Strict Measures for Travelers Heading to Patagonia and Aconcagua

International climbers can’t wait to return to the spires of Patagonia, while outfitters are again offering Aconcagua climbs. However, Chile is demanding stringent protocols from all foreigners, and Argentina’s COVID prevention policies remain uncertain.

Foreign travelers are allowed in Chile from October 1, but only under strict requirements. First, they must apply for a “mobility pass” from the country’s health ministry. To get it, they must show proof of vaccination. The application may take a month, Chile’s Deputy Secretary of Health warned the Europa Press agency.

Visitors also need a recent PCR test and health insurance covering COVID and valued at no less than $30,000. Finally, they must undergo a five-day quarantine in a hotel or home. Anyone living with the quarantined person must also confine themselves for that period.

Only yesterday, Chile’s Ministry of Health stated that it might cancel the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated and PCR-checked visitors from November 1, but this is still unconfirmed.

Climbing is not yet permitted

Last but not least, entering Chile doesn’t allow access to all activities in protected natural areas. Torres del Paine National Park is open to hikers with some restrictions and safety measures. Runners will participate tomorrow in the Patagonia World Marathon. However, climbing is not yet permitted.

The park’s information bulletin sets October 26 as the preliminary date when climbing may be allowed. Information should appear on the park’s website (there is nothing at the moment of posting this story). As always, climbers will have to apply for a permit at the park office.

Likewise, in Argentina, local media celebrated the recent lifting of restrictions on foreigners. A limited opening began on October 1 for citizens of neighboring countries. As of November 1, all fully vaccinated foreigners will be allowed into the country, as long as they have a fresh test (PCR at home or antigen test on arrival) and an additional test five to seven days later.

Argentina requires confirmation from all those vaccinated abroad. As for the Antarctic cruise season, ships will be welcome at Argentina’s docks as of October 20. Check the rules here.

Photo: Shutterstock


Requirements may ease

All this comes just in time for climbers on a Seven Summits project or who just want to reach the highest point of the Americas, since the season on Aconcagua season starts November 15.

Argentina’s Health Minister, Carla Vizzotti, noted that these current measures are only preliminary. Final conditions will depend on how the COVID situation in the country evolves. On a positive note, COVID cases both in Chile and Argentina have decreased sharply since July, so further measures should tend to encourage tourism by easing restrictions.