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PUNTA ARENAS to EL CHALTEN (11 days) Patagonia Highlights

Overland Adventure

Patagonia Highlights

Countries Visited: Argentina, Chile

This 11 day overland adventure covers all the main highlights of the dramatic and beautiful region of Patagonia. From the coast and Chile's largest penguin colony, up to high glaciers and spectacular mountains, this tour features includes several day hikes and free time for you to try some of the other adventurous activities on offer. 

We start in the southern Chilean town of Punta Arenas, which is easily reachable by domestic flight from Santiago, or by road or cruise from Ushuaia. After taking a boat trip to the small island of Magdalena to see the native penguins, we take to our overland expedition truck and drive north towards the forests and dramatic mountains of the Torres del Paine National Park. We'll camp for three nights here, and take a guided trek into the mountains to enjoy the spectacular views. Boat trips and other activities are also available. 

Another scenic drive takes us to the flourishing town of El Calafate which is surrounded by snow capped peaks and a delightful place to spend a few days. Our main highlight here is a day trip to the huge perito Moreno Glacier, and you also have a free day for more activities too. 

Our final destination is the village of El Chalten which sits inside Los Glaciares National Park. We enjoy more amazing views of the Andes on the way here, and the village is a popular base for treks into the surrounding hills. We take a full day's hike here with great views of the glaciers and ice fields. The tour ends in El Chalten with a transfer available to El Calafate airport available on the last day from where domestic flights connect well with Buenos Aires and other airports in Argentina. 

Route Map

PUNTA ARENAS to EL CHALTEN (11 days) Patagonia Highlights
Click map to enlarge

Highlights

  • Colourful city of Punta Arenas
  • Magdalena penguin colony
  • Torres del Paine National Park -  guided hike to view the Three Towers
  • El Calafate market & cafes
  • Perito Moreno Glacier tour, views of Mount Fitz Roy
  • Trekking in Los Glaciares Nation

Includes

  • Accommodation - 3 nights camping & 7 nights simple hostels/hotels
  • Camping and cooking equipment
  • All transport on Oasis Expedition Truck
  • Meals - daily breakfast, lunches & dinners while camping, lunch en-route to El Calafate
  • Punta Arenas penguin excursion
  • Torres del Paine National Park - park entrance fee
  • Torres del Paine National Park - guided hike
  • Perito Moreno Glacier tour
  • El Calafate Glacier park entrance fee
  • Los Glaciares guided hike
  • Los Glaciares transfer to trail head included
  • Services of Oasis Crew

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Visas for Chile & Argentina (see tour notes)
  • Airport transfers
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Optional excursions
  • Drinks, snacks, tips and personal expenses

Trip Itinerary

Begin your adventure in the quaint and colourful city of Punta Arenas, the urban capital of the Magallanes province and gateway to Patagonia. Today is free to arrive at your leisure and enjoy some free time exploring the city. Highlights include visiting the Cerro de la Cruz which gives you a view of the city, the bay and the colourful houses as well as an old shipwreck just off the shore at the southern end of town, called Lord Lonsdale Shipwreck which has been around for 100 years. Don't forget to go for a beer, a Cerveza Austral to be exact, as it's one of the most famous and best beers in Chile!

Please Note: There will be a pre departure meeting at 6pm tonight with your tour leader and group.

Today enjoy an included excursion to the small island of Magdalena. After a boat ride to the island you will come face-to-face with the largest penguin colonies that you can find in the south of Chile. The island remains largely untouched and holds an abundance of natural beauty, with barren landscapes and vast ocean views. Hundreds of penguins roam free and are unfazed when visitors walk through the island, perfect for some amazing photo opportunities! Here you can also find the historic lighthouse which houses interesting information about the island and local history. Back on the mainland you can dine on the freshest seafood from crab to oysters in one of the many seafront restaurants.

Please Note: Availability of the included Penguin Excursion depends on local weather conditions, and can on occasion be cancelled without notice.

This morning we hop on-board our overland truck and take to the great outdoors in the heart of Torres Del Paine National Park. Complete with jaw-dropping landscapes and emerald forests, the area is an internationally recognised UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on the Chilean side of Patagonia, it measures a huge 181 000 hectares, and is home to various animals including condors, South Andean deer, and the llamas closest cousin, the guanaco. Once endangered, around 3000 now call the vast park their home and you will be sure to see a few on your walks. Upon arrival, we will settle into the campsite and you are free to start enjoying the various excursions on offer.
Please Note: We camp for three nights in Torres del Paine National Park. Solo travellers will share a tent with a group member of the same sex. Facilities are basic however there is a canteen, bar, small shop and (limited) hot water, as well as plug sockets in shared areas. If you don't have your own sleeping bag you can rent one from your Tour Leader for $50 USD, depending on availability. All meals are included while camping.
Approximate Travel Time: 6hrs on the overland truck.

Today enjoy a full day exploring the national park with many guided walks and other optional activities available. Perhaps take a glacier boat tour across Lago Pehoe where weather permitting you can see into the French Valley, Paine Grande and Los Cuernos. There are guided hikes showcase the best of the national park build in some amazing glacial views.Some of these can be quite demanding and up to a high altitude, but there are a good range of options for all grades of walkers. Perhaps the most popular trek offers incredible views of the famous ‘towers’, the three distinctive granite peaks of the Paine mountain range. It’s quite challenging, with the whole route being 19km, however it is well worth it. For the longer treks such as the towers walk, a reasonable level of fitness is required and you need to be prepared for all weather conditions. We recommend packing trekking boots, waterproof trousers and a positive outlook to all weather!
Come evening, relax in one of the most peaceful places on earth as you enjoy time with your group and fellow travellers in the camps. You can play card games, share stories and learn more about Patagonia from the various guides on hand.

Your time is free to enjoy another full day in this majestic landscape. Your tour leader and local guides will be on hand to assist with recommendations for different activities depending on the weather conditions. 

