National Parks of Patagonia CME

12 Days from From $6,300

The Patagonia Wilderness Emergency Medicine CME Conference give you the chance to visit one of the premiere scenic mountain areas on the planet!

Chile’s Torres del Paine and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Parks are among the great scenic wonders of the world!  This extraordinary trip brings you to the very heart of both of these legendary regions.

National Parks of Patagonia CME

Wilderness Medicine in Torres Del Paine – Los Glaciares – Fitzroy – Cerro Torre in Patagonia

This Continuing Medical Education class in Wilderness and Emergency Medicine is hosted in some of the premiere scenic mountain destinations on the planet – Patagonia!

Chile’s Torres del Paine and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Parks are among the great scenic wonders of the world! This is a pilgrimage which all passionate mountain-lovers must do at least once in their lifetime. This extraordinary trip brings you to the very heart of both of these legendary regions. We begin in remote reaches of Los Glaciares Park with spectacular views of Cerro Torre, Fitzroy and the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.

Next, we cross into Chile, where we explore Torres del Paine, an icon for dramatic mountain scenery! We’ll see jaw-dropping vistas of rock spires, jagged snowy peaks, the huge expanse of the Patagonia Ice Field, tranquil azure lakes, and golden grasslands bright with wildflowers. Each night, we’ll savor the days activities over tasty meals in cozy lodges.

Faculty Leader: ERIC A. WEISS,MD, FACEP: Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; Director, Wilderness Medicine Fellowship, Stanford University School of Medicine; Expedition Physician, National Geographic Society; Author of A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine.

WILDERNESS & TRAVEL MEDICINE CLASSES: COURSE INFORMATION

Accreditation – 16.5 Hours AMA PRA Category 1 Credits

WILDERNESS MEDICINE COURSE CONTENT INCLUDES:

  • Altitude Illness
  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Heat Illness
  • Snakebites
  • Travelers Illnesses
  • Marine Envenomations
  • Trauma Management
  • Wilderness Orthopedics
  • Water Disinfection
  • Swiftwater Safety and Rescue
  • Basic Wilderness Survival
  • Wilderness Medical Kits
  • Wound Management
  • Wild Animal Attacks
  • Patient Assessment
  • Wilderness Dermatology
  • Wilderness Pediatrics

Day 1
Meet guide at El Calafate airport and transfer to Hotel Los Hielos or similar  for dinner and orientation. Explore Calafate on your own. (D)

Day 2
After breakfast we will begin our tour to Glacier Perito Moreno, one of the most spectacular glaciers in the Southern Patagonian ice field. Walking along the terraces you will get many different views – great for photos, and you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of ice calving into the lake! We take it one step further and board the “Safari Nautico” to navigate close to the walls of the glacier, getting the closest view possible. Lodging and dinner at the Hotel Los Hielos or similar . (B+L+D)

Day 3
We will set off by private bus to Torres Del Paine National Park (5hrs), arriving around lunchtime. We will arrive at our Eco base camp for the next 4 nights. Here we discover the most beautiful treasures of Torres del Paine NP, with easy and active programs, while enjoying superb comfort and ease at the new sustainable EcoCamp’s Suite Domes. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Torres from your doorstep. The next 4 days you will have an option of easy or more strenuous hikes. The three most impressive, scenic and famous hikes in Torres Del Paine will be offered. (Grey Glacier, the Mighty Torres and the French Valley. There will also be less strenuous options offered. Not necessarily in the order below) (B+L+D)

More info on our base camp for the next 4 nights
Our Suite Domes are comfortable 28mt2/ 300 ft2 tented igloo-type double domes built the same way as the ancient native Kaweska’s dwellings. Its structure produces minimal environmental impact while providing an efficient thermal and wind resistant unit, with great exposure to nature in the most magnificent Patagonian setting. Each dome has a private bathroom, comfortable double or twin beds, and it is heated by a modern low- emission wood stove. In addition, every dome has its own composting device to process waste. Electricity is generated with a micro hydro turbine and solar panels. EcoCamp’s Suite domes are located in a Lenga (beech) forest next to the existing standard domes but allowing enough distance so as to create a separate and independent atmosphere with more refinement and comfort. The domes are set up with enough space between them to provide adequate intimacy and introspection.

Day 4 (the next three days there are options – not necessarily in the order below)
Today we’ll hike from Paine Grande Lodge along the shores of mountain-lined Lake Pehoe to the northern end of glacial Lake Grey. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails to the blue face of Glacier Grey. You’ll have lots of time to marvel at this calving glacier before the boat ride across Lake Grey with its floating pieces of ice. You clothes and personal belongings are once again transported separately from the lodge in duffel bags. From Lake Grey’s southern end we transfer to the EcoCamp. If the weather does not allow us to navigate Lake Grey, we’ll instead hike to Glacier Grey. Then at Pudeto we’ll board the catamaran to cross Lake Pehoe. From there, we’ll take a short drive back to Cascada EcoCamp where we’ll enjoy the night. (B+L+D)
Walking duration: 2 hours.
Walking distance: 4 km / 2.5 miles.
Boat ride on Grey Lake: 2 hours round trip.

