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Choosing a Responsible and Knowledgeable
Guide in Patagonia, Argentina

      Many fly fishing enthusiasts who fish worldwide (especially those that plan to fish in Argentina and Chile) ask the question, "How do I find a responsible guide or outfitter and what questions should I ask him/her in regards to my fishing trip."

     For many anglers that plan to fish in Argentina or Chile, one question that comes up frequently, "Can American guides work legally in Argentina or Chile guiding anglers?"

Sage rod

     Most countries have immigration laws governing who can and cannot work in their country. The United States as an example does not permit foreign nationals to work in any part of the country without the proper papers (e.g., work visa or green card). This paper has to be secured before entering the U.S. In Argentina and Chile similar laws also applies as in the U.S. "Anyone entering Argentina or Chile with just a tourist visa cannot work in that country." So if an American guide enters either country with his passport stamped with just a tourist visa he is not allowed to work in that country.

Chile and Argentina Tax and ID Numbers

      How then can an American guide or non-citizen of Argentina or Chile work legally? To work legally, the person who wants to guide in Argentina and Chile would have to have a temporary work contract approved by the government of that country. Someone or some establish business of that country would have to offer the work contract. The person or business would have to be registered with the government and have a R.U.T. Number. The R.U.T. Number is used in Chile as an identification number and tax number. It is very similar to a Social Security Number in the USA. Without this R.U.T. Number you practically cannot do anything with regard to work or business. You cannot buy property, open a bank account, open a business, get a job, or even get a drivers license. In Argentina the laws and requirements are similar except that they call their Identification Number C.U.I.T. for businesses and C.U.I.L. for those who work for others.

Fishing Lodges and Camps

      In the past many American guides have gone to these countries, working the fishing season and returning to the U.S. Some guides have been contracted by reputable lodges or outfitters and others, have returned to those countries to start their own business and take groups of anglers to fish in those countries. There are a few of these guides that come to Argentina and Chile and work illegally and conduct business as if they are licensed and bonded. Generally they keep a low profile so as not to draw government attention which could pose a major problem for themselves and their clients.

Working as a Lodge, Outfitter or Travel Agent

      In order to work legally, the lodge, outfitter or travel agent is required to have a R.U.T. (for Chile) or C.U.I.T. number (for Argentina) and possess a business license number that is registered with the federal, state and local government of that particular country. They are required to have invoices or bills of sale with their business name, address, and respective tax number printed on them. If any one proposes to be an outfitter and does not have these qualifying requirements he is not conducting a legal business and should not be used in contracting a fishing trip to the respective countries. Many fishing agents and travel agents in the United States represent legal outfitters and lodges in Argentina and Chile and are for the most part, reliable businesses that can be used in arranging a fishing trip to Patagonia.

A Responsible Guide or Outfitter

      Today in Argentina and Chile you will find many lodges operating in a legal responsible fashion with qualified licensed guides who are bonded and insured by the government. Some speak English very well and others speak enough to get by, but many speak only their native languBig fat rainbowage. There are many Guides Associations in most parts of Argentina and some parts of Chile. In order to be a guide in Argentina you have to be approved by passing a course, which is sponsored by various government organizations such as the National Parks Service, National Tourist Board, and State controlled Guides Association. For example in the Providence of Chubut, which is the Esquel Fishing Destination of the Argentine Patagonia, you have a large association of qualified guides. All are licensed and insured and will be able to show you their identification card with their picture on it. If they do not he/she is not the person you would want to contract with as being responsible for your fishing trip.

      For the Angler who wishes to be sure about his guide or outfitter being legal, can simple ask for the above information. A responsible guide or outfitter will be happy to respond affirmatively if he is legally able too.

About Patagonia Adventures

Kent Schoenauer with his wife Vicenza as long as Eric his son are business owners of Patagonia Adventures since 1983 and operate adventure travel and fly fishing in Argentina and Chile. Kent provides fishing trips to both countries and has a fishing lodge, the Alto Puelo Lodge located on the Rio Puelo at the Argentina/Chile border.

      For further questions about this report, Kent or Eric Schoenauer can be contacted by telephone at 011-54-2944-492513 or Email at

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