Explore the mountains, tree skiing, culture and even a volcano on this adventure of a lifetime in the Northern Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile.
This 9-day experience is designed to connect you with experiences both on and off the mountain that you would not find on your own. Expect a unique trip with amazing terrain, culture, food, hotsprings and hopefully lots of powder snow.
The Cimarra Sur starts in Bariloche, Argentina skiing and riding the legendary terrain of Cerro Catedral. Next we will road trip to San Martin De Los Andes, home to the Chapleco Resort. The trip finishes with crossing the border into Chile and heading to Pucon where we will ski and ride the mighty Volcano Villarrica and it’s 5000 vertical foot descent.
The crew is limited to 8 people with 2 certified bi-lingual guides to show you the goods. Includes all lift tickets, private transportation, guiding, breakfasts, dinner with wine and comfortable lodging. This unique tour delivers a true South America bucket list itinerary.
- Visit both Chile & Argentina on a 9 Day guided off-piste ski and snowboard trip to Catedral, Chapelco, and Villarrica-Pucon
- 8 guests maximum. Always 2 certified PowderQuest guides on every trip
- Experience the Northern Patagonia terrain and diverse environments
- Climb and freeride Chile’s most active volcano in the town of Pucon
- Itinerary and route is designed to deliver the most skiing and riding possible
- Private transportation, comfortable local lodging and outstanding dinners with wine
- Soak in natural hotsprings fed from Volcano Villarrica
- Traditional Asado (BBQ) on a local Mapuche Indian Farm
- Fun nightlife from local breweries with live bands to energetic bars, nightclubs and discos.
“Everything was so well-organized, which made it such a great South America ski vacation. Our guides knew so much about all of the terrain we covered and the weather patterns and tendencies in the areas. The people on the trip were fun and interesting and really enthusiastic. Everything combined made it such a fantastic environment for fun, adventurous skiing and touring.”
-Cimarra Sur Client, Meegan Moszynski
Quick Tour Itinerary
Starts: San Carlos De Bariloche, Argentina (airport code BRC)
Ends: Temuco, Chile (airport code ZCO)
Day 1: Arrival to San Carlos De Bariloche Airport (BRC), meet your guides and the rest of the group. We will head to our local hotel driving along the beautiful Nauhel Huapi lake and past the European influenced downtown of Bariloche. Once we check in to our lodging everyone gathers for an overview of the trip over beverages and snacks. We head out for a dinner in Bariloche at one of our favorite local restaurants.
Day 2-3: The first morning starts with a mountain orientation and avalanche safety session followed by a full day of exploring the epic terrain of Cerro Catedral. Depending on the snow and conditions there can be virtually endless backcountry options off of both sides of the resort. Afternoons feature Apres-ski at the base area and the evenings are filled with great food, drinks, and the option to explore the most vibrant Argentinean nightlife scene outside of Buenos Aires.
Day 4: After a good breakfast we load up into our private transportation and head for a beautiful drive through the 7 Lake District and National Park that ends at San Martin De Los Andes. For the afternoon we head up to Chapelco Resort to make the most out of the day and get a feel for the terrain. Dinner at our favorite restaurant in San Martin with after dinner options ranging from a local brewery to a lively casino. San Martin De Los Andes is a cool ski town and one that sometimes gets overlooked by its big brother Bariloche but offers a great local scene filled with passionate skiers and riders.
Day 5-6: Chapelco Resort. Terrain can be amazing when the conditions are right, offering up some of the best glades in the world paired with bowl style skiing and riding and more. Fresh turns can frequently be found for days after a storm if you know where to look. At the end of day 6 we will pack up and head out for our border crossing. The adventure takes us through two more national parks finishing in our home for the next 3 nights, Pucon Chile.
Day 7-8: Skiing and riding Volcano Villarrica using the lifts of Ski Pucon. All skiing is above treeline on super fun and playful terrain formed through years of volcanic eruptions. Optional attempt to climb to the active crater and ski or ride the 5000 vertical foot descent. Pucon is an adventure tourism hotspot and has a great deal to offer. We will eat at amazing restaurants, soak in natural hot springs, and visit a local Mapuche Indian Farm for an authentic Asado (BBQ).
Day 9: After our final breakfast you will have the morning to explore the town of Pucon Chile, pick up any last minute gifts, and say your goodbyes to this amazing part of the world. Private transfer to Temuco Airport to meet your flight.
Booking Your Trip
To reserve your space on this trip we offer you 2 options:
1: Click the red “Book This Trip” button on the side bar of this page to book directly online.
2: Call us at 1-888-565-7158 or contact us via email to book with our office staff.
Discounts: Save $50 on trips paid via domestic bank wire or E-Checks (ACH). Discount is applied to your final payment. Both the deposit and final payment must be paid via wire or E-Check to receive the discount.
Payment: A 30% deposit is required at time of reservation. Final payments are due 60 days before trip departure. We accept most major credit cards, PayPal, E-Checks (ACH), and bank wires.