Day 5
Time for a great breakfast and lots of enthusiasm! Our goal is to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine NP. We walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres and connect with the winding uphill path to Ascencio Valley – the valley which supports the eastern face of the Towers’ base. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers are passed along the scenic walk into the valley. It’s not a difficult walk, but energy should nevertheless be saved for the final challenge: the moraine. This mass of boulders is the last guardian before our face to face meeting with the uplifting Torres del Paine. The moraine is sufficiently steep to consider doing it slowly and with an adequate amount of precaution. After a considerable effort, the Towers come into full view, rising majestically before us with the glacial lake visible below. This is one of the most breathtaking sights of the world! The famous Torres del Paine (2, 900 m/ 9, 400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. Is there any better place on this planet to have lunch? Of course! But since we are in Patagonia, at the feet of the mighty Torres del Paine, we will enjoy life, the view, and a bite to eat! Once everyone is ready, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley, and return to the EcoCamp. (B+L+D)
Trekking duration: 10 hours round trip.
Trekking distance: 21 km /13 miles round trip.

Day 6
After breakfast, we start our day driving towards Pudeto dock, located by the shores of Pehoe Lake. Once there we board the catamaran that will take us to the northern west sector of the Lake from where we will start the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), taking a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep we go depends on our groups’ rhythm. An active walk leads us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif. From this point, we can enjoy our first truly wonderful view and then continue up the trail until reaching the upper prospects of the valley. The entire group of geological formations of the high valley can be admired here: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza! (Fortress). It is time to have a picnic and recover from the walk. Overnight Eco Camp. (B+L+D)
Boat ride on Pehoe Lake: 30 minutes each way.
Trekking duration: 6 hours round trip.
Trekking distance: 11 km / 7 miles round trip.

Day 7
Today we will continue across the Patagonian steppes to the tiny village of El Chaltén. We will take off from the Eco domes in the morning, on a long but scenic drive and arrive at El Chalten in the afternoon. We will have plenty of stops to stretch our legs and enjoy all the scenic viewpoints. This is a remote corner of Patagonia, but thanks to the growing interest in mountaineering and hiking this town (with less than 100 year- round residents) has sprung up in recent years. El Chaltén is the gateway to Northern Glacier National Park. From town and our hotel there are impressive views of Rio de Las Vueltas and the famous FitzRoy Massif (11,703’). An impressive 40 percent of this park is covered in ice fields and there are 47 glaciers. We’ll have the afternoon free to relax and perhaps see a bit of the town. We will spend the next 5 nights at our hiking base, the Destino Del Sur (B+L+D)

Day 8
The group will take a transfer from the hotel to Hosteria El Pilar, where the trail starts. (17 km from the town). Soft activity: Hike up rio Blanco and panoramic point of the Piedras Blancas glacier and back to El Pilar. Transfer will be waiting for return to El Chalten. Trekking duration: 4 hours Hard activity: Continue hiking from the panoramic point of Piedras Blancas glaciar to Poicenot campsite. Returning to El Chalten by Laguna Capri trail. If the group wants they can do the hike up to “Laguna De Los Tres” (the best panoramic point of the Fitz Roy!!!)
Trekking duration: 6 hours. If you decide to go to Laguna de los Tres it ?s about 8 hours.
Lodging & dinner at the Destino Del Sur. (B+L+D)

Day 9
Trekking to Cerro Torre. We start with a short uphill section until reaching the first viewpoint. From here the Cerro Torre and valley entirely visible in its entirety. For those willing to walk further, our guide leads you to Laguna Torre, approximately 9km away from town. The trail runs through a glacier-originated valley. The lagoon features the Torre Glacier calving on the far side, and the Cerro Torre group & spires rising in the background.
Soft activity: 3 hours trekking duration.
Hard activity: 6-7 hours trekking duration. Lodging at the Destino Del Sur. (B+L) Dinner on your own

Day 10
Hike to Pampa de las Carretas, where a beautiful and panoramic view of the Fitz Roy and Torre hills. Continue to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado. Taking the Laguna Toro trailhead from El Chalten, after an hour of hiking we reach our first look out of Cerro Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and Cerro Huemul. Once above the vegetation level (approx. 1000m/a/s/l), you can find yourself amongst fossils such as ammonites and belemonites. This lookout offers a view outside of the conventional views of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy and Paso del Viento (gate to the ice fields). This trek also has the advantage of not being as popular, so you will not be among too many tourists. Return to El Chalten by the same trail.
Trekking duration: 8 hours (There is an option for a less strenuous hike).
Lodging at the Destino Del Sur. (B+L) Dinner on your own.

