Document Sample
Pre-departure information
Advice by region
We recommend you read the full dossier.
However you may find useful the following
index, listing all pages with reference to
particular countries and regions:

Amazon basin             7, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25   Galápagos       7, 11, 18, 21, 26

Argentina                 6, 8, 10, 19, 27, 31   Guatemala          8, 11, 21, 34

Belize                            7, 8, 19, 34   Guianas         7, 11, 21, 24, 29

Bolivia                  8, 10, 12, 13, 19, 32   Honduras               8, 11, 21

Brazil                      8, 10, 19, 25, 32    Mexico                 8, 21, 34

Central America 7, 11, 14, 19, 20, 21, 34        Nicaragua        7, 8, 11, 21, 34

Chile                           8, 20, 27, 32    Panama               7, 8, 11, 21

Colombia                8, 10, 13, 15, 20, 33    Paraguay               8, 11, 24

Costa Rica                        7, 8, 11, 20   Patagonia     19, 20, 25, 27, 32

Cuba          6, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 28, 29, 33   Peru        8, 11, 12, 18, 24, 35

Ecuador                      8, 11, 12, 13, 20   Uruguay                    8, 24

El Salvador                         8, 11, 21    USA                     4, 6, 29

Falklands                                   8    Venezuela   8, 11, 14, 15, 24, 33

1     Flights                             4    4    Tipping                  17

1.1   Advance Passenger Information (APIS) 4
                                               5    Climate                  19
1.2 Seating                               4
1.3 Online Check-in                       4    5.1 Climate Guide             22
1.4 Luggage                               4    6    What to Take             25
1.5 Luggage Transfers                     5
                                               6.1 Clothing – General        25
1.6 Document Checklist                    5
                                               6.2 Amazon and Mato Grosso/
1.7 Airport Security                      5
                                                   Pantanal Trips            25
1.8 Airport Transfers                     6
                                               6.3 Galápagos Islands         26
1.9 Baggage Allowances                    6
                                               6.4 Trekking                  27
1.10 Delayed Baggage                      7
                                               6.5 Camping                   28
1.11 Reconfirming Flights                 8
1.12 Airport Taxes                        8    7    Useful Information       28

2     Health and Vaccinations             9    8    Visas                    29

2.1 General Health                        9
                                               9    Sustainable Tourism      30
2.2 Vaccinations and Inoculations         9
2.3 Yellow Fever                         10    10   Recommended Reading      31
2.4 Malaria                              11
                                               Guidebooks and maps           37
2.5 Dengue Fever                         12
2.6 Altitude Sickness                    12    Disclaimer                    38
2.7 Traveller’s Diarrhoea                12
2.8 General                              12

