Before You Go

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The first place to look for travel information is the government Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. It gives you lots of tips, warnings and practical advice on everything from entry requirements to local customs: www.fco.gov.uk/travel But remember that the FCO website only really gives warnings and possible dangers ? this can paint a very negative picture of a country. If you have any worries about what they say or places we plan to visit on our tours then call us to find out our views.


Personal Travel Insurance:

It is compulsory for everyone on the trip to provide their own personal travel insurance and to provide us with a copy of your policy for use should an emergency arise. The amount of cover you want and how much you pay is up to you, but make sure you are covered for all activities you intend to do, eg: white water rafting, horse riding, hiking.. We don?t impose an age limit on our travellers, but please be aware that people over retirement age may find the appropriate level of cover very expensive and/or difficult to obtain.


Money:

To make sure you can always access money we recommend you bring a combination of cash US dollars and cash/credit cards to withdraw cash along the way, maybe with some emergency travellers cheques (these are time-consuming and expensive to use in South America, but replaceable if lost). ATM?s are available in most big towns and cities. If you can have two cards, one Visa and one Mastercard, you?ll have the best chance of finding cash. A good alternative to travellers cheques is a prepaid travel money card. A good place to start looking for travel money options is: www.moneysupermarket.com/travel-money/ Exchange rates ? to keep informed on current exchange rates we use: www.xe.com


How much spending money to bring?

It?s impossible to tell you how you?ll spend your money, but if you start with about US $20 a day just for living: eating snacks, laundry, a little beer, taxis, etc and then add money for optional extras, shopping, etc you?ll be able to make a fair estimate for yourself. Then add more for all the stuff you haven?t thought of yet to get a comfortable limit.


Vaccinations/health precautions:

This can be a worry for many people but with a little preparation and common sense you?ll find the health issues in South America much less of a problem than many other parts of the world.


For up-to-date advice you might find the following websites helpful, as well as your GP of course:

If you have any questions about the practicalities of staying healthy in South America, please contact us ? after many years living and running tours here we have plenty of experience and knowledge you can benefit from.


Visa requirements:

These requirements can and do change so it is impossible to keep page up to date for all nationalities - but we do have the latest information on visa requirements for the countries you will visit. Once you have booked your tour with us we will advise you on the latest news and where to obtain the visas you need.


For most nationalities South America is not much of a problem when it comes to visa requirements – most countries will issue most nationalities a free visa immediately at the border, and of those who don’t qualify for this you can usually obtain your visa from that county’s embassy in the preceding country.


We advise that you also check with the embassy of each country well in advance of your departure to find out if you need a visa.


When crossing a land border in the truck authorities usually don’t bother to ask for proof of onward travel – they can see how you’re going to leave! When arriving by air, on the other hand it is very wise to make sure you have proof of onward travel to make sure you make it through passport control at the airport (entry failure at a land border can usually be sorted with a few phonecalls, extra forms, and a little waiting, but at the airport you’ll end up on the next plane home, usually at your expense!). For this reason it is wise, but not essential, to have an onward flight ticket to somewhere outside South America.


We recommend to everyone to keep about US $100 in cash and four passport photos just in case you need to pay for an unforeseen visa application.


The following website is a good place for some basic information:

http://projectvisa.com/


The weather in South America:

During our trip will encounter just about everything from sunny, hot and dry in the Western deserts, to steamy tropical rainforests, but most of the time it will be fairly warm. Summer in Patagonia is much like a British summer ? changeable from sunny to rain. Andean nights are normally cool to cold, with strong sunshine in the day. For more information you could try the following websites:

 
seven lakes river
seven lakes river
condor
condor
chilean fjord
chilean fjord
atacama desert
atacama desert
chan chan
chan chan