Essential Information - Chile & Argentina
Patagonia & the Lake District
Getting there and away
Our tour starts in Puerto Montt on a Sunday.
We appreciate that people join redspokes tours from all over the world; no matter what time you arrive at the airport on the tour start date you and your luggage will be transferred to the joining hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. The tour ends with a transfer to Temuco airport for your flight home via Santiago. If you decide to arrive early or stay on after the tour, redspokes can assist you in booking your accommodation and airport transfers at additional cost. If you depart on the last day of the tour your airport transfer is included in the tour price.
Our tour price does not include your international flight.
If you are flying from the Europe, Lan Airlines appear to be the airline favoured by our customers. You should look to get an "open jaw" flight that arrives into Puerto Montt on a Sunday and leaves from Temuco on Saturday.
Passport & Visa requirements
You must be in possession of a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining after date of arrival and an outward ticket. For UK passport holders, visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days. All other nationalities should check visa requirements either on this website World Travel Guide or with their nearest Chilean / Argentinian embassy.
When you arrive in Chile you will be issued with a Tourist Card (PDI). Please ensure that you keep this with you during the whole tour as you will require it when you leave Chile.
Australian tourists arriving at Santiago International Airport must pay a USD 117 `reciprocity fee' by credit card, EFTPOS or in US dollars.
Insurance and vaccinations
It is a condition of joining our trips that you must be adequately insured. All persons are expected to arrange their own insurance. Polices should cover any potential risks involved in a mountain cycling holiday. We ask for copy of your policy to be sent in with your completed booking form.
Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking for UK citizens. Their policies include emergency medical and repatriation expenses as well as mountain rescue. They are also able to insure personal belongings including equipment as well as travel cover for cancellation, delay and missed departure. Follow the link below to obtain full information and a quote: www.snowcard.co.uk.
Plan ahead for your vaccinations, some of them require more than one injection you should seek medical advice at least six weeks before travel. We recommend vaccinations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, and a tetanus injection is essential.
A comprehensive medical kit is supplied but it is only to be used in emergencies. On all our tours the guides carry a medical kit. We do recommend that you bring your own first aid supplies which should include: a broad spectrum anti-biotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, a cold medication, diarrhoea treatment, pain killers, plasters, insect repellent and re-hydration salts.
During the trip, the group will stay in hotels, guest houses and lodges. All accommodation will be on a twin share basis. Single rooms are sometimes available at extra cost. We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury.
All breakfasts and lunches are provided on the tour. Food is plentiful and nutritious; a variety of local and Western dishes will be provided.
Transportation and local guides
Within Chile and Argentina, you will have the security of a back-up vehicle, either a bus or truck. The vehicles will carry our entire luggage and you if needed. You will also have a qualified bike mechanic and experienced local leader.
All entrance fees to national parks or sites which are an integral part of the itinerary will be included.
What's not included?
Your travel insurance, inoculations, most dinners, drinks, tips, bar bills, laundry, excess luggage, airport taxes and visas (if applicable).
Our holiday price does not include your international flight to and from Santiago, or your flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt or Temuco to Santiago. We are unable to include flights as part of the tour due to the Package holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. If you are flying from the Europe, you should look to get a "multi-destination" flight that arrives into Puerto Montt and leaves from Temuco. Check out www.kayak.com or www.opodo.co.uk for an idea of times and prices.
Depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £375 will be more than enough to cover the 14-day tour. Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. We suggest a $50-$55 USD from each person on the tour to be split between the guide and team at the end of the tour. There is usually a hierarchy with the guide receiving a higher amount than the driver and assistant.
There are also many currency exchange bureaux and most hotels exchange money as well. ATM machines are widespread in the larger towns.
Cycling support and grading
Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so you must ensure that your bike is in good working order before the tour. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel. This trip is designed for cyclists who are comfortable with doing 40 to 55 miles a day. The distances and gradient each day are not extreme, but the altitude and terrain can make this a tough trip. Although you do not need to be an athlete, it pays to spend some time before the trip getting into the best shape possible. This will ensure you get the most from your holiday. We can send you specific training tips on request.
Equipment and bike stuff
Bikes for this trip need to be: Tough: bikes can take a bit of a battering, so we recommend a low geared (such as a 22-tooth granny cog on the front crank driving an 11-32/34 block on the back). Comfort is important, as there are some long days, so make sure your saddle and riding position are appropriate.
A mountain bike is a good option. Front suspension will help with the washboard tracks and potholes, but it is not essential. Full-suspension is ok but may be hard work on the tarmac stretches. If you have flat bars, fitting bar ends will give you a different hand position and help with the climbs. The trip can be done on a traditional touring bike, but it is important to ensure it has got strong enough wheels, sufficiently wide tyres (37mm is about the minimum) and low enough gearing. It's worth investing in a pair of 36 spoke, hand-built wheels, using a good quality rim (e.g. Sun Rhyno, Mavic or Rigida).
Please note: If you are taking your own bike in a box or rigid bike-bag then the case will be sent to the end destination of the trip where you will have it back for your journey home. If you are taking a flexible bike-bag then it will be transported as passenger luggage on the support vehicle. Your guide will arrange for your box to be sent to the end destination.
The route is a mixture of poorly maintained tarmac and very rough gravel tracks. The best tyre for the job is probably the Schwalbe Marathon XR. It's very tough and hardwearing and has a decent tread for the gravel without being too knobbly for tarmac.
We would advise the following: a multi-tool, tyre levers, pump, 2 spare inner tube, spare spokes of the correct length to fit your wheels - check with a bike shop, brake pads, a few spare links for your chain, spares for any unique or high-tech items on your bike, e.g. fluid and bleed kit for hydraulic brakes.
For this tour we have Trek (XCaliber7 or Marlin 7 bikes) 2017 and 2018 models in a range of sizes and Giant Fathom 29er (2018 models) in all sizes XS to XL. They are mostly new for this season and all are well maintained bikes with Shimano components and suspension forks. Spare parts (tubes, tyre, chains etc.) are included in the price of the bike rental and will be carried in the support vehicle with a tool kit and track pump. The bikes are equipped with flat pedals. Those who prefer to use spd or clip-in pedals, are welcome to bring these with you, along with your own cycling shoes and cleats. You are also welcome to bring your own saddle. The guide will carry some spares and tools for fixing punctures etc. but if you wish to have your own spares we suggest a couple of inner tubes 29" (frames from 17.5 to 23) and 27.5" (small frames 13 and 15.5), a pump and a puncture repair kit. If you are able to do a simple repair yourself this will avoid the need to wait for assistance should the team or support vehicle be any distance away. Helmets are not included in the bike hire, you will need to bring your own helmet.
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"This was another excellent trip with redspokes. The tour leaders were enthusiastic, supportive and professional. The route was particularly scenic with some challenging climbs which generally suited everyone. There was..."