3     Money                              13

3.1 Cash                                 13
3.2 Credit and Debit Cards               13
3.3 Local Currency                       14
3.4 Travellers’ Cheques                  14
3.5 Money Advice by Country              15
3.6 Cost of Living                       16
1. Flights                                            Providing your APIS should not be confused with          Otherwise, as well as having the inconvenience       • Airline tickets/e-ticket receipts. Although it is
                                                      applying for a visa. You will still need to follow the   of carrying around a couple of plastic bags full       not strictly necessary to take copies of e-ticket
                                                      entry rules for every country you visit, as well as      of articles acquired en route, you are also more       receipts, you may wish to do so for peace of
Whilst the majority of flight arrangements run        any customs and passport control regulations.            vulnerable to theft.                                   mind in case of any problems.
smoothly, inevitably some clients will encounter                                                               We recommend a sturdy suitcase, or soft-sided        • Hotel/service vouchers and final itinerary (for
problems. All clients should be prepared for          1.2 Seating                                              resilient backpack/holdall (depending upon the         bespoke itineraries or tailor-made extensions
the possibility of delays, cancellations or                                                                    nature of your trip). You will also need a daypack     to escorted group tours these are usually given
rescheduling and the resulting necessity to           Most US carriers flying to Latin America
                                                                                                               (which should be taken as hand luggage if it falls     during the initial transfer service in each area)
reorganise their itinerary.                           (American Airlines, Continental Airlines and
                                                                                                               within the permitted dimensions). You will not       • Cash and travellers’ cheques (US$ – except
                                                      United Airlines) allow you to reserve seats when
Please be sure to check flight details on your                                                                 need a clean set of clothes for every day of the       Cuba). (Please refer to Travellers’ Cheques
                                                      buying your ticket. However, only a few European
ticket, and be at the airport at least two hours                                                               trip as all good hotels have laundry facilities.       section – 3.4)
                                                      carriers currently offer this facility. In the event
before departure, both on outward and inbound                                                                  It is useful to have luggage that can be locked,
                                                      that your carrier does permit seat reservation,                                                               • Credit/debit cards. (Please see Credit Cards
international flights.                                                                                         however see section 1.7 if you are travelling via
                                                      you can choose your seat online with your name                                                                  section – 3.2)
On all routes requiring a flight change within the                                                             the USA.
                                                      and booking locator (we can supply you with this                                                              • Insurance documents
USA, you will be expected to pick up or identify      if you bought your flights through us).
your luggage and clear customs without leaving                                                                 1.5 Luggage Transfers                                • Passport plus a photocopy of the pages of your
                                                      For health and safety reasons, passengers                                                                       passport containing personal information, and
the airport or re-checking in. This applies even      cannot reserve emergency exit seats in advance.          If any of your flights involve a change of plane,      any relevant visas
when your luggage has been checked through to         However, you can usually make a special request          there is always the possibility that you and your
your final destination.                                                                                                                                             • Vaccination certificates. (Please refer to Health
                                                      for these seats at the time of check-in/when             checked luggage will arrive separately. See
If for any reason you miss a connection, even if                                                                                                                      and Vaccinations section – 2)
                                                      boarding the flight.                                     ‘Delayed Baggage’ for what to do if your baggage
it’s not your fault, be careful to check that the                                                              arrives late.                                        We strongly recommend that items you
airline has not treated you as a no-show. If they     1.3 Online Check-in                                                                                           cannot afford to lose be kept in a money belt
                                                                                                               Try to use distinctive baggage that will be easier
do, it will mean that all your onward connections                                                                                                                   – worn inside your clothing.
                                                      Increasingly airlines are providing passengers           to describe if it goes astray, and label your bags
will be automatically cancelled. This can happen                                                                                                                    Please keep separately any travellers’
                                                      with an online check-in facility on their websites,      clearly with your name and hotel destination.
even if the airline has cancelled the flight you                                                                                                                    cheques purchase slips, a copy of the
                                                      whereby you can print off your boarding card in          If you are moving fairly quickly on to your next
were originally booked on (rather than your                                                                                                                         relevant pages of your passport, and
                                                      advance and go to the fast-drop baggage facility         port of call add this information to the luggage
missing it).                                                                                                                                                        a copy of any relevant visas.
                                                      at the airport, whether at point of departure in         label. Place a duplicate label inside each piece
1.1 Advance Passenger Information (APIS)              the UK or when you are returning from Latin              of luggage.                                          1.7 Airport Security
                                                      America. This facility is usually available either       Pack strategically by carrying some essentials
Many countries (including the US and most EU          30 or 24 hours before departure time and may             as part of your hand luggage:                        Security arrangements at both domestic and
states) now oblige all airlines to transmit ad-       save you standing in interminable queues. You            Household and car keys (including electric           international airports have increased greatly
ditional information about passengers prior to        will need your name, e-ticket number and/                key fob), travel documents including passport,       in recent years. It is strictly prohibited to carry
the departure of flights. This ‘Advance Passenger     or reservation locator code, depending on the            itinerary and any important contact details,         any sharp objects such as penknives, scissors,
Information’ (known in the US as ‘Secure Flight       airline.                                                 essential medicines for the journey, wallets         syringes or needles in your hand luggage – they
Passenger Data’) essentially consists of your                                                                  or purses with money and credit cards, any           should instead be packed in your main suitcase.
passport details, which we must provide to the        1.4 Luggage                                              regular medication you may take and one full         Currently, it is prohibited to carry any liquids,
airline before we are able to issue your e-tickets.                                                            change of clothing.                                  creams or gels in containers of more than
                                                      Baggage handling in Latin America is neither
                                                                                                                                                                    100ml in size in your hand luggage. Lighters
                                                      worse nor better than anywhere else in the               1.6 Document Checklist
Passengers who refuse to supply APIS will be                                                                                                                        and matches are also prohibited.
                                                      world. Remember that you will probably
refused boarding.                                     accumulate luggage as you travel. Accordingly,                                                                For the latest information on hand luggage
                                                                                                               Check you have the following in your hand
                                                      it is best to pack light, and with spare capacity.       luggage before departure:                            restrictions please check the Department