Day 11
Time to explore the Viedma Glacier, the largest in the “Los Glaciares National Park”. Soft activity: Viedma boat trip. It’s a 2 hour boat trip with spectacular views of the lagoon and Viedma Glacier. Time duration: 4 hours Hard activity: Viedma ice trekking. The excursion starts at 09.00 am, once on board we will navigate in Lake Viedma and enjoy views of Mount Fitz Roy and Huemul. We will arrive at Viedma Glacier and land on a rocky promontory where the group will put on crampons and start a guided hike to the ice caverns and other interesting formations. Expert guides will lead you to the front of Viedma Glacier, where you will be able to observe the traces of ice erosion and ice caverns. After this hike, you return to the boat and navigate by the front of the glacier, where you will see its 55 m. ice walls of innumerable tints of blue.
Time duration: 7 hours
Hotel Destino Del Sur

Day 12
Transfer to El Calafate in the morning for your flight home – After 12PM.

IN EL CHALTEN

Los Senderos Hosteria (or similar)

At the very doors of El Chaltén, within Los Glaciares National Park, at the foot of the Fitz Roy Hill, Senderos Hostería is waiting for you.

Of typical Patagonian architecture, inspired in antique farms from 1920 and with all the modern hotel comfort, Senderos Hostería offers guests the unique experience to feel and live this outstanding spirit reflected in decoration and mainly shown by the warm and personalized service of its professional staff.

The 21 rooms and other spaces in Senderos Hostería have been designed to offer guests warmth, privacy and peace of mind during their stay.

IN TORRES DEL PAINE

ECO CAMP

Ecocamp PatagonDomes with mountains smallia is located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, with views of the majestic granite towers. The region’s first sustainable lodge south of the Amazon and the first of its kind in the Patagonian wilderness, EcoCamp offers upscale camping in domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants.

 

 


Standard Dome
Standard Dome small
(Shared bathroom, 10m²/108ft²)
EcoCamp Standard domes were the world’s first lodge accommodation in geodesic shape. They are resistant to the strong Patagonian winds, and come equipped with two single beds (doubles on request), cozy fleece blankets and feather quilts. There are windows in the ceiling for stargazing. Standard domes include shared bathrooms which are large, comfortable and gender divided.

 

Suite DomeSuite Dome Interior small
(Heating & Private bathroom, 28m²/300ft²)
Suite domes were designed to further our goal of providing comfort in a natural setting with minimal environmental impact, and also maintain thehotel’s familiar and cozy vibe. The domes have comfortable double or twin beds, a woodstove and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

 

 

Suite Dome Bathroom copy smaller

 

 

 

 

 


Suite Dome Loft
Suite Dome Loft small

(2 floors, Heating & Private bathroom, 37m²/398ft²)
Suite dome lofts are two-storey domes which fit up to four people and have comfortable double or twin beds both up and downstairs. These domes, ideal for families or groups of friends, come with a wood stove, a private terrace and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

 

IN CALAFATE

Hosteria Los Helios (or similar)

Hotel Hielos Collage

The charming 4-star Hosteria Los Hielos Hotel is located on Redonda Bay and features views of Argentinian Lake. The common living room offers views of the Patagonian landscape.

All rooms in Hosteria Los Hielos include a private bathroom, seating area, cable TV, wifi, a safe and views of the lake.

Guests enjoy a daily breakfast with sweets and homemade pastries made with regional fruits. They can also relax in the garden and library. Services include a 24-hour front-desk, a tour desk and currency exchange. Hosteria Los Hielos Hotel also features a hot tub and a sauna as well as a fitness center and bicycles.

Departure Dates:

2018 Dates
January 14-25, 2018

Trip Length: 12 Days
Trip Price:

$6,300

Deposit: $600

VISAS & PASSPORTS

Visas and Entry Requirements

Visa requirements and costs can change suddenly. Please double check with embassy websites for the latest information.

  • Citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay need only their identity card.
  • Citizens of Canada, UK, USA, Australia and most Western European countries need passports only. You do not need to get a tourist visa ahead of time. Upon arrival at the airport is fine.
  • Citizens of Luxembourg or New Zealand need advance visas, as well as Koreans, Poles, Indians, Thais, Jamaicans and Russians.

Passports

If you don’t have a passport, apply for one now because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, please check the expiry date. The expiry date is important because many countries, including Chile, won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date you complete your trip.

FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS

You are responsible for booking all flights, international as well as domestic.  However, if you need help, please feel free to call or email the Bio Bio office.

