Before You Go
This expedition requires a moderate level of exertion. To best enjoy your experiences in Patagonia, you should be in good physical condition and be 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. 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.
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.
IMPORTANT: 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 Punta Arenas, Chile 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 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, 206.285.4000, or 206.219.1641 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 Punta Arenas so that we may inform our 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, Hotel Cabo de Hornos.
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. It is essential that we receive your flight details.
Baggage restrictions for flights to Punta Arenas, Chile and from El Calafate, Argentina vary per carrier. Aerolineas flights are limited to one checked bag at 33 pounds (15 kilograms) total per person, with carry-on luggage limited to 11 pounds (5 kilograms) per person, plus one small personal item. LAN Argentina flights are limited to two checked bags at 50 pounds (23 kilograms) total per person, plus one small personal carry-on bag. Extra weight can be purchased directly from the airline at airport check in on the day of departure. However, if you purchase an international through fare with Delta or United, you are allowed their standard international luggage requirements. Please contact our in-house Air Department for details on your specific luggage allowance.
If you are traveling independently and plan on meeting the group, you will need to inquire about baggage restrictions with the airline you have booked.
Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry your essential toiletries with you, 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 that your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room.
PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
The weather in Patagonia is notoriously variable. The Andes mountains 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 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 January for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Punta Arenas, Chile||57ºF||45ºF|
|El Calafate, Argentina||54ºF||37ºF|
As of September 2017, the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||$622.5 Chilean peso (CLP)|
|$1 US dollar (USD)||$17.19 Argentine peso (ARS)|
ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card. Please have some cash available as a back-up; make sure bills are crisp, new, and without rips or holes. 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 information—including a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificate—approximately five months prior to departure. You will receive your final documents information—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—approximately one month prior to your departure.
The electrical current in Argentina and Chile is 220 volts/50 hertz (types (I, C & L). 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, you will need to bring a converter and 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/Punta Arenas and El Calafate/home city. 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 may be difficult to locate 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 of time, 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, please use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
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 tastes and adjust accordingly. Laundry service is available (no dry cleaning), and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended.
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. It is highly recommended to dress in layers for added comfort and wardrobe versatility.
There will be opportunities for hikes of varied lengths, so bring sturdy, non-skid, waterproof walking or hiking boots. Otherwise, comfortable walking shoes or light hiking boots are recommended. Please make sure your shoes are well broken-in before you depart. Also, keep in mind that it is very likely we will encounter a rain shower on our excursions, as the weather in Patagonia is unpredictable. It is possible to experience all four seasons in one day, so be sure to pack accordingly.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least six months after you return home, through July 23, 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. Please be sure you have at least one page available per country in your passport for entry/exit stamps. 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.