aires:
At the mouth of the River Plate lies Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina. It's a buzzing, energetic city that often feels more European than Latin American, so much so that it's often referred to as "the Paris of the South". Not surprising when you consider how much the city has been influenced by immigration, with it's large Italian and Spanish communities.
There is a huge amount to do see and do here and a good place to start is with a city tour, which will help you get your bearings and see all the main sights. You can take in a lot on foot, as the wide streets are very pedestrian friendly and the underground metro system is cheap and easy to navigate. The neighbourhoods of San Telmo, Recoleta and Palermo are certainly all worth exploring, San Telmo for it's olde worlde charm, antique shops and Sunday street market, Palermo for it's unique quirky shops and restaurants and Recoleta is the "Mayfair" of Buenos Aires and home to the La Recoleta cemetry, Eva "Evita" Peron's final resting place. The waterfront area known as La Boca is also worth a look, this slightly down-at-heel neighbourhood is Buenos Aires' most colourful barrio, the ramshackle buildings painted in a rainbow of different bright colours.
In the evenings, you are also spoilt for choice. Buenos Aires has a vibrant nightlife, with a huge number of bars and night clubs to choose from. Restaurants here vary from cheap and cheerful to world class and it's a great place to get stuck into some of Argentina's finest steak and red wine. Of course this is also the home of Tango, and there are many evening Tango shows you can buy tickets for, or if you want a more "real" Tango experience you can check the local papers for details of where tango "milongas" are being held. This is where the locals go to tango, with dances held in school halls, meeting rooms and even warehouses. You might also like to visit the Teatro Colon, one of the world's greatest opera houses - even if you don't go to watch a show, it's usually possible to take a guided tour of the building during the day.
Everywhere you go you'll be surrounded by some fantastic architecture. The Plaza de Mayo is perhaps the most historically interesting - as this is the ste of the Cabillo (original town hall), Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace) and the cathedral where the body of General San Martin lies. Finally, if you get the chance, try and get hold of tickets for an Argentinean football match while you're here, even if you're not usually a sports fan, the electric atmosphere of a local match is definitely something you'll never forget - tickets are usually
available from local tourist agencies - and if you've still got time to spare, why not take the hydrofoil across the water to Uruguay for a day.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 33 Buenos Aires
Today is a free day to explore the incredible city of Buenos Aires, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.
Activity - Approximate Cost
Take the ferry over the river to Uruguay, and explore the serene colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento for
the afternoon before returning - USD 45
Discover the beautiful back streets, antique shops, and thrift markets of the bohemian district of San Telmo - Free
Explore the fascinating streets of La Boca, home of the La Bombonera football stadium and the colouful artists'
street of Caminito - Free
Take the passenger ferry over to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo for a night (if time allows) - USD 140
Discover the beautiful Teatro Colon on a tour around the theatre, or see one of its free afternoon performances
(when available) - ARS 150
Try some of Argentina's most delicious wines on a toplevel wine tasting afternoon in Buenos Aires - USD 52
Head out to an tango show in Buenos Aires' oldest cafe, the Gran Cafe Tortoni - seeing a slice of iconic Argentine culture in an ideal and intimate setting - ARS 240
Visit the strangely beautiful cemetery of Recoleta, the final resting place of many ex-presidents and Argentine icons, most famously including the tomb of Eva Peron - Free
Head out to an exciting football game at La Bombanero, Diego Maradona's former home ground (when matches are scheduled) - ARS 300
Try your hand at the art of tango dancing with a private lesson in Buenos Aires - USD 25
Explore the cosmopolitan Argentina capital of Buenos Aires, and take a free tour of the city's highlights - Free
Explore the beautiful area of Palermo Viejo, see the incredible modern sculpture of Floralis Generica, and
head out to the area's bars and restaurants at night - Free
See a different side to Buenos Aires on a tour of its incredible street art with some of the local artists - USD 20
Learn all about the cuisine of Argentina on a food tour of Buenos Aires, visiting several incredible local top-class eateries that you won't find in the guidebooks! - USD 85
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 34 Buenos Aires
Border information: if you are finishing in Buenos Aires, you will most likely exit Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza Airport).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Buenos Aires. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team if you would like to arrange some extra nights
of accommodation here after your trip.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Dragoman W Walk add-on ()
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
    We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip.
    Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Please note: Due to the nature of this trip and the area through which you will be travelling, there are quite a few limitations and challenges on this trip. You will be travelling to the southernmost point of South America and experience the most of what Patagonia has to offer by going off the beaten track in some of the most stunning scenery you will ever encounter. However, please remember that you will need to prepare accordingly as this is a tough trip and should not be taken lightly. The drive days are long due to the large distances and rough roads. Fresh food may not be available daily as grocery shops are limited and it is prohibited to bring fresh produce across the borders between Chile and Argentina. Camping and wild camping is done regardless of weather and nights can be bitterly cold at any time of the year and conditions are often very windy. We suggest you take warm clothing and a good quality four season sleeping bag with a lower comfort rating of at least -1°C.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Physical preparation
    In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.
    Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Kitty
    On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and all included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases.This Kitty price indicated on the trip notes below is indicative only. Please refer to the 'Check availability' page on the website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.
    Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.
    You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.
    If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.
    Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.
    Kitty does not cover food while staying in hotels and hostels.
    KITTY CHANGES:
    We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.