Single travelers as well as small groups of 2 or more guests are welcome!
We do everything in our power to run all advertised trips, however we require a minimum of 4 guests to guarantee departure. If we have less than 5 guests the group will have one guide.
When booking your trip you need to agree to our Terms and Conditions and Release Waiver. You will need to sign the Release Waiver at the start of the trip with your guide.
Date and Price
Arriving and Departing- Airport Details
You need to fly into and out of Bariloche, Argentina (airport code BRC), via Buenos Aires. See this trips itinerary in the Overview tab for details on when to schedule your arrival and departure. We have travel agents we can recommend to help you with your flight reservations. Contact us for their info.
Meeting The Guides
Your guides will meet you at the Bariloche airport the first day of the tour. An official meeting time and place will be emailed to you a few weeks before the tour. On the last day of the tour, we include a group shuttle to the airport to catch your return to Buenos Aires.
Extending Your Stay
Extending your stay is a great way to get in a few more powder days, check out the urban culture of Buenos Aires, visit a classic vineyard, and more. See the Extensions Tab for suggestions.
Off Piste Focus Tours Packing List
Because of the trip itinerary and moving around to different ski areas and towns, we are unable to accommodate ski or snowboard rentals. Please arrive with your own skis or board, tuned and ready to go on day 1! If you need suggestions on what skis to bring please read here
If you rented a snow safety kit from us, this does not include a backpack. You are required to bring your own backpack for the trip. We suggest Dakine Poacher 32 Liters with deployable helmet carry if you are looking to purchase a new pack.
- Skis or snowboard (recently tuned!) We suggest an “all mountain” type ski with a waist width of 85 to 110 mm
- Extra binding screws and straps are a good idea for snowboarders
- Boots (good idea to carry on plane if you can)
- 28-36 Liter backpack with suitable external harness straps to carry your skis or board. The new Dakine
Heli Pro 2 or Poacher are great options.
- Hydration system or water bottle to fit in your backpack (we prefer stainless steel water bottles)
- Collapsible ski poles for snowboarders
- Snowboard leash to attach your board to your leg, required at several ski areas here
- Digital Avalanche Transceiver, Shovel and Probe (Rentals available, backpack not included)
- Helmet we recommend Smith Helmets
- Portable tool kit for loose binding parts and simple repairs
- Small headlamp
- Padded ski or board bag (Da Kine makes great travel bags with wheels for skis or snowboards, leaving enough room for the rest of your gear.)
- Polypropylene or Merino wool long underwear and wool blend socks
- Light/Packable down jacket or vest
- Warm hat (Beanie or Toque)
- Neck gaiter/ face mask
- Wind/waterproof jacket with hood (Goretex is recommended)
- Wind/waterproof pants (Goretex is recommended)
- Ski gloves or mitts (Da Kine)
- Thin windblocker type glove for hiking and touring
- Sunglasses and ski goggles (Smith is our favorite)
- Sun block (AT LEAST 35 SPF) and lip balm
Personal first aid kit to include at least the following:
- ibuprofin or similar for headaches, aches, etc
- Moleskin and band-aids
- Light weight toilet articles
- Prescription medicine
- Personal items for women
- Large plastic garbage bag for wet clothes
- Ear plugs for light sleepers
AND OF COURSE…
- Airline tickets
- Credit card, ATM card, and credit card cancellation phone number
- Starting cash in U.S. dollars
- Small travel clock alarm for those early powder days!
- Bathing suit for hot springs, spas and pools
- Rain jacket, or use your snow jacket/shell
- Portable music and headphones
- Converter and plug adapters
- Energy Bars
Passports, Visas, Entry Fees
PowderQuest recommends bringing a rubber band to keep all your documents secure in your passport. It is also a good idea to bring a photocopy and have a backup of your passport to keep separate form the original.
A passport, valid for the length of your stay is required for most countries.
Reciprocity fees are no longer charged for Canadian, Australian, or USA passport holders. Woo Hoo!
If you traveling with a passport from another country, it is a good idea to check online with the Argentine Embassy for updated requirements.
Required Travel Insurance
Personal travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation coverage is mandatory to travel with PowderQuest. Click for details and to book online
What to Expect When Traveling in South America and with PowderQuest
Meals and Restaurants
A true highlight to the trip! All meals, with the exception of some lunches are included with your tour. Our guides selection of wine and mineral water is included with dinners on most tours. This will generally consist of 2 glasses of wine and a bottle of water. Should you want to drink more, including beer and mixed drinks, this will be an additional cost.
In addition to the delicious food included with our stay at many of the resorts, PowderQuest guides have selected great restaurants serving everything from local favorites to international. Many guests say they have eaten the best meals of their lives with us!
The norm in South America is lunch around 2pm, a smaller tea and cakes snack around 6pm and then a late dinner. We will usually be having our dinners between 8pm-9pm as most restaurants don’t open before 8.
