Last Modified: 12 Dec 2014
Trip code: GPTU
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Become an adventurer on this exploration of the wilds of Patagonia – one of the most remote and beautiful wildernesses in the world. From the tango bars and heaving streets of Buenos Aires, head south to the striking mountain scenery, vast plains, ice fields and glaciers of the Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia. Trek among the spectacular Fitz Roy Ranges and iconic Torres del Paine, hike across glaciers and visit the quirky towns at the end of the world.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Buenos Aires
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Argentina!
Please arrive make sure you arrive on day 1 by 3.00pm, in time for the first group meeting. Please have lunch prior to the meeting as we'll head out on our first activity straight afterwards. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. If you are intending to hire a sleeping bag for our nights in the Torres del Paine National Park please let your leader know at this meeting.
In the afternoon your tour leader will take you for an approximately 2 hour orientation walk around some of Buenos Aires' main attractions. In the evening you have the option of going out for a group dinner.
Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (the local residents) are justifiably proud of their city which is comprised of distinct 'barrios' (neighbourhoods), each with their own style. Visit San Telmo for its weekend antiques market and artists' displays. La Boca was settled by waves of immigrants that built brightly painted buildings. It is also home to the world-class football team Boca Juniors and murals of famous footballers cover the district's walls. Recoleta is the place to browse museums with Buenos Aires' well-to-do.
When you have finished exploring, settle down at one of the many streetside cafes and prepare yourself for a night of tango at one of the many milongas.
If you arrive to Buenos Aires before day 1, there are plenty of galleries, museums and historic buildings to keep you entertained. On the east side of the Plaza de Mayo you will find the Casa Rosada, the pink presidential palace where Eva Peron appeared on the balcony in front of adoring fans in the 1940s. There is also a Museo Evita, dedicated to the life (and gowns) of this famed figure. MALBA is an incredible art gallery showcasing a private collection, including works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and great temporary exhibits.
As we leave Buenos Aires early on day 2, please try to exchange USD 150 to Argentinian pesos and USD 150 to Chilean pesos before day 1 of the trip (Sunday). This should be enough to cover your personal expenses for the following 5 days in Argentina and 3 days in Chile.
- Orientation Tour - Buenos Aires
- City bike tour - ARS90
- Gran Cafe Tortoni Show - ARS150
- Teatro Colon - USD5
- Football game (ticket price depends on the game) - USD100
- Tango show - ARS1050
- Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD96
- Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure - USD77
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 El Calafate/Perito Moreno Glacier
Today we fly (approx. 3 hrs) south from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, our gateway to the Glacier National Park. The rest of the day is free.
On day 3 we visit Perito Moreno Glaciar. This is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world and at 3km (1.8 miles) wide and 35km (21 miles) long is a spectacular sight. Watch and listen to the crack of the ice as it plunges into the waters below.
We return to El Calafate for the night.
Please be aware that there are no ATM's available in Perito Moreno Glaciar and El Chalten, Your group leader will give you an indication of the amount needed in each destination.
- Moreno glacier cruise (45 mins) - ARS90
- Trekking on Moreno glacier - ARS540
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-6 El Chalten/Glacier National Park/El Calafate
Travel 220 km (approx 3.5 hours) to the frontier town of El Chalten, north of Glacier National Park. Hikers and climbers from all around the world congregate here and the atmosphere is laid back and very outdoors-oriented.
The next two days we'll take on at least two of the most popular day treks in the area: Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Las Torres. Hikes are moderate to difficult. You can expect to walk from six to nine hours on clearly marked and well maintained paths. The terrain itself is not difficult. Wind and rain may be the main challenges you face on these walks.
The hikes we trek and the order in which we trek them may change depending on weather conditions.
Day 6 is a long day as we travel back to El Calafate at the end of a hiking day.
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 7-9 Torres del Paine National Park
Be ready for another long travel day. Early in the morning we jump on a local bus to Cerro Castillo in Chile (approx. 5 hours). Here we stop for lunch (not included) while we wait for the connecting bus to Torres del Paine (approx. 1.5 hours).
Please make sure you have water, snacks and warm clothing available for today bus journeys.
