Travel to Chile & Antarctica: COVID-19 Requirements

A summary of the current requirements that are relevant to international travelers and some frequently asked questions for Antarctic travel. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Can You Travel to Chile and Antarctica now?

Last updated on November 23, 2021

Yes, you can travel to Chile and Antarctica without quarantine starting November 1, 2021. The Chilean border has been opening in stages, and entry requirements have been relaxed gradually. As of the beginning of November 2021, more than 90% of the Chilean population is fully vaccinated.

We are gearing up to receive travelers to fly and set sail for Antarctica again. This is a summary of the current Covid-19 requirements that are relevant to international travelers who don’t reside permanently in Chile and some frequently asked questions for Antarctic travel.

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What are the entry requirements for Chile?

The Chilean border has been opening in stages and entry requirements have been relaxed gradually. As of December 1, 2021, international travelers will be welcome to enter Chile through the airports of Santiago, Iquique, Punta Arenas and Antofagasta, and through selected land borders. Below is a summary of the requirements that are relevant to international travelers who don’t reside permanently in Chile:

  • Travelers, independent of age, nationality, or country of origin must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Travelers must obtain a “Mobility Pass” through https://mevacuno.gob.cl. This process validates the traveler’s vaccination and provides a certificate that is recognized in Chile. The process can take up to a month, therefore the application should be made 30 days before departure. Once the vaccination is validated and the Mobility Pass is issued, the traveler will receive an email from the Chilean Health Service. It is essential to review that email carefully and to follow the instructions precisely.
  • The Mobility Pass for international travelers has a validity of between 30 and 90 days from the moment the traveler enters Chile.
  • Travelers must be covered by a medical travel insurance policy that provides at least $30,000 USD in coverage, including Covid-related charges. Starting on December 1, 2021, Spanish nationals are exempted from this requirement.
  • No more than 48 hours prior to departure for Chile, travelers must visit https://www.c19.cl/llegada-internacional.html where they must:

– Complete the C19 form and affidavit through which they provide contact and health information. In this form, travelers must indicate the details of the first hotel they will overnight at on arrival in Chile. Note: upon entry into Chile, travelers may need to take a PCR test (see below.) Following that test, travelers can overnight in Santiago, or they can fly to their next destination in Chile, e.g., Punta Arenas. The first hotel the traveler will overnight at on arrival in Chile should be indicated in the C19 affidavit.

– Upload a certificate showing the negative result for a PCR Covid test taken no more than 72 hours prior to the boarding time of the last flight to Chile.

– Upload a copy of their medical travel insurance certificate (this step is not necessary for Spanish nationals).

  • Travelers will need to provide copies of the C19 affidavit, the negative PCR test, and the insurance coverage to the airline prior to boarding the flight to Chile. They will also need to show those documents to the authorities upon arrival in Chile.
  • On arrival in Chile:

    – travelers who have received a booster shot within 6 months of arrival, are not subject to any special arrival procedures. This will be confirmed by the Chilean Health Service when the Mobility Pass is issued.

    – travelers who have not received a booster shot within 6 months of arrival will be required to take a new PCR test. This test is performed by Chilean authorities at the Santiago airport. The traveler must pay approximately USD 40 for this test and payment is by credit card. As part of the process, international travelers are provided with an instruction document that includes a website address and a code. With that information the traveler can access the indicated website at regular intervals until their test result is available, normally within 12 to 24 hours. Upon arrival to Chile, while waiting for the PCR test result, travelers can either spend one or more nights in a hotel in Santiago or fly to Punta Arenas and wait for the test result in a hotel there. Transfer from the airport to the hotel must be by taxi or by a pre-arranged dedicated vehicle. At the hotel travelers must remain in isolation until the PCR test result has been delivered. Provided that the test result is negative, the isolation requirement will then be lifted, and travelers will be able to proceed and enjoy a visit to Chile and Antarctica.

It is possible that the entry requirements will undergo changes. The most up-to-date details are available on https://www.chile.travel/en/traveltochileplan/.

While this point will not be relevant to the majority of Antarctica21’s international guests, note that it is possible to enter Chile without a Mobility Pass. However, in such cases, travelers must undergo a strict 7-day quarantine on arrival. Only after that quarantine are they able to apply for the Mobility Pass, which is a requirement for travel around the country.

