PRE TRIP INFORMATION
You will soon be on your way to Argentina, changing seasons in a single day of travel from winter in the United States to summer in South America. There is far more than warm weather awaiting you in Patagonia. You will fish some of the world’s best trout streams: the Chimehuin, Malleo, Collon Cura, Alumine and others. And you will be in the very capable hands of our experienced lodge staff and fishing guides.
The lodge is located on the banks of the Chimehuin River , near the famous “Boca” or mouth of the river where it drains from Lake Huechulafquen. “Chimehuin” means “land of the Chime” (pronounced “Chee-may”), who according to legend are spirits or creatures who protect the river and the region. Chime Lodge has embraced this spirit in its vision for conservation in Patagonia. We also sponsor education for our neighbors through our Mapuche guide school.
Once your arrive, the ever-present and spectacular natural beauty, including the rivers, the lagoons, the sky, the forests, the wild flowers and the prairies will overwhelm your senses. There’s abundant wildlife too, and you may see Condors, Guanacos, Rheas, ducks, storks, chajas, parrots and wild geese - just to name a few of the species. You will be wined and dined in the Argentine style, enjoying the famous homegrown beef, flavorful fruits and vegetables and the very fine wines.
You may find, however, that the best part of the trip is the new friends you will make in Argentina.
The Argentine people live their lives at a slower pace than North Americans do, which takes some getting used to, but once you make the adjustment you will like it. The day starts a little later and ends later. You generally won’t begin fishing until 9.30 or 10 am. There’s no need to rush to the rivers as you should have them pretty much to yourself, and the action frequently accelerates as the sun warms our coldwater fisheries. You will fish until the early evening most days, some 8 or more hours on the water.
In the pages that follow we provide useful information about Buenos Aires, Junin de los Andes, Patagonia, the Lodge and other activities such as riding, hiking, sightseeing and shopping. The Patagonia region of Argentina provides an abundance of marvelous opportunities for the traveler and you will experience many of them. You are likely to react as we have and be planning your next trip before this first one comes to an end.
Arrival in Buenos Aires from the United States
Your international flight typically will arrive in Buenos Aires between 6 and 10 am. All international flights arrive in Buenos Aires at Ezeiza International Airport (the airport's official name is "Ministro Pistarini", code EZE), which is about 40 minutes driving time from downtown. (Note that there is another airport in Buenos Aires for domestic travel: Aeroparque Airport (code: AEP). Flights to Patagonia and back to Buenos Aires orginate at Aeroparque as described further below.)
Upon landing at Ezeiza on your initial arrival into Argentina you will go through immigration. The process is easy - just have your passport and immigration document (which you will fill out on the airplane before you land) ready for the official as you approach the counter. Because several flights from the United States can arrive at the same time, there may be some delay going through immigration.
The next step is to retrieve your luggage from the carousels. There will be rental carts nearby and the machines accept dollar bills and credit cards. Once you have your bags you will go through customs. We've never been stopped or had our bags searched but it's possible that this could happen to you. Chances are that they will just wave you through. Just outside customs you will enter a small area where you can make arrangements for transportation to the downtown and hotels if you have not done so already. To ease your transfers, we suggest making a reservation in advance through:
att. Mabel Rodriguez
Piso 7 Dpto. A (C1005AAT),
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Phone: (5411) 4311.6605
Fax: (5411) 4311.4654
PRANA Turismo are can also help you book your hotels, transfers, and all sorts of activities in Buenos Aires. The people at Prana do an outstanding service.
Most of our guests spend their first afternoon and evening getting to know Buenos Aires, and then fly to Patagonia the following day, departing from Aeroparque Airport. Your hotel can arrange taxi service and estimate how much time to allow for this transfer. Buenos Aires is a beautiful, European-style city, with wonderful attractions. It is famous for Tango dancing and an exciting nightlife. Attractions include the Recoleta Cemetary and the Florida Street pedestrian walkway and shopping area.
Another option for transfers is:
Manuel Tienda Leon www.tiendaleon.com.ar
Manuel Tienda Leon has an office on the left side, just outside customs. You can’t miss it. Your English-speaking transfer guide from one of these local travel agencies should be waiting for you and assist your transfer to your hotel in Buenos Aires or directly to Aeroparque Airport.
