Electric Supply and Plugs
Both Argentina and Chile are 220V 50 Hz. Argentinian sockets can be either C type: 2 parallel prongs "French" type, OR L type: 2 round prongs aligned with the earth connector. Chilean sockets be either C type: 2 parallel prongs "French" type, OR I type: flat prongs, inverted "V" positioned, with earth connector.
Buenos Aires and El Calafate (Argentina) and Punta Arenas (Chile) are GMT - 3hrs
The national language of Argentina and Chile is Spanish. English is not widely spoken and it will pay dividends if you learn some phrases before you go. Spanish is an easy language to learn and its all part of the fun to try out your vocabulary during the trip. We recommend you take a pocket phrase book and learn some basics such as common greetings.
The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the saturated winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. Also, the strong marine influence makes the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rain and eventually snow. Even in summer (December to March) you should come prepared to find cold, strong winds (up to 80 mph / 50 mph) and rainfall. Daytime temperatures can vary between 24°C / 75°F and 2°C / 36°F degrees centigrade, averaging out at around 11°C / 52°F. Night-time temperatures on the icefield will fall to minus -10°C / 14°F. Above all, remember that Patagonian weather can be very unpredictable. Sun, rain, high winds and even snow are to be expected.
The unit of currency in Patogonia is Argentine peso or the Chilean peso, depending on if you are in Argentina or Chile respectively. For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com. We recommend you take the majority of your travel money in the form of cash US dollars or Euros or GBP, or an easy way is to draw money from ATMs, with your debit or credit card, from the banks and ATM’s in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Punta Arenas or El Calafate (depending on where you fly to). Often this gives the most favourable rate of exchange. Credit cards can be used in many shops and restaurants in larger towns and are particularly useful for more expensive items.
For entry into Argentina and Chile, you must have a full passport, which has at least 6 months remaining validity. Citizens of the United Kingdom. On arrival in Argentina, a tourist card will be issued. Citizens of the USA, Canada and Australia require to pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina, this must be done online prior to departure. On arrival into Chile the authorities impose an arrival tax which varies according to nationality. Currently there is no charge for UK citizens. Other nationalities should check the cost of this arrival tax with the Chilean Embassy in their own country.
Passengers intending to travel via the USA, please note it will be necessary to fill out an electronic travel authorisation form online (esta.cbp.dhs.gov) prior to boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship. You will be required to answer questions about criminal records, communicable diseases, past history of visa revocation or deportation, and basic biographical data such as name, birth date and passport information. Changes in address and itinerary can be made online after the ESTA form has been first submitted. You will not be allowed to board any US bound aircraft without completing the online ESTA form.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, & Hepatitis ‘A'. A very good online resource is the National Health Travellers website at fitfortravel.nhs.uk