Next up is the enchanting city of El Calafate, full of Patagonian charm and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Resting on the Argentinian side of Patagonia, the town was founded in 1927 and originally used to shelter the local wool traders. Over time, with the popularity of the nearby National Parks growing, the town has flourished and welcomes many visitors each year. Named after the local berry calafate, it is rumoured that those who eat the berry will at some point always return to Patagonia.
Tomorrow is a packed day visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier, so make the most of the local artisans market, the little cafes, excellent ice-cream shops and if you like your meat, the lamb found in El Calafate is particularly delicious. Approximate Travel Time: 6hrs to 7hrs on the overland truck.

Today we experience the jaw dropping Perito Moreno Glacier and surrounding park. The spectacular ice formation is around 30 kilometres in length and fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest reserve of freshwater in the world. While many glaciers worldwide are currently decreasing in size, the Perito Moreno glacier is baffling geologists by slightly advancing in size over time. Named after Argentine explorer Francisco Merino, the glacier is coloured in a variety of hues from blue to grey to white and continually creaks and cracks. Advancing at a speed of around two metres per day, it can put on a spectacular show when giant chunks of ice at the outermost edges crack under tremendous pressure, rupture and crash into the water – a process known as calving. You will have the chance to walk around some paths and terraces where you can get some great views of the glacier.

Today is free to explore this beautiful region further. There are a huge range of adventurous activites available, including mountain treks, river kayaking and lake cruises amongst the icebergs of Lago Argentino. You could also visit an Estancia, or sheep farm, enjoy a traditional BBQ and take a horse ride through the fields. 

Today we will travel to El Chalten, a village located within Los Glaciares National Park and the starting point of many beautiful walking trails. While on the truck enjoy some of the best views of the tour as you journey through the wilderness, stopping at Mount Fitz Roy for some spectacular photo opportunities. This grand mountain stands on the border between Chile and Argentina, with a large part close to the summit remaining undefined as to which country it belongs to. Arriving in El Chalten, you will feel immersed in the unspoiled nature that surrounds you. Founded in 1985, the small town has fantastic views of the mountains that shadow over it, and was even named Argentina’s Trekking Capital. Spend the rest of the evening enjoying the town and dine in one of the many quaint restaurants. For such a small place there is a surprising amount on offer from local delicacies to other foods from all over Argentina.
Approximate Travel Time: 3 to 4hrs on the overland truck.

Hop on private transportation today to make the journey into the natural beauty of Los Glacieres National Park. Our local expert guide for the day will meet us at our hotel and get us ready for today’s hike, an alternative to the traditional hike to the Fitz Roy viewpoint. Our exploration of the natural beauty of Los Glaciares National Park starts with a 40-minute transfer to El Pilar, heading north out of El Chalten, via the road leading to Lago del Desierto (Desert Lake). From here we start trekking along the Rio Blanco gently ascending from 500m to 800m altitude until we arrive at the Poincenot camp. On the way we will pass the Piedras Blancas Glacier viewpoint and the Piedras Blancas Lagoon as well as the Valley del Marconi and the entrance to the southern ice field. With our legs warmed up nicely, we start a steep 1km climb of rocky steps with little vegetation around to protect us from the Patagonian wind. While physically demanding, the views that receive us at the top are some of the most impressive in Patagonia. From here, on a clear day, we can see the entire Fitz Roy Massif, the Laguna de los Tres, Glacier de los Tres as well as both Laguna Sucia and Glacier Sucio, a spectacular sight. After a quick lunch, weather permitting, we begin the hour descent to Rio Blanco again before joining the traditional route straight down to El Chalten. Shorter unguided walks are available if you don't want to do the full trek today. 

Your adventure comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation, either through us or independently, then you will have more time to explore the sights. El Chalten is located around 200 km from El Calafate airport, with a journey time of around 3.5 hours. There are regular buses between the two towns, please ask your tour leader for information. If you are booking a flight from El Calafate airport on the departure day you will need to allow enough time to travel.

Our overland truck will be travelling to El Calafate and the airport today and it is possible to remain on the truck for this journey if you have an afternoon flight time. Please check with us first for details as departure times can vary.


Trip Joining Point: Hotel Savoy - Punta Arenas

Start Time Day 1: 18:00

Address: Jose Menendez 1073, Punta Arenas, Chile

Telephone: +56-61-224-7979

Website: www.hotelsavoy.cl

Email: 

 

All prices listed are approximate and subject to limited availability. 

Room Type

Price

Description

Mixed Dorm room

US$tbc

Per Person

Twin/Double en-suite

US$tbc

Per Room

 

The trip starts from the Hotel Savoy with a pre-departure meeting at approximately 6pm in the evening of Day 1 of your trip.

A very social place to stay, this well known hotel and has a good atmosphere and well priced rooms. Helpful staff and in a good location

PRE-TRIP ACCOMMODATION:

Please book this direct with Hotel Savoy. Accommodation costs are payable direct to the hotel.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS:

We are unable to arrange transfers in Punta Arenas. You can either pre-pay for your taxi inside the airport, or take the shuttle bus into town.

We recommend to change some currency into Chilean Pesos in the airport at a bureau de change or there are ATM's - hostel rates can be low.

There will be a pre-departure meeting in the starting hotel the night before the start of the trip, usually around 6:00pm.  There will be a notice in reception advising the exact time and here your crew will explain how the day to day running of the trip works. Your Tour Leader will collect your Local Payment money as well as 2 photocopies of your passport information pageinsurance policy details with policy number and confirmation that the duration will cover you for the entire trip and a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. It is essential that you attend this meeting - please let the UK office or your tour leader know if you are unable to do so.

You need to arrive at your departure city by at least 3pm on the day your trip begins. Return flights out of Calafate should not be booked until at least late-afternoon on the final day to allow for travel to the airport from El Chalten. You may wish to allow some extra time to explore your arrival and departure cities.

There are many online flight search engines such as www.skyscanner.net or www.ebookers.co.ukflights can also be booked direct with airline websites or through travel agencies. Please inform us of your flight details through your online account, as airport transfers can be arranged for various trips.