Which vaccines are accepted as proof of vaccination?

Chile’s entry requirements indicate acceptance of all major vaccines including Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Sinopharm, CanSino, Sinovac and Generium/Sputnik. Antarctica21 recognizes all the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization and by Chile.

Is a Mobility Pass required to travel on a 2021-22 Antarctica21 expedition starting in Chile?

Yes, it is. Given that a Mobility Pass is required to enter Chile without quarantining and to travel within the country, all Antarctica21 guests, including minors, are required to hold a Mobility Pass to join an expedition starting in Chile. This includes Chilean nationals living in Chile and non-Chileans who reside in Chile.

What happens if for some reason the Chilean authorities do not issue a Mobility Pass to me?

The Mobility Pass is the mechanism used by the Chilean authorities to validate vaccinations done outside Chile. All the major vaccines are on the list. As part of the application process, you may be contacted via email by the Chilean National Health Service with a request for additional information. In that case, follow the instructions and submit the missing information. If you are fully vaccinated and you provide the required information no less than 30 days prior to your departure, there should be no reason for denial of the Mobility Pass.

That said, if in the end you have followed the correct procedures and the Mobility Pass is denied and you inform us immediately, subject to validation of that denial Antarctica21 will offer you and your travel companions the option of transferring your reservation to a later departure of the 2021-22 season, or to the 2022-23 or 2023-24 season.

Can unvaccinated travelers join an Antarctica21 expedition?

No, they cannot. As a risk management measure, only fully vaccinated travelers, including minors, can travel on a 2021-22 Antarctica21 expedition.

What happens if I test positive for Covid prior to flying to Chile?

Without a negative PCR test you will be unable to fly to Chile. If you inform us immediately and subject to validation of the test result, Antarctica21 will offer you and your travel companions the option of transferring your reservation and payments to the 2022-23 or 2023-24 season.

What happens if I test positive for Covid upon arrival in Chile?

You will be referred to the local health authorities. The authorities will then determine the next course of action, most likely requesting that you and your travel companions isolate in a hotel until you test negative. As with any medical emergency, any associated costs will remain your responsibility. No refund, partial or otherwise, is offered for the expedition. For this and other reasons, we recommend that you purchase travel insurance coverage that includes a trip interruption benefit, including for Covid-related reasons, to cover this risk.

What happens if I test positive for Covid during a pre-embarkation screening?

For the safety and wellbeing of the expedition, Antarctica21 will perform a pre-embarkation screening of guests on Day 1 of the trip. If you test positive for Covid during that screening, local health authorities will be informed. The authorities will then determine the next course of action, most likely requesting that you and your travel companions isolate in a hotel until you test negative.

As with any medical emergency, any associated costs will remain your responsibility. No refund, partial or otherwise, is offered for the expedition. For this and other reasons, we recommend that you purchase travel insurance coverage that includes a trip interruption benefit, including for Covid-related reasons, to cover this risk.

What happens if I test positive for Covid during the Antarctic voyage?

The multiple measures we have put in place should help us avoid this, but if you test positive the next course of action will be determined by the captain of the vessel in coordination with health authorities and may include isolation on board the ship and/or medical evacuation through a dedicated flight for you and your travel companions.

As with any medical emergency, any associated costs will remain your responsibility. No refund, partial or otherwise, is offered for the expedition. For this and other reasons, we recommend that you purchase travel insurance coverage that includes a trip interruption and emergency evacuation benefits, including for Covid-related events, to cover this risk.

What happens if Chile closes its border, or if it reinstates a quarantine requirement for international travelers, before I can travel to Chile?

If the border closes, or if a quarantine requirement is reinstated, Antarctica21 would not be able to deliver the trip. Our guests would then have two options:

  • A) Make a new reservation for the 2022-23 or 2023-24 season, transfer their deposit to the new reservation, and receive a refund for the balance of their payment; or
  • B) receive a full refund.

What if I cannot find an insurance company that provides coverage for Covid-related events?

Without medical travel insurance coverage, you will not be allowed to enter Chile. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many travel insurance companies have developed policies that provide coverage for Covid-related events. Travel insurance broker such as Insure My Trip and others like them are qualified to provide advice on travel insurance matters. If you are unable to find a policy that covers Covid-related risks, you will need to postpone your travel plans.

