Chile, Argentina & the Patagonia Lakes 11 days
About This Experience
It’s a long trip to the tip of South America, but it’s worth it—sophisticated, multicultural cities and stunning Patagonian scenery are unlike anywhere else on earth. You’ll discover modern capitals, vibrant seafood markets, white-sand beaches and old port cities. But the unrivaled highlight of this region is the one-of-a-kind Patagonian landscapes, where majestic mountains rise out of crystal lakes.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
8 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 2 lunches, 3 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 1 wine tasting
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Surprising, cosmopolitan capital cities
Fresh seafood & Chilean wine
Valparaiso—the Jewel of the Pacific
Lovely lakeside villages with mountain views
Amazing Patagonian scenery at every turn
Overnight Flight1 night
Santiago2 nights - hotel info
Explore the highs and lows of the Chilean capital
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, Funicular ride
Arrive in Santiago. After clearing customs, a Go Ahead representative greets you and escorts you to your hotel. After check-in, set out to tour the Chilean capital. Your walking tour of downtown Santiago introduces you to some of the most important sights in the city. Next, a funicular ride takes you up the steep slopes of Cerro San Cristóbal where panoramic views unfold beneath your feet. Gather tonight for a welcome dinner.
Get a taste of the coast, from Valparaiso to Viña del Mar
Breakfast, Lunch, Wine tasting
Join a full-day excursion to Chile’s coastal region. Begin in Valparaiso, “the Jewel of the Pacific,” whose seaport has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take in views of the harbor and the area’s bohemian, colonial-style buildings and charming manor houses before sitting down for an included lunch. Afterward, travel to the Casablanca Valley to taste regional labels and tour the vineyards.
Puerto Varas2 nights - hotel info
Feast on local specialties like fresh seafood and traditional curanto
Board a flight for Puerto Montt this morning. Later, transfer to Puerto Varas, where your Tour Director acquaints you with the town. Tonight, savor a traditional curanto dinner and learn about this time-honored cooking method, similar to a clambake.
Germanic heritage and volcanic landscapes go hand-in-hand at Lake Llanquihue
Optional Excursion - Frutillar & Lavender Tea House
Puerto Varas, also called “the city of roses,” sits on the slopes of Llanquihue Lake and is known for its German influence. Explore on your own or join an excursion to nearby Frutillar and its cozy Lavender Tea House.
Frutillar & Lavender Tea House $79* pp
Explore Frutillar, a scenic city at the base of the Patagonia Lakes District, on a guided tour. A walk through town will introduce you to its German heritage. Later, enjoy an included lunch at the Lavender Tea House. Here, you'll have the chance to sample an assortment of teas and cakes on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, which showcases extraordinary views of the looming Volcán Osorno.
Bariloche2 nights - hotel info
Sail past the falls and feel the rumble of the volcano
Keep your camera close today as you move from Chile to Argentina via a series of lake crossings. These lakes are thousands of feet deep, carved by glaciers and filled with centuries of melted snow. The mountains surrounding these lakes seem to rise straight into the air from the water’s surface, creating incredible views at every turn. After a drive to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park to view the Petrohue Waterfalls, sail across scenic Lake Todos los Santos to Puella; weather permitting, your cruise will include breathtaking views of Osorno Volcano. After an included lunch in Puella, cross the border into Argentina for your second cruise of the day on Lake Nahuel Huapi, the country’s first national park. Arrive in Bariloche this evening.
Ascend Campanario Hill for panoramic views over Bariloche
Campanario Hill chair lift
Welcome to Bariloche, a picturesque town situated in the Andes foothills near Lake Nahuel Huapi. This morning, set off on a sightseeing tour of another German-influenced town and its scenic surroundings, including a chair-lift ride up Campanario Hill for sweeping views of the area.
Buenos Aires2 nights - hotel info
Tour the bodegones, hear the music, dance the tango
Optional Excursion - Tango Show & Dinner
Fly to Buenos Aires this morning. After your arrival, a local guide leads you on a sightseeing tour of the Argentine capital. Your tour includes the Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Cabildo. Explore the historic neighborhood of San Telmo, the colorful streets of La Boca and the aristocratic Recoleta district. After getting to know the main sights, you’re free to continue exploring on your own. For a taste of the tango, join tonight’s optional excursion, Tango Show & Dinner, to watch traditional tangueros perform.