4                                                                                                                                                                                                                         5
for Transport website                 you. Don’t volunteer your name until your contact     planes with fewer than twenty seats often have          charged per pound of checked luggage above the
transportforyou/airtravel/airportsecurity             announces it. In that way you can be sure that        a limit as low as 5kg. This is particularly likely to   25lbs. Our local suppliers will store the excess
If you have a padlock on your bag, be aware that      you are being met by the correct person.              be the case on flights into small airports in the       luggage while you are on portions of the trip that
at airport security (when changing planes or in       On arrival in Cuba at Havana International            Amazon basin and to some of the jungle lodges           involve flights or boats.
transit, especially via the USA) your bag may be      Airport, you’ll be met by a representative from       in Central America.
opened and your padlock destroyed. Plastic cable      a state-owned company called ‘Havanatur’.             Please see below for destinations where luggage
ties are a good alternative, but think about how      There is a possibility that the representative        capacity can be reduced, owing to the size of           Domestically within Panama, passengers are
you will open it at the other end, when you can’t     will be assisting other passengers who have           aircraft used for domestic flights:                     permitted to carry one piece of hand luggage of
carry scissors or even nail-clippers in your hand     arrived from your flight or at the company                                                                    4.5kg (10lb) and no more than 11.3kg (25lb) in
luggage.                                              desk. Look for a board displaying the company                                                                 the hold. Passengers are charged US$1.00 per
If you buy alcohol (duty free or otherwise) at your   name (Havanatur) as opposed to Journey Latin          Passengers are permitted to carry one piece             extra pound of checked luggage above the 25lbs.
departure airport, there’s a high chance that it      America, or indeed your own name. You will find       of hand luggage and two pieces in the hold              Our local suppliers will store the excess luggage
will be confiscated if you’re changing planes         the desk located in the main terminal building.       of up to 16kg (35lb) per piece. Any carry-on            while you are on portions of the trip that involve
(transiting) in Europe or the USA. They won’t tell    If you are going to be met at the airport in Latin    luggage should be no more than 13½kg (30lb)             flights or boats.
you this in Latin America when you buy it!            America, by a tour leader or private transfer,        and no greater in size than 158cm (d) x 76cm            The charges for excess weight can be
                                                      remember that you might not be instantly              (w) x 38cm (h). Excess and oversized baggage            substantial, so please make sure that you
1.8 Airport Transfers                                 recognisable. Please try to have the Journey          is evaluated, charged and shipped on a space-           are aware of baggage allowances before you
                                                      Latin America baggage labels clearly visible on       available basis.                                        travel. See airlines’ websites for information
If you are travelling on an escorted group tour
                                                      your luggage.                                                                                                 on large or unusual baggage.
and you are due to arrive on a transatlantic flight                                                         Costa Rica
at the destination airport on the first day of your   1.9 Baggage Allowances                                                                                        1.10 Delayed Baggage
group itinerary, you will be met at the airport in                                                          For internal flights within Costa Rica, baggage
Latin America by your tour leader or a Journey        Baggage allowances vary from one carrier to           is restricted to 25lb (11.3kg). Our local               If your baggage has been delayed, we advise
Latin America representative.                         another – please refer to your final documents        representatives will store the excess luggage           you to fill in the appropriate ‘baggage irregularity
                                                      for allowances on your individual flights.            while you are on portions of the trip that              form’ with the airline responsible. There are
It is your own responsibility to make your way to
                                                                                                            involve flights.                                        specific airline computer codes to describe all
your outbound departure airport (e.g. from the        ‘Checked’ baggage means luggage which is
UK), make connections as required and seek out        carried in the hold. ‘Hand’ baggage is what you       Galápagos Islands                                       types of baggage, and visual-aid sheets to assist.
our representative upon arrival. He/she will either   carry onto the plane with you.                                                                                Give as much information as you can and ask
be holding up a Journey Latin America brochure                                                              Maximum checked luggage allowance                       them to be as specific as possible about which
                                                      Infants have no baggage allowance, but parents
or a card with your name or that of the tour.                                                               for the flight to the Galápagos is 20kg                 flight your bags are/will be on. Try to get them to
                                                      are allowed to carry reasonable accoutrements
                                                                                                            (one suitcase/bag).                                     give you a printout of the entries they make in the
If you have made your own flight arrangements,        for the baby, free of charge. Children (aged
are a group tour client arriving on any day other     2-11 years inclusive) have full adult baggage         Guyana
than the first day of the Latin American itinerary    allowance.                                                                                                    Regrettably, tour operators such as ourselves
                                                                                                            Checked baggage on domestic flights is                  have very little influence over the behaviour of
or if you are on a bespoke itinerary, you may have    Club and First Class passengers have a higher         restricted to 9kg, so it is better to pack light.       airlines, and are usually unable to speed up the
booked a private transfer and will be met by a        baggage allowance than Economy Class, usually         Our local representatives can store the excess          process of getting your luggage returned to you.
Journey Latin America ground agent. In this case      at least 30kg in total.                               luggage while you are on portions of the trip that      If you are ultra-cautious, you might consider
you should look out for a card bearing the name
                                                      As a very general rule, most international carriers   involve flights.                                        making a list in advance of everything in your
of Journey Latin America and the agency liaising
                                                      – as well as domestic carriers in Latin America                                                               bags (including colour, make, size and value of
with you. The agent’s name will be printed on                                                               Nicaragua
                                                      – allow on average around 23kg in Economy                                                                     clothes) – it will save you a lot of time if you have
your Journey Latin America final itinerary.
                                                      Class, for both internal and international flights.   Passengers on domestic flights are permitted            to claim on insurance.
If no-one comes up to you immediately, please         Aerolíneas Argentinas only permit 15kg hold           to carry one piece of hand luggage and no more
wait near the Customs exit for somebody to find       luggage on domestic flights. Airlines operating       than 11.3kg (25lb) in the hold. Passengers are