One travel agent we often use is:

G&G Travel
gildagutierrez@comcast.net
866-498-0530 or 786-206-0710

Flying In…El Calafate airport, Argentina (FTE) You will fly into Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE) and from there you will take a domestic flight to El Calafate. You will possibly fly to El Calafate from the domestic Airport, “Aeroparque Jorge Newberry” (AEP). Please allow enough time between flights to switch airports.
Flying Out…El Calafate airport, Argentina (FTE) You can choose to spend more time in Patagonia and fly home at a later date. We are happy to help you arrange tours and lodging.

 

PACKING INFORMATION

The personal equipment list we provide you with has been developed through years of practical experience. It is important that the clothing you bring will withstand the rigors of the trip. Your personal equipment should not weigh more than 40 pounds and all clothing should be quick drying and be made of synthetics. Warmth and comfort are the main objectives with this outline. Weather conditions can vary considerably in Patagonia. It’s important to dress in layers so that you can maintain a comfortable body temperature no matter what Mother Nature may have in store. The inner layer should move perspiration outside, where it can evaporate. The intermediate layer should insulate while the outside layer should act as a barrier to wind and rain.
Weather & Climate
Further south, in Patagonia, the weather can be very unpredictable, and can change drastically and unexpectedly. On a sunny day, daytime temperatures can be very pleasant, ranging between 13°C -20°C (low 60s and low 70s F). However, rain, high winds, and cold air can blow in quickly even during the summer months, making the temperatures drop into the –1°C/5°C (30s and 40s F). Snow is a possibility.

You need to be prepared for these changes at all times, as you will most likely experience the area’s fickle moods. Rest assured, however, that just as quickly as the weather turns nasty, it can turn balmy, too! Nighttime temperatures will most likely be in the –1°C /5°C (30s and 40s F) depending on the weather.
Luggage, Clothing & Travel Accessories
Try to go as light as possible and take only the essentials. Excess baggage can be a burden to you and to our support personnel. Keep in mind that there are limits on how much your duffel bag/suitcase can weight because of weight restrictions on both international and domestic flights (usually 20 kg/44 lbs. for domestic flights).

While you are in Torres del Paine, your city clothes can be safely stored in at our office in Puerto Natales. You can recover them when returning from your program at the end of your trip.

You can also leave them at the Suite Domes in case you are not returning to Puerto Natales/Punta Arenas.
Luggage

  • Daypack. It should have a capacity of 20 to 30 liters (1220 to 1830 cubic inches). This daypack is only needed to carry your personal belongings for the day (camera, water, box lunch, sunscreen, etc).
  • Spare roll-up duffel. Consider bringing a small, roll-up nylon duffel (lockable) to store your city clothes (Only applicable if you decide to leave some of your main luggage in our offices).

Rain Gear
Rain is a possibility so be sure to pack some rain gear—both tops and bottoms. A jacket is the most important item to keep your torso warm and dry. We also recommend rain pants. The jacket and pants should be compact enough to fit easily into your daypack.
Pile or Fleece
The best we’ve found is 200-weight Polar Plus, which is used by a variety of companies. This fabric is warm, dries quickly and is not excessively bulky. It can be found in many different styles and colors.
Hiking Clothes
Choose lightweight, synthetic fabrics that breathe well for any weather walking. Whatever you choose, be sure you have comfortable freedom of movement, especially for uphill and downhill walking.
Footwear for Hiking and Walking
This is a hiking tour. The importance of good footwear cannot be overstated. What may seem like a good shoe at home could leave you with sore feet on your trip. Given that the trails are often gravelly or sometimes muddy, you need a good walking boot with a firm sole, good ankle support and a degree of water resistance. It’s now easy to find a “hybrid” walking boot, which combines the lightweight, ventilated features of a shoe with the support and durability of a boot. If you buy new walking shoes or boots for the trip, make sure you break them in well before you go.
Socks
Bring at least one pair for each day unless you want to wash them out each night. We recommend synthetic / wool blend as these tend to draw the perspiration from the foot and will keep your feet warm, even when wet. It may be a good idea to bring along some additional items such as foot powder, cushioned pads and/or bandages to place inside your footwear-just in case. Another worthwhile product is something called Spenco 2nd Skin®, which provides cushioned comfort with an antiseptic for blistered and sore feet. Many people find a product called moleskin gives them great relief from blisters. The guides carry a blister kit as part of their first-aid supplies.
Sun Protection
Since you will be spending a good portion of your day outside, we recommend you bring skin protection cream with an appropriate SPF. Sun visors or baseball caps can also be helpful.
Photo & Video Gear
Although Patagonia offers unmatched photo opportunities, the weather changes very quickly and the sky is often overcast. The light quality and conditions constantly change, requiring a wide range of film speeds.

Bringing the right camera and film will determine the quality of your photographs of the trip. A good DSLR camera with telephoto lens is ideal. Lenses longer than 300mm will require a tripod for good results and may be too cumbersome to lug around.

There is electricity at the main dome at Ecocamp Suite Domes. There you will be able to charge your camera batteries (220 v).