I have made travel plans in Chile before or after my Antarctica expedition. Do you have any recommendations or advice for me?

Provided that you follow the steps indicated above and that you are admitted into Chile without restrictions, you will be able to enjoy the same freedom of movement that Chileans enjoy. Note that some requirements could be in place for movement between Chilean regions. The provider of the travel experiences you have booked can give you specific details as they apply to their location and operation.

We do strongly recommend that you build some buffer in your travel plans, especially for airport check-ins and between air connections and other transportation arrangements. Be prepared for the possibility that certain processes (airport and hotel check-ins, the delivery of luggage at airports, the process on boarding local transportation etc.) may take a bit longer than usual.

How will the pandemic impact my expedition experience?

During your Antarctic experience you will enjoy excursions, zodiac cruising, and shipboard presentations as planned. As a risk-reduction measure, during the 2021-22 season we are not allowed to visit Antarctic bases and research stations, including while transiting through King George Island. Some restrictions may apply to the capacity of common areas on board the ship.

The multiple measures we have put in place should help us avoid this, but if a Covid case is detected on board the ship, the vessel’s Covid Management Plan will be applied for the safety of everyone on board. In such case and depending on the circumstances, measures that could impact travel and shipboard life may have to be put in place.

Can you offer cabin service for food and beverage?

We do not offer cabin service on our expeditions, but we have implemented different measures and protocols in our restaurant so that guests can enjoy their meals in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.

Will you perform Covid testing on board the ship?

Our vessel is equipped with rapid Covid testing kits. Testing of guests will be performed in accordance with the requirements of health authorities. If a possible Covid case is detected on board, testing will be performed on the individuals involved and their close contacts. As a preventive measure, our teams are tested regularly. Antarctica21 will cover the cost of any tests taken on board the ship.

As a requirement to return to my home country, 72/48 hours prior to boarding my homebound flights I will need to take a Covid test. How can I do that?

Each country has its own policy for returning travelers. Those requirements typically include filling out an online form and providing a negative Covid test. Please check and make sure you understand what you will need to do prior to returning to your home country. Depending on your travel plans, you may need to take a test in Punta Arenas or in Santiago. Please note that you will be responsible for the cost of testing services.

If you need to take the test in Punta Arenas: Upon arrival at the hotel on Day 1 of your expedition, an Antarctica21 Host will confirm if you require a PCR or Antigen test upon return from Antarctica, prior to boarding your ongoing flights out of Punta Arenas. If so, Antarctica21 will then book that test on your behalf on the day of the scheduled return flight from Antarctica. Transfer to and from the testing lab will be organized by Antarctica21. The lab will send you the test result by email within 12 to 24 hours. The cost of the service is USD 145 per person and can be added on your on-board bill. Please be aware that this service is subject to the regulations of the Health Authorities applicable in the Region of Magallanes. Antarctica21 acts only as a facilitator of the process.

If you need to take the test in Santiago, there are many laboratories that offer testing, including:

  • GenoSUR offers PCR tests at the Hilton Garden Inn by Santiago’s International Airport. The cost of the test is CLP 35,000 (approx. USD 45) and results are delivered in less than 4 hours. Online appointments can be arranged at https://get.genosur.com/en-us/pcr_en_aeropuerto.
  • BioNet offers PCR tests at Santiago’s International Airport. They are open from Monday to Saturday, between 8 AM and 8 PM. The lab is located on the first floor of the airport, by Door 5, and it accepts walk-in clients. The cost of the test is CLP 24,990 (approx. USD 30) and results are delivered within 12 hours. Depending on your travel plans, you could visit the laboratory upon your return to Santiago from Punta Arenas, spend the night in Santiago, and then proceed with your international flight back home.

If you would like assistance, Puro South can help you arrange for a technician to come to your hotel and collect samples there. They can also arrange for a test to be performed in a lab, making the arrangements, and providing a driver and an interpreter to facilitate the process. You can reach Puro South by email.

Your Santiago hotel may also be able to arrange for your test to be taken at the hotel. Please check with them about this possibility.

Official Information on Travel to Chile

For more information, please review the Chile Travel website. We also advise travelers to contact their booking agent for help with specific questions and travel details before traveling to Chile.

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