Chile – Argentina
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Chile – Argentina

Visit the Changing
Wilderness of
Patagonia

Chile is a paradise for travelers looking for unparalleled outdoor experiences balanced with culture, fine wine and cuisine

Sophisticated city life is contrasted by majestic wilderness and cultural icons of the Atacama Desert, Patagonia and Torres del Paine, Easter Island and Chiloe. Its abundance of geographical wonders - snow caped volcanoes, the world's highest geysers and driest coastal desert, fantastic fiords, glacier fields and canyons - make Chile a perfect family destination with opportunities for kayaking and hiking along the way.

 
Chile's Festivities

Fiesta Tapati on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
On mystical Easter Island, the February Fiesta Tapati sees painted bodies become art. A queen is chosen for the festival from amongst the young people, who compete for the honor in swimming and canoeing competitions using small boats and rafts made of totora reeds. The teams prepare traditional costumes, songs and dances, and share the stories of myths and legends in oral narrations. Body painting, called Takona, is the festival’s chief characteristic, where the islanders paint their bodies with symbols of their mythic origins using natural pigments. Physical skill is also put to the test in the Haka Pei competition, in which the most daring young men hurl themselves at great speed down a mountain, tobogganing over banana tree trunks.

El Carnavalón
Also in February is the Carnavalón festival, held in the northern regions of in San Miguel de Azapa, Putre and Socoroma. The carnival, which attracts thousands of people each year from the Chilean high plateau or altiplano, is a traditional Hispanic-Amerindian festival, celebrated 40 days before Lent. It is held to symbolically resurrect Ño Carnavalón, an ancient symbol of joy, fertility and fortune, whose presence is a sign that there will be happiness throughout the year. It is also a greeting to Pachamama, Mother Earth, and to Tata Inti, Father Sun, with music, dancing, and local fruits, in a promise of abundance.

La Semana Valdiviana (Valdivian Week)
There are more festivals in February. In southern Chile, the region of lakes and thousand-year-old forests, the residents of Valdivia celebrate the founding of their city on February 9, 1552 in the festival of La Semana Valdiviana. “On the Calle-Calle River the moon is dancing,” goes a local song. And each year on February 9, scores of vessels make the river come to life, captivating Valdivians and visitors from all over Chile and abroad. The garlanded ships compete for the prize of most glamorous vessel of all, and are the perfect setting for crowning the Queen of All Rivers. A fireworks display closes the festival, while along the riverbank people enjoy street performances, dining and beer drinking, the latter a reminder of the cultural influence of the German immigrants who began to arrive in the region in the 1800s.

Grape Harvest Festival
The prestige of Chilean wine is celebrated in a special way in the central zone. Preparations begin with the arrival of summer, and the festivities culminate during the final weeks of March. The Grape Harvest Festival of the city of Curicó is probably the most impressive of all. A religious ceremony blesses the first batch of pulped grapes, followed by a parade. The Grape Harvest also chooses a Queen, who is weighed on a balance against bottles of wine while a contest is held between grape stompers. Each competing team stomps 20 kg of grapes for ten minutes, until the fruit is converted into juice. Applause and shouts of encouragement follow the stompers’ energetic progress as they compete to crush all the grapes and produce the largest quantity of juice they can.

Cultural Festivals
The prestige of Chilean wine is celebrated in a special way in the central zone. Preparations begin with the arrival of summer, and the festivities culminate during the final weeks of March. The Grape Harvest Festival of the city of Curicó is probably the most impressive of all. A religious ceremony blesses the first batch of pulped grapes, followed by a parade. The Grape Harvest also chooses a Queen, who is weighed on a balance against bottles of wine while a contest is held between grape stompers. Each competing team stomps 20 kg of grapes for ten minutes, until the fruit is converted into juice. Applause and shouts of encouragement follow the teams as they compete to crush all the grapes and produce the biggest hauls of juice.

