From the USA, the most convenient way to travel to Argentina and Chile
is by aircraft. Flights to Chile and Argentina range in price with a
minimum of $350. The cheapest flights are purchased well in advance
and usually have many stopovers. For example, Lacsa will probably stop
four or five times with short layovers before reaching either Santiago,
Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina. These flights can be the best deal
if you want to travel in another Central American or South American
country somewhere along the flight path. Instead of the cheapest flight,
one might prefer spending a little more money and having a four or five
hour savings on travel time. Expect to have at least one stopover with
a plane change if your departure city is not an international hub for
South America. The most common international flights that travel to
Chile and Argentina leave from Los Angeles, California; Dallas, Texas;
and Miami, Florida. Some of the common carriers to Chile are LanChile,
American and Lacsa.
All international flights that travel to Chile and Argentina land
in Buenos Aires, Argentina or Santiago, Chile. For a Manso Multisport
tour, it is necessary to either take another flight or bus to Bariloche,
Argentina. (The bus can take 20+ hours) Our recommendation
is to get an international flight into Buenos Aires, Argentina and
out of Santiago, Chile. The benefits are that you get to see both
capitals and you won't have to pay the Chilean reciprocity tax for
entering Santiago International (US$ 100 in 2003). We have also been
able to get good deals on these two country flights. Because the ATAC
tour ends in Puerto Varas, Chile, it is best to take
the returning flight from Puerto Montt, Chile to Santiago,
Chile. Flights leave at least twice daily.
For our ski tours, we recommend flying into Santiago, Chile with
a round-trip ticket. From there, it is easy to take a same day flight
to either Osorno, Chile or Temuco, Chile.
An example of a flight schedule for a Manso
Multisport Andean Crossing tour:
Los Angeles, CA to Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina to Bariloche, Argentina
ATAC Adventure Tour
Puerto Montt, Chile to Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile to Los Angeles, CA
We can help you with flight arrangements or you can make them yourself.
For more information contact
Upon arrival in Santiago, Chile, there is a reciprocity tax for USA
passport carriers at customs in the airport. Each year this tax rises.
Because they only accept exact change, it is best to carry US currency
in small denominations. In 2003, the tax amounted to US$100. There
is also an airport tax of US$18 upon leaving Santiago, Chile. For
those who travel to Argentina, there is an airport departure tax that
is currently US$23.50, though it is likely to fluctuate due to Argentina's
Months before you travel, make sure your passport is up to date and
will not expire while you are traveling. Allow for a minimum of two
months for a passport renewal prior to your trip, though it is possible
(and expensive) to renew at the last minute. Keep at least one copy
of your airplane tickets, passport, and driver's license in a separate
place from your real ones while traveling.
Though water quality in both Chile and Argentina is generally good,
it is recommended that you drink bottled water. Check with your doctor
to see which vaccinations you might want before traveling. There is
no risk of malaria in Chile or Argentina. For more health information
check the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention
The currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso and the currency of Argentina
is the Argentine Peso. In Chile, there are automatic bank tellers
(ATMs) in almost every city and they provide a good exchange rate.
Along the Carretera Austral of Southern Chile, it is unlikely to find
an ATM. ATMs are available in major cities in Argentina. It is also
possible to travel with dollars and exchange them at exchange houses.
If you don't exchange money in either country and choose to pay for
something in dollars, you typically get an unfavorable deal in a transaction.
If you travel with Travelers Checks, you can lose up to 5% while exchanging
them for local currency. A debit card used at an ATM avoids the interest
payments of a credit card used at an ATM. A credit card can be used
at most stores, restaurants and hotels in well-populated or touristic
places in both Chile and Argentina.
We recommend traveling with a money pouch hidden under your clothing.
Pack as lightly as possible. If in doubt, leave it out. Remember that
clothing is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased en route and
space might be needed for purchases that you bring back. Avoid hardback
books - paperback is always more convenient.
Identity cards from schools won't necessarily work abroad. To take
advantage of student, youth (under 26) and teacher discounts, you
need to get an International Student Identity Card or Go25 International
Youth Travel Card. Check STA http://www.statravel.com
for more information.
Buses are comfortable, convenient and inexpensive in both Argentina
and Chile. It is easy to travel with any amount of luggage (and kayaks)
without the hassle of driving. Between towns there are usually options
of direct buses with no stops and others that stop everywhere imaginable.
Ask when each bus arrives if you are unsure. If you choose to travel
overnight on a bus in Chile, there are usually at least three options
from the most comfortable/ most expensive to the least comfortable/
least expensive. The most comfortable buses have seats that lie almost
perfectly flat. Turbus and JAC are the biggest southbound bus companies
in Santiago, Chile. There are a multitude of other bus companies of
varying sizes. It is a crazy phenomenon that all buses leave and arrive
on time in Chile and Argentina.
It is possible to rent a car in any town of significant size in both
Chile and Argentina. Prices are comparable to those of the US.