Tango Show & Dinner $115* pp
Relax and enjoy the show as accomplished tangueros perform their national dance. Accompanied by live music, the elegant dancers will transport you to a bygone era. You’ll also enjoy a dinner featuring regional specialties and Argentine wine.
DELVE DEEPER INTO BA OR ENJOY A DAY ON THE TIGRE DELTA
Optional Excursion - Tigre Delta & Cruise
Today, you’re free to soak in the charm of Buenos Aires as you explore on your own. Alternatively, opt to take a cruise on the Tigre Delta. Later, gather with your fellow travelers for an included farewell dinner.
Tigre Delta & Cruise $85* pp
This morning, travel by bus through the northern coastal neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, including prestigious Olivos, home of the Argentinian presidential palace. Continue through the affluent and architecturally rich districts of San Isidro and San Fernando to Tigre, where you will board a one-hour cruise on the Lujan River, taking in the lush tropical vegetation of the Parana Delta. Explore the vast maze of canals and tributaries dotted with old residences, vacation homes and restaurants before returning to Buenos Aires by bus.
Extend Your Stay
Add Iguassu Falls $579*
Straddling Brazil and Argentina, Iguassu is one of the world’s widest and wildest waterfalls. Discover the pools, cataracts and thunderous curtains of water that make Iguassu a must-see. Come visit the falls that compelled Eleanor Roosevelt to exclaim, "Poor Niagara!"
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Chile and Argentina, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. Upon arrival in Chile, travelers from the United States and Canada must pay a reciprocity fee of $140 USD. This onetime charge is good for the life of the passport. In accordance with Argentine law a reciprocity fee must be paid prior to your departure. For U.S. citizens the charge is $160 USD per person. For Canadian citizens the charge is $75 USD per person. To prepay for your Argentine reciprocity fee, please visit https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Round-trip flights arrive in Santiago and depart from Buenos Aires. (The extension departs from Iguassu.) Internal flights from Bariloche to Buenos Aires and from Santiago to Puerto Montt are also included in your trip cost. When you first arrive in Santiago, a Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling on your tour. Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and travel requirements.
The cuisine of Chile and Argentine is an eclectic mix of European and indigenous influences. You’ll experience the most traditional form of food preparation during your curanto dinner. Curanto refers to a primitive pressure-cooking method similar to an Atlantic clambake: a hole is dug in the ground and lined with red-hot stones before a variety of seafood is layered on top of the stones. The seafood is then covered with wet sacks, which is then covered with dirt to create a makeshift oven. The result is a delicious bounty of the fruits of the sea. Chilean cuisine emphasizes the fresh seafood found just off the coast. Squid, albacore, tuna, salmon, crabs, prawns and oysters can be found in abundance. For an authentic taste of Chile, try a bowl of Caldillo de Congrio, a traditional eel stew praised in a famous poem by Pablo Neruda. Argentines, on the other hand, are devoted carnivores: The average Argentine consumes nearly 150 pounds of beef annually. The asado, Argentina’s answer to the American barbecue, is widely considered the national dish, but Argentine cuisine also reflects the tastebuds of the waves of Italian, French and German immigrants who arrived here in the last two centuries. In Buenos Aires in particular, you’ll find Italian cuisine spiced up with a South American twist, like the milanesa napolitana. In both Argentina and Chile, you’ll find some of the world’s finest wines, from robust Cabernet Sauvignons to fruity Pinot Grigios.
Argentina and Chile use 220 volts. An adapter is necessary.
Chile is on the same time as the North American East Coast: When it’s noon in New York, it’s noon in Chile. Argentina is one hour ahead of the North American East Coast.
