South America is a continent of vast expanse, resources and natural beauty. South America is a continent of superlatives: the biggest rainforest, the second longest river, the highest mountain range in the Western Hemisphere, tropics and ice, the world’s tallest waterfall and islands as remote and mysterious as any in the world.
A trip to the countries of South America remains the trip of a lifetime, a journey that will certainly rival any other. Whether to the high plateaus and ruins of Peru, the natural wonders of the Galapagos, or the icy landscapes of Patagonia, soft adventure travelers will never lack for a new holiday here. The ruins of ancient civilizations sit scattered among the jungles and islands of South America, and modern day cities rich in culture and architecture are juxtaposed.
The flora and fauna of the great Amazon jungle is richer than that of Africa, and many plants and animals remain uncatalogued. For those of a more urban inclination the great colonial cities and modern metropolises of South America rival those of Europe.
Best Time to Go
South America are opposite of North America’s season so when it’s summer in North America it’s winter is South America.
Peru – year-round is good.
Argentina – For skiers June-August are great – Summer is from December to March
Brazil – December to February
Chile – December to March
Passport, visa and proof of onward passage and/or sufficient funds are required of Canadian and U.S. citizens. There is a departure tax of about R$90 that is normally included in your air ticket. If not, you pay the departure tax (in U.S. dollars or reals) when you check in at the airport. The Brazilian government usually awards a three-month tourist visa. It is renewable for another three months at the Policia Federal office located on the third floor of Terminal 1 at the Antonio Jobim International Airport.
All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico
A yellow-fever vaccination certificate is recommended if you want to visit the Amazon region and required for travelers entering Brazil from other South American countries with Amazon territories, as well as certain African nations.
Only a passport and proof of onward passage are required of citizens of Canada, the U.K., Australia and the U.S. for visits of up to three months. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.
All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico.
For more country requirements contact one of our Cruise Specialists
All South American countries, with the exception of Ecuador have their own currency.
CLICK HERE to see the currencies by country.
Do’s & Don’ts
Some large shops such as grocery stores may accept US dollars or Euros however the exchange rate will not be favorable. It is best to travel with a combination of either US dollars or Euros, a credit card for emergencies and your bank card. Travelers’ cheques can be quite hard to exchange and generally the exchange rate is much less than for cash. The bills/notes that you bring of foreign currency to exchange should be in very good condition without even slight rips or tears and not old nor faded. Peru is particularly picky in regards to this point.
Do dress to blend in with the locals. You may be on vacation, but the thieves are not. The more you blend in, the better. Do not wear that new Brazilian national soccer shirt you just bought. Save it for the post-trip homecoming party, and never wear anything around your neck.
Do make a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport and carry that instead of the original document. Leave the original in the hotel safe.
Do not assume that because Paulistanos are reveling with abandon during Carnival that you should, too. You certainly will be asked to join in the madness, but be aware that plenty of pickpockets and thieves are also doing the same thing.
Do try the local food and beverages. Brazil is a great place to eat and drink. But if you want local ambience, don’t go to dinner too early. Brazilians don’t eat dinner until around 9 pm.
Don’t arrive on time for dates or informal social gatherings. If you arrive at a house party at the appointed hour, the hosts will still be in the shower or putting on makeup.
Don’t take your sartorial clues from the natives. Paulistanos may dress very casually and without seeming concern for modesty, but following suit will only subject you to unwanted scrutiny.
Do take a gift if you are invited to an Argentine’s home for dinner, and do dress nicely—shorts are never appropriate (unless you are a college student). In clothes-conscious Buenos Aires, they’re not a good idea on the street, either. Sandals are definitely out.
Do remember that grand churches are more than museums. Although women no longer have to cover their heads or even shoulders, it’s still polite to be conservative in dress.
Don’t talk about international political matters. It’s not a good topic in the best of circumstances, and many Argentines still resent the U.S. government’s lukewarm support for their country after the 2001 economic collapse.
Do pamper yourself in a peluqueria (beauty salon). Their services are cheap and fabulous.
Don’t order wine from any other country when in Argentina (unless in a fine French restaurant). Argentine wine may not be the world’s finest, but you will be told—unceasingly—that it is.
Do feel free to sit and people-watch in cafes after you’ve finished your coffee. This is a time-honored custom in Buenos Aires, and servers expect it.