There is almost complete coverage in large towns and cities across Patagonia, but when travelling between cities, cruising in the fjords or hiking in national parks there is little to no signal, and cell phones are not recommended as a reliable form of communication. There are a lot of black spots due to the general topography of the land, and even a gust of wind (which is not uncommon!) can cause problems with signal.
Many cafes, restaurants and hotels in towns and cities have Wi-Fi. More remote estancias and lodges may have limited signal, and even limited electricity.
If you want to have the security of using your phone abroad, it may be worth buying an Argentinian or Chilean sim card.
- Please ensure your phone is unlocked before you depart on your trip. This will allow it to accept a different sim card.
- There are a variety of companies to choose from, the bigger ones such as Claro, Movistar or Entel are good to look out for.
- You can buy a sim card in small kiosks, supermarkets, or direct in the phone company stores in most towns and cities. These sim cards are generally 'prepaid'
- We recommend adding data and using an internet app such as WhatsApp to communicate, rather than relying on texting and calling. Not only is adding data often quite cheap, communicating using data is often cheaper than calling.
Check with your phone provider before travelling to see how much it will cost you to use your phone abroad in order to avoid any nasty surprises!
Preparing your gear for a trip to somewhere as remote and wild as Patagonia can be a bit of a task, especially when you'll be crossing borders between Argentina and Chile. We get lots of questions about kit lists, from the right sleeping bag to the best windproof jackets, but it's mostly about plug sockets and adaptors.
A Chilean plug socket has two cylindrical prongs. The voltage is 220V.
The Argentinian plug socket is a bit more unusual with holes for three flat prongs. However, the top prong doesn't have a function, so adaptors only include the bottom two prongs. However, some plugs support the two cylindrical prong plugs that the Chileans use. The voltage is 220V.
When travelling in Patagonia, it's usually best to buy a multi-adapter that includes adaptors for both Chile and Argentina. Amazon sells multi-adaptors for around £20/$25.