Bring a couple memory cards. You won’t be able to buy more on trek, and it may be very expensive in the towns you’ll visit. And don’t forget spare camera batteries.
CHECKLIST

Clothing
We have not included quantities for each item listed. Use your own judgment, based on the length of your trip and overall packing/weight restrictions for your luggage.

Underwear

  • Regular underwear. Synthetics are easier to wash and dry.
  • Synthetic thermal underwear. You need a lightweight long underwear top and bottom of a polyester-type fabric. Wool and wool/synthetic blends are also suitable.

Shirts

  • Long-sleeved, synthetic or wool shirt.
  • Short-sleeved synthetic or cotton/synthetic T-shirts.

Sweater/Jacket

  • Medium-weight sweater or jacket of synthetic fabric, such as fleece.
  • Medium-weight down or synthetic-fill jacket (10-12 oz. of down or 15-20 oz. of fiberfill).

Trousers

  • Full-length pants, preferably of quick-drying synthetic fabric.
  • Hiking shorts, preferably of quick-drying synthetic fabric.
  • Pile/fleece pants, ideal for around camp.

Headwear

  • Sun hat with wide brim, preferably with a chinstrap to keep it from blowing off.
  • Bandanna. It will keep your neck from getting sunburned and can double as a hand towel.
  • Wool or pile hat or ski cap.

Foul Weather Gear

  • Gore-Tex rain/wind parka (must fit over bulky clothing).
  • (optional) Sturdy poncho to protect daypack and camera gear from rain.
  • Gore-Tex rain/wind pants, preferably with full-length side zipper (must fit over your other pants).

Hands

  • Gloves or mitts (wool or pile).
  • Waterproofed shell gloves or mitts.

Socks

  • Medium weight synthetic socks (we recommend Thorlo® Lt. Trekking).
  • Athletic socks (synthetic for easy washing and drying) that are suitable for the shoes you’ll be wearing while in towns.
  • Inner socks (synthetic) that can be washed and dried quickly.

Footwear
This is where the rubber meets the road – take care in your choice. Sturdy, properly fitting footwear can make your trip much more pleasurable. If you’re buying new boots for this trip, please break them in advance by wearing them as often as possible before the trip.

  • Medium-weight, all leather, sturdy hiking boots with padded ankle, good arch support, and a lug sole traction. Your hiking boots should be waterproofed, well broken in, and suitable for prolonged walking on rocky terrain and possibly snow. Running shoes or Nike hiking shoes are not recommended for this trip.
  • Tennis shoes or Teva-type sandals to wear at the domes (optional). Sandals are also suggested.
  • Comfortable walking shoes to wear while in towns.

Other Items

  • Swimsuit (you never know…).
  • One set of casual city clothes that are dressier than your trek clothes (for the cities).
  • Hiking sticks (optional but highly recommended for active excursions). These are helpful, if not essential, to relieve the impact on your knees during long downhills. Some people use them on uphills as well; however, it is not recommended to make an habitual use out of them (it could compromise the natural balance of your legs and ankles). We recommend to practice with one, or two, before the hike. This is only a recommendation and not for everybody.

Travel Accessories

  • Wide mouth water bottles, 1-liter capacity. Bring two and make sure they are leak-proof, heavy-duty plastic (preferably Nalgene brand). Lightweight plastic bottles, such as Evian-type bottles and the kind used by bicyclists, aren’t recommended—they leak and break.
  • Toiletry kit—soap, toothbrush, and so on.
  • Mosturizing lotion. The air in Patagonia is very dry.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Ace bandage or brace if you’re prone to sore knees or ankles.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Spare pair of prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses. (Attention contact lens wearers: parts of Patagonia are very dusty—plan to wear glasses some of the time.)
  • Sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The sun in Patagonia is much more intense than you probably imagine.
  • Sunscreen lipstick of SPF 15 or higher.
  • Small flashlight with spare batteries, or small headlamp with spare batteries.
  • Small padlocks or combination locks for your duffels.
  • Nylon stuff sacks to stash your bulky gear into.
  • Heavyweight plastic garbage bag to use as a waterproofing liner inside your daypack, internal-frame backpack, or duffel.
  • Personal first aid kit.

Optional Travel Accessories

  • Camera and plenty of film or –if digital- plenty of memory!
  • Binoculars.
  • Watch.
  • Repair kit with needle, thread, and safety pins.
  • Reading and writing material.
  • Spanish/English dictionary.
  • Your favorite snack food. We’ll have plenty of excellent food, but you might want to bring along your favorite snack food (such as raisins or chocolate). Although we accommodate vegetarians, and we’ll be served fresh fruits and vegetables, meat is one of Chile’s and Argentina’s main staples. Vegetarians might want to bring some protein supplements.

* When you fly, always bring in your carry-on bag all irreplaceable items, such as cameras, medications, spare eyeglasses, and important papers.