    As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only. Follow the link below to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    THE W WALK:
    If you wish to hike the W Walk in Torres del Paine National Park, you can pre-book the package with us. The package includes your accommodation (bunk beds in the refugios), food for the duration of the trek, and the services of an expert English-speaking guide. The refugios do tend to book out well in advance, so if you wish to take this option, please contact us as soon as possible. As your agent for the price.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).
    The official currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS).
    With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
    Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.
    It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
    VERY IMPORTANT:
    USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    PRICES IN CHILE & BRAZIL:
    Chile and Brazil are amongst the most expensive countries in South America. While in other countries you can expect to have a main meal for US$5-10 and take part of an optional activity for US$15-20, Brazil and Chile's prices are closer to what you would expect to pay in Western countries. You'll need to budget accordingly.
    Tipping
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
    The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD2-USD4 per passenger per day.
    Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers.
    Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
    Departure tax
    Please allow USD 36 for international airport departure tax.
    Important notes
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.
    MINIMUM AGE:
    The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
    Group size
    Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    Accommodation
    Hostel (15 nts), Camping (with facilities) (10 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (6 nts), Hotel (2 nts)
    The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hostels or hotels. Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hostel or hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hostel and hotel stops depends on the route and area.
    Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. On some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, which allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
    Please note that camping is participatory, which means you will be expected to set-up and pack down your own tent.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple!
    If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
    Meals
    All meals when camping
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 510.00
    Transport
    Ferry, Overland vehicle
    Group leader
    On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.
    While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman trips use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.
    We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders
    On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
    Joining point
    Happy House Hostel
    Moneda 1829
    Barrio Brasil
    Santiago
    CHILE
    Phone: +56 (2)26884849
    Joining point instructions
    Taxis are readily available from outside the airport. A taxi fare to your hotel will cost approx. US$50.
    Alternatively there is the CentroPuerto bus which takes about 40 minutes and costs approximately US$5. The bus drops off at Los Heroes bus terminal, from where it is about a 20 minute walk to the hostel, or you can catch the metro to Santa Ana or Cumming for a shorter walk.
    Another bus, Tur Bus, runs from the airport to the Tur Bus terminal near Moneda metro station. It also takes about 40 minutes and costs about US$5. From Moneda it is about a 20 minute walk to the hostel, or catch the metro from Moneda to Santa Ana or Cumming.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Hotel Splendid
    Rivadavia 950
    Buenos Aires
    ARGENTINA
    Phone: +54 11 4345 2800
    Finish point instructions
    If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
    If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
    Emergency contact
    Dragoman have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
    If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.
    Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
    For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    CHILE TOURIST VISA
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Not required
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    United States: Not required
    CHILE RECIPROCITY TAX:
    All passengers with passports from Australia and Mexico must pay a reciprocity tax before entering Interpol control. The amounts are as follows:
    Australia - US$117
    México - US$23
    This tax applies only to travellers entering Chile via its international airport in Santiago. This tax doesn't apply to those entering Chile by another form of transport.
    ARGENTINA TOURIST VISA
    Australia: Not required
    Belgium: Not required
    Canada: Not required
    Germany: Not required
    Ireland: Not required
    Netherlands: Not required
    New Zealand: Not required
    South Africa: Not required
    Switzerland: Not required
    United Kingdom: Not required
    United States: Not required
    ARGENTINA RECIPROCITY TAX:
    The Argentine government charges a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows:
    Australians - US$100 (multiple entry for up to 1 year from date of issue)
    Canadians - US$92 (multiple entry for up to 5 years from date of issue)
    Americans - US$160 (multiple entry for up to 10 years from date of issue)
    This fee can only be paid on line through the following website:
    https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/
    For instructions on how to process this payment, please visit:
    http://cnyor.mrecic.gov.ar/userfiles/Online_payment_instructions_0.pdf
    A receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
    Night-time temperatures can be low during the winter months and at altitude so bring a set of warmer clothes. Thermal underclothes, being small and light, can be very useful.
    A light waterproof and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.
    CAMPING EQUIPMENT:
    Sleeping Bag - Check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert and mountain regions can be very cold in winter months. One that zips down all one side is useful for warm nights and a sleeping bag liner for cold nights.
    Mattress or compressed foam - Compressed foams are the lightest, most convenient but probably the least comfortable. Self inflating mattresses are convenient, comfortable, light and small when rolled up; they are more expensive and do puncture so bring a suitable repair kit.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
    In countries like Argentina, Uruguay and the Patagonia region of Chile, tap water is treated and safe to drink so please avoid the purchase of bottled water by refilling from the tap.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    WHO REPORTS:
    The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.
    DENGUE FEVER:
    Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
    YELLOW FEVER:
    A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
    It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
    Safety
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    The vehicle has fully lockable doors and windows, which is an obvious advantage, but it will probably be necessary to guard it at times and everyone should be prepared to share in this responsibility.
    In most areas there is very little to fear from the point of view of violence. But in all areas 'tourists' are a tempting target for pickpockets and con-men. Always be aware of this and be especially careful when leaving banks or money-changers, in any crowded areas, etc. NEVER leave things lying around - they will almost certainly get stolen. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always be security conscious and to take all necessary precautions. Great inconvenience and distress can be caused by having your documents or possessions stolen.
    A few of our past group members have had the unhappy experience of having their belongings stolen before the trip starts. Beware of carrying your passport and other valuables around with you in cities. We strongly suggest you deposit your valuables in your hotel safe on arrival.
    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
    In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
    TRAVEL ADVISORY:
    Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 981.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.