Indigenous New Year
The indigenous peoples of Chile – the Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui and Mapuche nations – follow their own ancestral calendar. For them the New Year begins with the winter solstice on the night of June 24. The harvest has ended and the earth must rest, prepare herself for the sowing of crops, and renew her fertility. It is a new cycle of life, and the indigenous cultures express their gratitude to Nature. The New Year festival of the Mapuche Indians is the best known. It is called We Tripantu, meaning “the sun’s new turn” or “the return of the sun.” It is celebrated in the rural regions of the south, in the city of Temuco in the main square, and in Santiago on the hill of Santa Lucía (Huelén).

Fiesta de San Pedro
April is the month of the Chile + Cultura festival, organized nationwide by the National Council of Culture and the Arts. It features work by Chilean artists and artisans throughout the country, bringing culture to the public and creating spaces for the artists to showcase their work. Musicians, poets, painters, filmmakers, actors and dancers all take part, displaying their work to the massive audiences that bring the festivals to life.

Fiesta de La Tirana
La Tirana is a small town in the northern Tarapaca Region, near the city of Iquique. But its annual festival, Fiesta de la Tirana, has acquired an importance that spreads far beyond the itself. It has become Chile’s most celebrated festival, visited by both local pilgrims and tourists. On June 12 to 17 each year, dancers and musicians enact the diablada, the ‘dance of the devils’, a carnavalesque dance for exorcising demons. The dance troupe, wearing fearsome costumes and masks, move to the rhythm of drums and flutes, with the leader of the troupe setting the pace with toots on a whistle. The festival demonstrates a synthesis between local indigenous religions and Catholicism, also paying homage to the Virgen del Carmen, or ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’. Descendants of the Atacameño, Kunza, Aymara and other indigenous peoples arrive at the Virgin’s sanctuary in processions, making promises in exchange for blessings. Masses are said in the church while in the surrounding area there are stalls with handicrafts and food, and dancing throughout the day.

Winter Carnivals in the South
The winter cold of the far south is brightened by the warmth of its festivals and carnivals. In July, the Fiesta de la Nieve or Snow Festival is held in Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. Locals and tourists all take part. In the same month, in Punta Arenas, is the Winter Carnival, the region’s most important festival. Parades and street bands circulate in the center of the city, local girls compete to win the scepter of the Carnival Queen, and fireworks light up the night sky along the Strait of Magellan.

Fiestas Patrias - National Holidays
On the 18th and 19th of September, Chile’s National Holidays’ celebrations take place. The coming Spring is anticipated by open-air ramadas, shelters with roofs made of tree branches, and fondas, refreshment stands offering typical dishes, meat or cheese empanadas, cider and red wine. Under the shelter of the ramadas people dance the cueca, the national dance of Chile. It is found with small local variations throughout Chile, and consists of pairs of dancers waving handkerchiefs in the air to depict couples courting and flirting. The people commemorate the First Assembly of the Government, which marked the beginning of Chile’s independence on September 18th, 1810, and military triumphs are celebrated with a parade, presided over by the President, in Santiago’s Parque O’Higgins. The Chilean flag is displayed on houses and apartments and children fly kites and play with marbles and spinning tops. They have hopscotch competitions and greased pole climbing contests. There are horse races, Chilean style – bareback, the rider holding onto the horse’s mane – while rodeos are held in traditional rings.

Fiesta de La Virgen de Andacollo
The Festival of the Virgen of Andacollo, in the northern town of Andacollo, is a popular religious festival celebrating copper, Chile’s greatest natural resource. Andacollo was a settlement of Molle people, who are related to the Incas and developed agriculture and exploited the copper resources. In their native language of Quechua, ‘anta’ means copper, and ‘coya’ means monarch, and the Virgen of Andacollo is thus known as the Queen of Copper. The festival, held each year on 24th - 26th December, is one of the most widely-attended religious festivals in Chile, with Chinese dances and pledges to the Virgin. Chilean and foreign tourists are habitual visitors and participants.

Christmas
Like Christians around the world, Chileans commemorate the birth of Christ on December 25. On Christmas Eve night, families gather together to eat fruit cake and drink cola de mono, a traditional drink prepared with spirits, milk, sugar, coffee and cinnamon. This holiday is especially dedicated to children, who receive gifts from Santa, known in Chile as el viejito pascuero. Presents are placed under a Christmas tree hung with lights and decorated with cotton wool ‘snow’, and the children open their gifts at midnight. At the foot of the tree is a manger, with Baby Jesus being worshipped by the Three Kings. Traditionally, people sing Christmas carols from the farming community, and attend Church services held on Christmas Day.

