Aconcagua Travel Information

Travel Information

Expedition team acclimating at Camp 2 – Fancois Morin


Argentina is a beautiful, lively, country located at the bottom of the South American continent. It is home to many diverse climatic and geographical regions. Aconcagua is located on the country’s western edge, near its border with Chile.


Mendoza is the starting and ending place for our trip. It can easily be reached by daily flights from both Buenos Aires and Santiago. Mendoza is a colorful city of approximately 500,000 people full of interesting history, markets and parks. It is located in the heart of Argentina’s wine country and the climate is predominantly hot and sunny!


Make certain that your ticket matches the full name on your passport. Plan your arrival in Mendoza not later than the day before the first scheduled day of the trip. This provides leeway for any flight or baggage connection trouble. Please make certain that we have your flight and arrival information so that we can meet you at the airport!  Make certain to reconfirm your flights.


Most flights go through LA, Dallas, or Miami, to Santiago Chile, and then connect to Mendoza. It is also possible to schedule flights through Buenos Aires, Argentina.


No visa is required before arriving in the country.


There are suggested immunizations, but none that are required. We recommend that you check with your doctor for the most current immunization information. If you have received immunizations, either in the past, or for this trip, make certain to bring your immunization book/card.


Make certain to copy your passport, airline tickets, credit cards, traveler’s checks, immunization book etc. This can be very helpful in the event that anything is lost or stolen.  We also recommend sending an electronic copy to your personal e-mail account.


Make sure that your passport doesn’t expire within 6 months of your travel date.  If it does, you may be denied by the airline from boarding  your flight.


Flying to and from the U.S. you are allowed one 50 lb. bags. If you travel through other countries for a stopover you will be charged excess baggage fees for anything over 44lbs. (20 kilos) each flight. If possible, pack your backpack and gear inside a large duffle bag. This protects your things more as you are traveling, and is more secure for loads on the mules and buses.


At the time this information was last updated the arrival and departure fees for U.S. Citizens were as follows:

  • Buenos Aires arrival reciprocity fee – $131
  • Buenos Aires departure fee – $31 (included in the price of most tickets)
  • Santiago arrival reciprocity fee – $140
  • Santiago departure fee – $30 (included in the price of most tickets)


The reciprocity fee represents the same charge Argentines or Chileans must pay to get an entrance visa from the visitor’s home country and applies to nations other than the United States.


In Argentina the exchange rate is 4.5 pesos to one dollar. Traveler’s checks and cash are both easily exchangeable. ATM’s with the Cirrus network are widely available and work well. You can usually withdraw up to $250 a day from your account, check with your bank before traveling.


We recommend bringing at least $400 cash or travelers checks for Mendoza hotels, restaurants, gifts, and travel after our climb. Always carry a credit card for emergencies as well.  If you are considering porter support on the mountain, you should have about $1,000 U.S. on the mountain with you.


If you are planning on arriving in Mendoza early, or, if you wish to extend your stay after the trip, we would be happy to assist you with hotel reservations in Mendoza. In Penitentes we stay at a comfortable ski lodge with great food.


From Mendoza we will take a private van for the scenic three-hour drive through the Andes to the lodge at Penitentes. LANGUAGE Spanish is the language in both Argentina and Chile, but English is common.


Mendoza is East Coast Time plus 1 hour.


All trekking is moderate, progressing to difficult at higher elevations. The trail is rocky all the way to the summit, unless there is snow. Trekking days are usually four to eight hours, in some cases climbing up to 2500 feet in a day. In general the weather is warm and sunny on the approach hike days!


On most routes the climbing is basic level scrambling, with potential for basic snow/ice climbing, depending on current conditions. The climbing on the Polish Glacier route is demanding, steep, and exposed. It is a serious route that needs to be in the right condition to be safe.


As with any strenuous trek or climb, appropriate training before hand will ensure you the best possible experience. In addition to your regular fitness routine, we recommend that you take day hikes carrying a 40-60 lb pack and wearing mountaineering boots. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on specific training programs.


Mendoza is warm at this time of year, with daytime temperatures generally in the 80’s and 90’s. While trekking temperatures can vary from warm days to cooler nights, and high on the mountain temperatures can reach -25 F.


A small, lightweight, digital camera should be sufficient depending on how much you like to shoot. Remember to keep the bulk and weight to a minimum.


Everyone will carry a daypack weighing up to 20 lbs, while trekking in to base camp. Mules will carry the rest of our equipment in to base camp. Above base camp (after day 3) we will double carry loads that will weigh approximately 45-60 lbs. Descending from high camp we will carry all of our equipment, in one load, down to base camp. This is the heaviest load of the trip, but it only takes three to six hours to get back down to base camp. From base camp our equipment will be carried back to the trailhead by mules.


At the lodge in Penitentes we will have our meals prepared for us by the hotel staff. After the lodge the guides will be cooking our food. The food is nutritious, and carefully planned to provide the energy we need. Climbing and trekking at altitude require three to four times the caloric intake necessary to perform the same work at lower elevations. In order to meet these caloric demands we will be eating higher calorie food than usual. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.


All of our water will be treated with Iodine, water filters, or boiling. To be safe treat all water or drink bottled water, before any big trip. The Polar Pure Crystal Iodine system is convenient and works well. Filters will not go above base camp because of their weight so Iodine tablets or crystals are essential.


Please make certain to have your doctor answer the questions regarding health on your MGI health form.


We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Travel insurance policies frequently cover costs associated with plane tickets, personal or medical emergencies, rescue, evacuation, trip cancellation, and theft. Individual participants are responsible for any costs associated with leaving the trip early for any reason. >