One way ticket: If you intend to travel on a one way ticket to meet up with one of our trips, without possessing an onward flight ticket - we recommend that you have a copy of your payment confirmation/receipt (that you will be sent at time of your balance payment) available at immigration to assist easy entry.

Departure Taxes: Please check with your Travel Agent or Airline if your flight ticket already includes a departure tax payment out of the country. If it does not - please budget for approx US$30 to $70 USD - to be paid in US$ only.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your trip finishes. This is a general requirement for all of the countries we travel to on our trips.

If you have dual nationality you can only use one passport for the entire trip. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

Please bring 2 photocopies of your passport details to give to your tour leader.

As a guideline, you will need at least 1 blank page per country in your passport, (for the 31 weeks Trans South America, you should allow at least 13 blank pages).

The information below is to be used only as a guide and may change without prior notice. It is advisable to contact the relevant embassy in plenty of time before the trip departs to check the current visa requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the relevant visas you require.

Visas must be paid for in USD cash ONLY.

On arrival to countries in South America, you will be given an 'Immigration card'. It is important that you keep this with your passport during your entire stay in the particular country as it is needed for departure. Failure to produce this immigration slip can result in a fine.

Transiting via the USA - Travellers who are flying to South America via the US will require either a US visa or for certain nationalities an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to take advantage of the visa waiver programme. These can be processed and paid for here.

If you have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011 you will not qualify for the ESTA and must apply for a visa.

It is very important you establish your ESTA eligibility and have the correct documentation before departing, as if you do not have the right authorisation upon checking in at the airport you may not be permitted to travel.

For more information on other nationalities & visas checkout www.projectvisa.com

Argentina

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Argentina.

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Chile

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, New Zealand, USA and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Chile.

USA passport holders are all required to pay a 'reciprocity fee' if they are flying into Santiago International Airport only. This is approximately $160 USD for Americans. If entering Chile via a land border, this is not applicable.

Starting from the 16th May  2020 - Australian passport holders will be required to obtain an e-visa to enter Chile. There will be single entry and multiple entry visas available. More information of this process will be made shortly. 

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Argentina

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Argentina.

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

Chile

Passport Holders from UK, Ireland, New Zealand, USA and most EU countries will not require a visa to enter Chile.

USA passport holders are all required to pay a 'reciprocity fee' if they are flying into Santiago International Airport only. This is approximately $160 USD for Americans. If entering Chile via a land border, this is not applicable.

Starting from the 16th May  2020 - Australian passport holders will be required to obtain an e-visa to enter Chile. There will be single entry and multiple entry visas available. More information of this process will be made shortly. 

Passport Holders from other countries, will need to check the current visa requirements with the relevant consulate, and whether you need to obtain the visa in advance.

It is possible that you may require some vaccinations for your trip, depending on the areas that you are visiting. As we are not medically trained, we are unable to give detailed advice on vaccination requirements, so please use the information below as a guide only. We have worked closely with Nomad Travel Clinics for many years and are happy to recommend them - www.nomadtravel.co.uk. Alternatively you can check out the fit for travel website for more travel health information or consult a reputable travel clinic or your GP for information and advice. We suggest that you allow at least 8 weeks to get all your vaccinations.

Yellow Fever - Being vaccinated against Yellow Fever and having a valid certificate and a photocopy is deemed compulsory in some countries we visit, especially at certain borders and are needed if you are entering from an infected country. You can view a list of countries requiring a certificate through the World Health organisation http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf 

Rabies - Vaccinations are regularly advised for many countries that we travel through - especially if time and money are not a deterrent.

Malaria - In some of the areas we visit there is a risk of contracting Malaria. You must be aware that whatever malaria prophylactics you are taking, they only offer partial protection. They must be coupled with your own physical efforts against being bitten - which is the best prevention. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes come out at sunset so from this time you should wear long sleeves and trousers.  Exposed skin, especially ankles, should have insect repellent containing 'Deet' applied to them. Your crew will advise on where the worst affected areas are on the trip. There are a number of prophylactic malaria treatments on the market & requirements change. It is also wise to take a sample of whichever prophylactic you choose, a few weeks before you leave. This way you may determine early on if you have any adverse reactions so you can change the regimen if necessary. Please consult a reputable travel clinic or GP for advice. For more information visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk or www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk

Medical advice should be taken particularly if you are visiting the jungle in either Ecuador or Peru, the Brazilian Pantanal or Iguazu Falls in either Argentina or Brazil as part of your trip.

Altitude sickness - This is caused by thin air (due to lack of oxygen) and can affect anyone arriving at high altitude (above 3000mtrs). The symptoms are headaches, dizziness, shortage of breath and possibly nausea. To avoid this or alleviate the symptoms make a point to acclimatize by arriving into a high altitude destination a few days early and make sure you do not over exert yourself, rest for a few hours, avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, large meals and drink plenty of water.

As we are travelling mostly by land (as opposed to flying into a high altitude location) we should acclimatise gradually, and so avoid 'soroche', mountain sickness.

Dengue - Unlike the malaria mosquito, which bites at night, the dengue carrying mosquito bites during the day. Some areas we travel to do have occasional outbreaks & it is therefore advised that you take care not to be bitten during the day as well as at night.  There is no vaccine available.

Health - To join our trips you should be in good general health. Your medical insurance company must be told if you have any pre-existing medical condition / allergy or if you are on any regular medication, otherwise you may not be covered under your policies for these. Our crew will need to know of any medication or conditions you may have. For general health advice log onto www.nathnac.org/travel/

It is a compulsory requirement that you have adequate travel insurance before you join any Oasis Trip & at the very least are insured for all necessary medical & repatriation costs incurred.

You will be asked to provide the following details if you have not already done so: travel insurance name, insurance policy number & insurance emergency telephone number. You will also be required to give a copy of your policy with this information to your Tour Leader on arrival with confirmation that the policy duration is sufficient to cover you for the entire duration of your trip.  It is also wise to leave a copy of your insurance policy with a friend or relative for safe keeping.