BioBio Expeditions has partnered with Tahoe Mountain Sports, our local outfitter, to help you collect the gear needed for your upcoming adventure! Use the promo code BioBio1 at checkout and receive 15% off all full priced items in your shopping cart. Click this LINK to see some products offered at TMS that are on your packing list or visit their online store at: http://www.tahoemountainsports.com

MONEY MATTERS

We recommend using a combination of your credit card, getting local currency using an ATM machine and having US dollars in several denominations for tips. In Chile the unit of currency is the Chilean “peso” and in Argentina the currency is the Argentinean “peso”.

For current exchange rates check the following website: http://www.xe.com/.

US dollars are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, you will need local currency out of the cities; just enough for drinks, souvenirs, and incidental items. You will find exchange agencies at the airports, hotels, commercial area of cities and banks. Banks are open 9:00am to 2:00pm, Monday through Friday, but most banks do not change money!
ATMs

Plus, Cirrus and other networks connecting ATMs are available in Chile and Argentina. If your credit card has been programmed with a PIN, it’s likely you can use that at ATMs to withdraw money as a cash advance. Always ask your bank before you leave home about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad, the limit each day, and also let them know where you are going so they do not put a hold on your card. You may be charged a fee for each transaction.
Credit Cards

Most of the bigger restaurants and shops accept credit cards. If you have American Express, Visa, Master Card and Diners Club, you’re probably equipped for any establishment that takes cards. If you only have one credit card, VISA is the most widely accepted. A shopkeeper may require you to pay the credit card fee for purchases, so for the most ease, we recommend you use cash whenever possible.
Personal Checks

Personal checks are not accepted in shops or at your hotels.
Travelers Cheques

Traveler’s checks have very limited use in smaller towns. If you plan to extend your vacation and visit some of the bigger cities like Santiago or Buenos Aires, you may also consider bringing traveler’s cheques. In general, however, they are no longer as useful as they used to be.
Tipping

Tipping is, of course, entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service received. This is a rough guideline to try and help you work out how much you should tip. Hotel staff porters usually receive 1$ per bag as do taxi drivers. In restaurants, 10% is the norm. Typically, you should designate 10-15% of the land cost of the trip for tips. For example, a $4000 trip would mean $400 in tips. Tips are best paid in US cash or local currency.
Spending money

You won’t need to take a great deal of money on the trip. You will need to have money available for the following:

  • Gifts and souvenirs
  • Tipping money
  • A few meals that may not be covered in the trip
  • Drinks
  • Airport taxes/Entrance fee: Departure tax for Argentina is $18.

TRAVEL PRACTICALITIES

Trip Insurance

Bio Bio Expeditions encourages all clients to obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected events such as trip cancellations, trip delay, lost baggage, medical expenses, etc. Please inform us of your current trip insurance status. We will also forward a brochure from Travelex. They have good rates and excellent coverage for international travel.
Immunizations

Although there are no immunizations required to travel to Chile and Argentina, it is recommended that typhoid and diphtheria-tetanus be current. Hepatitis A, taken just before departure, is also recommended. The cholera vaccination is no longer officially required and cholera can be avoided by practicing strict food and water precautions. We advise that you consult your physician regarding recommended immunizations and other health precautions. Bio Bio Expeditions does not take responsibility for which medications or inoculations you and your physician deem necessary for your safe participation on the expedition.

For further information, call the CDC’s International Traveler’s Hotline:
Phone: 1-888-232-4636
Online: www.cdc.gov

The CDC’s fax bulletin includes additional information about preventing illness while traveling. Follow the directory instructions for obtaining information about your travel region. Be ready to provide your fax number after you’ve made your directory selection.
Water

You will find some of the purest water on earth flowing freely in Patagonia. Nevertheless, bottled water is popular and can be ordered at all restaurants. Ask for “agua mineral, sin gas” (non-carbonated) or “con gas” (carbonated). Diet sodas are usually referred to as “light”.
Food

You will discover some of the best produce and cuisine found anywhere on the planet! And if you are a meat eater, you will be in heaven! The Argentine steaks are world famous and the Chilean seafood un-paralleled for its exotic variety of fish, shellfish and crustaceans. The wines are amazing, as are the fresh juices commonly served. Gelato ice cream is found everywhere and is well worth at least one visit to a “heladeria”!
Digestive Worries

Traveling to Argentina and Chile is not like traveling in central America or even other parts of South America where water borne diseases are more common. You will feel that that the Argentinos and Chileans are very mindful of cleanliness and hygiene. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid milk and caffeine, as it will only further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course. However you may want to bring over-the-counter diarrhea medication to minimize your potential discomfort.
Prescriptions

If you currently take prescription medications, be sure to have a plentiful supply and also the doctor’s written prescription in case you need a refill. It is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. Also, if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring along a spare set.
Voltage

