The city scape of Santiago in Chile

South America - Useful Info



Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Uraguay all operate on 220v at 50 cycles. Plugs range from US style, 2 flat plugs, European 2 round plugs or Australian style 3 angled plugs. Ecuador use 110v att 60 cycles, with 2 flat plugs (as in the US). Pack a universal adapter and all your bases will be covered.




Please see your doctor or travel clinic for an up to date list of all recommended vaccinations for the regions you will be travelling. In general we recommend that you are vaccinated against Tetanus-diphtheria, polio, hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and if travelling to a jungle area, yellow fever. There is a malarial risk in the Amazon and parts of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, so please check with your health care professional as to the best and most up to date remedy for this mosquito borne disease. It is not recommended that you drink the water in any of the countries we visit. Purchase, boil, filter or use iodine pills to purify the water you drink. This information is intended as a guide only so please contact your local healthcare professional.


We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel.




As South America spans from the Equator to the Polar region, broadly speaking you may encounter anything from the tropical humidity of Ecuador right through to the icy conditions of Tierra Del Fuego and the Antarctic. Additionally, the climate is also affected by your altitude. If you are visiting the Ecuador and Peruvian Andes and/or the Bolivian Altiplano expect things to be chilly with bouts of rain and sun - please pack to cover all manner of conditions. The lower coastal regions of Ecuador and the Galapagos, as well as the Amazon, are more tropical in nature so will be warmer and stickier. The coastal Peruvian towns south of Lima towards Arequipa possess a dry warm climate so are more Mediterranean in feel – however clear nights can still be cold. Summer is from December to February and winter is from June to August.


Please check the BBC's five day weather forecast before travelling to help you pack correctly.


Average Max Temp °C


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 19 19 19


26 27 26 25 22 20 19 19 19 20 22


 La Paz

13 13 13 13 13 12 12 13 14 15 15 14

 Buenos Aires

29 28 26 22 18 14 14 16 18 21 24 28

 Rio de Janeiro

29 30 29 28 26 25 25 26 25 26 27 28


29 29 27 23 18 14 15 17 19 22 26 28


28 28 26 22 18 15 14 15 17 20 23 26



Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available some may not accept all international credit or debit cards. You may need to try at more than one machine if the first does not accept your card. You should also check with your bank before leaving to ensure that your card works internationally. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.


Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Please bring USD banknotes in denominations smaller than 100, as they can be hard to exchange in Ecuador. 100 dollar bills of certain series (e.g. CB B2) can be especially hard to cash! Traveller's Cheques are not recommeded except as an emergency backup due to the very high fees for exchanging them in certain South American countries.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).



Food, glorious food

Standard traveller fare is available throughout the continent and though not innovative, servings for the most part, are generous and you will find it easy to soon have your fill of pasta, pizza or egg dishes.


Of course there are exceptions. Cuzco, possibly due to its large international population, has some establishments which are worth the hunt. Wander the cobbled alleys and you may stumble across some excellent and new-modern food more reminiscent of the western café than the Peruvian Andes.


Each Country has it’s specialty – Argentina its beef and spicy pasty like pillows known as empanadas, Peru and Ecuador, with it’s proximity to the coast, it’s seafood and of course Peru has it ubiquitous though questionable speciality of cuy (guinea pig).


If vegetarian, the choice will be small and limited; perhaps tomato based pasta or cheese empanadas. In many tourist centres, a Chinese Restaurant may be on hand and probably the best place for you to find the largest range of dishes without meat.




Though international brands are available, they are more expensive than the locally produced beer. Each region within each country produces their own brand, so there are many excellent varieties to choose from. Wine is also produced in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Chile and Argentina are world renowned for their vineyards and a glass of your favourite variety is inexpensive and usually excellent. Peru’s vineyards, though not as high-quality, are easily drinkable, though it may be hit and miss with Bolvia’s highest vineyards in the world. Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia all have their own form of firewater – approach with care, the fermentation process, together with the actual ingredients may be more than what you had bargained for.




  • Argentina - GMT +3hrs
  • Bolivia - GMT +4hrs
  • Brazil (Rio) - 3 hrs (GMT - 2hrs in Summer)
  • Chile - GMT +4hrs (GMT +3hrs in Summer)
  • Ecuador - GMT +5hrs
  • Peru - GMT +5hrs
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