Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Covid situation in Chile now?
Chile is one of the top five countries in the world with the highest vaccination rate. We are now 90% fully vaccinated and a big percentage are already being given a booster shot. Fully immunized locals are issued a mobility pass to facilitate travel with less restrictions.
Zero cases now in Chilean Patagonia.
Will Torres del Paine be open for tourists?
Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine locality is now open and we are excited to welcome local guests and foreign W Trek participants very soon when our borders open, come November 1, 2021. Most hotels and lodges in the park are scheduled to open starting October and November this year. Trails and campings are open all year round. We can help you with your itinerary here whenever you are ready to plan.
What are the entry rules for tourists for October 2021?
From October 1st, 2021, new changes in "Secure Borders Plan" of Chilean government are applied: 1. Quarantines: Passengers who show Mobility Pass upon arrival will stay five days at home or in hotels. Transit hotels will no longer be used. 2. Foreigners: Non-resident foreigners who hold a Mobility Pass may enter Chile. They must get it at least two weeks before the flight.
Measures when entering Chile
1) With Mobility Pass: 5-day quarantine.
2) Without Mobility Pass: 7-day quarantine.
3) Quarantine at home (or hotel of preference). Transit hotels are no longer available.
4) 14-day health tracking of the traveler.
Further information: https://saludresponde.minsal.cl/plan-fronteras-protegidas-1-de-octubre/
What are the new entry rules for tourists starting November 1, 2021?
Most recently in an activity held at the Palacio de La Moneda, the Undersecretary of Public Health, Paula Daza, together with the Undersecretary of Tourism, José Luis Uriarte, announced changes to the Protected Frontiers Plan that will take effect from November 1. The first change is that from that date all people who enter Chile with a Mobility Pass or vaccination approval certificate will be able to finish their traveler isolation earlier. The requirement to do so will be to have the negative result of a PCR test taken in the country.
There is a PCR laboratory at the airport that can give the result with in four (4) hours.
The name of the provider is Genosur, they are specialists in PCR tests and deliver results in a maximum of 4 hours directly to the patient's email or whatsapp, authorized by SEREMI (Chilean health department) and certified by the ISP, they operate with the highest quality standards, PCR test is safe, since it inactivates the virus avoiding the possibilities of contagion.
To schedule a time at the Genosur in the airport you must enter the following Link.
Their office for taking a swab sampling is just accros the arrival section of Santiago airport just besides the Hilton Hotel. You need to arrive early afternoon so you can get the result during the the same day and take the next flight to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales early morning of the next day. If you miss the 5pm cutoff you can be still do the swan until 7:30 pm but the results will come out 12pm the next day.
Do you need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Chile and to do the W trek?
It is now an official government policy to require visitors to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 Corona virus to enter Chile. Your vaccination needs to be validated in Chile.
What vaccines can be validated in Chile?
All vaccines that have been approved by the Chilean Public Health Institute (ISP), the Organization World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Currently these correspond to those of the laboratories Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Oxford / AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sinovac, CanSino and Generium (Sputnik-V).
How to validate your vaccination?
On the website www.mevacuno.gob.cl you can access a platform to request validation. You should fill out minimum fields of personal information and attach documents that support the vaccination. This Information will be corroborated case by case by officials of the Ministry of Health, who will respond to the request. Our reservation team will be assiting you and will be giving you additional information when you reserve.
Trip refunds and cancellations?
Since we are living in a pandemic situation, you can reschedule your W Trek booking until 2024 with no added charges for the contracted services. We will offer full refunds for any reservation by August 2022 if you decide not to go again with the trip even after rescheduling.
Does Chile require a visa for Chinese and Indians with a US Visa?
No, Chile does not require a visa.
Can we travel to Argentina, to visit Perito Moreno and El Chalten after the W Trek?
We highly recommend that you travel to Chile first and do the W trek and then travel to Patagonia Argentina, however it is a must that you get a flexible ticket that you can change to fly out from Santiago, Chile when needed. We can organize an alternative trip for you to visit the magical San Pedro de Atacama, in the north part of Chile in case the border with Argentina will still be closed after you do the W Trek or provide additional hikes and tours on the Chilean side of Patagonia.
Best way to get to Puerto Natales?
Puerto Natales is your local transit hub in going to Torres del Paine. The good news is, Sky Airline is going to start flying from Santiago to Puerto Natales by September 202, tuesdays and Fridays only. Jetsmart also flies twice weekly, thursdays and sundays. It is a 3 hours flight. If you can't get unto a plane directly to Puerto Natales, another alternative is to fly to Punta Arenas and then an airport bus (3 hours) going straight to Puerto Natales. No stops in between. We will be arranging your local transfers.
Is ChileTour Patagonia a Local Operator?
Yes, we are a Top Rated Puerto Natales based travel company. We manage our own accomodation in Puerto Natales (Garden Domes) and in Torres del Paine (Tiny Houoses). We also have our company vans and SUVs to support our guests needs. This aside from our very dedicated team of guides, drivers, camping logistics, kitchen and reception. We take pride in our 8 years of accumulated wisdom and experience running the W Trek.
Is the West to East W trek itinerary the best way?
The popular online opinion is West to East. But it can be a complicated way of doing the W, because its success depends on connecting properly to the Lake Pehoe catamaran or ferry. The problem is, there is always a chance that you don't connect to the boat. No seats are guranteed as well, so even if you make it, you still might not be able to sail. We don’t have this problem on the East to West schedule. Furthermore, because of starting with the Base of the Towers trail, we were able to resolved numerous first day hiccups of participants which we never could have if they took the boat on the first day. Also, by doing the W Classic East to West, you get the change to do either ice-trekking or kayaking or a hike to the iconic second hanging bridge overlooking the Grey Glacier and the Southern Ice Field.
What happens if the Lake Pehoe boat does not sail?
We have timed the W trek in such a way that you will have enough time to exit using an alternative route out of the W. (We call this exit route the "Q trail." We will explain why we call it that letter when you arrive here to start the hike!)
Do you need a guide during the W Trek?
During the Winter season, we normally send a guide and a porter to accompany our W participants. Winter daylight is short, 5 hours only and the average hiker needs to do 7 to 8 hours of daily hike. A guide is a safety necessity during winter. During the summer months, especially November, December and January, the sun is up until 11 pm and starts to rise 4 am. Since the trails are properly marked, there is always enough time to reach one’s destination of the day. For this reason, we only provide the guide on the first day of the hike or upon special request.
Does the W trek gets cancelled because of the weather?
We never had an experience of the entire W trek getting cancelled because of the weather. The upper portion of the trail to the Base of the Tower or the British Lookout can be closed due to bad weather.
Are there dangerous animals in the park?
We don’t have snakes, bears or crocodiles in Patagonia. We have some pumas in the eastern portion of the park but we never had any experience of any tourist in the park attacked by the big cats.
Do we need to carry drinking water during the hike?
Having a 500 ml water bottle is enough. There are many glacier streams and rivers where you can refill your bottle. It is one of the freshest and cleanest water you can drink. We will be sending you more information about this. Including some tips on how to fetch water safely during the hike.