Electric voltage is 220 volts, 50 cycles (220v, 50Hz). The use of appliances or electric devices designed for 110 volts need the use of a transformer. Most travel appliances, like laptops, have an auto-volt (110v – 240v) transformer built in that will adapt to Chilean/Argentinean electricity. At many airports universal adaptor kits are available and handy if you plan to recharge cameras and other devices.
Safety

Although the Argentineans/ Chileans are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, thievery can be a problem, mostly in the bigger cities. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When you’re with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money and important documents in a money belt or hidden pouch around your waist, neck or under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (e.g.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in the ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings.
Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. On arrival, your body then must suddenly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms are fatigue – often compounded by insomnia and restlessness – irritability, and vague disorientation. Chile and Argentina are roughly in the same time zone as the East Coast of the United States, however, they practice daylight savings as well so there may be a couple hours difference. Coming from the USA jet lag is not as much of a problem as it is traveling to Europe or Africa.

You cannot totally avoid jet lag’ but you can minimize it. Here’s how:

  • Start your trip well rested. Try to begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you leave.
  • Switch to your destination time zone when you get on the plane. Attempt to sleep and eat according to the new schedule.
  • Try to sleep on overnight flights.
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before and during your flight.
  • Drink plenty of water and or fruit juice while flying. You should buy a large bottle of water at a kiosk, or fill up your water bottle from the tap, right before boarding – once you have cleared security and are “inside”.
  • After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap, unless you didn’t sleep at all on the plane.
  • Don’t push yourself to see a lot on your first day.
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.

Environmental Responsibility

We pride ourselves on being an environmentally responsible company. We request that on trek you carry out whatever you carry in, including non-biodegradable items such as batteries, flashlight bulbs, empty film canisters, empty plastic containers, and so on.

The areas of Chile that we trek in do not have the proper facilities to process this kind of waste and your throwaways will end up in the river or tossed down a hillside. We suggest that you carry a large zip-lock bag in your pocket while you’re on the trail for daily accumulations. Recycling is not common outside of big cities. Considering the problem with plastic water bottles, we encourage you to bring a re-usable water bottle that you can fill from hotel taps.

COUNTRY INFORMATION

Language

The official language in both Chile and Argentina is Spanish. The Spanish spoken in South America is similar to the Castilian Spanish of Madrid, albeit with drastically different pronunciation and many vocabulary changes. The good news is that in most places, like restaurants and hotels, you might find someone who speaks English – and, of course, all our representatives and most guides speak both English and Spanish. If you do speak some Spanish you will have fun practicing with the locals!
Argentina Overview

If any country deserves the label ’land of extremes’ then Argentina does. This vast country occupying a large chunk of southern South America is topographically diverse and infinitely enchanting. From the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Andes to the dusty plains of Patagonia, Argentina never fails to amaze. Whether exploring the lush rainforest of Missiones, horse riding in the scorched red mountains of Salta, trekking the turquoise lakes and evergreen forests of the Lake District or playing the gaucho in the fertile Pampas, the country’s variety makes it a delightful place to visit.

At the heart of all this is the capital city Buenos Aires. Often described as the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires is a smart, contemporary, chic city that is full of life and bursting with energy, but still with an earthy Latin American flair. While the spirit of the tango is alive and well and the gaucho heritage is celebrated, modern Argentina is more cosmopolitan in its outlook than many South American countries.

The people of Argentina are warm, friendly, passionate and open to visitors. Despite a dark period of military dictatorship and a series of economic crises, the Argentines have a tenacious spirit and lust for life that is infectious. This passion shines through in the nation’s great loves of football, food and partying. There is never a dull moment in Argentina and visitors are beginning to discover the opportunities. The tourism industry is booming and deservedly so: the country begs to be explored and experienced.
Geography

Argentina is situated in South America, east of the Andes, and is bordered by Chile to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to the north and northeast. There are four main geographical areas: the Andes, the North and Mesopotamia, the Pampas and Patagonia. The climate and geography of Argentina vary considerably, ranging from the great heat of the Chaco (El Chaco), through the pleasant climate of the central Pampas to the sub-Antarctic cold of the Patagonian Sea. Mount Aconcagua soars almost 7,000m (23,000ft) and waterfalls at Iguazú stretch around a massive semi-circle, thundering 70m (230ft) to the bed of the Paraná River. In the southwest is the Argentine Lake District with a string of beautiful glacial lakes framed by mountains.
Argentina Fast Facts

Area: 2,780,400 sq km (1,073,518 sq miles).
Population: 40.4 million (official estimate 2008).
Population Density: 14.4 per sq km.
Capital: Buenos Aires. Population: 3 million (2006 estimate).
Government: Federal and Democratic Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1816.
Religion: More than 90% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant with small Muslim and Jewish communities.
Chile Overview

Chile is situated in South America, bounded by Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, the Antarctic and the Pacific Ocean. Home of the Andes mountain range, it is a thin ribbon of land, 4,200km (2,610 miles) long and nowhere more than 180km (115 miles) wide.