New Year
The New Year is welcomed in cities throughout Chile with spectacular fireworks displays at midnight on December 31. The most impressive are in the port city of Valparaiso, where thousands of people seek out the best vantage points on hillside terraces overlooking the sea. People usher in the new year by hugging, toasting with champagne and exchanging wishes for prosperity. Many have their own rituals for the New Year: some people eat lentil dishes; some write down everything that was bad about the old year, and then burn the paper symbolically; some write down all their wishes for the New Year, and then hide the piece of paper away. There are those who go out walking with luggage, so they will travel during the year; and there are those who wear ‘lucky’ items, such as yellow underwear or borrowed or new clothes.


 
Argentina Festivities

JANUARY
6: Procession in honour of the Virgin Mary, Belén. A pilgrimage procession up to a hilltop statue of the Virgin.
Last week: Festival de Cosquín. Large folklore music festival. A rock music version takes places a couple of weeks later.

FEBRUARY
2: Virgen de Candelaria, Humahuaca.
Early Feb: Fiesta Nacional del Queso, Tafí del Valle. A lively celebration of the country’s cheeses.
6: Pachamama festival, Purmamarca and Amaicha. Pachamama, the Mother Earth deity dear to the indigenous peoples of the Northwest, is celebrated in these festivities.
First weekend: Fiesta de la Manzana y la Semilla, Rodeo. A major regional folk festival.
Mid Feb: Feria Artesanal y Ganadera de la Puna, Antofagasta de la Sierra. Vibrant Northwest craft festival.
Five days preceding Ash Wednesday: Carnaval, nationwide. Celebrated throughout Argentina, especially in Gualeguaychú, which hosts the country’s premier parades.
Weekend following Shrove Tuesday: Serenata Cafayateña, Cafayate. Popular folk jamboree.

MARCH
First weekend: Fiesta de la Vendimia, Mendoza. Grape harvest festival in the country’s main wine region.
17: St Patrick’s Day, Buenos Aires. The Irish saint’s day, celebrated with much gusto in the capital.
18 & 19: Pilgrimage of Puerta de San José, near Belén. A major pilgrimage, with night vigils and processions, converges on this tiny village.
19: St Joseph’s Day, Cachi.

APRIL
Variable (sometimes in March): Semana Santa (Holy Week), nationwide. Celebrated throughout Argentina; highlights include the pilgrimage to El Señor de la Peña, Aimogasta, La Rioja, the procession of the Virgen de Punta Corral, from Punta Corral to Tumbaya, and Maundy Thursday in Yavi.

MAY
4: Santa Cruz celebrations, Uquía.

JUNE
10: Día de las Malvinas, nationwide. Ceremonies to remember the Falklands conflict are held throughout Argentina.
24: St John’s Day, Northwest. A major feast day throughout the region.

JULY
25: St James’ Day, Humahuaca.

AUGUST
Early Aug: Fiesta Nacional de la Nieve, Bariloche. A five-day festival of snow, with parades, races and evening skiing.
15: Assumption, Casabindo. Festivities culminate in Argentina’s only bullfight, a bloodless corrida.
Mid-Aug: World Tango Festival, Buenos Aires. Lasting around two weeks, the world’s largest tango festival attracts aficionados from all over.
30: Santa Rosa de Lima, Purmamarca.

SEPTEMBER
6–15: Fiesta del Milagro, Salta. Major religious event climaxing in a huge procession.

OCTOBER
Early: Oktoberfest, Villa General Belgrano. For ten days at the beginning of October, Villa General Belgrano is awash with beer in this answer to the famous German festival.
First Sun: Our Lady of the Rosary, Iruya. Highly photogenic masked event that’s one of the most fascinating in the Northwest region.
20 (approx): Fiesta de la Ollas, or “Manca Fiesta”, La Quiaca. Literally, a “cooking-pot” festival with crafts and music.