6                                                                                                                                                                                                                       7
                                                       If not already paid at ticket issuance              has been included in the price you pay. For                All the inoculations/vaccinations you will need
1.11 Reconfirming Flights                              (and depends on the airline)                        more information, visit the HM Revenue and                 (with the common exception of yellow fever),
                                                                                                           Customs website:                           are available from your local GP or from a travel
If you are making your own flight/transfer             Falkland Islands                         £22.00
                                                                                                           Please note that all the above figures may be              clinic (these centres will make a charge).
arrangements (i.e. you haven’t booked them             Guatemala                                 $3.00                                                                Your GP will normally require notice to acquire
                                                                                                           subject to change during the life of this dossier.
through us), we recommend reconfirming flight          Honduras                                 $37.00                                                                them. In the UK, GPs usually refer to
times and itineraries in case of any airline                                                                                                                
schedule changes. If in doubt, contact our             Mexico                           $18.00-$29.00
                                                       Depending upon airport (usually included for                                                                   Yellow fever vaccinations are available at yellow
local representatives.
                                                       flights departing from Mexico City Airport)                                                                    fever vaccination clinics and occasionally at GPs’
1.12 Airport Taxes                                                                                         2. Health and Vaccinations                                 surgeries. There often appears to be a shortage
                                                       Nicaragua                                $35.00                                                                of the yellow fever vaccine, so you should guard
In Latin America, airport taxes are sometimes not      If not already paid at ticket issuance                                                                         against this by having the vaccination as early as
included in the ticket price. Airport taxes are, in    (and depends on the airline)                                                                                   possible before travelling. The charge does vary
                                                                                                           2.1 General Health
effect, a tax for the privilege of using the airport   Panama                                   $20.00                                                                but on average costs about £45.
(usually when your flight departs) and as such         If not already paid at ticket issuance              General safety and sanitary standards in Latin             The following travel clinics provide inoculation
they often have to be paid there.                      (and depends on the airline)                        America are often not as high as those in                  services as well as advice on healthcare whilst
International airport taxes can usually be paid in                                                         Europe. Public health facilities are available,            abroad. Please call to make an appointment.
                                                       Paraguay                                 $31.00
either local currency or US$. Credit cards are not                                                         but these are often only rudimentary. In most
                                                                                                                                                                      Nomad Travel Clinics: Full details can be found
generally accepted for paying either domestic          Peru                                     $30.25     countries, private facilities are both modern
or international airport taxes. Make sure you          Uruguay                                  $35.00     and of an excellent standard, and many private
leave sufficient US$ or local currency in cash.                                                            doctors have had training in Europe or the United
                                                       Venezuela                                $51.16                                                                MASTA Travel Clinics: For details of all
The table below lists international airport taxes                                                          States. It is therefore essential that you take
                                                       If not already paid at ticket issuance                                                                         MASTA Travel Clinics look at their website
payable as of February 2011. (Please note that                                                             out comprehensive health insurance so you can
                                                       (and depends on the airline)                        make use of private health care.                 , or email
these do fluctuate quite frequently).
International airport taxes in US$: collected                                                              In isolated places, there are few facilities of any
                                                       Domestic Airport Taxes                                                                                         For the latest information on endemic diseases,
locally:-                                                                                                  kind, and if you are going to travel off the beaten
                                                       Taxes for internal flights generally have to be     track, you should take with you a well-equipped            like malaria, dengue fever and vaccination
Argentina                     Included in ticket       paid in local currency. Domestic airport taxes      first-aid kit. Virtually all first-aid posts, surgeries,   requirements for Latin America you can check
                                                       usually range between US$3 and US$10, though        health centres and hospitals now use only                  the NHS Fit for Travel website: www.fitfortravel.
Belize                                    $35.00
                                                       they can occasionally be more expensive.            disposable needles which the staff will unwrap in or the websites of the National Travel
Bolivia                                   $24.00                                                                                                                      Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) at:
                                                       Domestic taxes are generally payable either upon    front of you, so it is not necessary to come armed
Brazil                        Included in ticket       checking-in (e.g. Brazil) or post checking-in at    with these.                                      
Chile                         Included in ticket       a separate airport tax kiosk (e.g. Peru, Bolivia,   Pharmacies in Latin America are well stocked               Period of validity of recommended vaccines
                                                       Venezuela and Argentina). In some cases the         and most products (even antibiotics) can be                • Yellow fever 10 years
Colombia                                  $34.00
                                                       tax is payable prior to checking-in at a separate   bought over the counter. Check the validity dates          • Typhoid 3 years
Costa Rica                                $26.00       kiosk – check with others in the queue. As proof    on the packaging.                                          • Hepatitis A 10–20 years
Cuba                                      $25.00       of payment you will usually be given a sticker or
                                                       receipt that will be checked when entering the      2.2 Vaccinations and Inoculations                            (depending on the vaccine)
(Payable in pesos convertibles only)
                                                       departure area.                                                                                                • Polio 10 years
Ecuador                                   $40.80                                                           There’s an important distinction between a
                                                       For passengers departing from the UK, the                                                                      • Tetanus 10 years
($27.75 from Guayaquil)                                                                                    recommendation (advice) and a requirement
                                                       government-imposed Air Passenger Duty for                                                                      Always carry with you your International
El Salvador                               $34.86                                                           (you may be refused entry to the country without
                                                       intercontinental flights is collected by us and                                                                Certificate of Vaccination, signed by a doctor
                                                                                                           proof of inoculation).

