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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Argentina: The North - High Andes, the Chaco and Iguazú Falls

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Argentina. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING ARGENTINA: U.S. citizens are required to have a passport valid on the day of entry and with at least one blank page for an entry stamp. Visas are not necessary for visits of up to 90 days for tourism and business. 

As of August 2016 U.S. citizens are exempt from paying the reciprocity fee, previously $160 paid prior to their departure from home. A reciprocity fee still applies for Canadian and Australian passport holders. Citizens of other countries should consult their nearest Argentine consulate for entry requirements. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour. 

No vaccinations certificates are necessary in order to enter Argentina.  

COUNTRY INFORMATION:You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/argentina.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Argentina at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html

PACE OF TOUR: Argentina is a big country and we take several flights and make a few long drives. Typically we’ll have breakfast in our hotel between 5:00-6:00 a.m. (occasionally later) and then spend the day in the field usually with a picnic lunch and sometimes with a sit-down restaurant meal. Where possible we’ll offer the chance to take time off, but every day will offer a full program of birdwatching activities from early morning until approximately 1 hour before dinner, which usually begins at 8-8:30 p.m. 

Our tour reaches very high elevations and occasionally involves walks usually on flat terrain or downhill, and occasionally over rough, uneven terrain. The pace is slow to moderate and in the past no one of average fitness has had any problems.

Altitude sickness is unpredictable and is as likely to affect the young and fit as anyone else. Other than suffering a mild headache most people are unaffected if they take things slowly and drink plenty of water. If affected the best course is to rest in or near the bus. No one should run uphill at high altitudes – not even for an Andean Condor!  

Argentinean eating hours and habits are different from American ones. Breakfasts tend to be skimpy - often just coffee, toast or a croissant, and butter and jam, though we try to supplement this if we can. Lunches won’t be a problem as many will be picnics. Dinners however, don’t fit well into our tour schedule. Argentineans eat late. Most restaurants don’t open until 8:00 p.m. and few Argentineans enter them until 9:00 p.m. or later. Meals are regarded as social occasions where friends and family eat slowly and discuss the day’s events, so service is often slow, as that is what most people want. The leaders will always explain to restaurant staff that our group wants to eat early and quickly and this usually works (often we leave the restaurant just as other diners are starting to appear) but be prepared for the occasional slow meal or late finish. 

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

Malaria:  According to the CDC, the areas that we will be visiting during both tours are free of malaria. As the situation changes fairly quickly please contact your physician for the latest advice 4-6 weeks before the start of the tour. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/argentina

Altitude:  The altitude varies a lot on this trip. Buenos Aires is at sea level, while in the northwest we spend two days and nights at an altitude of 11,300 feet and above. If you have cardio-vascular issues, please consult your physician. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous: Biting insects are not numerous although mosquitoes, black flies and chiggers occur locally; certain mosquito species in Argentina are known to transmit dengue fever, and travelers are advised to check the CDC website for updates. 

CLIMATE: Northern Argentina is sub-tropical and rain can occur throughout the year. Mornings at higher altitudes can be cold, warming during the day. Central Argentina is temperate but can be hot and humid in summer (November to January). 

ACCOMMODATION: We’ll stay in good quality hotels or lodges throughout. All rooms will have a private shower and toilet. During our few days in the Andes, a remote part of Argentina, we’ll be staying in a couple of basic small hotels. The rooms are small, but they each have their own flush toilets and showers and are perfectly adequate, though not luxurious. 

Internet and Mobile Phone Access: Our hotels have mediocre Wi-Fi connections. Mobile phone access is very good near our lodging locations but can be absent when in the field.

FOOD: Food in Argentina is excellent and features but doesn’t require the eating of meat.

Drinks:  At lunch and dinner, choose one of the following (where available): Bottled water, a soft drink, a small beer or a small glass of wine. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room, etc., are the responsibility of the individual. Bottled water is provided in our tour vehicles during the day. 

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION:  We’ll travel in minibuses or small coaches with local drivers. For the times that we are transferring between sites or going to the hotel or airport, we will use mini-buses where it is possible that tour participants may be in the middle seat rather than by a window.

 When we use more than one vehicle during the tour there will always be a leader in each vehicle. Participants must be willing and able to sit in any seat of our tour vehicles.

Updated: 04 November 2016