NOVEMBER
1 & 2: All Souls’ Day and the Day of the Dead, Quebrada de Humahuaca and Antofagasta de la Sierra.
10: Fiesta de la Tradición, San Antonio de Areco. Lively gaucho festival.

DECEMBER
24: Christmas Eve, Buenos Aires. A great time to be in the capital, when the sky explodes with fireworks.


 
Chile's Weather

The latitudinal extent of Chile, which encompasses nearly 40 degrees-its importance and the influence of the ocean are the main factors explaining the climatic variety of country.7 While the Andes regulates the passage of air masses, preventing access wind from the Argentine pampas to the Chilean territory and maritime influences seaward-eastern, the cold Humboldt current causes a drop in temperatures along the coast, the increase in temperature due to El Niño generated instead Heavy rains and flooding in Chile 223-.222

In the region of Norte Grande, there is a desert climate, with little rainfall. Temperatures have slight variations throughout the year, remaining on average around 20 ° C. Abundant cloudiness known as low fog occurs in coastal areas, while in inland areas the temperature variation is high with no humidity and no clouds, allowing the installation of large observatories zona.224 225 In the area highlands, temperatures drop because of the effect of altitude creating a cold steppe climate characterized by summer rains, known as Altiplano winter. In the Norte Chico area, there is a warm and semi-arid steppe climate that serves as a transition to colder climates to the south. Rainfall is irregular and concentrated in winter.

From Aconcagua Valley to the south, the Mediterranean climate dominates the Central area, except the high peaks of the Andes mountains, cold weather due to the height. The four seasons are clearly marked, with a dry and warm summer and a cold winter rain. The coastal area has regulated maritime effect, meanwhile inland areas have a high thermal oscillation as the Coastal mountain range acts as a climatic screen temperatures. In Santiago, temperatures average 20 ° C in summer (January), with extremes of 36 ° C and 8 ° C in winter (June), with extremes of -8 ° C in some areas.

Rainfall increases in the South, which has a rainy maritime climate between coastal and Araucania Aysen. In the southern area a cold steppe climate, characterized by a wide range of temperatures, low temperatures and decreased rainfall that occurs in winter, usually in the form of snow develops. In turn, in the Chilean Antarctic Territory, the polar climate prevails.

In insular Chile, the climate is strongly affected by the cooling effect of the ocean. Easter Island has a subtropical climate with an average of 1138 mm of rainfall distributed throughout the year annually.


 
Argentina's Weather

Due to the latitudinal extent and variety of landscapes, Argentina has a wide variety of climates. Overall, the climate is predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from a tropical climate in the far north and subpolar in the far south (if you include Antarctica Argentina also includes polar climate). The north is characterized by very hot, humid summers with mild, dry winters and is subject to periodic droughts. The center of the country has warm summers with rain and storms, and cool winters. The southern regions have warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, especially in mountainous areas. Higher elevations at all latitudes are experiencing colder conditions, with an arid climate and montane level.


 
Notes

Preparing Physically for the Trip

During your program to Chile and if combined with Argentina you will mainly participate in what we would consider Easy to Active Excursion so here are some guidelines to prepare for your journey.

You should start your training several months before departure, then slowly build up to a more strenuous level. Stop the strenuous activities if you feel dizzy, faint, have difficulty breathing, or experience any other significant medical discomfort.

Before you depart for an extended vacation, you should consult your physician. Make the doctor’s appointment no less then 8 week before departure. You will need some prescriptions, inoculations and perhaps some special advice that relates to your own physical condition.

If you have any special conditions or allergy that might require attention overseas, have your physician write a letter describing the nature of the condition and the treatment. Carry the letter with you. You should be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip.

Important: Be sure to bring enough of the prescription medication that you are currently taking. When you pack, make certain that you have ALL your medication in your carry-on luggage. NEVER pack any of your medications in your checked luggage.

 

Medical Matters

Chile and Argentina are among the safest countries in South America for maintaining personal well-being. The tap water in most cities is chlorinated and well regulated. However, we do recommend that you use bottled water if you have any sensitivity to changes in water and food environments.

