The Patagonia Travel


Spanish is the language of Chile. I do not speak Spanish so this makes my traveling a bit difficult. There are a couple ways around this; you can have a partner who speaks Spanish, learn Spanish, carry a translating book, try hand signs, draw pictures, or carry a cell phone with Google Translate!

Google Translate Works!

Learn Spanish

I practice Spanish with Duolingo and Tiny Cards. Both apps are free and build basic vocabulary. The rate of learning and retention depends on the time spent and the frequency of one’s practice. It is recommended to practice daily. Both are great interactive learning tools for beginners, I highly recommend them. No matter what your age if you persist you will learn the basics. The Chileans will think it great if you try to speak their language. By the way, gringo is not a bad term in Chile.

Web surfing on Google Chrome while using Google Translate in the is browser is another great way to gather information about the countryside and get things done.



The Patagonia

Money, Credit Cards, and ATMS

Some US Banks (Capital One Debt Card) do not charge you for international cash withdrawals at foreign ATM’s but you will always be charged by the local bank, be sure to check what the fee is.

What will your credit cards charge you for international charges? With Chase Sapphire there is no fee.

Make sure your cards do not expire while you are on your trip, Muy importante!

My credit card gave me points when I signed up with the Chase Sapphire credit card. Signing up could pay for your flight, it paid for mine to Santiago two times over.

Let the banks know the countries you are traveling to when you go overseas.

Know the exchange rate, today October 9th 2017 the exchange rate is 1 USD = 633.381 CLP, last year it was 658.



The Patagonia

Cellphones: A Lifeline and Guide

I live and die with the cell phone. I can call my best friend or connect to the world! A cell phone provides local telecom and internet service. Know how to use it and make sure it has a large readable screen, keep it in a safe place, and don’t let it get wet when you go fishing.

I strongly suggest you check out the TMobile plans before leaving the USA as they advertise international coverage for phone and data in Chile, but before you sign up, ask how it works! TMobile was great in Europe 4 years ago, but I doubt it will work well in Patagonia. With T-Mobile, there are no data roaming charges. I am not sure about calls or messages.

As of September 2017, to purchase a prepaid sim card in Chile and use it on your phone, you must first register the telephone you brought with you from the US!

Registration is done online with a certification company. Here is the web address;

Personas Naturales

Or go in person to Avenue Apoquindo 7935, Office 705B. Las Condes from 10 AM until 12 noon, better to be there before 10!

To register your phone online, you need a few digital pictures: passport jpg, a photograph of your phones IMEI number (you can find this in the settings menu, take a picture of the screen), a photograph of the physical IMEI located somewhere on the body of your phone (an iPhone 8 has the number etched on the SIM card chip holder), and a digital copy of the bill of sale for your phone (Apple sent a digital receipt to my email with the IMEI number in the text body). Use the jpg format for all of the above pictures.

It takes 3 days to process the information and approve, then register your phone IMEI. There is no charge to set up one phone.

This work can be done before leaving the USA. Do it on your home computer screen in the Chrome browser with Spanish translation on.

It’s a real pain in the ass, but I did it, and I am writing and publishing on the phone now.

Entel is supposedly the best provider of cell service in Patagonia. Now go to an Entel store to buy the prepaid sim card chip, the cost is 1990. The store personnel should install the chip and activate it for you, do not forget to write down your Chilean phone number and don’t lose it!


Insert the card into your phone and restart the phone, save the SIM card from the USA and tape it onto a card and save it in your wallet. When you return to the USA, reinsert it to resume your home service. Next, go to a local Chilean pharmacy to credit the card. Ask for “recarga,” spend 20,000 Chilenos (about $25 US), and show them the local phone number you just got from the SIM card carrier, Entel. The pharmacy will confirm the number with you and then credit your number/account with the purchase. How often you have to recharge the account depends on how much you use the phone and data, 20,000 Chilean Pesos in you should last a week or two.

You will get an instruction card with the cell phone SIM chip that you bought. The instructions are complicated but tell you how to use the service. I will explain to you in detail when I get to Chile on October 22nd.

Be sure to have a Skype account for your phone calls home. It’s inexpensive. The cost for international calls is what Skype charges per minute plus what the local data plan charges you per minute, that’s if you want to phone home.

Then there is WhatsApp, which is free on WIFI or costs you data when on your telecom provider.

WIFI connections can save you money by avoiding using the data you purchased on your Chilean mobile phone account. Hotspots are found in restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and public squares. Stay on the lookout for a connection and ask for the WIFI address and password. Always use a VPN when connected to WIFI.

Why have a cell phone with data? Google Maps made my trip, and I am confident that it will make yours. For example here is a screenshot of a Google Maps search for hostels in downtown Coihaique Chile. We find a few listed here and it’s good to start. You now have an idea of what the town looks like and where to stay. One can also do a search for restaurants, campgrounds, auto rentals, garage – mechanics, and fishing stores.  Google Maps is easy to use and it will translate for you. My trip would not have been as successful without Google Maps.


Update December 2020; please note in Chile, you can now use a cellphone with a local SIM card without registering the phone for three or four weeks before it is locked. After that time, you must register the phone, as described earlier in this post.

