Patagonia by Land & Sea
Before You Go
The expedition requires a moderate level of exertion. To best enjoy your experiences in Patagonia, you should be in good physical condition and able to participate on nature hikes of one to five miles over rough or uneven trails. There will be opportunities for hikes of varied lengths. The weather in Patagonia is notoriously changeable. The Andes bisect the region and create a dramatic rain shadow effect to the east, with dry cold winds often sweeping down from the mountains. Along the coast temperatures will range between 40ºF and 70ºF, depending on the latitude. In the higher elevations, temperatures can dip below freezing at night and tend to climb into the 50sºF and 60sºF during the day. Be prepared for strong sun and high winds; even in the drier areas, rain should be expected at any time. By packing clothing that can be layered you can ensure you will be prepared for the various conditions you may encounter on any given day.
Patagonia is renowned for its wilderness; however, its stunning scenery and protected nature reserves attract people from all over the world, and with them comes a sturdy tourist infrastructure. Several days will entail long drives to reach remote wilderness areas; however the vehicles used are modern and comfortable and the roads are mostly paved and well-maintained.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
This expedition requires a reasonable level of exertion. To best enjoy your experiences in Patagonia, you should be in good physical condition and able to participate on nature hikes of one to five miles over rough or uneven trails. There will be opportunities for hikes of varied lengths.
Any major health problem, disability, or physical condition that may require emergency care must be brought to our attention prior to the trip’s departure.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to El Calafate at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination, if allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Airlines change flight times frequently and, if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 1.206.285.4000 or 188.8.131.521 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of all changes to your arrival into El Calafate so that we may inform the Expedition Leader.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates and for those who have booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, the Posada Los Alamos.
PLEASE NOTE: Your room will not be available until the hotel check-in time of 3:00 p.m. If you would like to guarantee an early check-in, please contact us and we can reserve an additional night for you.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions, as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
For your international flights to El Calafate, Argentina and return flight home from Punta Arenas, Chile, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm.
Most airlines strictly enforce strict baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry essential toiletries on board the plane, as well as prescription medications and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.
Important Internal Flight Baggage Information
Due to baggage restrictions on our internal flight on this expedition, you will be restricted to one piece of checked baggage, maximum weight 23 kilograms (50 pounds), plus one small carry-on not to exceed 5 kilograms (11 pounds).
IMPORTANT: Please take these weight restrictions seriously as it will delay the group if any participants must unpack and reorganize their belongings.
The weather in Patagonia is notoriously variable. The Andes bisect the region and create a dramatic rain shadow effect to the east, with dry cold winds often sweeping down from the mountains. Along the coast temperatures will range between 40ºF and 70ºF, depending on the latitude. In the higher elevations, temperatures can dip below freezing at night and tend to climb into the 50sºF and 60sºF during the day. Be prepared for strong sun and high winds; even in the drier areas, rain should be expected at any time.
The following are average high/low temperatures in November for selected locations on our itinerary:
|El Calafate, Argentina||62ºF||41ºF|
|Cape Horn, Chile||53ºF||36ºF|
|Torres del Paine National Park||55ºF||41ºF|
As of June 2017 the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||667.8 Chilean peso (CLP)|
|$1 US dollar (USD)||16.01 Argentine peso (ARS)|
ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency in some countries if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, although access to ATMs varies greatly from region to region. Please carry smaller denominations as most merchants will require local currency. Also, ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs.
You will receive your pre-departure documents via email—attached will be a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be emailed approximately one month prior to your departure.
The electrical current in Argentina and Chile is 220 volts/50 hertz. Some appliances can work on 110-volts or 220-volts, such as cell phones, laptop computers, and cameras. If you are bringing standard, North American appliances with you, bring a converter and an adapter.
PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.
Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/El Calafate and Punta Arenas/home city. The flight from El Calafate/Ushuaia is included in the cost of the expedition. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
At this time, no inoculations or prophylaxes are required in conjunction with this expedition. However, it is strongly suggested that you have an up-to-date flu shot, hepatitis A vaccination, tetanus, and diphtheria inoculations. People who travel frequently to international destinations should also consider vaccinations or boosters against meningitis, typhoid, measles, and polio. Please check with your doctor or local travel clinic to determine what is right for you. Obtain inoculations at least four to six weeks before departure for shots to take effect.
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.
The most common health problem passengers may encounter is what is known as Traveler’s Diarrhea, which can vary from mild to extreme cases. Anti-diarrhea tablets (Imodium or Lomatil) should be carried as a precautionary measure against upset stomachs, but we strongly suggest that you also bring along an antibiotic that can help you resolve the problem quickly and get you back to enjoying the expedition. Consult with your physician about what medications will be best for your use.
Protect yourself against dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. This can prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. We will be outdoors for long periods, so take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
Zika Virus Warning
There have been active reports and transmission of the Zika virus in several regions of South and Central America. The virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito and the most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, we suggest taking the following simple steps to protect yourself:
- Use insect repellents
- When used as directed, insect repellents are safe and effective for everyone.
- Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide long lasting protection.
- If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
- Do not spray insect repellent on the skin under your clothing.
- Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
- When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use air conditioning where available or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
For a complete summary of the Zika virus, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html or the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at http://www.travelguard.com/ZEGRAHM/.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
Your final documentation will include contact information for our hotels, including phone numbers and email addresses.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00am on the North American west coast:
|10:00am||New York, NY|
|12:00pm||Chile & Argentina|
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal taste and adjust accordingly.
Bring loose, comfortable clothing appropriate for the variable conditions you will encounter. Bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, including a hat or visor and sunblock, as we will be out for extended periods of time. Being out early in the morning or later in the evening will result in cooler temperatures, so dress accordingly and it is highly recommended to dress in layers for added comfort and wardrobe versatility. For some of our more active tours, you also need sturdy, non-skid, waterproof walking or hiking boots. Otherwise, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Please make sure your shoes are well broken-in before you depart. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower on our excursions.
While on board the Stella Australis, every attempt is made to keep all landings dry, but due to weather and sea conditions, there is a possibility for a wet landing. For this reason, we highly recommend waterproof shoes. If your feet get wet, they will lose heat rapidly, so your boots need to be waterproof. Do not bring “moon boots” or leather boots. Once ashore, excursions can involve a fair amount of walking and hiking over uneven terrain and on trails where paths may be wet or even have ice or snow on the ground.
Waterproof boots, Waterproof Outer layers, Trekking staffs and Waterproof Backpacks are available for rent or purchase through our gear supplier, New Headings. These items need to be ordered in advance and will be mailed to your home.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It is recommended that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after you return home, through May 15, 2018. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of one page per country available for entry/exit stamps in your passport. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.
Visas are not required of US nationals for entry into Chile and Argentina for a maximum stay of 90 days.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to purchase gear from our store, along with books or maps suggested in the reading list. The certificates will be emailed with your pre-departure information approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.