The Chilean peso and the Argentinian peso are the currencies you will use on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available at your destination, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. The most efficient and cost effective method is using ATMs, which are widely available in both Santiago and Buenos Aires (mostly on the Visa and Plus international networks). We also recommend that you take credit cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
Chile February 2013
The Chile, Argentina & Patagonia Lakes tour on 2/13/13 was good but we rank it lower than our other 6 Goahead tours. We'll start with the hi-lights of the tour and then comment on areas to be improved. The Patagonia Lakes were very scenic as was the vulcano and glacier. Taking a helicopter ride over the glacier was a very unique experience. This ended up being a 14 hour day. We would recommend that it be broken up into two days and stay the night in the area after the first lake. The view of Santiago from Cerro San Cristobal was excellent however the funicular has not been operating. While Iguassu Falls is an extension, we would like to see it added as a part of the regular tour. It is definitely a wonder of the word and one of the most exhilerating sights we have seen. Buenos Aires is a neat city and a lot to see with the various neighborhoods. Our tour was rushed due to being pushed back because of a late flight, then a demonstration and horrendous traffic deprived us of these sights. The chair lift up Campanaro Hill and the view from the top was awesome. The Tango show, LaBoca, Lavender Tea House and all the included meals were very enjoyable. The optional trip to Uruaguay was very overpriced, unexciting and is not worth taking. The 4 internal flights eat up a lot of time from sight-seeing and the flight to Buenos Aires was pushed back to mid day, resulting in a very long, wasted day. The fish market and area near there in Puerto Varas should definitely be eliminated as it took time and there was very little to see. This trip has a lot to offer, but it needs to be reviewed very closely to eliminate marginal locations to allow more time in unique areas.
Chile, Argentina & Patagonia lakes, plus Urugary
Chile, Aargentina & Patagonia lakes and Uruguary was an interesting Tour. Iguassu Falls was so impressive and riding the jet boat was so much fun. Iguassu Falls was a highlight of the tour. I know this is a new tour but some of the areas that need improved,the guide would benefit his customers by following up on questions. When we made suggestions that we felt would improve the information flow he seemed to not listen. We have been on several tours with goaheadtours and the tour guides have always listed on a board at the hotels what times we were leaving each day and what was on the agenda. I would recommend the tour, we saw many lovely little towns and lovely scenery.The big cities are interesting ,but it would of been helpful if the guides would of recommended museums and other interesting sites to visit. All & all the tour was enjoyable and the countries are lovely.
My trip to South America
Loved Patagonia and the Iguazu Falls! Buenos Aires is a beautiful city. Wish we had more days to explore there. Felt Santiago was a waste of time. Not attractive, and not much to see or learn about The day in Uruguay was a disappointment Expected more from a UNESCO site. Overall it was an enjoyable trip. Our guide, Gustavo was wonderful!
1st Go Ahead Tour I Would Not Recommend to a Friend
This is the only Go Ahead Tour I have ever been on that I would not recommend to a friend. The tour director was unprepared and uninformative. On the best part of the tour (the Patagonian Lakes crossing) he did not know how long the journey was going to be. We did not get to our hotel at the end of the day until 10 PM which would have been okay if he had warned us and we had local money to buy food on the boat rides. He said there would be three bus rides and two boat rides when there were actually four bus rides and three boat rides. Our tour director did not know much about Argentine and Chilean history and his tour of Santiago was cursory at best. He did not even take us to the Angelmo Fish Market in Puerto Montt. Several people including myself had reserved the optional excursion to Uruguay only to be told by the tour director the night before that there was not enough room and we were kicked off the excursion. The tour would have been better if the capital cities visited on the tour (2 nights in Santiago & 2 nights in Buenos Aires) were skipped and the days there added to the Patagonian Lakes. 4 days in Puerto Varas and 4 days in Bariloche would have been better (with optional excursions to Valparaiso in Chile and Gaucho Ranch in Argentina) and they are the reason I gave the tour value 3 stars while I gave the overall rating 2 stars.
My name is Kelly Hess and I am part of our Evaluation & Quality Department at Go Ahead Tours. I hear your frustration and apologize that your experience on Chile, Argentina & the Patagonia Lakes was not quite what you were hoping for. We are definitely taking into account the feedback from the entire group and your comments are invaluable in helping us make improvements to future departures. In fact, we are planning to take many of the points that have been made and immediately put them into effect for the next departure of this tour this coming Fall. Our goal at Go Ahead Tours is to offer vacations with a combination of quality and value. Ultimately, we want every one of our customers to feel completely satisfied. We thank you for your continued loyalty and hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you on tour again soon.
Posted by Go Ahead Tours on February 25, 2013