We believe that your safety and holiday enjoyment are very important. It is a mistake to think that "it will never happen to me". It is also very important that you are covered for all the activities that you may wish to undertake while on our trip. It is extremely important that you check the full extent of your cover related to 24 hour Medical Emergency Assistance. In the event of you needing medical treatment you want to know that you have the best cover available to you. Your policy should include adequate Medical Emergency and Repatriation cover as well as Cancellation, Baggage and Personal Liability cover. You need to be aware of EXACTLY what activities your policy covers you for. Please note that skiing is not usually covered in most insurance policies. 

We offer tailor made Overland Adventure Travel Insurance that covers most of the adventure and sporting activities on our trips.

For further information on the insurance we offer, the activities covered and costs, check out the Travel Insurance section of our website. 

Local Payment (LP)

LP is part of your overall trip payment and is the most cost effective and practical way to get hard currency to South America to pay for a variety of your day to day local costs (i.e. all meals prepared by the group, campsite/hostel/hotel fees, gas, and certain activities listed on the trip page) which cannot be pre-paid from the UK. It is a guaranteed amount, set before your trip departs, and unlike 'group kitty' systems we will not ask you to contribute more once the trip is underway.

Please note: Your LP is payable to your Tour Leader on the morning of departure in US$ Dollars CASH ONLY. Make sure that all your notes are in good condition. Old, torn or marked notes are often refused by the banks and we will therefore be unable to accept them either and you will be required to change them in the country you start for new unblemished notes which will be difficult. Please do not bring all of your Local Payment in US$100 notes, a good mix of $20s, $50s and $100s is preferable and also make sure that they are post 2013 and do not have a serial number starting with CB. In many countries smaller US$ notes are simply not accepted and as such notes smaller than $20 are best avoided.

Please remember that you will need to pre-order US$ cash for your LP before you leave home as your LP is payable all at once at the start of your trip and you cannot pay in local currency using ATMs due to the withdrawal limits in place and their unreliability. In addition, ATM transaction fees can seriously add to your travelling expenses.

How to bring your currency?

Past Oasis travellers have fed back that they have felt, as a general rule it is best to bring your money in a combination of cash US dollars, pre-paid travel currency cards and debit/credit cards.

Make sure that all your notes are in good condition. Old, torn or marked notes are often refused by the banks and shops. Please ensure your notes are dated post 2013 and do not have a serial number starting with CB. When buying US Dollars before you travel it is best to ask for clean notes with no tears or markings. It can be difficult using US$100 bills in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia so if possible, bring US$50 bills for these countries. Some travellers worry about carrying so much cash with them, however all Oasis Overland trucks are equipped with an onboard safe for the security of your money and passport. Please also remember that Visas, where required, need to be paid for in US dollars cash only.

Venezuela (If we are able to go there): There are strict currency controls in place in Venezuela, with two official and one unofficial exchange rate currently in use. ATMs have extremely low limits for daily withdrawals and frequently run out of cash or are not in working order, as such they cannot be relied upon. We recommend you budget for your entire trip in Venezuela in cash US dollars.

Spending Money

From past trips and traveller feedback US$150 to US$200 per week should cover costs such as some meals out, soft drinks and beers, email & communications, souvenirs and other general spending. Personal spending habits & budgets differ greatly from person to person. Budget on visa costs and optional activities separately (see visa section above & optional excursions page) & allow extra for your Local Payment contribution. There is often a departure tax payable in the airport, so allow up to US$50 for this.

For trips starting / ending before Carnival: During the Carnival week both tourists and locals flock to Rio, meaning that many resources are stretched. This includes access to cash via banks and cash machines, as the banks frequently close for the whole ten day carnival period. Many of the machines run out of cash early on in the celebrations (often by day 2), and once the machines are empty they are not restocked until after the carnival celebrations have finished.  Money exchanges can also be difficult to access during this time, or will only provide a very poor rate. From past experience we know that the exchange rate weakens in the run up to Carnival, so all in all (if possible) it would be best for you to get some Brazilian Real’s in advance. When working out how many you need, bear in mind any time you will be spending in Brazil before Carnival in Rio.

If your trip goes to French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana please note that the general cost of living in these countries is much higher than elsewhere in South America, and you can expect the price of meals, drinks, souvenirs and excursions to accordingly cost more. For these countries we suggest you budget around US$300 a week for extra expenses.

Changing money

Change your money only at banks, hotels, airports or forex bureaus. It is illegal to change money on the street, as these people will normally be opportunistic thieves or undercover police. Your crew will advise you where & when you can change money & with what means. It is also a good idea to have a small CASH emergency fund, to allow for the unexpected.

Credit & Debit Cards 

If you are intending using your credit or debit card, we suggest taking more than one card with you as you may find that your card is not accepted in the first ATM you try. For credit and debit cards Visa is best. Mastercard and American Express are generally not accepted throughout South America. We recommend that you inform your bank that you will be using your card abroad to avoid it being blocked.

Pre-Paid Travel Currency Cards

These cards are similar to normal Credit and Debit cards but they can be pre loaded with cash before you travel with a set amount allowing you to withdraw this cash using the card at normal ATMs. It is a more secure way to access cash on your trip, but again do not rely on these as your sole means of funds on a trip - (please refer to the ATM section). Several banks and companies now offer these cards, but be sure to look into the rates for withdrawing cash when making your decision. When using these cards abroad you will use them to withdraw the local currency from an ATM and not the currency that you loaded onto the card.

ATMs 

These are available in most major cities along our route and allow you to withdraw local currency only. We discourage you from relying on your ATM card as a primary source of funds in case it is lost/stolen/swallowed, or the machine isn't working. In some destinations we probably won't even see a bank or ATM for days on end.  Even where do find them, they cannot always be relied upon - things change, and ATMs don't always work! Besides memorising your PIN, it is also important to be aware of your daily withdrawal limit and bank withdrawal costs.