Recommended Hotels in Buenos Aires
Elevage Hotel: PH. 011-54-11-4891-8000• FAX: 011-54-11-4891-8017 • E-MAIL: email@example.com
Claridge Hotel: PH. 011-54-11-4314-7700 or 2020 • FAX: 011-54-11-4314-8022 • E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alvear Palace Hotel: PH. 011-54-11-4808-2100 • FAX: 011-54-11-4804-9246 • E-MAIL: email@example.com
Four Seasons/Park Hyatt: PH: 011-54-11-4321-1200 • FAX: 011-54-11-4321-1201
Murano Hotel: PH/FAX: 011-54-11-5239-1000/1100 • E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feirs Park Hotel: PH: 011-54-11-4131-1999 • FAX: 011-54-11-4131-1950 • WEBSITE: www.feirspark.com.ar
Travel from Buenos Aires to Patagonia
Chapelco Airport (code CPC) in San Martin de los Andes is the closest airport serving Chime Lodge. Aerolineas Argentinas (www.aerolineas.com.ar) runs regular commercial flights from Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires to Chapelco Airport and back. They fly every Sunday and Wednesday and this flight is usually sold out way in advance so we suggest you book this flight as soon as you have decided to fish at Chime Lodge.
You can book directly on-line with Aerolineas Argentinas www.aerolineas.com.ar
Or call their Miami office (305) 648-4120 and ask for Mabel Rodriguez or Ivan Marin
It is also possible to fly from Buenos Aires in or out of the city of Bariloche (Code BRC) in Patagonia, but this is further south and requires a longer drive to and from Chime Lodge and you will incur in transfer costs. Please make sure that you notify us well in advance of your arrival time and flight so that we can arrange to meet you at Chapelco Airport or wherever you plan to land in Patagonia.
Speaking the language
Argentina is a Spanish speaking country, but you need not worry if you don’t speak the language. Most of the people you come into contact with will speak some to very good English, starting with the transfer guide who will meet you upon arrival at Ezeiza Airport.
Currency and Paying for Things
The currency in Argentina is the peso and the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar is currently about 4.2 to 1. We recommend you take as much U.S. currency with you as you are comfortable carrying. You will find that smaller denomination bills are easier to spend; take $5, $10, and $20 bills as well as $50 and $100 bills.
You will have access to ATMs in Argentina that dispense pesos and you'll be able to charge things to your credit card when shopping or eating at a restaurant. You might also consider taking along your checkbook. Traveler's checks are not recommended since they generally must be taken to a bank to be cashed and the fee is quite high.
Although water is treated in the hotels and restaurants, it is probably better not to drink the tap water. It is customary in restaurants to order bottled mineral water. Most Argentines drink it “con gas” or sparkling water, but you can order it without carbonation: “sin gas” is the phrase to use. You can buy bottled water in kiosks on the street or from grocery stores to take with you while sightseeing.
We have filtered water at Chime Lodge you can drink without worries.
You do not need to get any shots prior to traveling in Argentina.
Argentina uses 220 volts instead of 110 volts as in the U.S. If you plan to use a small appliance like an electric razor, you will need to purchase a converter before leaving home to convert the electricity from 220 to 110 voltages. Otherwise, you will quickly overheat the appliance. You will also need some adapter plugs as the outlets are not the same as ours. There are plugs available at Chime Lodge, but you may need one if staying in Buenos Aires.
Weather conditions should be similar to what they are in Montana in mid July, which means mostly warm and dry in both Buenos Aires and Northern Argentina. In the middle of our summer, be sure to have t-shirts and shorts. Come prepared for the possibility of the opposite conditions as well. Bring a high-quality rain shell and some warm clothes - turtlenecks, long-sleeved shirts and fleeces work well. Layering is the best approach. A pair of hiking boots is a good idea, too. It may be colder later, especially later in the afternoon and early evening.
Food and Drink
Food and wine in Argentina are excellent. Meat is served at lunch and dinner with potatoes (“papas fritas” are French fries) and salads which are very good. Try “ensalada mixta” for a green salad with tomatoes and onions.
When ordering a steak look for “bife de chorizo” on the menu if you want a New York cut and “bife de lomo” if you want a filet.
Wine is “vino de mesa” (table wine) or “vino fino” (served by the bottle). The waiter will ask which you prefer and then the kind: “vino tinto” (red) or “vino blanco,” (white). Argentine wine is from vineyards near Mendoza and is quite inexpensive and good. The best known type of Argentine wine is the Malbec, which is a medium-bodied red. “Cerveza” is beer.
Coffee is also very good in Argentina and is served espresso style in demitasse cups or with milk, “café con leche.” A “doble” means coffee in a big cup. Tea is also available. Coffee is often served with “medialunas,” which means croissants.
Chime Lodge offers a mix of Argentine and Italian cuisine, all poured with great Argentine wines. There is a different menu offered each day and if you have special food needs, please let us know well in advance.
