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Chile, Argentina, & Patagonia FAQ’s

Do I need a visa?

With a valid US or Canadian passport do not need a visa to enter Argentina or Chile for visits of up to 90 days for tourism or business. For those traveling with a passport from a country other than the US or Canada, visit for more visa information.

Is my passport valid?

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months following the end of your trip for entry into Chile or Argentina. If it expires sooner, you must get a renewal.

Are there any entrance fees?

Chile: There are no entrance fees for US or Canadian citizens at this time.

Agentina: If you are arriving in Argentina, as of Mar 24, 2016, the $160 entry fee for US citizens has been waived until further notice. As of Jan 01, 2018 the reciprocity fee for Canadian citizens of $78 is no longer valid.

Do I need any shots?

No vaccinations are required for travel to Chile or Argentina from the USA. As two of the most developed countries in South America, illness is generally not a problem for travelers to Patagonia. Call the CDC Travelers’ Hot Line at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or visit the website ( for current updates. Most travelers receive inoculations for Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever and Tetanus. Consider Yellow Fever and Malaria prophylaxis if visiting Iguazú Falls.

When can I expect more details on my trip?

You will receive two mailings: 1. Pre-departure materials once your trip is guaranteed, typically a few months prior to your departure; and 2. Final Documents sent two weeks before you leave.

Will I be met at the airport?

Yes, if you arrive according to schedule or have arranged extra transfers through our office. Meeting instructions and local contact information will be provided with your Final Documents.

What will the weather be like?

  • Buenos Aires & Santiago: The weather in the capitals can be expected to be hot and humid during the months of December, January & February. Daytime high temperatures can be expected to be 85-95°F with up to 70-75% humidity. Buenos Aires is generally hotter than Santiago. Nighttime lows should average 63-70°F during these months.

  • Patagonia: The weather in Patagonia varies greatly depending on the regions through which you will be traveling. It is important to be aware that any itinerary into these regions is subject to change due to weather factors. Southern Patagonia has a reputation for changeable, windy and/or rainy weather with mild temperatures. Daytime high temperatures during the months of November through February on the mainland (Rio Gallegos, El Calafate, Fitz Roy) will be between 58-72°F, with nighttime low temperatures ranging between 40-45°F. October and March are transitional months in which weather may be more variable than at other times.

    Paine National Park and areas on the western slope of the Andes typically have more wind and rain than destinations on the eastern side, but rain can be expected in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego at any time, on any departure.

    Wind is the one consistent factor in Patagonian weather. It varies from a comfortable, constant breeze to gale forces reaching 70 miles per hour.

  • Lake District: In the Lake District, or northern Patagonia you’ll find the temperatures very comfortable during the summer months (November-February). Daytime should be very pleasant with highs around 65-75°F, and the nights can be cool with lows in the 50’s. The gusty winds blowing off of the lakes can be cold at times and rain showers are common.


  • Iguazú Falls: This is a hot and humid sub-tropical region that receives a lot of rain throughout the year (more than 2000 mm). The months of November through February tend to be the hottest with average temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s. Daytime highs can be expected to be in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s with nightime lows in the low 70’s to upper 60’s.

  • Tierra del Fuego weather is typically mild with cool, damp days and nights (highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s or upper 30’s – average temperature is about 50°F)

  • Península Valdés and Punta Tombo are typically hot and windy. Daytime high temperatures in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s and nights in the 60’s (average temperature 70°F).

How much money should I bring?

Depending on the length of your trip, plan to bring $400-700 per person for spending money, tips, airport taxes and those meals not included in the itinerary.

Should I bring cash or a debit card?

Cash is the easiest to exchange and most places accept US dollars. Debit cards are also easy to use at most establishments. Be sure to check with your bank prior to your departure to inform them that you will be using the card in a foreign country. Traveler’s checks are less efficient and may take extra time and documentation to use. See current exchange rates.

Are ATM machines available?

Yes. There are ATM machines in the main cities such as Buenos Aires and Santiago. We recommend using the ones located inside some hotels, stores, restaurants or banks. Be cautious as some thieves may watch these machines and target tourists and others who take out large amounts of cash. Consult with your guide for safety recommendations on ATM’s.

Who books the local flights?

You can book the local flights within Chile or Argentina in conjunction with your international itinerary. Southwind will provide you with an air schedule to best match your trip. We can also recommend a Latin American ticketing specialist to assist you with all your airline ticketing needs. Most local airlines use 727/737 jets.

When is my balance due?

Your land balance is due 90 days prior to departure. An invoice will be sent with your pre-departure packet.

Is Patagonia safe?

Chile and Argentina are two of the safest South American destinations for foreign travelers. In more than 20 years of operating trips to this country, no one traveling with a Southwind group has ever had any problems with safety whether in the cities or on the trails. You can receive an updated Consular Information Sheet from the US State Department’s website.

How do I train for my trip?

If you lead an active lifestyle (walking, cycling, swimming, tennis, etc. on a regular basis) you will do fine on a Grade I or II trip. For Grade III trips you should plan to jog or stair climb for at least 45 minutes 4-5 times per week (more frequency for a Grade IV trip). View more details on Trip Ratings.

Who will be my guide?

We work with the most respected and experienced local guides, many of whom have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, Andean culture or other specialities. All speak fluent English and are knowledgeable, patient and fun to be around. Your Final Documents will provide guide details. See a list of Southwind guides in Chile and Argentina

What about an emergency while traveling?

Southwind has never had a life-threatening emergency for a traveler in more than 20 years of operations. Our guides are trained in mountain/wilderness first-aid. Depending on the circumstances, a vehicle, horse or helicopter may take an injured or ill person to the nearest medical facility. English-speaking doctors and clinics are available in all major cities (Santiago, Punta Arenas, Buenos Aires, El Calafate, etc.).