The Patagonia region is fairly vast and is shared by Chile and Argentina. If you are planning to reach there, you must be wondering what’s the fastest route to reach there. You can travel to Patagonia from either flying to Argentina or Chile. You have the option to fly to Buenos Aires (BUE) or Santiago de Chile (SCL). You should check the flight prices and additional taxes before booking your flight tickets. There could be a substantial difference between the rates between the two countries. Knowing the fares beforehand could help you decide which airport in which country to fly into. Driving into the country in your car or travelling by bus is not the same as flying in.
If you are travelling from Santiago de Chile, you will take the flight to Punta Arenas to reach Southern Patagonia. A flight to Balmaceda, Coyhaique will take you to Central Patagonia. If you want to fly to Northern District and the Lake District, your best chance is to fly from Santiago de Chile to Temuco or Puerto Montt depending upon your final destination.
If you are open to the option of traveling by bus, you should try the public transportation to travel between cities. It is good and reliable and they run to many destinations all over Patagonia. If you are thinking of the uncomfortable standard buses that you find in America, not to worry. These are much larger and offer more comfort. A ‘Coche Cama’ seat is considered to be on par with a first class seat on a decent airline. It is by far the cheaper option as compared to flights, so if you have time on your hands and a shallow pocket, head for the reliable bus lines.
Before traveling to Chile, check out the current currency exchange rates online – you can head to www.xe.com. You should carry cash with you as many establishments in the region will not have the technology to accept credit or debit cards and will take only cash. Also, many establishments may charge you a lot more if you want the convenience of using your debit or credit card. There are ATMs located all over Patagonia so it won’t be hard to have access to cash when you need it. You should remember that a lot of Patagonia is remote – keeping this in mind, many rural and remote areas may not offer a good exchange rate and the ATMs may not be filled up as regularly as the ones in the cities.
If you are a citizen of the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or any country of the ECC, you don’t need a special visa to enter the country. Instead you will be offered 90 days to stay as a tourist and you will have to pay a certain extra fee on arrival if your passport is from the mentioned countries which will be valid for the lifetime of your passport. This is good news for travelers from these countries. If you are planning to stay for a period longer than 90 days, the process of obtaining that visa will be lengthy and time consuming, not to mention expensive. A good option would be to cross over to a neighboring country and return which will give you an additional 90 days of stay.
Travelers entering Chile to visit Patagonia should avoid carrying any dairy products or unprocessed meats like ham and salami as those are forbidden. If you are planning to trek or hike through the remote areas, keep this in mind. You can purchase canned products, powdered soups and dried pre-cooked meals so there is hope if you want to be prepared before your trip. Do read up before you travel as rules may change and it is best to be up to date with all rules and regulations.