The Araucanian Indians were the original inhabitants of Chile. The Spanish conquered the country in the 16th century and ruled until the country’s independence in 1818. As a result of the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), Chile gained Tarapacá, Tacna and Arica from Bolivia, and took control of the Atacama Desert in the north. Border disputes between Chile and Bolivia have been a recurrent element in Chile’s history ever since.

Elections in 1970 brought Unidad Popular, led by the Marxist Dr. Salvador Allende, to power. A military coup followed, during which Allende committed suicide rather than surrender to his attackers. General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was declared Supreme Chief of State and president, and remained in power despite considerable opposition from many sectors of society. The ruling military junta assumed wide-ranging powers, its main aim being to eliminate the Communist Party and other leftist opposition. During the ‘state of siege’, political opponents were imprisoned (and many of them ‘disappeared’), censorship was systematic and all non-government political activity banned.

These powers were gradually relaxed during the 1980s. Patricio Aylwin, leader of the Concertación de los Partidos de la Democracia (CPD), stood against the General and won in the presidential elections of December 1989. In 1998, Pinochet officially retired and Chile has begun to come to terms with his legacy. In the 90’s Chile became a popular tourist destination as this violent past came to an end. Since then Chile has had a succession of democratically elected presidents and has experienced economic growth and stability. The Chilean people are warm and friendly and enjoy visitors. They are very proud of their beautiful country, the birthplace of celebrated poet Pablo Neruda.

Because of its unusual geography, Chile has a hugely varied climate ranging from the world’s driest desert in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south. Travelers will enjoy the country’s abundant fauna and flora and spectacular scenery consisting of huge glaciers, fjords, waterfalls, blue lakes and numerous national parks where trekking is a very popular activity amongst tourists.
Geography

Chile is situated in South America, bordered to the north by Peru, to the east by Bolivia and Argentina, to the west by the Pacific and to the south by the Antarctic. The country exercises sovereignty over a number of islands off the coast, including the Juan Fernández Islands (of Robinson Crusoe fame) and Easter Island. Chile is one of the most remarkably shaped countries in the world; a ribbon of land, 4,200km (2,610 miles) long and nowhere more than 180km (115 miles) wide.

The Andes and a coastal highland range take up one-third or half of the width in parts, and run parallel with each other from north to south. The coastal range forms high, sloped cliffs into the sea from the northern to the central area. Between the ranges runs a fertile valley, except in the north where transverse ranges join the two major ones, and in the far south where the sea has broken through the coastal range to form an assortment of archipelagos and channels.

The country contains wide variations of soil and vast differences of climate. This is reflected in the distribution of the population, and in the wide range of occupations from area to area. The northern part of the country consists mainly of the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. It is also the main mining area. The central zone is predominantly agricultural. The south is forested and contains some agriculture; further south, the forests on the Atlantic side give way to rolling grassland on which sheep and cattle are raised.
Chile Fast Facts

Area: 756,096 sq km (291,930 sq miles).
Population: 16.4 million (2008 estimate).
Population Density: 21 per sq km.
Capital: Santiago (de Chile). Population: 5.5 million (UN estimate 2003).
Government: Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1810.
Religion: Christian, of which the majority are Roman Catholic.

2 reviews for National Parks of Patagonia CME

  1. :

    More than met my expectations! I have only been on two group trips before – the other one was really good, but this was one of the best vacations I have ever had. I was nervous because this is by far the most expensive trip I’ve ever taken, but it was worth every last cent. This was not just because lodging/food costs were included; it was because the whole experience was so blissfully stress-free. At work I am always solving logistical problems and troubleshooting, so it was really impressive to be on a trip where everything was so smoothly and professionally handled. We literally could just show up to enjoy day after day of spectacular scenery and interesting CME topics. Although I’m sure Diego had to make all kinds of adjustments on the fly, all that work was never actually apparent – everything just ran perfectly. He took great care of everyone, and Tim and Valerie were likewise absolutely wonderful.

    Re activities, we really lucked out with perfect weather and a great mix of people in the group who got along very well. The variety of activities and the activity level were perfect – hiking “Patagonia flat” provided some challenges but was overall very do-able (though personally it would have been nice to do a little more prep than taking the stairs to my office for a few weeks!). I suppose the best indicator I had an awesome time was that a couple of my colleagues, after hearing about it, have asked for your website! So thanks again for a terrific vacation.

  2. :

    Trip exceeded expectations – it was a great adventure and was more than I could have imagined. All the guides were phenomenal and very knowledgeable. The attention to each travelers needs was superb. Folks who wanted to go fast, could go fast. Those that wanted to do it all but were a bit slower, could go slower. The experience was superb.

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