Tipping 

Tipping in South America is customary and often expected, and local attitudes towards tipping are different to what we are used to in the West. It is often more than a reward for services well done but as wages are extremely low, it is an accepted means of supplementing an income. As a general rule, tipping around 10% of the total bill in restaurants is a good guide, and the same amounts usually apply for activities and excursions.

Because it can be difficult to know what to tip, and as it has such importance in some areas both economically and culturally, there may be times and activities for which your crew will make it clear what level of tipping is 'customary/expected'. They may also be quite enthusiastic or assertive in encouraging you to take account of these suggestions. This is motivated by the knowledge of how important tipping can be, and the offence or confusion that can be caused when local people are tipped poorly. In the end, tipping remains at the discretion of the individual, but our crew will continue to advise on normal rates, and we would ask you to carefully consider the economic or personal impact of being seen to 'under tip'. We know that many who travel with us are on a tight budget, but ask you to remember that those we work with locally may also face financial hardship, and also work very hard to try to give you unrivalled service/experiences. 

As a very rough guide, we would suggest that you budget for an amount equal to 10% of the local payment for your trip, plus 10% of the cost of any of the listed optional excursions that you wish to do. The amounts you end up tipping may vary from a rigid 10%, but hopefully this will help you budget in general.

On the Inca Trail, your crew will advise you what the expected tipping amounts are before the trek. It may seem unusual to be asked to tip before receiving a service, but the tips are a crucial part of the income for the guides, cooks and porters, and it is important that this gets shared out equally and fairly between them, so you can expect your Oasis Tour Leader to take an active role in ensuring it is done in the correct manner. The tips are usually spread out by the Tour Leader and then given to the travellers to hand out on the last day of the trek.

In the past we have been asked by travellers about tipping your Oasis Crew. If you choose to do this, it would be budgeted separately from the above. Our guys work very hard at making your trip a great travel experience. Working overseas can often be challenging and they are pretty much on call for you 24 hours a day, so it's appreciated as a thank you for hard work and good service, but of course not mandatory. Our suggestion is to budget around US$1, per person, per day.

In South America you can experience a varying degree of climatic changes at any time of year, from freezing temperatures (down to as cold as minus -15°C) in the Andes, to scorching heat in the desert and heavy downpours in the jungle (up to as hot and humid as 47°C and 90% humidity).

The rains in the Andes usually occur between November and April. This means downpours once or twice a day with the rest of the day usually warm and sunny, although there will also be times where it may not rain at all for a week or so. April to October is the dry season with clear views of the mountains. It is hot during the day but extremely cold at night with temperatures often well below zero. You will be spending a lot of time at altitude where nights can be very cold at any time of year.

The deserts in Peru can also be cold during the night but can be very hot during the day particularly between October and May. The Amazon Jungle is very hot with high humidity plus regular downpours of rain usually year-round. View South American Climate Chart

If you are travelling on a trip that goes through Patagonia in July – September, please be aware it will get very cold at times with temperatures well below zero, and you can expect snowfall. Please be prepared for cold conditions, with thermal clothing and the correct sleeping bag.

The less you take the less you have to pack, wash & lug home & you can always pick up extras along the way. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much gear. Clothes washing or laundry facilities will be available at least once a week. You will be travelling in the heat & camping in the cold, so bring clothes for all climates; rough stuff is best. Pack according to season: allowing for extremes in temperature (from the constant baking heat in the dry season to the cold and occasional frost overnight in some areas) Make sure that you bring your gear in a traditional soft sided 70 - 90L rucksack or holdall - suitcases are not suitable. Remember baggage is limited to 20kg per person plus one day bag.

Equipment Toiletries - Most available to buy on trip
  • Sleeping Bag - 3 to 4 season bag, depending on season, & sleep sheet
  • Foam sleeping mat or thermarest & repair kit
  • Small day-pack or small bag to carry daily items
  • Soft rucksack or holdall (NOT rigid suitcase)
  • Water bottle - for personal use - we recommend Water-to-Go (see below Responsible Travel)

  • Soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, antibacterial hand wash, lip balm & moisturiser
  • Sun block 35 + after sun, hat & sun glasses
  • Tampons (can buy in most places)
  • Contraception
Clothes Personal Effects
  • One pair of trainers or boots
  • Sandals/flip flops/jandals/thongs
  • Underwear/socks
  • T shirts/shirts
  • Shorts/swimwear
  • Jeans/trousers/jog pants/leggings
  • Skirt or dress
  • Sweat shirt/jumper
  • Jacket/fleece & waterproof jacket
  • Camera with protective case, spare batteries, film/memory card
  • Torch & spare batteries (head torch is best)
  • Travel adaptor plug/charger (for cameras & mobile phone batteries)
  • Money belt
  • Personal stereo - there is a stereo on the truck with iPod/MP3 adaptors
  • Towel &/or sarong

 

Recommended Medical Kit List
  • Antiseptic ointment/Antihistamine cream &  tablets
  • Nurofen or equivalent pain-killer
  • Eye-drops/bath
  • Anti-diarrhoea treatment
  • A couple of bandages (elasticated & triangular)
  • Medication for personal allergies/asthma etc
  • Insect repellent containing Deet

  • Re-hydration sachets/vitamin tablets
  • Assorted plasters
  • 1 Course of malaria treatment
  • Some suitable antibiotics as recommended by your doctor for infected cuts or to treat severe dysentery
  • Malaria Tablets - see Vaccinations & Health section

Please note that in the winter months (June - September) it can be very cold, especially at altitude, so we recommend that you bring extra layers of be prepared to purchase some when you are in Peru, Bolivia & Patagonia.

Even though our trucks are equipped with a comprehensive medical kit, we advise you to bring a small personal medical kit as our truck kit is not for general everyday use. It will also be your responsibility to carry your kit on included excursions and optional activities as some local operators may not have medical kits to hand.