8                                                                                                                                                                                                                         9
and validated with an official stamp, as you may      Uyuni salt flats, is not affected.                     Amazonia – vaccinations are recommended for             yellow fever transmission.
be required by local health authorities to prove      The Bolivian authorities require that all travellers   travellers to these regions. This does not apply to
that you have been inoculated against yellow          from Brazil or Paraguay, as well as those              cities such as Bogotá, Cali or Medellín.
fever.                                                intending to travel to the risk areas above, show                                                              There is a risk of yellow fever in areas east of the
British GPs are now routinely recommending            valid yellow fever vaccination certificates.                                                                   Andes Mountains and jungle areas below 2,300m
inoculation against hepatitis B (if you are in a                                                             Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for             (Chachapoyas, Iquitos, Tambopata). This does
high-risk group) and rabies (if you are likely to                                                            those intending to travel in the Amazon Basin           not include the city of Cusco, nor Machu Picchu,
be more than 24 hours’ travel away from medical       If you have recently visited a country which is        provinces of Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana,           even though the latter is at about 2,000m. If you
attention).                                           known to suffer from outbreaks of yellow fever,        Pastaza, Sucumbios and Zamora-Chinchipe, and            plan to travel from Peru to other countries in
                                                      you are required to show that you have been            all other areas east of the Andes. This does not        South America, these may require you to show
2.3 Yellow Fever                                                                                             include the cities of Quito and Guayaquil or the        evidence of a valid yellow fever vaccination.
                                                      vaccinated against the disease.
                                                                                                             Galápagos Islands.
You should take precautions at all times against      Travellers are strongly urged to get the yellow                                                                Venezuela
being bitten by mosquitoes. The best widely           fever vaccine before travelling to an area of Brazil   Guianas
available insect repellent (in the UK) is the         with risk of yellow fever transmission, including:                                                             A yellow fever vaccination certificate is not a
Jungle Formula range. The effectiveness of            Acre, Amazonas (Manaus), Amapá, Distrito               Guyana and Suriname: vaccination against                requirement to enter Venezuela, but there have
repellents depends on the percentage of diethyl       Federal (Brasilia), Goiás, Maranhão (São Luís),        yellow fever is strongly recommended for those          been cases where officials have illegally fined
toluamide (deet), the active ingredient. If you       Minas Gerais (Ouro Preto, Belo Horizonte), Mato        passengers visiting any area outside of the             travellers who have been unable to produce such
prefer something natural, Mosiguard can be            Grosso do Sul (Pantanal), Mato Grosso, Pará            narrow coastal strip. A yellow fever vaccination        a certificate. Some airlines travelling to Venezuela
effective. Many other brands, e.g. Boots’ own or      (Belém), Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins.                 certificate is required from visitors arriving from     will insist you have a yellow fever vaccination be-
Autan, have only 10-15% deet and are therefore                                                               countries deemed to present a risk of yellow            fore boarding the plane unless you can produce
                                                      Vaccination against yellow fever is also
not very effective. Some repellents have up to a                                                             fever transmission including Belize, but with           your vaccination certificate. We therefore recom-
                                                      recommended for travellers when visiting rural
95% concentration – this is very powerful and                                                                the exception of Trinidad and Tobago, Paraguay          mend vaccination before travel to Venezuela.
                                                      areas in the states of Bahia, Espírito Santo,
should not be used for long periods. It also has a                                                           and Argentina. French Guiana: a yellow fever
                                                      Paraná, Piauí, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina
deleterious effect on leather, plastics and Lycra.                                                           vaccination certificate is required from all            There have also been cases of yellow fever in
                                                      and São Paulo. This does not apply to the cities
                                                                                                             visitors.                                               all areas except the northern coastal region,
Argentina                                             of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza
                                                      or Recife. Vaccination is recommended if visiting      Panama                                                  Margarita Island, and the cities of Caracas and
The yellow fever vaccination is recommended           Iguaçu Falls.                                                                                                  Valencia. Many countries in the region, such as
for those travelling to the regions of Argentina                                                             There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in         Brazil, require those arriving from Venezuela to
                                                      Vaccination must take place at least 10
bordering Paraguay and Brazil in the provinces                                                               the provinces of Comarca Emberá, Darien and             have proof of a yellow fever vaccination.
                                                      days prior to the date of entry to Brazil for
of Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Salta province                                                                Kuna Yala, and in eastern Panama. This does not
                                                      the certificate to become valid. There are                                                                     Central America, excluding Panama
and to all areas of Misiones province, including                                                             include Panama City and the Canal Zone. Visitors
                                                      inconsistencies in Brazil’s own advice, depending
Iguazú Falls.                                                                                                should seek specialist advice about the need for
                                                      which country you live in, but here’s what their                                                               There is no risk of yellow fever in the Central
                                                                                                             a yellow fever vaccine if travelling to these areas.
Bolivia                                               UK site says:                                                                       American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El
                                                      visasvaccinations.html                                 A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if
                                                                                                                                                                     Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Foreigners entering areas which have been                                                                    arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever
                                                                                                                                                                     Travellers arriving from countries with a risk of
                                                      Colombia                                               transmission.
designated ‘high risk’ for yellow fever require a                                                                                                                    yellow fever transmission are required to have a
valid yellow fever certificate. These areas include   There is a risk of yellow fever transmission for       Paraguay                                                current international certificate of vaccination for
all of the lowland regions of Santa Cruz, Pando       visitors travelling to the middle valley of the                                                                yellow fever.
and Beni, and much of Cochabamba, Tarija and          Magdalena river; eastern and western foothills         A yellow fever inoculation is recommended
northern La Paz departments. The highland                                                                    if you intend to travel to Paraguay. A yellow           2.4 Malaria
                                                      of the Cordillera Oriental; Uraba; foothills of the
region of the country, including the cities of La     Sierra Nevada; eastern plains (Orinoquía) and          fever vaccination certificate is required from all
                                                                                                             travellers arriving from countries with a risk of       Malaria is passed by mosquitoes; you should take
Paz, Potosí and Oruro, Lake Titicaca and the