Sitting at the end of the earth is the awe inspiring Chilean Patagonia. Few people have the opportunity to see this area and those who do find it difficult to forget. Once a sheep estancia, the park was established in 1959. This is magnificent trekking country where nandues, condors and pink flamingos abound. Upon arriving in the park you will most likely be greeted by a herd of guanacos, relatives of alpacas. These strange animals provide great photo opportunities but don't get too close; they're likely to spit at you. There's also some of the world's best trout and salmon fishing.
The real star of the show, however, is the magnificent landscape. With sparkling lakes, gushing waterfalls, glaciers and striking mountains, much of our time trekking is spent slack-jawed in awe of our surrounds.
The campsite will be our home for the next three nights and the base from where we'll take on our day hikes.
The most popular trek in this area is locally known as "Base Las Torres" (The Tower's base), your leader will recommend when to take this hike, depending on weather conditions.
Another available hike is towards "Refugio Los Cuernos" (The Horns' Lodge). This trek is long, but it has excellent views of this particular section of the park also known as "Los Cuernos del Paine" (The Horns)
Alternatively, you can opt for an optional vehicle based tour of the park. This activity gives you a wider understanding of the park and its three main areas: Glaciar Grey, Los Cuernos del Paine and Torres del Paine (Grey Glaciar, The Horns and The Towers). The price listed under Optional Activities is the total price of the activity. The final per person price will depend on how many travellers wish to take this option.
The treks are moderate to difficult along clearly marked trails and we will usually hike between 5-8 hours per day. Weather in Patagonia is an important factor to consider - be prepared for cold, wet and windy weather.
You and a fellow traveller will share a tent for the next three nights. Sleeping bags are not provided on this trip so please bring your own. Alternatively you can hire it locally for approximately US$30 for the 3 nights. Make sure you inform your leader on day 1 of the trip if you intend to hire it locally for him/her to make the necessary arrangements. A (thermarest/inflatable camping mattress is provided on this trip.
3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners will be provided while camping. Dinners are simple (pastas, rice, chicken) and are served in a common dinning area. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit and sometimes a chocolate bar. Soft and alcoholic drinks are not provided and there is limited selection for you to buy from at the Camping's general store. If you particularly like certain snacks (almonds, nuts, raisins) or a drink (a bottle of wine, spirit) please make sure you bring it from Buenos Aires or Calafate.
Bathroom facilities are available in the campsite with communal showers and bathroom separated by sex.
While we hike, all your belongings will be left at the campsite, inside your tent. We can not be made responsible for anything that may go missing from your tent, however the campsite dedicates one person to look after the site and our belongings and we have not had anything missing from our tents so far.
- Vehicle base tour of Torres del Paine National Park - CLP170000
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts)
Day 10 Punta Arenas
On day 10 we're on the move again as we travel by local bus bus to Puerto Natales, before continuing to Punta Arenas.
Set among windswept plains and looking across the Straits of Magellan to Porvenir and Tierra del Fuego, Punta Arenas feels close to the end of the world. In reality it's not that far away. This is Chile's southernmost city and it has plenty of interesting history. Over the years it has attracted explorers, ranchers and even fortune-seekers, as it was was once an important stop along the Californian gold rush route. In recent years it has become a base for the Chilean Navy and with oil and gas discovered offshore and the growth in adventure tourism, the city is going from strength to strength.
Tonight don't miss the chance to sample seafood, some of the finest in the country.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 11-13 Ushuaia
Did we mention we have some long travel days on this trip? On day 11 we hit the road for one last time - a whopping 12-hour bus ride takes us back to Argentina and to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. Needless to say you will need to arm yourself with your favourite book, your music player, drinks and snacks.
This is the gateway to Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, Argentina's only coastal park. We cruise the Beagle Channel (named after Charles Darwin's expedition ship) and observe marine wildlife along the park's small islands and inlets. We have some time to visit Ushuaia's museums before returning to Buenos Aires.
On day 12 you will take an included boat morning trip on the Beagle Channel.
The afternoon of day 12 and day 13 are free for you to explore Ushuaia.
In Ushuaia you will stay in B&Bs (Bed and Breakfast). This kind of accommodation offers a unique local charm and interaction that are difficult to experience in a regular hotel. However, due to their limited capacity, your group may be split into 2 or more different properties.