Before you go

  • Remove unnecessary packaging before you go - waste disposal facilities are often stretched or non existent in the places we visit. To avoid unnecessary pollution of local water supplies take environmentally friendly toiletries with you.
  • Why not invest in a wind-up or solar-powered torch or media player before you travel or at least rechargeable batteries.
  • Learn some of the local language and read up on the local history/culture before you go. You'll get so much more out of your trip.
  • Why not pack some pens/pencils exercise books in your rucksack and they can be donated to a local school or project while you're away. You can also purchase these items cheaply, locally which will help local businesses.
  • Take a sturdy water bottle with you from home that you can re-use throughout your trip. We carry large quantities of purified water with us on our Expedition vehicles and it is much better for the environment if you drink this, rather than purchase bottled water along the way. (It also saves you money).
  • Water-to-Go: Oasis Overland have partnered with Water-to-Go to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles consumed during a trip. Water-to-Go is a filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source. Click here and enter the code OASIS15 to purchase your Water-to-Go products at 15% discount. Water-to-Go will then donate a further 15% to Oasis Overland Charity projects.
 
While you're travelling

 

From experience gained in running trips, we have developed our own practical and manageable environmental policy which all of our crew practice on the trips we operate, and they will share this information with you at the start of your trip. We welcome your input on this, plus any new ideas you may have, to improve our existing procedures. As a guide here's a few tips to bear in mind.

 

  • Don't waste water. It is a scarce resource in many of the places our trips visit. On all our Ultimate and Overland Expeditions we carry large quantities of purified water with us. We encourage you to refill your own water bottles from this supply, rather than purchase bottled water along the way-much more environmentally friendly and saves you money.
  • Never buy endangered species or endangered habitat products. Apart from the fact of it being illegal it also encourages the trade to continue.
  • Look after and preserve the areas we visit. Be careful about stepping on coral reefs or trekking on undesignated tracks.
  • Buy locally made crafts and products helping to support the local economy.
  • Don't feel when bargaining that you have to get the cheapest price possible just for the sake of it. Pay what the item is worth to you & don't worry about what someone else has paid.
  • Try the local food and drinks - this will help to support local farmers and food sellers. Sitting in a local cafe is also a great way to meet local people.
  • Dispose of litter appropriately on your trip. This includes cigarette butts. Not only does litter look unsightly it can be lethal to wildlife.
  • Where any toilet facilities exist, however unsavoury they might seem to you, they should be used. Where they do not, always bury your waste and make sure it is never near (at least 30m) a water source.
  • When game viewing do not encourage your guides to get too close to the wildlife so that their natural behaviour is impeded.
  • Respect local customs, traditions and beliefs of the people in the different regions that you travel through.
  • Do not take photos of people, ritual events or special places unless you have asked first. Dress appropriately according to local codes and show respect around religious festivals.
  • Recycling is almost non-existent in many of the areas and countries we visit - we do the best we can with limited resources & space on our vehicles.
  • For books dedicated to travelling more responsibly & ethically see: www.tourismconcern.org.uk
 
Community Projects - Oasis are active in raising awareness and providing support to a number of projects and local schools where we believe we can make a positive difference. More information on the projects we support.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offer country-specific advice, regarding not only security but also entry regulations, local laws and customs and health. We strongly recommend all travellers visit the FCO website, or the equivalent in their home country, to familiarise themselves with local conditions and issues in the countries they plan to visit before committing to a trip with us. You can view their website here.

If you have any questions at all about the safety or security of your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss your trip in more detail.

In cities - All major cities have their share of petty crime (just like our cities) and sensible precautions need to be taken. Wearing expensive looking jewellery or watches and carrying cameras will draw unnecessary attention to you. Leave valuables such as passports and excess money in your hotel safe or truck safe (we recommend carrying a copy of your passport details page at all times). You may find a simple money belt is more discreet than a bag. Always be aware of your surroundings and when approached by people you do not know, use your common sense. At night in cities it's best to use a taxi, rather than walking around the streets, single women in particular need to be careful and we would suggest that it is safer to be in a group.

On board the truck - Each vehicle is fitted with a hidden, lockable safe to be used for money, passports and important documents. Group members will be responsible for the safe and Oasis Overland cannot accept any liability for clients' personal or monetary contents kept in the safe or on board the truck. We advise you to not take items of value that are not essential for the journey. In certain areas a roster may be drawn up for the group to share the task of guarding and keeping the vehicle secure.

W-Trek, Torres del Paine

Explore more of South America’s finest national park. While this tour visits Torres del Paine for a couple of days and allows time for some short treks, this additional 6 Day / 5 night option will take you on trails to the mighty granite pillars of Los Torres, through the imposing French Valley and magnificent Grey’s Glacier. Hike through emerald forests, to magnificent glaciers, along alpine rivers and lakes, with picturesque mountain vistas while in this area of unparalleled beauty.

The W Trek is a challenging hike with some tricky terrain and steep ascents and descents. You do not need to be a specialist or experienced hiker to complete the trek, but you do need to be in moderate to good health with a decent level of fitness. The Active W Trek is a popular, camping style multi-day adventure program.

Spaces to hike the W Trek are limited and issued on a first-come-first-served basis and subject to availability at all times, so if you want to join this trek it is recommended you add this at the time of your booking. If we are unable to confirm your space you will be refunded in full, including your deposit.  

The trek would need to be timed to run before the main tour starts in Punta Arenas. 

What’s Included:

  • Accommodation for 5 nights - 2 nights Puerto Natales (twin share), 3 nights in park (2 camping, 1 dorm)
  • Transfer from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park (1.45 hours drive)
  • Park entrance fee 
  • Catamaran ticket from Paine Grande to Pudeto, bus ticket from Pudeto to Puerto Natales
  • Tents
  • Guide on first day of trekking to the base of the towers
  • Trekking poles for the first day of trekking if required
  • Meals as listed

What‘s Not Included:

  • Meals not listed
  • Tips

Itinerary: Please note the itinerary is subject to alteration and the stated walking times are approximate. Weather in the park can be changeable and affect hiking, and everyone walks at their own pace.

Day 1: This evening you will meet fellow trekkers for a welcome dinner, followed by a briefing for your 'W Trek'.

