Project Patagonia 2020 - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the payment schedule and payment options?


If you make a Provisional Reservation we will email you an invoice with payment option details. Full payment is due within 5 days of invoice date in order to confirm a space on this project Payments can be made by credit/debit card or by bank/wire transfer.




How do I book on a tour?


You can book on Project Patagonia December 2020 any time by completing the online Provisional Reservation form (click here), or you can contact us by phone if you have any queries From the UK 01422 887110 From outside the UK +44 1422 887110




Is a passport required?


You will need to have a passport for Project Patagonia December 2020. Most countries require that a passport be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of your trip. If your passport expires sooner than that, you must renew your passport prior to travel.




Do I need Travel Visas?


You must have all visas (and vaccination) certificates that are necessary to enter or pass through any countries involved in Project Patagonia December 2020. Visa requirements are subject to change so please check with a Visa Service Company in the country in which you are located or you can check details online instantly with companies such as CIBT Visas (https://cibtvisas.co.uk/). Visas can be obtained through the relevant embassy or consulate.

General Note: Some countries refuse admission to travellers not meeting their accepted standards of dress or appearance (even if they hold a visa). Entry may also be refused to certain countries if your passport bears stamps or visas (valid or expired) for Israel. Please note it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct, current visa information in good time before departure and that you act on it.




International Flights and arrival/departure Airport Transfers


We can assist with flights advice from all worldwide destinations. Astro Trail work closely with Star Travel UK (https://staruk.uk/), for International Flight arrangements for our projects. Star Travel UK are fully IATA and ATOL bonded. For UK departures Star Travel UK will provide an ATOL certificate (an ATOL does not apply for non UK departures).




Do I need Travel Insurance?


It is adviseable that you have Travel Insurance for any overseas travel arrangements. Travel Insurance policies are widely available and offer a range of financial protection for your trip. Health cover is obviously a necessity and we would also advise a policy which covers any loss in respect of non-refundable cancellation charges. The policy costs and the extent of coverage vary considerably, a simple internet search will provide many alternatives and you are free to make your own choice. There are however only a few insurers who will arrange cover if you are making your reservations more than a year in advance (usually necessary for eclipse trips) but this link connects to an insurer who will arrange cover up to two years (24 months) ahead of your trip.




Travel Health


You will be staying in good, clean, regulated hotels and there is no reason to expect greater health risks than a journey in your home country. There are no specific health or inoculation requirement for entry into any of the countries visited, but different authorities advise a range of protection which is available. If you have an existing medical condition you should contact your own medical practitioner for personal advice. A useful general health advice website for travellers is http://www.who.int/ith/en/ and there are also advice sites in individual countries. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel https://www.nhs.uk/livewell/travelhealth/Pages/Travelhealthhome.aspx http://smartraveller.gov.au/guide/all-travellers/health/Pages/default.aspx




Why book with Astro Trails?


Astro Trails is the latest version of a project which started in 1973 when Transolar Travel, a small UK travel agency, chartered a cruise ship to take members of the British Astronomical Association and their friends to observe a total solar eclipse off the coast of West Africa. David McGee, the owner of Transolar went on to run projects to follow the Apollo spaceflight launches from Florida, and from 1980 his brother Brian McGee took over responsibility for continuing the organisation of solar eclipse tours and he is still involved in the operation to this day. Brian McGee is a familiar name to thousands of people who have travelled on the many astronomy projects he has organised since 1980, originally as Explorers Travel and subsequently as Astro-Trails. With expeditions to almost every total eclipse over the past three decades the track record of being clouded out on only two occasions has required more than just luck! The itineraries for the projects reflect the active curiosity of people who join this kind of expedition and such people are always good travelling companions. Our team have many good memories of the people, places and events over the past 40 years and we look forward to joining you on many more.




Do you have Astronomy Experts on Project Patagonia December 2020?


We normally have at least one Astronomy expert on each project and on Project Patagonia December 2020 these are our experts (click here). They are chosen from a group of experts who have assisted us on many previous solar eclipse trips. We do try to arrange a pre-eclipse briefing / gathering for the whole group wherever possible and if this is not possible due to the logistics of the tours, we distribute a handy Eclipse Information and Observation Guide prior to travel.