In general, the standard of hygiene is high and well controlled by the proper authorities. The countries are fortunate to produce an abundance of fresh meats, fruit and vegetables as well as have some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Chile and Argentina requires no special shots. Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may at times be a long way away, that a doctor may not always be available, and that evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive.

Remember that Mondo Verde Expeditions is not a medical authority and that we can only give you general information, which may not be accurate by the time you travel. You should consult with your physician. Other good Web sites for travel preparation information are www.tripprep.com and www.medicineplanet.com

 

Immunization

We highly recommend to be up to date with your Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccination.

 

Staying Healthy

While in the program with us, we use the best facilities available and where the staff is trained to maintain the highest standards of hygiene

At hotels and on your own: Although the tap water at the hotels is generally drinkable, you can buy bottled water at the local stores.

 

Personal Medical Kit

We highly recommend that you bring a basic first aid kit for emergencies. Please discuss this matter with your physician, as well as medications you should bring with you, such as antibiotics, painkillers, allergy medicine (epi-pens for allergic reactions to bee stings), etc.

 

Altitude

Altitude should not be an issue when traveling to the regions of Patagonia, the Lake Region or the Chilean capital of Santiago. The city is located at 1,706 ft. above sea level. You will encounter much higher altitudes if you travel to the Atacama Desert. Here you will reach altitudes above 13,000 feet. If going at altitudes of 4,000 feet above sea level presents a problem for travelers we highly recommend you consult your doctor before departing on your trip. We encouraged our clients to limit exertion for the first few days and maintain themselves adequately hydrated. Individuals with coronary or other health problems should consult their physician before deciding to travel to high altitude locations. Ask your doctor about high altitude medicine.

 

High Altitude Medication

If you have issues with altitude or suffer from high blood pressure, ask your doctor about the use of high altitude medicine. Diamox is the most popular and tested drug for altitude sickness prevention and treatment. Increases the amount of bicarbonate excreted in the urine, making the blood more acidic. Acidifying the blood drives the ventilation, which is the cornerstone of acclimatization.

For more information on medical considerations please contact the:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm

It is vital that persons with medical problems or special diet requirements make them known to us well before departure so that land operators are properly informed.

 

Passport Information

You will need a valid U.S. passport to enter Chile and Argentina. If you have a valid passport, make sure that it will remain valid for at least six months after the date of your return from Lima to USA.

If you have changed your name, be sure that is reflected on your passport. You must always use the name as it appears on your passport for all applications, visas and identification.

If you have a passport that has expired, or one that will not remain valid for at least six months after the date of your return, you will need to renew it. That requires two passport photos, your latest passport and payment for the renewal fee.

 

Photo Copies of Important Documents

It is a good idea to bring with you four photocopies of your passport and two copies of your airline tickets and a copy of your credit card information. Having copies is useful in case of documents are misplaced or stolen.

 

Visas

No visa is necessary when you travel to Chile, only a valid passport. When entering Chile, at customs, you'll need to fill out a Tourist Card that allows visitors to stay for up to 90 days and will allow multiple entries. You'll need to show this Tourist Card to Customs when leaving the country as well, so be sure you don't lose it. For more information on other type of Visa, go to the Chilean CONSULAR SECTION for more information.

Entry Fee for Chile

There is a reciprocity fee of US$160 dollars to be paid in cash (U.S. dollars) or credit card. The one-time charge is good for the life of your passport. Go to the Chilean CONSULAR SECTION for more information.

Entry Fee for Argentina

Nationals of the USA, Canada, do not need visas to visit Argentina. However, as of 20 December 2009, US citizens flying into Ezeiza International Airport must pay an entry fee of $US 131.00. This fee is valid for ten years and allows for multiple visits to the country. For more details, see the US Embassy website or Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travelers' forum.

In theory, upon arrival all non-visa visitors must obtain a free tourist card, good for 90 days and renewable for 90 more. In practice, immigration officials issue these only at major border crossings, such as airports and on the ferries and hydrofoils between Buenos Aires and Uruguay. Although you should not toss your card away, losing it is no major catastrophe. At most exit points, immigration officials will provide immediate replacement for free.