The Patagonia

How about some pictures and a map.

This was a very fishy place outside of Coyhaique, Chile. Lots of trout on nymphs and drys. Happy days, do you like the pictures?IMG_20170131_133959221_HDR.jpg


I do not remember where I downloaded this map from but if I do I will credit it. A lifetime would be needed to fish all the rivers here in this map, not including the hundreds of little tributaries. I did not see one other fisherman the day I went out exploring.

I rented a car for this side trip. When I saw a spot I wanted to fish I pulled over and fished it. Nice life.


The Patagonia

Insurance Essentials

Health and travel insurance costs $1000 for four months in 2017 and $1500 for five months in 2018. The policy included theft, trip interruption, and flight delays. Most importantly, the insurance will cover you for health expenses incurred (up to $50,000) and emergency evacuation back to the USA. If you go to the hospital in Chile, you have to pay cash! There are less expensive policies than, but they paid out on a 5-day trip delay when I got stuck in Buenos Aries during the snowstorm in January 2017. There are many other benefits to working with Trip Insurance dot com, and they are a great company.

Save all receipts! Document everything.

Homeowners/renters insurance for theft or loss of personal property – watch your stuff when traveling!

Auto insurance, you only need the policy listed on your credit card and what is on the car when you rent it. The US Auto insurance policy you have for your car at home will not cover you outside of the USA! Premium Credit Cards have adequate car insurance, but if you have an accident, the car’s insurance when you rent it will be your primary coverage, read the rental agreement.

Do not have an accident.

Have backup photocopies of your passport, health, travel insurance, credit cards, & license, copies stored securely.

Once again, remember to

Save all receipts!

Update December 2020; insurance policies have changed in the past year; most no longer provide coverage for trips longer than two or three weeks.


The Patagonia Travel

More on Chile Now, Fishing Later

Haha. Here is more information that you need to know about Chile.
For Americans to visit Chile, no visa necessary for trips less than 90 days, and there is no entry fee. If you stay longer than 90 days, you must leave the country before the 90 days are up and then come back in to reset the visa; do not do this, and there will be trouble when you fly out.
Chile’s Language is Spanish, in the city you may find some who speak English but in the countryside – forgettaboutit, not many hablan espanol.
The Duolingo app is free, and if you are diligent and practice for at least three months, it will help you get by.
I use Google Translate! You must learn to use this app; it is slow and not perfect. With practice, others will understand you, and you can understand them.
Practice your Spanish and be very patient with yourself and others; you are the visitor, and remember, Chileans are friendly, warm, and hospitable.
Here is a link about extending your visa.
The Patagonia Travel

Flights To Santiago Chile 2017 – 2018


I start looking at for flight pricing three months before my trip. Last year, in September 2016, the cost 90 days ahead of the flight JFK to Santiago was around $600. I waited until October and ended paying approximately $900 round trip with a stop in Miami on American Airlines, coach, from JFK in New York. This year, 2017, I started 90 days out, and pricing was $1300 on American, but my budget was only $900. I found that Avianca had seats in my price range and booked with them in September. I have never flown with Avianca. American Airlines is what I call a get on, get off the flight, no problems and no issues, clean, friendly, professional with terminals that are organized and calm, and if you are lucky, some good movies. I will report back later on my experience with Avianca.

I discovered that Avianca makes one or two stops down to Santiago from JFK, one in Bogota Columbia and the other in Lima, Peru. If I wanted, I could get off the plane at each stop, spend days there, then get back on and continue to Chile. I declined to do this as I have too much luggage, but it is a consideration. If you do fly with them, it might be interesting to check this out.

Each Airline on international flights allows you to check 2 pieces of luggage that weigh less than 50 lbs and one carry on. Please check before you assume I am right or the rules are still the same! The luggage should have Big wheels and locks.

Here are a few links.

Update December 2020; check out Copa airlines, it is a great airline with flights to Santiago through Panama City.


Oct 2017 Cleaning Out Junk

Santa Cruz CA

This is going to be a long trip. I started planning and outfitting 2 months ago in Roxbury NY. I bought my ticket early to try and get a good deal and then picked my trip insurance. I know where I will be for four of the five months on my journey as I am revisiting most of the places I fly fished last year.

This blog is going to describe my self-planned and guided fly fishing trip to The Patagonia and how I accomplished it. I will give details on air, land, and boat travel, insurance, language, health, food, lodging, clothing, and of course gear and flies. You are going to like it, there will be lots of pictures and video and I hope you will learn to be able to plan and accomplish your own trip to the magical Patagonian Rivers next year.

pura vida



Fishing The Patagonia Travel


I have nothing to do but plan another trip to Chile and The Patagonia. I’ll be damned if I spend a freezing winter upstate in the Catskills trying to keep busy and wishing I were somewhere else. This year I will expand upon the trip I made last winter, 2016-17, when I visited Chile for the first time and loved it.

My journey last year was entirely solo, self-planned and guided, I had a blast.

I planned the trip myself and my source materials were found in online websites, guidebooks, Google Maps, and my imagination.

Here is a movie I made in Cochrane Chile last year during a Rodeo Festival.