Who are the local guides on the tours?


We work with a team of local guides and country specialists provided by Condor Travel and Eurotur, our partners in South America. Their main responsibility is to make sure that all members of the group are well looked after and return home having had a wonderful trip with some fantastic memories. It is their responsibility to ensure that the tour runs smoothly and that all the daily logistics are in place and also to oversee the health and safety aspects of the tour. We also have a core team of specialist Astro Trails co-ordinators who oversee the logistics of the project in its entirety and whom you will see from time to time on different parts of the tour, overseeing and co-ordinating arrangements.




Which local firms provide services within South America?


Our partners in South America are Condor Travel and Eurotur. Condor Travel are one of the largest and most experienced operators in the region and they have provided impeccable service over the many years we have worked with them, including large eclipse projects in 1994 and 2019. Eurotur is a full service Argentinian Destination Management Company with over 60 years experience. Providing assistance to travellers spanning all continents, they are well known for their high quality service and have a host of professional bilingual staff with local knowledge and multilingual tour guides.




What Hotel Accommodation is provided?


The hotels used for this expedition are mostly equivalent to three or four-star standard but they can vary dramatically between places. All hotel rooms provide private bathrooms. In smaller towns and in remote areas hotel facilities are more limited than may be expected in major cities, particularly in areas close to the eclipse track where there is a very high demand for accommodation. We try to include accommodation which best reflects the local area in which we are travelling and aim for mid-range accommodation, with the key requirements being cleanliness, safety, comfort and a good location.




Is it possible to share a twin room instead of paying a single room supplement?


Tours are based on customers sharing twin-bedded or double rooms. If you book on a Twin Share basis, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, if there is no one to pair you up with on your Tour closer to final balance stage, we will have to charge you a Single Supplement. On all tours we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room.




What meals are included?


All Tours include breakfast, but other meals are often not included. This allows you to try the cuisine in local restaurants and also to choose what and where to eat and how much to spend. Our local guides will often be able to help with advice on restaurants. Budget lunch - Local dishes like stews or chicken and rice are fairly cheap $5 - $10. International dishes cost quite a bit more. Budget dinner - Again, these prices are for the hearty food the locals eat, rather than fancier places with English-language menus. $10 - $15 Prices in hotel restaurants are much more expensive.




What ground transportation is provided?


We charter comfortable, full size touring coaches for all land sectors.




How many people are travelling on the tour?


Our tours are extremely popular and groups sizes vary in size with normally up to around 45 people on a coach. On Project Patagonia 2020 we have two observation sites - Malleo and Fortin Nogueira. Tours come together at one or the other of these observation sites (depending on the tour you have chosen) but otherwise each of the itineraries tends to operate independently.




Climate


South America has a temperate climate and we visit in mid-summer (December) which gives 18 hours of daylight. In the Bariloche area we can expect clear skies about 65% of the time with a probablility of rain at around 10%. Mean daytime temperatures should be in the low twenties (mid 60's F). Villaricca it is a bit warmer, around the mid-20sC (70s' F) with about a 16% chance of rain. Puerto Natales has a cooler climate - the mid-teens C (60's F), a 40% chance of rain and clear skies abour 40% of the time and Ushuaia is cooler and cloudier. The observation site is expected to have a temperature in the mid-20sC (70's F). 75% clear skies, 10% probability of rain and an average wind speed of 21kps (13mph). You can find full climate details on these links - Piedra del Aguila (near Fortin Nogeuira) Junin de los Andes (about 20km from Malleo) Villaricca Bariloche Neuquen Puerto Varas Puerto Natales Ushuaia Rio de Janeiro Iguazu Falls Santiago Buenos Aires Lima Cusco Easter Island




Will an itinerary change?


The long distances covered in these itineraries necessarily involve a number of journeys. All itineraries are based on current routes and schedules and will therefore be subject to change in the event of schedule or route changes. You will be informed of any major changes when we become aware of them. Minor changes will be advised in your Final Itinerary approximately two weeks prior to departure.





Astro Trails Ltd

Eagle House

25 Severn Street

SY21 7AD
United Kingdom   

Email: info@astro-trails.com 

Tel: + 44 (0) 1422 887110

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