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Antarctica & Atacama Desert

Solo Travellers 45 Years & Over
Tuesday 13 March – Wednesday 4 April 2018 ex Australia

Other Notes

This page contains the details about the trip not already explained on other pages.

TRIP AVAILABILITY
If this trip seems right for you then we encourage you to book early and secure your place with a deposit.  Tour space is limited. Also, many services on this tour must be booked well in advance. To ensure your place, please check trip availability at your earliest convenience

FELLOW TRAVELLERS 
You will enjoy this small group experience with a maximum group size of 20 travellers. This tour is NOT exclusively for single-solo travellers.

THE PACE  [3 out of 5]
To get the most from your tour, you will need a good level of fitness and mobility and an open mind. Many of the best sights can only be accessed on foot. Sightseeing includes lots of walking, getting into and out of boats and other forms of transport and extended periods at high altitude. You should be able to walk at least 3.5km or for 2-3 hours on uneven ground with no walking aids and climb several flights of stairs. You should also be able to carry your own bags - porterage is not included in our tipping costs and extra services may not always be available. Passengers who are 70 and over will be required to obtain a doctor’s clearance before travelling.

ABOUT THE MEALS   
It’s regular that our trips included welcome dinners and farewell dinners for our groups. In addition, we include other group dining experiences to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefit of travelling and dining as a group.  There’s nothing better than to share a meal with new friends and discuss the day’s adventures.

Special Diets 

As a standard, Encounter Travel limit special dietary requests to Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Lactose Intolerant and Diabetic. Additional intolerances to those fore-mentioned, are the responsibility of the traveller. For any additional special diet requests you must seek our advice and consultation.

  • We make special dietary requests on behalf of our travellers to our ground operators, cruise operators, and/or any third party that operate components of The Holiday where meals or snacks are provided as part of The Holiday inclusions. We cannot guarantee that all or any of the third parties will meet the request in part or full. 
  • We can offer guidance on each of The Holidays as to the suitability of The Holiday for you in relation to your special diet request.
  • Requests made after booking your holiday that cannot be met will not entitle you to any refund of monies paid. Any lacking or failure from any of our operators to cater for your special diet does not give claim to any compensation whatsoever. 

Other notes about special dietary requirements: 

  • Please also be mindful that many hotels, restaurants and cruise ships may not provide gluten free cereal, bread, pasta, pizza, cake and/or dessert. 
  • Special diet requests may limit the number of choices or variety for meals.

  • For airlines, please seek further advice at the time of booking. Please take note that a request for a vegetarian meal on a flight is provided as a vegan meal.

  • We recommend travellers with special dietary requirements consider their options to supplement meals and snacks in their holiday destination before deciding to travel. In some countries it is not uncommon that restaurants and food outlets pay less or no attention to special dietary requirements in comparison to what we may be accustomed to in Australia or other home countries.

Helpful Websites for Special Diet Translation cards:

http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/ 

https://www.brokerfish.com/food-allergy-translation-cards 

https://www.selectwisely.com/

GROUP LEADER/ESCORT/GUIDE

This is a private group tour with a coach driver and tour escort. Your tour escort is there to assist with group arrangements and to act as the liaison for all tour services. The services of local English speaking guides is also included.

TRANSPORT
Transport is by private air-conditioned coach.

LUGGAGE INFORMATION AND RESTRICTIONS
Due to the handling of luggage on our tours and coaches, we ask you to limit checked baggage to 20kg and a minimum of hand luggage. 

CURRENCY

CHILE, CHILEAN PESO

In Chile the local currency is the Chilean Peso (CH$)

  • Chilean Peso = 100 centavos
  • Notes are in denominations of CH$20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000
  • Coins are in denominations of CH$500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1, although the latter is no longer in circulation

 

ARGENTINA, ARGENTINE PESO

The local currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS)

  • Peso (ARS; symbol AR$) = 100 centavos
  • Peso notes are in denominations of AR$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2
  • Coins are in denominations of AR$ 2 and 1, and in 50, 25 and 10 centavos

 

PERSONAL EXPENSES
In addition to your tour inclusions you will have some personal expenses including meals, snacks and drinks not included with the tour package plus consider souvenirs and miscellaneous expenses such as laundry. 

When setting a budget for personal expenses consider what meals are included and not included. This itinerary has a breakfast each day and lunch and dinner while onboard the cruise. Therefore either lunch or dinner each day would be an additional expense. We recommend around AUD65 per day for personal expenses not included with the tour package.  You should increase this budget if you like to enjoy alcoholic beverages.

For anyone that enjoys some shopping there will be opportunities to purchase local items and these costs could be a small amount to a lot, all depending on personal preferences for travel shopping.

IMPORT LAWS & CUSTOMS
This information is provided as a guide and travellers should familiarize themselves with the laws and restrictions at the time of travel with relevant authorities for each country.