10                                                                                                                                                                                                                      11
extra precautions against being bitten (see 2.3).     prolonged, you must descend to a lower altitude.      Mineral water is available at most jungle lodges       bills in circulation in South America, especially
If you are travelling to coastal and jungle regions   Acetazolamide (commonly known as Diamox)              that we book. It is important to ensure that           in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. There have even
within the tropics, you may enter infected zones      can be used to treat altitude sickness and is         you have a high intake of liquids in tropical and      been (very rare) cases when banks have issued
and should take an appropriate preventative           obtainable locally. Previous clients have found       semi-tropical regions. You should also be aware        forgeries to customers. It is extremely difficult
measure. Which antimalarials to take depends on       this to be helpful.                                   of the fact that the sun is much stronger than at      to spot a forged bill, but you should be aware
a number of variables, such as current illnesses      The thin, dry air at altitude also exposes            temperate latitudes and sunstroke is a danger.         that they may be slightly discoloured, printed
and medication, previous illnesses, pregnancy,        travellers to the risk of sunburn, skin cracking,     Avoid midday sun on tropical beaches, especially       on inferior paper or lacking a watermark. $100
previous travel and duration of intended stay,        sore eyes and bunged-up noses. Wear a hat in          in the summer. Take plenty of high-factor              bills are not accepted in Colombia and those
so seek advice from your GP or health centre          direct sunlight and use high factor sun cream         sunscreen lotion and sun block.                        whose serial number begins with CB are routinely
before travelling.                                    (minimum sun protection factor of 20). Some                                                                  refused in the rest of Latin America.
                                                      people prefer not to wear their contact lenses                                                               Even though the official currency of Ecuador is
2.5 Dengue Fever                                      at altitude. There is also a marked difference                                                               the US dollar, most people (including banks) will
                                                      in temperature between sun and shade at high                                                                 not accept $100 bills, therefore we recommend
Dengue fever occurs in Latin America and the                                                                3. Money
                                                      altitudes.                                                                                                   asking for smaller denomination notes when
Caribbean throughout the year. There has been
                                                                                                                                                                   obtaining dollars.
a marked increase in the number of reported           2.7 Traveller’s Diarrhoea
cases in recent years. Dengue fever is passed by                                                            Our advice to clients is the same as that which        3.2 Credit and Debit Cards
mosquitoes; you should take extra precautions         Traveller’s diarrhoea can be caused by change         we follow ourselves when travelling: for most
against being bitten (see 2.3).                       of climate, water and food. You can reduce the        destinations in Latin America, it is easiest to take   Credit cards are widely accepted to make
                                                      risk of contracting it by drinking only bottled       a mixture of cash (US dollars or euros, which can      payments in larger hotels, better restaurants,
2.6 Altitude Sickness                                 or sterilised water (never tap water), avoiding                                                              souvenir shops and stores, and to obtain cash
                                                                                                            be exchanged for local currency) and credit/debit
                                                      ice in drinks and fruit juices to which water has     cards (as many different cards as possible, in         advances. They are also acceptable as ‘proof
At altitudes over 2500m you will probably
                                                      been added, peeling all fruit, not eating salad       case of any problems). For further advice, please      of funds’ at borders. Visa is the most widely
start to feel breathless. Above 3000m,
                                                      or seafood and avoiding ice-cream not of a            read on:                                               accepted for both purchases and cash advances,
marked breathlessness, pins and needles and
                                                      recognised brand. If suffering from diarrhoea,                                                               followed by MasterCard. American Express is not
palpitations are a common response. A minority
                                                      it is advisable to eat little but to drink plenty     3.1 Cash                                               as widely accepted but can be used to purchase
of people may experience dizziness, headache,
                                                      of clean water with mineral replacement                                                                      additional travellers’ cheques should you run out.
slight nosebleed, nausea or vomiting.                                                                       It is a good idea to carry as many US dollars cash
                                                      supplements, or fizzy drinks (no fruit juice or                                                              Credit card purchases are charged at the official
The likelihood of experiencing these symptoms                                                               as your insurance limit will allow – it is easier
                                                      milk). Rehydration products, such as Dioralyte,                                                              rate of exchange, which can be lower than that
can be minimised by slow ascent, resting                                                                    to change into local currency than travellers’
                                                      should be taken to replenish lost salts. If it does                                                          generally available in exchange houses. There
upon arrival for at least a few hours, avoiding                                                             cheques and you will receive better rates of
                                                      not clear up or is accompanied by a fever, you                                                               may also be taxes or surcharges added (around
alcohol and eating lightly for a day or so.                                                                 exchange. Small denominations are easier
                                                      should seek medical advice as you may need                                                                   5%). Cash advances are straightforward on
Local remedies are available. They include                                                                  to change. One-dollar bills can be useful
                                                      to take a course of antibiotics. Take with you                                                               Visa, MasterCard and American Express in
various local drugs and “maté de coca”                                                                      for tipping porters or paying fees on borders.
                                                      some anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Lomotil                                                                  most countries. Advances are widely available
(an infusion of coca leaves). Please note that
                                                      or Imodium, but we don’t recommend these              We do not recommend your taking any currency           using ATMs (cajero automático), for which
on no account should you attempt to bring
                                                      be used as a preventative.                            other than US dollars – except in Cuba (see Local      Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and Delta cards may
these tea bags back to the UK, or across any
                                                                                                            Currency, 3.3 on the next page), as they can be        also be used. The rate of exchange is often the
border – they contain coca leaves, which are          2.8 General                                           difficult to exchange. Do not take out from your       most favourable, and long bank queues can be
prohibited. Oxygen is available in good hotels
                                                                                                            home country, or accept as change in Latin             avoided.
and on trains, if necessary.                          Water-purifying tablets, e.g. Sterotabs, are a
                                                                                                            America, any US dollar notes that are dirty,
Our advice is to take some of your usual              useful standby in the jungle – or when trekking                                                              Before leaving you should check with your bank
                                                                                                            damaged (even a tiny rip) or defaced. You will
headache pills with you and to simply take            off the beaten track – but are ineffective against                                                           or credit-card company whether they impose any
                                                                                                            not be able to spend or exchange them.
it easy. Should the symptoms be severe and            amoebae and give the water an unpleasant taste.                                                              handling charges. Make sure you have a separate
                                                      Boiling water for 10 minutes will kill amoebae.       There are many counterfeit $50 and $100 dollar         note of the number and validity of your cards, as