Shopping hours in Argentina are usually 9 or 10 am. to noon or 1 pm when stores close for the siesta. Shops open again around 4 or 5 pm until 8 pm. Hours are not consistent and you may find that your favorite shop is closed when you want to buy something at the last minute. Argentina uses the 24-hour clock, e.g. 16:30 is 4:30 pm.
Different items are sold in different kinds of stores: cosmetics in the “perfumeria,” drugs in the “farmacia,” bread and cookies in the “panaderia” and film or memory cards in numerous photo stores. There are “supermercados” which sell a variety of goods, but you often need to go to a specialty store to find certain items. It is sometimes difficult to buy over the counter drugs such as Advil, Tylenol or Sudafed; bring a supply with you and, of course, bring your own prescription drugs.
Keeping in Touch with Home
In Buenos Aires you can make long distance calls from your hotel or from phone booths on the street. To use the booths, you will need a phone card available at the kiosks or a supply of coins. In the smaller towns of Patagonia it is more common to see storefront telephone centers where there will be a number of phone booths and these are very inexpensive. An attendant assigns you a booth, which has a meter showing the time and cost of your call. You then pay the attendant. Look for “Telefonica” or “Locutoria” centers throughout Argentina. To make calls from Argentina to the United States you must dial 001– area code – phone number.
Your mobile phone and blackberry or other paging service may work in Buenos Aires and parts of Patagonia, but you should check with your service provider in advance. Chime Lodge will have regular phone availability for international calls at an extra cost.
You’ll have free internet access at your hotel in Buenos Aires. There is also free satellite internet access on Chime Lodge but it may be slow compared to US standards. You're welcome to use the computer at the lodge to send and receive emails or you can connect yours through our wi fi system.
Rooms at Chime Lodge
Each bedroom at the Lodge sleeps two anglers comfortably in single beds, with an individual bathroom and shower stocked with complimentary soap and shampoo.
Other Lodge Services
Your fishing package includes guided fishing, lodging at Chime Lodge, breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, including wine or beer with dinner. Lunch typically will be simple but tasteful fare served streamside, with your choice of beverages.
There is whisky, bourbon, vodka and other alcoholic beverages at the lodge at no extra cost and you are welcome to bring your favorite spirit too.
The Lodge offers laundry service at an extra cost.
Following your arrival at Chime Lodge we will assist you in obtaining a local fishing license, which costs $ 80 per week or $ 100 per season. Make sure you have your driver’s license or passport ready (mandatory) to purchase the license.
Tackle Shop and Fly-Tying Bench
The Lodge maintains a limited tackle shop with a selection of fishing accessories, Chime Lodge apparel, sun block and miscellaneous items. In addition, we have a fly-tying bench for your use. Given the limitless abundance of fishing equipment available in North America, anglers generally should plan to bring their own tackle and flies. The town of Junin de los Andes also has a few small tackle shops. Please consult the Chime Lodge website or call us if you have questions about what to bring. For flies, we would recommend a typical trout fly selection of dry fly attractors (hoppers and Chernobyl ants in sizes 8 to 10; and stimulators, humpies and wulfs in sizes 10 to 12); bead-head nymphs in sizes 14 to 20, tan and olive caddis patterns in sizes 14 to 16; mayfly parachutes, emergers and cripples in sizes 14 to 20); and a selection of streamers (conehead woolly buggers, matukas, muddler minnows and bunny leeches). We will have some local favorites, including green inchworm and pancora crab patterns available for purchase.
To simplify your fishing day, we recommend that you consider leaving a single tip at the end of your stay. The amount of any tip is for you to decide, of course, in your sole discretion. As a guideline, we suggest that you consider a gratuity of approximately 10% of the contract price for your trip. You are welcome to reward extraordinary service with a higher tip.
Here’s a typical breakdown of the tip:
$ 30 – 50 per angler per day to your guide (given to your guide at the end of your stay)
$ 20 – 40 per angler per day to the Lodge staff (given to the lodge manager at the end of your stay to distribute to all the staff)
Departure for Home
After breakfast on your final day at the Lodge, you will settle your bill, if any with management (phone bill, any apparel or other incidental items purchased from the lodge and gratuities), and then you will be driven to San Martin de los Andes for your departure from Chapelco Airport. (Please note that the Lodge does [not] accept credit cards, so you will need to settle your bill by cash or personal check.) Most guests will fly from Chapelco Airport to Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires and transfer to Ezeiza Airport for their international departure flight later that afternoon or evening. Please arrange your transfer between arports in advance and allow approximately 45 minutes driving time between airports.
Please let Chime Lodge know if you would like to book again for next year. We will give you priority for the same week next season if you book with us again upon your departure or promptly thereafter.