CHILE

Free import
• 400 Cigarettes
• 500 Pipe of Tobacco
• 50 large and small cigars
• 2 .05 litres of Alcohol
• A reasonable amount of perfume

Prohibited
• No information available

Restricted
• Cats and Dogs being imported into the country will require a certificate proving their vaccination from rabies.
• Guns, Ammunition, Explosives, Illegal goods and pornographic material are prohibited from being either imported or exported out of the country.
• Edible products of animal origin, flowers, fruits and vegetables are only permitted with a certificate ("FITOSANITARIO") issued by the Department of Agriculture.

ARGENTINA

Free import
The following items can be freely imported into the country by travellers from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay or Uruguay or by residents returning to Argentina after more than a year away.
• 1 litre of alcoholic beverages;
• 200 cigarettes and
• 25 cigars;
• 2 k food products
Travellers entering Argentina from other countries than the ones mentioned above can import the following.
• 2 litres of alcoholic beverages;
• 400 cigarettes and 50 cigars;
• 5 kgs food.

Prohibited
• Illegal drugs
• Weapons and ammunition – permission required
• Explosives
• Knives and deadly weapons
• Meat or meat products from any animal species i.e. sausages, cold cuts, ham
• Milk and dairy products
• Fresh fruit and vegetables
• Trees, plants and plant products
• New Computers
• Colour and new TV’s
• Soil
• Counterfeit money and goods
• Pornographic material

Restricted
• Firearms and ammunition being imported into the country will require authorization by the Registro Nacional de Armas (RENAR) (National Firearms Bureau). The application will need to be supported by the appropriate firearms certificate of the country of residence and will need to be declared at the customs department. An additional ARS 200 fee per firearm will likely have to be paid at this point.
• Dogs and cats require an official veterinary health and vaccination certificate to be presented by the owner on arrival. However, pets less than three months of age do not require a rabies vaccination certificate.
• Mobile phones being imported into the country will need permission from the customs department before being granted entry.

ANTARCTICA

Activities in the Antarctic are governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and associated agreements, referred to collectively as the Antarctic Treaty system. The Treaty established Antarctica as a zone of peace and science.

In 1991, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, which designates the Antarctic as a natural reserve. The Protocol sets out environmental principles, procedures and obligations for the comprehensive protection of he Antarctic environment, and its dependent and associated ecosystems. The Consultative Parties have agreed that, pending its entry into force, as far as possible and in accordance with their legal system, that the provisions of the Protocol should be applied as appropriate.

The Environmental Protocol applies to tourism and non-governmental activities as well as governmental activities in the Antarctic Treaty Area. It is intended to ensure that these activities do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment, or on its scientific and aesthetic values.

This Guidance for Visitors to the Antarctic is intended to ensure that all visitors are aware of, and are therefore able to comply with, the Treaty and the Protocol. Visitors are, of course, bound by national laws and regulations applicable to activities in the Antarctic.

A. Protect Antarctic wildlife
Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.

  1. Do not use aircraft, vessels small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
  2. Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behaviour. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or moulting.
  3. Do not damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
  4. Do not use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
  5. Do not bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic (eg. live poultry, pet dogs and cats, house plants).

 

B. Respect protected areas
A variety of areas in the Antarctic have been afforded special protection because of their particular ecological, scientific, historic or other values. Entry into certain areas may be prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by an appropriate national authority. Activities in and near designated Historic Sites and Monuments and certain other areas may be subject to special restrictions.

  1. Know the locations of areas that have been afforded special protection and any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near them.
  2. Observe applicable restrictions.
  3. Do not damage, remove or destroy Historic Sites or Monuments, or any artifacts associated with them.

 

C. Respect scientific research
Do not interfere with scientific research, facilities or equipment.

  1. Obtain permission before visiting Antarctic science and logistic support facilities; reconfirm arrangements 24–72 hours before arriving; and comply strictly with the rules regarding such visits.
  2. Do not interfere with, or remove, scientific equipment or marker posts, and do not disturb experimental study sites, field camps, or supplies.

 

D. Be safe
Be prepared for severe and changeable weather. Ensure that your equipment and clothing meet Antarctic standards. Remember that the Antarctic environment is inhospitable, unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

  1. Know your capabilities, the dangers posed by the Antarctic environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.
  2. Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, both on land and at sea.
  3. Take note of, and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders; do not stray from your group.
  4. Do not walk onto glaciers or large snow fields without proper equipment and experience; there is a real danger of falling into hidden crevasses.
  5. Do not expect a rescue service; self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment, and trained personnel.
  6. Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies). If you use equipment or food from a refuge, inform the nearest research station or national authority once the emergency is over.
  7. Respect any smoking restrictions, particularly around buildings, and take great care to safeguard against the danger of fire. This is a real hazard in the dry environment of Antarctica.

 

E. Keep Antarctica pristine
Antarctica remains relatively pristine, and has not yet been subjected to large scale human perturbations. It is the largest wilderness area on earth. Please keep it that way.