 

International & Domestic Flights

Mondo Verde Expeditions is not able to book any international flight reservations during your program in Chile or Argentina. Mondo Verde Expeditions will purchase your domestic flights inside Chile upon request.

 

Airport Taxes

International Flights: For flights leaving Chile, there is an airport tax of USD$18. Airport taxes cost are subject to change without previous notification.

National Flights: On domestic flights airport tax is usually included in the airline ticket.

 

Flight Cancellation

If for any reason any of your flights is cancelled because of bad weather or mechanical problems, the guest loses the first day service at any of their destinations without refund and activity if applies planed for that day. The guest is also responsible for the costs of the additional expensed caused by any delay.

 

Time

Chilean standard time corresponds to the time zone UTC-04:00 (Universal Time Coordinate, formerly Greenwich Mean Time). The daylight savings time (DST) stays one hour ahead (UTC-03:00) between the second Saturday of October (changes at 12 PM) and the second Saturday of March. During the summer (October to March) Chile is 2 hours ahead of the US Eastern Time (New York, Miami, Washington DC), and during standard time Chile has the same time as US Eastern DST.  Argentina’s Standard Time Zone is GMT/UTC – 03:00 hour. Daylight Saving Time: DST not applied.

 

Electricity

Electricity in Chile & Argentina is 220 volts 50 cycle. If you have American electrical equipment you want to use (battery chargers, razor, and hair dryer) be sure your equipment can be switched to 220 volts or take along a transformer. Many electrical appliances, including battery chargers, now available in the U.S. operate on dual voltage – 110/220, but check to be sure. In this case you will not need a transformer, but you will need an adapter plug. In Chile the plugs (left) and sockets look like this: You can buy adapter plugs in a travel store or at Radio Shack.

 

Money Matters

 

Currency, Banks and Credit Cards (Chile)

Money Exchange

Peso Bank notes are for 500; 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000 and 20,000. It is often difficult to change the latter two, especially in small villages.

The government does not regulate the market of foreign currency in Chile making it possible to exchange money at any established "Casa de Cambio" at market driven exchange rates. They are common in the downtown area and Providencia district as well as shopping centers in Santiago. NOTE: Visitors should avoid black market exchange rates.

All major credit cards are accepted. Travelers’ checks are least widely accepted and fetch the lowest exchange rates.

The simplest and most efficient way to carry and change money is with a debit or ATM card. These ATM machines normally give better rates than banks or money changers, and charge no commission. Only ATMs in larger cities will be compatible with international debit systems like Plus or Cirrus. Credit cards are fairly widely accepted.

ATM Availability

All major cities and many smaller towns with a significant tourist economy have one or more ATMs. Some banks, however, charge rather exorbitant fees for international withdrawals, and per-day withdrawal limits are usually around US$300.

Traveler’s checks

Very high commissions are levied on traveler’s checks, which are difficult to cash anywhere.

 

Currency, Banks and Credit Cards (Argentina)

The official Argentine currency is the Peso. There are bills of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pesos, and coins of 1 peso and 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents.

Payment methods

Although US Dollars and Euros are generally taken everywhere, foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and authorized bureaus. American Express, VISA, Diners and Master Card are widely accepted. There may be difficulties in changing traveler's check outside Buenos Aires.

Bank hours

Banks and Exchange Bureaus: Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Business Offices: generally from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

ATM’s

Use of ATM’s in Argentina is not recommended unless you like giving away your money to a local bank. They will only allow small amount to be taken out on each transaction and a limit to 3 per day. The idea behind this? Get you to do more than one transaction per day and charge you ridiculous fees for each transaction. Solution? Have plenty of cash with you when arriving in Argentina and use your credit card for payments.