Accommodation: Puerto Natales (twin room - shared bathrooms)

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: This morning nice and early you will meet the group and travel to Torres del Paine National Park. Torres del Paine was given its name from the three striking granite towers, formed above a glacial lake. The trek today is with a guide and you will be making your way to the base of these towers. Once you reach the lookout of the ‘Base of Torres del Paine’ you can enjoy the view of Torre Sur (2,850m), Torre Central (2,800m), Torre Norte (2,600m) and Cerro Nido de Cóndor. The trek today is approximately 19kms and should take about 8 hours.

Accommodation: Refugio Torre Central or Refugio Torre Norte (Dorm bed) 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Today the trail follows alongside the turquoise waters of Lake Nordenskjöld. We then make our way to Los Cuernos (The Horns), an outcropping of granite peaks which stand at over 2000 metres high, before continuing through to Domos Frances. The views from Los Cuernos are considered by many to be the most memorable in the whole park, perched on a hillside with the famous towers above with views across one of the park’s stunning light blue lakes. The trek today is approximately 14.6kms and should take about 6.5 hours.

Accommodation: Camping at Francés 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch and Dinner

Day 4: Making our way through 'The French Valley' we will pass through Mirador Británico, the lookout point generally thought to be one of the most overwhelming spots on the whole Circuit, where you can take in Paine Grande, Cerro Hoja, Cerro Máscara, Cerro Catedral, Cerro Aleta de Tiburón, Cuerno Norte and other magnificent peaks. We return back the same way and continue to the Pehoe sector, reaching our evening destination Paine Grande. The trek today is approximately 20.3kms and should take about 9 hours.

Accommodation: Camping at Paine Grande 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch and Dinner

Day 5: Our final day of trekking will take us on the trail through the western side of the Paine Massif, stopping off at various viewpoints to take in Grey Lake and the Mountain views, as we continue north to the impressive natural ice formations of Grey's Glacier. The return is the same way back to Paine Grande where you will take a catamaran across Lake Pehoé to Pudeto. You will then board the bus back to Puerto Natales arriving in the evening. It is time to put your heels up and celebrate your huge sense of achievement having conquered one of the world’s great hiking routes with a cold beer and Pizza. The trek today is approximately 22kms and should take about 8 hours.

Accommodation: Puerto Natales (twin room - shared bathrooms)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Boxed Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: After your breakfast (included) you will then continue with your Oasis Overland Adventure.

Please Note: The above itinerary and stated accommodation is subject to change without notice and may be altered due to local operating conditions. In the event of any changes due to circumstances beyond our control, while we will do our utmost to minimise the impact on the planned itinerary, we will not be held responsible for any costs incurred.

Deposit: £400 per person. (Once requested your permit cannot be refunded or exchanged).

Just add this on to your trip when booking


Firstly expect the unexpected! If you are looking for a set itinerary where everything runs smoothly, then this is not the kind of trip for you. Our itineraries can change due to local circumstances, and in such situations we'll always try to minimise any disruption, but bear in mind that from time to time events happen outside our control. It is this very unpredictability which makes each expedition different, exciting and one of the most adventurous things that you will possibly ever do! As part of this adventure you will be expected to have an active involvement in the day to day running of the trip, be part of the group and get stuck in and help with various tasks, whether it's cooking meals over open fires, pitching your tent or keeping the truck clean and tidy.

Itinerary

Because Oasis Overland do not operate normal 'package holidays' the itineraries given cannot be guaranteed to run exactly as outlined. However, it is rare that we have to make major changes and in the event that we do this will be discussed with you either before or during the trip. It is important to bear in mind that should it not be possible to enter a certain country due to safety concerns, visa problems or political turmoil etc, and it becomes necessary to fly over a country in order to continue a trip, that all costs for flights will be borne by you and not Oasis. Should it not be possible for an Oasis trip to begin from a scheduled starting city due to border closures, civil unrest etc,  Oasis will make all reasonable efforts to begin the trip from an alternative location. However, all additional costs that you may incur in travelling to the alternative location will be paid by you or your insurance company and not Oasis.

Expedition Vehicle

For part of your trip the Oasis expedition truck will be your new home - giving you a comfortable & secure base with which to experience your trip. We use  purpose built trucks which have been converted especially for this expedition, which pass through all types of terrains from soft sand, mud, rock and potholed roads to tarseal. It is reassuring to know that these vehicles can handle the tough conditions that they are put through. The truck is equipped with all the equipment we may need en route, including a professionally compiled expedition Medical Kit, large water & fuel carrying capacities, an extensive range of spare parts and the kitchen sink, (well almost!) so all you need is your sleeping bag, a roll mat and your own personal gear!

Seatbelts

All Oasis Overland trucks are fitted with seatbelts. For your own safety and security we recommend that travellers wear these at all times whilst the vehicle is moving. Our overland trucks in Africa also have a ‘beach area’ which is a chill out zone to be used when the truck is not moving.

Accommodation

Oasis uses roomy three-person tents but only for two people. They are specially made for us to meet the tougher conditions of an overland trip and have mosquito netting sewn into the door and windows. Tents are shared (between two people of the same sex from your group unless you are a couple). We spend some nights bush or desert camping and the rest of the time in campsites. Facilities and standards at campsites vary, some are well equipped and managed and some are very basic. At bush camps you will be living off the truck, so there will be no showers or en-suite facilities! At certain campsites there is the opportunity to upgrade to a private room at your own expense if you are missing your bed.

During the day

As a guide, driving days normally start at about 8am and finish at about 5pm, with stops for lunch and buying food, seeing local sights etc. We won't be driving every day, although there are times when we will drive for two, but we will then stop for a few days and you will have free time to explore, meet local people, do some optional activities or just relax and do your own thing. Expect to sometimes get dusty & dishevelled during the day and although you will be able to shower most nights (except at bush camps), not all camps will have hot showers.