  1. Do not dispose of litter or garbage on land. Open burning is prohibited.
  2. Do not disturb or pollute lakes or streams. Any materials discarded at sea must be disposed of properly.
  3. Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings.
  4. Do not collect or take away biological or geological specimens or man-made artifacts as a souvenir, including rocks, bones, eggs, fossils, and parts or contents of buildings.
  5. Do not deface or vandalise buildings, whether occupied, abandoned, or unoccupied, or emergency refuges.

 

TRAVEL GUIDE QUICK FACTS
Visit our Travel Guide page on our website for destination information.

These pages contain helpful details including the currency and weather information.  

STAYING IN TOUCH 
Email and SMS are the most convenient ways to stay in touch with family and friends while you are away. In most destinations and certainly in major cities you can expect access to internet services and also local telecommunication companies for SMS.

Be sure to have an email account that you can access from any internet service while travelling such as a gmail, hotmail or an icloud email address.

To be able to send SMS messages while away you need to check with your mobile phone provider that international roaming services are turned on.  You need to check with your provider the cost for sending and/or receiving SMS while you are outside of your home destination as usually this service is not included in mobile plan packages. 

Important Note: making and receiving telephone calls are usually very expensive and we don’t recommend you use your mobile phone for either.  Our tip – create a voicemail message that let’s callers know you will not bet taking calls but for urgent messages they can send you a text.  Just remember to re-record your voicemail when you return home. 

CODE OF CONDUCT
The following is a code of conduct that must be observed by all participants/travellers:

Important Note: making and receiving telephone calls are usually very expensive and we don’t recommend you use your mobile phone for either.  Our tip – create a voicemail message that let’s callers know you will not bet taking calls but for urgent messages they can send you a text.  Just remember to record your voicemail when you return home.

  1. We require that all participants observe responsible consumption of alcohol and obey all local, state or country laws pertaining to the consumption of alcohol.
  2. Use or possession of any illegal drugs will be cause for immediate expulsion for the group. This includes marijuana and opium even if this is considered acceptable in the destination.
  3. We require all participants to obey all laws of the country.
  4. Participants are to respect the privacy of other participants and if a participant declines to provide any contact information requested by another participant, that this wish is respected.
  5. Participants understand that if they receive contact information from another participant of the group event that this is solely for their reference and is not to be provided to other participants of the event group without the express permission of the participant whose information it is.
  6. Participants are to refrain from offensive language or behaviour including sexist and racist remarks.
  7. Participants are to be courteous to other participants and respect differences of one another.
  8. Participants understand that should other participants provide personal contact information that this information is not to be used for unsolicited email or correspondence for the purpose of business exchanges or transactions unless with the express prior permission of participants.

Any behaviour contrary to the Code of Conduct may result in your removal from The Holiday.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

  • Travel insurance is a compulsory pre-requisite to join any of our holidays, unless the trip value is below $1000 per person.
  • We urge every traveller to take out travel insurance immediately after making a deposit for any holiday.
  • Please send your travel insurance policy details to us before or no later than the time you pay your final monies.  You must send us your insurer’s name, telephone number in Australia, emergency contact number for calls outside of Australia and the policy number.
  • We urge you to carefully read any travel insurance policy level of cover/inclusions.  All policies must include cover for medical expenses and sufficient cover for repatriation to your home country in the event of accident or illness.  In addition, we urge you to take out a policy that includes cover for cancellation, curtailment, loss of luggage and personal effects and that the policy has a high level of cover for personal liability.

 

About Credit Card Travel Insurance
You may have travel insurance included with your credit card. 

Before you travel:

  • Contact your bank to request the details of their insurer
  • Find out the level of cover included with your credit card insurance policy
  • Obtain the contact information for the insurer that you would need in an event of an emergency
  • Be sure to determine the credit card provider requirements that qualify you for cover.  Example: a minimum purchase value on the card for your holiday expenses
  • If travelling within Australia, check your policy covers you for domestic travel

 

DISCLAIMER
We have taken great care to prepare and publish the trip information and in good faith we believe it to be accurate.  However as is the nature of travel, plans may need to change from time to time and often unexpectedly. 

If trip details need to change due to circumstances beyond our control in most cases your final documentation issued prior to your departure will be updated.  However, it’s also possible that you may encounter itinerary changes while on holiday. It could be related to unexpected weather or road conditions or another example could be the unannounced closure of a facility such as a restaurant we planned to use. In these cases our ground operator for the holiday will make all best endeavours to provide an alternative of equivalent or similar standard.

At other times although not commonly, we may make itinerary changes after publishing the trip details on the website. This is usually directly related to enhancing the experience as a result of past traveller comments and from our own discoveries. 

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Encounter Travel
ATAS Accreditation No: A10439

Encounter Travel provides holidays for solo travellers. Since 2006 we've been creating tour, cruise and resort packages for solo travellers that like to share their travel experiences. Visiting destinations across Australia and around the globe our holidays include short tropical escapes, leisurely touring, cruises and active walking trips.   


ABN: 23 119 642 992