Preparing for your trip

Package: Patagonian Explorer by Sea

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Dec 1, 2021. Please visit https://www.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1388 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents & Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are provided for your convenience. However, unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and your trip and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.

U.S. citizens do not require a visa to enter Argentina or Chile.

ArgentinaArgentina Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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ChileChile Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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Patagonia Entry Requirements

Advice from Friendly Planet

Please see entry requirements for Chile and/or Argentina.

General Requirements & Guidelines

  • In general, you must have a passport to travel abroad, which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. Passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • if your passport and visa are not in order, airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, countries may deny entry, and your trip may be disrupted. Travel insurance may not cover such losses.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

COVID-19 Vaccination Required

Friendly Planet requires all travelers on this package to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, except travelers who are too young to be vaccinated, regardless of whether the destination(s) require it.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or air@friendlyplanet.com.

Flights & Tickets

For this package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

LATAM Airlines (LA) toll-free number: 866-435-9526

Aerolineas Argentinas (AR) toll-free number: 800-333-0276

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at air@friendlyplanet.com after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

You will receive your flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Connecting Flights

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

Scheduled group airport transfers at the destination are included with this package. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage. In most cases, private transfers are also available for an additional fee—contact us for price and availability. Or you may instead arrange your own ground transportation to the package start and end points. (Note that there is no discount for any unused included transfers).

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. They will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: In general, our tours & packages allow per person: one checked bag, not to exceed 44 pounds; one personal item such as a purse or camera bag; and one carry-on bag, which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. If your trip includes domestic flights within your destination and/or travel by motor coach, your carry-on should also fit should also fit under your seat or in the overhead bins on those flights or coaches.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our list of top 10 must-haves for international travel, as well as what not to pack. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, as well as climbing into and out of Zodiac boats. Because of this, and the fact that the cruise ship has no elevators requiring being able to climb up and down several flights of stairs, a high level of physical fitness is necessary to fully enjoy the trip. The Patagonia cruise portion of the tour may have up to 210 passengers.

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary. For all other meals, you're at liberty to dine where you like. Your hotels will have several dining choices, from coffee shops to specialty restaurants.

Please see above for special meal requests.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

ArgentinaArgentina Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Buenos Aires
Population: 44.69 million
Currency: Argentine peso (ARS)
Languages: Spanish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: ART (UTC -3)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required to travel in Argentina. Malaria risk is present only in rural areas along Argentina's borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. Consult your doctor about possible inoculations for typhoid or yellow fever if you plan to spend time in rural areas.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

In Argentina, the seasons are opposite what they are in the Northern Hemisphere. Generally, during the summer months of October to April are the best time to visit Argentina. Wintertime is recommended for traveling to the North and Northwest as rains are less frequent and tropical temps drop a few degrees. If you like to beach-hop, travel December to March. For skiing, July to October is best.

Climate ranges from hot and humid in the north to cold and rainy in the south. In northern Argentina, summer days are in the 90s with nights in the 70s. In winter, temperatures range from 60 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

In Buenos Aires, during the warmer season (November to March), the average temperatures range between the 60s and 80s. In winter (June through August) average temperatures range from the upper 40s to the low 60s. If you travel during these months, be sure to bring some warmer clothes.

One of the best times to visit Iguazu Falls is during the rainy season (October to March) when the water flow of the waterfall is significantly increased. The hottest months in Iguazu Falls are October through April with average temperatures in the low 90s during the day and high 60s at night. During the rest of the year, the climate changes slightly based on the hot breezes from the Amazon and cold winds from Patagonia. Winter months are a bit cooler, especially at night.

For more details on the weather in the south of Argentina, please refer to the information on Patagonia.

Tipping

In restaurants, tip 5% of the bill if it includes service charge, 10% if it doesn't. Movie ushers and bus terminal porters get a 1 P tip, air terminal porters 2 P per suitcase.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for Gaucho trousers called bombachas, ponchos, leather goods, rugs, wines, guitars, vicuna products which are wool from llama-like creatures, gourds, yerba-mate paraphernalia, handicrafts, art, gems, and brand-name products such as Dior and Gucci.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plugs C & I. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? Read up on using your cell phone abroad and the 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • The Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia is growing.
  • Lionel Messi, one of the best soccer (aka fútbol) players in the world, is from Argentina.
  • If you see an animal that looks like a llama, odds are it’s a guanaco. These wild animals live throughout South America, and can be found in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. 
  • “Mate” is a popular tea that you drink with a metal straw. It was created by an indigenous tribe.
  • The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral was the parish of the current pope, Francis.

ChileChile Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Santiago
Population: 17.91 million
Currency: Chilean peso (CLP)
Languages: Spanish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: UTC -3

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no health requirements to enter Chile, including no risk of malaria. Ask your doctor about possible vaccinations for typhoid and hepatitis.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

The best time to visit Chile is October thru March. It seldom rains during that time and humidity is low. May thru August is the cold and rainy season from Santiago south. Temps range 70-90 F year round during the day, except the far south. Nights can be cold, so take a sweater or jacket.

Tipping

10% in restaurants and hotels. Do not tip taxi drivers, though you may leave them change from the fare. Tip bellhops Ch$500-$1,000 per bag.

Money & Credit Cards

ATMs are everywhere.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Chile is best known for blankets, wool rugs, pottery, wines, lapis lazuli, models of Easter Island statues, shell necklaces, bronzes, purses, silver jewelry, ceramics, and copper items. Bargaining is not common where prices are posted, but can be tried in markets and smaller villages, especially if you have to ask for the price.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plugs C & L. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? Read up on using your cell phone abroad and the 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Chile holds the world record for number of fireworks exploded in one night – 16,000.
  • There has never been a drop of rain in the Atacama Desert.
  • Sopaipillas (aka pumpkin fritters) are a popular street food that can be either sweet or savory.
  • A wine variety called "carménère" was originally from France and was thought to be extinct, but was later rediscovered in Chile!
  • Nobel Prize winning poet and politician Pablo Neruda hails from Chile.
  • The layout of the streets and buildings of Santiago was designed so that citizens could take shelter if the city was attacked.

Patagonia Fast Facts

Weather

The best time to visit Patagonia is from October to March, which is the southern hemisphere spring and summer. Even in these months the weather can be unpredictable and you may experience the legendary Patagonian winds. In April, though the temperatures drop, you will be able to admire the intense colors of the foliage. Average temperatures in the summer range from lows in the 30s to highs in the 60s. The best strategy is to wear layers that you can take on and off as the changing weather may warrant.

Dining

The Patagonian steppes are known for beef and lamb, which are staples of Patagonian cuisine. While near the coast, don't miss an opportunity to savor the King Crab, a true Patagonian delicacy.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Electricity & Power Adapters

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? Read up on using your cell phone abroad and the 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Patagonia is huge: this region stretches across about half of Chile and half of Argentina; however, it’s home to less than 5% of either country’s population.
  • There are almost as many penguins as people in Patagonia, with an estimated 1.7 million Magellanic penguins in the region and less than 2 million people.
  • Patagonia is one of the most uninhabited areas in the world, and is home to an incredible variety of wildlife and plant life, many of which is endemic to the region.
  • The Patagonian city of Ushuaia (Argentina) is the southernmost city in the world.
  • Although most of the world's glaciers are shrinking due to climate change, the massive Perito Moreno Glacier is still growing today! Every day, the glacier grows forward another 2 meters.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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