12                                                                                                                                                                                                                 13
well as the phone numbers to call should they be        America, small denominations of US$ cash are          to bring the receipt of purchase with you (carried   longer accepted in Cuba. Travellers’ cheques
lost or stolen. It is also worthwhile advising your     often as readily accepted as the local currency.      separately), as you will need this in the event      and/or credit cards drawn from all other
bank that you intend to use your card abroad            If travelling between neighbouring countries          of cheques being lost or stolen. Occasionally,       American banks are also not accepted in Cuba.
(and in which countries). Some banks detect             in Latin America any surplus local currencies         banks ask to see these receipts before cashing       There are ATM machines in Havana and other
an irregular spending pattern, assume the card          can usually be exchanged into the next local          your cheques.                                        tourist cities such as Trinidad and Santiago de
stolen and suspend the account, which can take          currency, but normally only at border posts or                                                             Cuba but their reliability is questionable so it is
days to sort out. Check your account carefully                                                                3.5 Money Advice by Country
                                                        airports, and at a loss. It is best not to have too                                                        often safer and easier to get a cash advance
on return from Latin America to ascertain that          much local currency left over at the end of your                                                           over the counter of a bank or cadeca exchange
payments for the card are legitimate. Despite                                                                 Colombia
                                                        trip. It is not always easy to buy back dollars,                                                           house with your passport and credit card. Airport
it being theoretically possible to ‘live’ off your      though this facility has improved over the past       Please note that it is very difficult to exchange    departure tax in Cuba has to be paid in CUCs.
credit card, we also advise you to take sufficient      few years. In some countries such as Venezuela,       travellers’ cheques in Colombia. Cash cards with     Note also that there is a Cuban peso (peso
funds in cash (preferably as much as your travel        you will need to keep your official exchange          the Cirrus symbol are accepted by most cash          cubano), which is the currency Cubans use in
insurance provider will cover you for) for the          slips in order to change money back (please           machines and credit cards are widely accepted.       their own local shops. Unless you’re going to
following reasons:                                      see separate Venezuela money advice section
                                                                                                              Cuba                                                 try and buy bread or fruit in a local shop, you
• In some places it can be difficult and time-          overleaf.                                                                                                  shouldn’t need any Cuban pesos.
  consuming to obtain a cash advance                    Currencies have stabilised as governments             Visitors to Cuba should carry as much cash           See also
• When a currency is unstable, credit-card              have adopted more monetarist policies, and            in small denomination notes of sterling and/or
  transactions may be temporarily suspended             the once ubiquitous black market has now              euros as their travel insurance policy will          Venezuela
• If a credit card is lost, it usually takes at least   virtually disappeared from the streets of Latin       cover – both sterling and euros are accepted         Venezuelan bolívares (VEF) are obtainable, but
  4 working days to have a replacement sent,            America. There is also a far smaller variation        in most banks and some of the larger hotels.         not easily, in the UK. However, we advise you to
  and this service is not always available              in exchange rates on offer at different types of      These currencies are changed into “pesos             take US$ in cash (as much as your insurance will
                                                        outlet (e.g. banks, exchange houses, souvenir         convertibles – CUCs” – a Cuban “dollar”.
• ATMs often run out of cash, or are out of order                                                                                                                  cover you for), because it’s difficult to change
                                                        shops, airports etc) than previously. It may be a     There’s usually an exchange fee too.
• In Cuba, credit cards impose limits on the                                                                                                                       travellers’ cheques even in large cities outside
                                                        good idea to pack a small calculator so when you      Check with your bank before you travel to
  amount of cash you can withdraw. Also,                                                                                                                           Caracas, and many ATMs don’t recognise British
                                                        change US$ cash at the exchange rate of the day       confirm that your debit/credit cards will work
  credit cards issued by US companies are                                                                                                                          credit/debit cards. In cities, cards are acceptable
                                                        you can work out how much you should receive          and will be accepted in Cuba. If your bank cannot
  not accepted (please see separate Cuba                                                                                                                           in shops and restaurants – at the official rate.
                                                        for yourself. This could work as a deterrent to       confirm this then you should bring suitable
  money advice section overleaf). This is also          avoid scams. Please note that as a backup, it is                                                           Branches of Banco Mercantil and Banesco
                                                                                                              alternative funds in sterling or euro, preferably    have worked for some travellers. Sometimes
  true of travellers’ cheques. Again, Visa and          also possible to get cash advances on Visa or         in the form of travellers’ cheques. There are        the ATM will ask you for a 2-digit identification
  MasterCard are the best cards to take.                MasterCard.                                           virtually no ATMs available for drawing cash         number after you have selected the amount to
3.3 Local Currency                                                                                            against Cirrus or Switch cards in Cuba. Scottish     withdraw. If you are asked for this, input 00
                                                        3.4 Travellers’ Cheques
                                                                                                              and Northern Irish bank notes/coins cannot be        and it should work. (This is a security measure
Generally speaking, it is not advisable to try          Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured    exchanged in Cuba.                                   as all Venezuelan bank cards are linked to an
to acquire Latin American currency before you           by travellers who find their use cumbersome in        US dollars are not accepted as payment in            identity document, which UK bank cards are not.)
travel (i.e. in the UK). If a currency is available     comparison with bank cards.                           Cuba, and you will be charged 10% or more            Travellers should be aware there is also a serious
in high street banks or foreign exchange outlets
                                                        If you do prefer to take travellers’ cheques, with    commission to exchange them. Credit card             problem with credit card fraud and cards being
the exchange rate is usually very poor (and
                                                        the exception of Cuba you should take US dollar       transactions (not permitted from cards issued by     “cloned.” You are advised to exercise caution
they will not be interested in buying any Latin
                                                        cheques only (American Express is by far the          US banks), including withdrawals from ATMs, are      whenever you use your credit or debit cards.
American currency back when you return).
                                                        most widely accepted brand) which you should          subject to local commission charges of between       Parallel-market (black market) traders often offer
Strikes notwithstanding, you should be able to
                                                        be able to order from your home bank as long as       11-13%.                                              rates which are much more attractive than banks
change dollars and/or travellers’ cheques at
                                                        you give them sufficient notice. It is advisable to   American Express travellers’ cheques are no          and bureaux de change (cambios), however
the airport/land frontier, upon arrival. In Central
                                                        take a variety of denominations. Do not forget

