THE ALTITUDE EFFECT ME?
Altitude sickness is a
non-discriminatory problem which generally
doesn't affect the healthy. However, if you are
affected, you will feel nauseous and have
headaches; you are advised to relax, and not to
wrestle with your luggage or undergo undue
exertion. In most of the high altitude areas
frequented by tourists, hotels have oxygen and
medication is available. Remember also that
radiation from the sun is more intense in the
unpolluted and rarified atmosphere of high
altitudes. As a last resort there are excellent
clinics in most centres throughout South America.
Insurance is strongly recommended.
English is not widely
spoken in South America; Spanish is the official
language of the majority of the countries in
South America, with Portuguese the official
language of Brazil. We suggest you obtain a small
phrase book or dictionary in both Portuguese and
Spanish, and also recommend that, if you are
planning to undertake a sojourn in South America,
you book yourself into a Spanish language course
or borrow language tapes from the local library.
With a little bit of preparation and a few
Spanish words you can go a long way. Often, it is
these little things that make the difference
between a good holiday and a great experience.
For further information, please call your travel
agent or Destination Holidays.
Meals included are
specified in the itineraries as follows:-
B = Breakfast, L =
Lunch, D = Dinner
Meals marked with
asterisks (*) indicate meals in flight. All meals
indicated are subject to change without notice. One of the better reasons for
visiting South America are that continent's gastronomic qualities: contrary to
popular perception, South America is not hot
bubbly Mexican style food, your basic fare is
steak, chips and salad. However, although
regional dishes vary greatly from country to
country, meals in better restaurants are based on
international cuisine adapted to South American
tastes. Dining here is an interesting
Remember the main meal of
the day is usually lunch, and quite often dinner
is not begun until late in the evening. When
ordering drinks in a lot of these countries,
locally produced whiskeys, rums and brandys in
most areas are very good and about a quarter the
price of their extremely expensive imported
counterparts. Countries such as Argentina, Chile,
Peru and Brazil have excellent national wines.
Great beers are available and don't forget to try
the local favourites in each country: Caiparinga
in Brazil, Pisco Sours in Chile and Peru, Shoofly
in Bolivia, and Aguardiente in Ecuador and
Colombia, You won't forget the power of some of
these in a hurry.
WHAT ABOUT TIPPING?
You are visiting the America's (South and
North) - two continents where tipping is a way of life. Waiter's
chambermaids and others in the tourist/hospitality industry are
paid minimum wages as it is expected their income will be
subsidised by tips. It is normal practice to tip 10-15% in
restaurants in the United States or Mexico. In most South
American countries, the service charge is added to the bill; so
it is only necessary to leave the small change, however, please
check your bill prior to paying.
Note: In some countries in South America
the price on the menu does not include a service fee of up to
16% or Government Taxes of up to 24%, so be prepared for the
The current varies from
country to country, so we suggest you obtain dual
voltage hairdryers and shavers if you require
them. Basically Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia,
Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela have 110V AC whilst
most others have 220V AC. However, always check
before using any appliance. If unsure, set
voltage to 240 and avoid burnouts.
WISHING TO SHARE
We will do our best to
match single persons prepared to share with
another tour member. However, if at 45 days prior
to departure we are unable to find another person
of the same sex wishing to share, you may be
required to pay a single room supplement.
A wise precaution is to
carry a record of your passport number and the
numbers of your travellers cheques, in some place
quite apart from your tickets, documents and
money. For a couple it is a good idea for each to
carry the other's records.
As in most Third World
countries where there is a large difference
between the lifestyles of the rich and the poor,
one tends to find the pickpocket syndrome
prevalent; these precautions could avoid a lot of
problems in case of loss or theft.
South America is a mecca
for bargain hunters. Leather goods, gold and
silver work and precious stones are perhaps the
best buys. Bartering in large department stores
is normally not acceptable, but one should
certainly bargain in the smaller shops and
stalls. Match the seller's ridiculously high
price with your ridiculously low price and then
haggle a compromise.
Peru and Bolivia are well
known for Alpaca rugs, sweaters and blankets and
handicrafts of all kinds, just as Ecuador and
Guatemala are known for their colourful textiles.
For these purchases you can use US dollars or
local currency (often dollars will give you an
advantage). Do not expect to use personal
cheques; credit cards will only be accepted in
larger cities and better stores.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAXES
from the mandatory Airport Taxes not already collected on
ticket. In South America it is common for even domestic air
sectors to impose Airport Departure Tax and some need to be
paid locally for the airport departure tax, for both domestic
and international departure. EG: Peru, Bolivia & some in
Argentina to name a few. It is recommended that for this
reason you hold on to some local currency prior to your
flight, in most cases US dollars will also be accepted,
however, you may not received the best exchange rate. If on a
tour your local tour host should advise you upon arrival of
the Departure Tax amount and to hold this aside for your
departure, and in the currency required.
These warrant some special
advice with regard to things to take. Wear
long-sleeved light coloured clothing with
athletic shoes and socks. Remember to tuck pants
into socks. Take a plastic raincoat/poncho,
swimming costume, binoculars, small flashlight,
camera and dark glasses. During your visit to the
jungle it is advisable to carry a small overnight
bag having stored your big luggage at the hotel.
Insect repellent will keep the bugs away and
carrying your own favourite liquor will ensure
that you have it in case it is not available at
Carry a good supply of film
as it may not be available. The film and your
camera should be inspected manually at security
checks, as x-ray equipment may damage the film.
At high altitudes, in the Andes, there are more
ultra-violet rays which are not read by your
light meter. As a result your pictures are likely
to be overexposed and you should compensate for
this by setting your camera lens or using
appropriate UV filters.
This site is designed so
you can get the best out of this unique
continent. You select the modules that you want,
but bear in mind that air schedules in some areas
are not frequent, which may mean slight
alterations to the proposed travel plans. If what
you require is not covered on this site or you
have your own ideas, please call your local
travel agent or Destination Holidays for hints
and ideas, as it is a good chance that we have
been there and done it before and can offer the
best advice for your situation.
Before you leave home be
sure to photocopy airline tickets, passport
identification pages, credit cards and other
identification which are being taken with you.
Leave one set at home with a relative/friend; and
do the same with travellers cheques serial
numbers. Leave a detailed itinerary of where to
address mail and for those who may wish to get in
touch with you. Pay current bills and arrange for
payment of those falling due while you are away.
Take security precautions to protect your home:
advise the Post Office what to do with mail,
cancel daily newspaper deliveries, turn off gas
pilots, unplug TV and electrical appliances and
possibly utilise a time switch on certain lights
in the house. Leave some old washing on the line.
Advise Police/Neighbourhood Watch and your