Valuables

It is highly recommended to leave at home all jewelry and expensive watches. If you do bring valuables, most hotels will provide our clients with a safe deposit box located in the hotel management office. High-end hotels provide clients with a safety deposit box in the rooms. A fee may be charged for this service. MVE is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

 

Weather & Climate

Santiago has a Mediterranean climate and well-defined seasons. Spring (Sept–Nov.) is mild, and contributes to the flourishing green color of the plants and trees. Summer (Dec.-Feb.) is dry and hot with temperatures that can reach over 87º F. At night it cools down slightly, and on the coast this temperature drop can be more extreme. Autumn (March– May), temperatures decrease gradually. In winter, mornings are cold, as low as 28º F and although the temperature rises at midday it rarely exceeds 60ºF. It begins to rain in April and reaches its highest level during June/July, then decreases gradually to almost nothing in November. The average annual rainfall in Santiago is 384 mm (14.9 in).

In Atacama, the weather follows a typical desert pattern of hot days and cold nights. The Atacama Desert is considered to be the driest place on earth and rain is rare at anytime of year.

Atacama’s Spring-Summer (October to March):Daytime temperatures usually range between 20°C - 24°C (68-77 F). Night time temperatures will most likely range from 5°C - 0°C (41 - 32 F)

Atacama’s Autumn-Winter (April to September): Daytime temperatures range from 15°C -20°C (59-68 F). Night time temperatures will most likely be -10°C - 0°C (14 - 32F) 

In the Lake Region, from November to April expect generally good weather, with temperatures varying from a maximum of 30°C/86ºF to a minimum of 8°C/46ºF. However, it does tend to rain one or two days a week in summer. From May to October rain is more abundant and the temperature drops to an average of max. 15°C/59ºF to min. -2°C/28ºF

In Patagonia (Chile and Argentina), the vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. In addition, the strong marine influence and the affect of the Southern Patagonia Ice field make the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rain and even snow. Even in summer (December to March) you should come prepared to find strong cold winds (up to 130km/hr) and rainfall. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºCmax, 2ºC min). However, just as quickly as the weather turns nasty, it can become lovely and sunny. So come prepared for all types of weather!

Telephones and Communications in Chile and Argentina

Contact your personal cell phone provider and see about an international plan you can use during your trip to Chile and Argentina. All hotels have access to phones. Do not expect phone services at remote camps in Patagonia.

 

Access to Internet

No matter where you are in Chile or Argentina, chances are there is an Internet station, either in a cafe or at the telephone centers. Most hotels have their own Internet service; if they don't, they'll be able to point out where to find one. Major hotels are wireless enabled.

 

Clothing

When packing please considers the use of quick drying, lightweight, active wear clothing.   Casual wash and wear clothing is most appropriate during your journey. Rain gear is useful. For evenings in the city, dress as formal or as casual as you like. Light/heavy long-sleeve shirts/blouses and sweater and well-insulated windbreaker is necessary for cool nights in the highlands and even the jungle. Avoid packing cotton clothing. Wet cotton does not wick water away from your skin. Also when cotton gets wet, it ceases to insulate your body from the cold.

 

What to Bring Checklist

Gear

  • Waterproof rain poncho.
  • Long & short sleeved shirts / T-shirts.
  • Pile pull-over or jacket.
  • Well-insulated gore-tex windbreaker or jacket.
  • Hiking boots and sturdy walking shoes.
  • Flip-flops or sandals.
  • Socks.
  • Long pants.
  • Wide brimmed cloth hat / bandana.
  • Gloves / mitts.
  • Sunglasses (UV protection type).
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses if necessary.
  • Eyeglass straps.
  • Insect repellent & sunscreen.
  • Hand sanitation cream or towels.
  • Canteen or small water bottle, plus personal toiletries and medicines.
  • Daypack.
  • Powerful flashlight and a headlamp. Highly recommend the use of a headlamp so your hands are free during activities.
  • Binoculars.
  • Camera with flash and extra batteries. Plenty of extra film if you are not using digital technology or memory cards.

Travel hardware

  • Camera screwdriver set & epoxy glue.
  • Swiss army knife & sewing kit with scissors.
  • Travel alarm clock & plastic adhesive tape.
  • Extra camera & flashlight batteries.
  • Duck tape

Optional

  • Extra duffel bag I you plan to do some purchases.
  • Notebook & reading material.

DESTINATIONS