Practical travel information
Practical travel information for the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.
Scan the most important documents, such as your passport, so you’ll always have copies of them in your mailbox.
You will need a passport for your trip to South America. This also applies to children and babies. The passport must remain valid six months after your return. You’ll receive a stamp in your passport upon arrival.
In Argentina and Chile, you’ll also receive a tourist card for a 90-day stay. This tourist card will be returned upon departure (by land or by plane), so keep it somewhere safe, such as in your passport.
Upon entry, you’ll receive a tourist stamp for a 30-day stay. If you are staying longer you can indicate this upon arrival, and receive a stamp for a stay of up to ninety days maximum.
In Brazil, you’ll receive a tourist stamp upon arrival for a stay of a maximum of 30-days. If you are staying longer then you can indicate this upon entry and receive a stamp for a stay of ninety days maximum. When you’ve been on holiday in other countries in Latin America and travel on to Brazil, you must also have a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
All information above can be changed by the local embassy or the consulate. For the latest current information, it’s best to contact them.
A week before departure, you will receive an information pack with the documents needed for your trip.
For a holiday in Argentina and Chile, vaccinations against DTP, Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever are recommended. In the northern and north-eastern forest areas, including the area surrounding the Iguacu waterfalls, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended.
For Peru and Bolivia, vaccinations again DTP, Hepatitis and yellow fever are recommended. It’s also good to know that several cities in Peru and Bolivia, like Cusco and La Paz, are at an altitude of over 2,500 metres. There’s a chance of getting altitude sickness while your body adapts to the thin air. When putting our trips together, we always keep a gradual change in altitude in mind. This gradual increase gives your body more time to acclimatise. The local population’s tips against altitude sickness are to drink a lot of water and eat light food.
In Brazil, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory, if you’ve been in Africa or another South American country before arriving in Brazil. Otherwise, a vaccination against yellow fever is only recommended. Additionally DTP and Hepatitis A are recommended. Protection against Malaria is necessary when you visit the Pantanal or the Amazon.
We also recommend wearing clothes with long sleeves and long trouser in the evening as well as using mosquito-repellent. This especially applies for the tropical north-east (Iguazu) and the lake area during the summer months (Dec-Mar) We recommend you always pay attention to the quality of drinking water.
If possible, request information about vaccinations in advance. The Zika virus is active in some parts of South America. Pregnant women are not recommended by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment to travel in areas where the Zika virus is active. View the website of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment for more advice on the Zika virus. We recommend all travellers apply mosquito repellent liberally to themselves. You can contact the nearest Travel Clinic. Advice is regularly subject to change, no liability can be derived from this. Lastly, we recommend a hat/cap for protection against the sun.
Don’t forget to change your debit card to world coverage! For more information, you can contact your bank.
Using your debit card in Argentina and Chile can be done practically anywhere, at the very least in airports and in all major cities. The currency in Argentina is the Argentinian Peso, In Chile the Chilean Peso.
Credit Card: Via, Mastercard and American Express cards are accepted in Argentina and Chile as a form of payment.
In Bolivia, you pay with the Bolivian Boliviano. The local currency in Peru is the Peruvian Nueva Sol (abbreviation: PEN). Many payments can also be made in US dollars, so it’s practical to bring these along, preferably in cash, and in small denomination banknotes. You can pay with your credit card in many places (especially Visa, but also Mastercard, Amex and Diners). This almost always costs around 8 – 10 % in commission. It’s cheaper to withdraw money. This can be done with your credit card, but Banco Latino, Banco de Crédito and Banco Wiese have ATMs that accept debit cards.
The Brazilian Real is the local currency of Brazil. Many payments can also be made in US dollars. So it’s practical to bring these. You can pay with your credit card in many places (especially Visa, Master Card and Amex), but it’s cheaper to withdraw money.
It’s common to give a 10% tip in restaurants, cafés, to cab drivers etc in Argentina, if you’re happy with the service. In Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil, no tip is expected in restaurants and cafés, but rounding up is always appreciated. With cab drivers, you settle on a price in advance. They don’t expect any tip. After a trek, you do give a tip to your guide, valets and cook.
Flight and flight times
We recommend you check the flight times of your international flight a few days before returning home. This can be done, at www.checkmytrip.com. With your reservation number and surname, you can access your flight reservation and these times are always up to date.
Contact your local agent as quickly as possible if your flight is delayed. The phone number is in the booking letter. Our agent will report your delay to the transfer and the hotel where you stay the first (few) night(s).
At the airport
Make sure you go to the airport on time; especially during summer holidays when it can be very busy and the queues become longer. The fastest and most efficient way to checking-in is done in advance on-line. We recommend you to reserve your seats yourself in advance on the website of your airline. You can log in with your name and your reservation number.
You can bring your luggage in a suitcase or a backpack. Our advice is to bring a small backpack when you head out into the parks.
Don’t bring valuable items on your trip wherever possible. Ask at your hotel whether there are places you should avoid. We recommend you make a copy of any valuable documents like your passport, plane tickets, insurance papers and debit card and store a copy of these in your suitcase.
Withdraw money during daylight hours
Leave golden bracelets, necklaces and such at home
Don’t leave money, backpack, phone or camera lying around
Hide your money under your clothes and leave as much stuff as possible in the hotel.
A good travel insurance for your round trip is mandatory. It means that during your trip, you’re ensured of immediate assistance by the emergency centre if needed. The travel insurance insures, amongst other things, your luggage, in case of loss or theft, unexpected medical costs and unexpected expenses.
A cancellation insurance is taken out to prevent facing high costs if you can’t commence or continue your trip due to certain circumstances. There’s a chance that something happens before the trip that won’t allow you to make it. Cancellation insurance ensures that you can get the entire travel sum back when there is a valid reason. Cancellation insurance doesn’t just apply prior to the trip but also during the trip. Should something unexpected happen during the trip that causes you to have to discontinue it, then you can have the insurance company reimburse the days of your trip you didn’t get to experience.
Other practical tips
In Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, the main language is Spanish, in Brazil it’s Portuguese. In tourist areas, English will suffice, but its use is limited inland. If you do not speak the language, a pocket dictionary is useful.
In Argentina, it’s 5 hours earlier in summer and 4 hours in winter. It’s 1 hour earlier in Chile than in Argentina. In Peru, it’s respectively 6 hours earlier and in Bolivia 5 hours. Lastly, it’s 3 hours earlier in Brazil.
Make sure the home front knows where you are. The itinerary comes with vouchers with an overview on them of all activities we’ve booked. We recommend leaving a copy of the itinerary at home so it’s always clear where you are staying. Leave the phone number of our local partner behind in case of emergencies, the fastest way to reach you is generally through them.
Bring the information leaflet found with your medication so that it’s clear for everyone that it concerns necessary medication and how it should be administered. Always bring enough of your medication, in case your stay is unexpectedly extended. It’s recommended to also bring an (English) letter from your doctor or pharmacist about your use of medication.
Food and drink
Tap water is not drinkable, but you can buy bottles of water practically everywhere. Be careful when eating raw and unwashed products.