Meals & cook groups

When 'on the road' or camping, we usually cook using gas or over open fires in a rota system and you can expect to cook in a group of two or three people approximately once every ten days depending on the number of people on trip and whereabouts you are. Your cook group will have to decide on what to cook, utilise stocks from the truck stores and locally obtain ingredients from markets, shops etc. and rustle up a meal. But don't worry if you're not a Gordon Ramsay as the rest of the group and the Tour leader usually lend a helping hand.  Here is an idea of what to expect at meal times:

Breakfasts: Usually simple - we help ourselves to cereal, toast, hot drinks and on occasion we will splurge with a cooked breakfast.

Lunch: Cold and usually quick. The cook group will put out bread, tinned supplies and maybe make a salad.

Dinner: Cooks come into their own in the evening, and will always attempt to cook up some delights. When the truck is parked up for a few days in a town or city most people usually like the option to eat out at local restaurants - so we often don't cook all meals when at these locations.

Vegetarians / Vegans / Coeliacs / Gluten & Lactose intolerance - Our Tour Leaders will always do their best to cater for any dietary requirement or intolerance whenever possible. However we do not cater for fussy eaters. It must be remembered that the variety of dishes available may not be the same as available to meat eaters. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet or because of an allergy or would miss from home, it would be best to bring these with you, as these cannot be purchased with normal Local Payment funds due to the high cost of these specialised and often imported foods.

Remember that when eating out in local restaurants & hotels that vegetarianism or food allergies / intolerance's, are still not widely known about or understood by many local people. i.e Vegetarians or Vegans will often be offered fish or chicken in error.  Most large towns and cities, or areas used to tourists, will often have more choice but please be aware that it will probably not be as varied as you are used to when eating out at home.

In the evenings 

When at a bushcamp or campsite where you and your tent buddy will put up the tent, and then lend a hand with getting out the tables, stools, firewood and water containers. The fire grates need to be taken out, the fire lit and someone can fill the kettle and make hot drinks while the cook group prepares the evening meal. Then just sit back & chill and enjoy the rest of your evening!

Oasis Crew

We usually have two crew whose duties are extensive and quite demanding, with challenges ranging from driving and maintaining the expedition vehicle to a high standard, to organising visas and border crossings, arranging accommodation, pre-booking some excursions and guides, helping with shopping and cooking as well as finding the best deals, socializing and making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. While our crew are usually experienced and knowledgeable they are not tour guides as such. Our trips pass through many countries and our tour leaders cannot be expected to have detailed knowledge of each country's history, flora and fauna and archaeological sites. Even so - they will be more than willing to pass on any interesting and useful information that they have acquired whilst on the road. A rewarding way to gain a better insight into the wildlife, cultural and historical diversity of the countries we travel through is by reading guide books as well as talking to the local people and using local guides.

Adventure travel can be unpredictable and occasionally our crew may have to amend the itinerary to take into account changing local circumstances or because of a delay at a border or because of circumstances outside our control. This can all lead to additional work and commitment for our crew who will do all they can to minimize any disruption to the trip. While our crew are essentially on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it has to be remembered that no one is actually expected to work these hours, so at Oasis we are realistic that within a trip there will be times when our crew need 'down time' and a chance to relax and 'let their hair down' as well. They are only human!

 

Itinerary Changes

Due to the unpredictable nature of this expedition - it is not always possible to follow the exact itinerary as set out below. We will always endeavour to visit all the places listed, and often more that are not. All the information regarding the itinerary is given in good faith and is subject to change, dependent on local political or country instabilities, weather, security & road conditions etc. Any major itinerary changes will be decided by the crew & company directors and will be discussed with the group beforehand whenever possible. It is also possible that the expedition may arrive later than specified into Cape Town/Nairobi or Cairo.

It is important to bear in mind that should it not be possible to enter a certain country due to safety concerns, visa problems or political turmoil etc, and it becomes necessary to fly over a country in order to continue a trip, that all your costs for flights will be borne by you and not Oasis.

If we do have to fly over a particular area or country we will endeavour to take in other places of interest if time permits. While Oasis Overland will cover all ground and transport costs, we have not taken the cost of flights into our pricing structure. Therefore any flights will have to be paid for by each individual.


2022

Start Finish Special Events Trip Price Local Payment   
Sun 02 Oct Wed 12 Oct Dates: Sun 02 Oct - Wed 12 Oct
Special Events: Adult Price: £1345 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 23 Oct Wed 02 Nov Dates: Sun 23 Oct - Wed 02 Nov
Special Events: Adult Price: £1395 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 13 Nov Wed 23 Nov Dates: Sun 13 Nov - Wed 23 Nov
Special Events: Adult Price: £1445 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 04 Dec Wed 14 Dec Dates: Sun 04 Dec - Wed 14 Dec
Special Events: Adult Price: £1445 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Thu 29 Dec Sun 08 Jan Dates: Thu 29 Dec - Sun 08 Jan
Special Events: Adult Price: £1445 Local Payment: US$600 Book

2023

Start Finish Special Events Trip Price Local Payment   
Sun 15 Jan Wed 25 Jan Dates: Sun 15 Jan - Wed 25 Jan
Special Events: Adult Price: £1395 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 29 Jan Wed 08 Feb Dates: Sun 29 Jan - Wed 08 Feb
Special Events: Adult Price: £1395 Local Payment: 0 Book
Sun 12 Feb Wed 22 Feb Dates: Sun 12 Feb - Wed 22 Feb
Special Events: Adult Price: £1395 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 26 Feb Wed 08 Mar Dates: Sun 26 Feb - Wed 08 Mar
Special Events: Adult Price: £1395 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 12 Mar Wed 22 Mar Dates: Sun 12 Mar - Wed 22 Mar
Special Events: Adult Price: £1395 Local Payment: US$600 Book
Sun 26 Mar Wed 05 Apr Dates: Sun 26 Mar - Wed 05 Apr
Special Events: Adult Price: £1345 Local Payment: US$600 Book
11 days from £1,345

+ Local payment from US$600

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  • Travel Style
    Overland Adventure
  • Region
    South America

A deposit of just £200 secures your place; full amount payable if booking within 10 weeks of departure.