- Activities outside our described tour itinerary
- Any airline/airport taxes and charges due to excess, oversize or overweight baggage, including on flights that are included with the cost of the tour.
As our guest, your safety is a priority to PowderQuest both on and off the mountain. Security in Chile and Argentina, even in the larger cities is quite safe. Common sense should be used, especially in busy city areas where pick pocketing can occur.
Ski Resort Infrastructure
Overall expect later starts than you are used to at home. The 7:00 AM tram line up simply does not exist in the Andes. Most ski resorts open by 9:00 AM but full mountain operations can be delayed until mid-morning for no apparent reason. When there is fresh snow or a current storm, these delays can be even longer. However, due to longer natural light, you can also ski later into the afternoon in South America. Some resorts do not stop running lifts until as late at 5:30 pm.
Groomed runs are not what you find in Aspen or Vail, and mountain hazards and boundaries are not marked as vigorously as you find at home.
The ski resorts in the Andes vary from modern with millions of dollars in infrastructure to rustic areas with little more than a small cafeteria and a few tow-lifts. In many ways, we find this positive. This is not written to discourage you from visiting this beautiful part of the world, however, if you are accustomed to North American ski resort amenities, you will find the infrastructure of some resorts we visit more rustic, especially the speed and layout of the ski lifts. South America simply runs on a different pace.
The good news is, we find it all evens out. Some lifts may be slower, however 45 minute lift lines are virtually non-existent in the Andes. In addition, you do not have thousands of skiers fighting for those untracked powder runs. If you come down with an open mind you will find this part of the world fascinating and quite often comfortably relaxing!
Snowboarders should expect to encounter long traverses to access some of the better terrain at several ski resorts.
Weather forecasts are available and our guides are competent in understanding weather maps and local forecasts. However weather is not an exact science and the info available is not like in North America and Europe. Sometimes just like anywhere, forecasts are completely inaccurate.
Winters in Chile and Argentina can throw anything at us from warm and sunny “spring-like” days to bitter cold, blizzard like conditions. Fog can be common at lower elevations, while bluebird skies welcome us once reaching the snow.
Rain is common at low elevations including many of the towns we will be visiting. The resorts generally receive deep snow from Pacific storms and can be accompanied with winds. Preparation for all types of weather and ski conditions is recommended.
Cell phone coverage and general internet access are quite good. Before your trip you will receive a list of phone numbers of our accommodations and guides where you may be reached in case of emergency.
We have done our best to secure accommodations on most tours in areas where there is internet access available but few locations it is either unavailable or slow at best. Take this in stride and revel in the luxury of being disconnected for awhile!
Chile and Argentina are two of the most modern countries in Latin America. With quality foods and an abundance of well-stocked pharmacies (including personal items for women), the only discomforts travelers occasionally have, are upset stomachs and a temporary bowel disorder. This is common with travels anywhere in the world, and can be avoided by drinking bottled water.
With active tours including full days in the snow and sun, it is important to stay hydrated. Keeping updated on vaccinations, especially tetanus, is always a good idea. There are no health requirements for entering Chile or Argentina.
Sunburn is always a concern in the mountains especially with the snow reflection and higher elevation. Sunglasses, goggles like Smith Optics, and quality sun block with SPF factor 35 and higher are a must in the Andes.
Frostbite can also be a factor. Staying warmly dressed, well hydrated, and regulating body temperature by using layers and ventilation in the outer layers are good ways to prevent.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The official currency of Chile and Argentina is the peso (Chilean peso and Argentine peso). Both currency value on the dollar fluctuates. For daily updates, click here.
Use of a credit card and ATM’s are your best bet for good exchange rates during your stay. In Argentina many shops will accept dollars at a higher rate than the official exchange rate.
Time throughout the winter months in Chile is the same as EST (New York City). Argentina is one hour ahead.
Measures and Voltage
The metric system is used in Chile and Argentina. For power, 220 volts AC, 50 cycles. Be sure to buy a plug adapter & converter if you plan on bringing electronic equipment. Quality batteries are easy to find.
Laundry service is available in just about every town and resort we visit, and can generally be dropped off and picked up within the same day.
We encourage you to tip your guides if you feel you have received outstanding service. A typical gratuity varies between 3% to 7% of your tour price, per guide. For example. $4000 trip = $120-$280 per guide.
PowderQuest covers the gratuities at dinners. 5-10% is a normal gratuity in bars restaurants and pubs. Tipping your hotel staff and driver is encouraged if they have provided you with excellent service. Your guides will be able to help suggest amounts to leave for your driver and hotel staff.
For most of us who are from North America or Europe, we are used to and expect that things run smoothly. We are not only on time but usually at least 5 minutes early. With the exception of trains, buses and most flights, Chilean and Argentine services are not known for their punctuality.
We provide the above information so you will have a clear picture of what to expect before you arrive.
We encourage you to embrace your trip to South America with all it has to offer, and if that means that things are not right on schedule, let that be part of the adventure! For more info have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.