- Penguin tour - ARS510
- Martial Glacier hike - ARS65
Bed and breakfast (3 nts)
Days 14-15 Buenos Aires
On day 14 you return to Buenos Aires for a final night out. Please note that while we intend to return to Buenos Aires in the early hours of the afternoon, airline schedules in Argentina are known for changing without much notice, meaning that we can potentially arrive in Buenos Aires as late as 11pm on day 14.
We return to our centrally located hotel in Buenos Aires for our final night.
As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart at any time on day 15.
- Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD96
- Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure - USD77
Hotel (1 nt)
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.
- GPTU- Single Supplement (GPTU)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Patagonia Trekking (GPTV)
- Patagonia Discovery (GGSK)
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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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.
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.
Latin America is an area which may be very different to anything you may have experienced before. Although this means it is sometimes not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Travel in the area should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this large and wonderfully different area but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a huge sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by what Latin America has to offer.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trekking to its fullest.
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.
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 official currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS).
The official currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
In order to make the most of our time in Patagonia, this trip includes 3 particularly long travel days (Days 3, 6 and 11). Please refer to Trip Notes for specific travel times.
Maximum of 16 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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
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.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
A single room/tent will be available on all nights.
Hotel (8 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts), Bed and breakfast (3 nts)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
On our nights camping we will be in twin share tents that we set up and dismantle ourselves. A foam camping mattress is provided, however sleeping bags are not provided. Bathroom facilities are available in the campsite with communal showers and bathroom separated by sex.
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.
13 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
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.
Boat, Bus, Plane
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Phone: 54 11 5236 9091
Joining point instructions
A pre-booked airport arrival transfer is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
There are 2 airports in Buenos Aires: international (Ezeiza) and domestic (Aeroparque).
Ezeiza is 35 km north of the city. Manuel Tienda Leon, located on your right hand side as you exit the luggage collection area, runs an efficient bus service to their offices down town (Avenida Madero 1299, near Retiro train station) for around US$15. From here a taxi to your hotel will cost you around US$5. Alternatively, you can catch a taxi from the airport (arranged by the same Manuel Tienda Leon) for approximately US$40.
Aeroparque is located just outside the city centre. A taxi from here to your hotel will cost you around US$15
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group 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.
Phone: 54 11 5236 9091
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
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.
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:
For instructions on how to process this payment, please visit:
A receipt for this payment must be produced at every border crossing into Argentina.
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, Canada and Mexico must pay a reciprocity tax before entering Interpol control. The amounts are as follows:
Australia - US$117
Canada - US$132
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.
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.
Please note domestic airlines allow a maximum of 15kg check in luggage and 5kg hand luggage. Any excess luggage expense will be your own responsibility.
Sleeping bags are not provided on this trip so please bring your own. Alternatively you can hire it locally for approximately US$10 a day. Please note we can not guarantee sleeping bags will be available. A thermarest/inflatable camping mattress and small pillow are provided on this trip but, feel free to bring along your own, should you prefer increase your comfort.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Weather in Patagonia is unpredictable. While this trip only runs during the warmer months of the year, temperatures can fluctuate from 30 to 0 degrees Celsius (86 to 32 Fahrenheit) within a trip or even a day. Please make sure you pack enough warm clothing.
IMAGES FROM HOME:
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
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.
While trekking, boiled or safe water is available for drinking. However, you should also carry a water purification method. Options include:
- purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur.
- 2% tincture of iodine, available from pharmacies, used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes - longer in very cold weather.
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.
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.
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.
The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.
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.
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 group 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 group 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:
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.
In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
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!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
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.
Please note that helmets are not provided for the sightseeing on bicycles. Horse riding is an option available to groups on this trip. Please note however that horse riding is usually not covered by your travel insurance and helmets are not always available.
Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.
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 group 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:
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 has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). 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:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Argentina include:
* Brazos Abiertos (Open Arms) helps local children in Las Heras, a socially challenged neighbourhood in Mendoza, where high unemployment and illiteracy have resulted in many living below the poverty line. As well as providing food for up to 460 children each day, they arrange for additional school classes and sporting activities to increase both health and self-esteem.
Carbon Offset C02-e 1082.00 kgs per pax.
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.