14                                                                                                                                                                                                                   15
previous travellers have reported money-                 menus offering both international and local            4. Tipping                                            If you are happy with the housekeeping you
exchange scams taking place. So the safest               dishes, but you will pay on a scale of US$10                                                                 may want to consider tipping the maid between
option is to change money through the official           (Bolivia, Ecuador) to US$30 (Chile) for a full                                                               US$0.50 – $1.00 per night
channels. The least safe is to get involved with         meal. Large towns will always have a supply            The Spanish word for tip is ‘propina’ – a synonym     You might also tip the concierge staff if you
shady men in sometimes not-so-dark corners.              of expensive restaurants with French or Italian        of ‘reward’– and derivative from the Latin word       have used them to arrange dinner reservations,
If we are providing transfers for you, the driver        menus. In some cities, such as Lima, Rio de            “propinare” meaning to give something. The            transportation or leisure activities.
or guide may offer you a rate which is double or         Janeiro and Buenos Aires, these would be               Portuguese word is ‘gorjeta’. We cannot stress
more than the official rate. It’s technically illegal,   similarly priced to their equivalents in Europe.       enough that tipping is a personal choice and          Taxi Drivers
but our suppliers turn a blind eye, since it’s a         Special tastes are catered for to a certain degree,    should be based upon the quality of service           Though it is not obligatory to tip taxi drivers,
reasonable alternative to the parallel-market.           more so in common tourist destinations. Chinese        provided. Nobody should expect a tip and do not       it is common practice to round up the fare, and
Note also that you’ll need to provide official           restaurants are everywhere and mostly cheap.           feel obligated to give one if you are unsatisfied     indeed, it is usual to agree rates in advance if the
exchange slips if you want to change money back          Vegetarians are catered for sporadically, and          with the service.                                     taxi does not have a meter or it is turned off.
from bolívares.                                          though menus are often unimaginative, they are         It is difficult to give firm guidelines as to how
                                                         rarely at the expensive end of the scale.                                                                    Restaurants
                                                                                                                much to tip a provider of services in Latin
3.6 Cost of Living                                       It is extremely difficult to find a range of gluten    America, as the cost of living varies widely from     The general rule of thumb for restaurants is to
                                                         and wheat-free products in Latin America.              country to country. However, over the years           leave 10%, though a service charge equal to or
The cost of living in Latin America differs
enormously between countries and can fluctuate           Over time, we have accumulated a long list of          a significant number of our clients have              slightly above that is usually added to the final
wildly over time within a single country or region.      restaurant recommendations from previous               mentioned that they would have appreciated            bill. Even when service charge is included, it
As a general guideline, the cost of living for a         clients (and our staff). Please feel free to ask for   more advice on tipping. For that reason we            is customary to round it up to the nearest full
tourist in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba and           specific details from your travel consultant.          cautiously present the following guidelines           figure. However, in smaller cafes, there is usually
Belize tends to be similar on average to the             Since taxi fares vary widely, you should always        to help plan your holiday budget.                     no service charge included on the bill.
UK. Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala,                find out how the tariffs operate before you get        General                                               Local Guides
Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and           in. Some taxis in large cities use a meter.
Suriname are generally cheaper (French Guiana            They are usually cheaper than in the UK. From          It is normal practice in Latin America to tip         Local guides may be people relying on their
is in the eurozone and very expensive). It should        many airports you can buy special fixed-price          anyone who provides a service, including waiters,     tip as a significant proportion of their income,
be mentioned that sometimes services directed            tickets inside the airport building so you know        guides, porters, hairdressers, room-service           or they may be students working their way
at tourists (e.g. hotels and restaurants) are            you are not being overcharged. Otherwise,              and maid-service in hotels. For everyone, with        through college, retired people, or part-timers
disproportionately more expensive.                       be sure to agree on a price before taking an           the possible exception of guides, it is more          supplementing their income from other sources.
If you are on an escorted group tour, please             unmetered cab.                                         convenient to receive a tip in local currency.        Most people prefer to tip according to their
consult your final letter or trip dossier for advice                                                            If several people have been involved, it is better    level of satisfaction with the service.
on daily expenses. The price of restaurant meals                                                                to tip each one individually rather than expect       However the following rule of thumb may be
in Latin America varies as much as it does                                                                      one to share out the gratuity among the others        helpful: if you are in a group of more than four
in Europe. At the bottom of the scale, cheap,                                                                   (e.g. porters on hiking trips, guides and drivers).   people, accompanied on a half-day tour by
filling and often none-too-hygienic meals can                                                                   With this in mind, previous clients have              an English-speaking guide, a tip in local currency
be obtained in markets, often for just a couple                                                                 commented that it is useful to take a number of       to the value of a meal and a drink in that
of dollars. This is usually the best source of                                                                  sealable envelopes into which you can put the         country is reasonable (as a general rule of
regional food, but be aware of the high risk                                                                    individual tips before passing them on.               thumb, around $5.00 per couple per half-day);
of stomach upsets. Modern snack bars,                                                                                                                                 if you are in a smaller group or a full-day tour,
                                                                                                                Hotels                                                you might double this amount ($10.00 per
often of the fast-food variety, are much safer,
if uninspiring.                                                                                                 Tip hotel porters for handling bags. Calculate        couple). Many clients who have been particularly
A bit more upmarket, you will find restaurants                                                                  an amount of currency equal to about $1.00 for        satisfied give more.
with pleasant décor, uniformed waiters, and                                                                     every two bags.

16                                                                                                                                                                                                                      17
Drivers                                              If you are on a privately escorted trip, you should   5. Climate                                            Argentina
Don’t forget your driver who, in many cases,                                                                                                                     Buenos Aires is hot and humid throughout
                                                     • US$25 for the porter
may have shown extreme skill on difficult roads.                                                           Information on weather and climate is an              the summer months (Nov-Mar) with tropical
In general terms, he/she should be tipped a lower    • US$10 for the cook                                                                                        rainstorms a possibility. In the winter (Jun-Sep)
                                                                                                           important consideration in choosing what to
amount than the guide. Wages paid to people          • US$50 for the guide                                 pack.                                                 there are pleasantly warm sunny days but it can
in employment of this type are normally very low     This works out at a total of US$85, irrespective                                                            be cool and drizzly. The Patagonia region is very
– often since employers assume that gratuities                                                             Climate information is based on data and              unpredictable with more chance of good weather
                                                     of whether you are alone, or with another person.     observations going back decades, and may hide
will be given – but, refraining from giving a tip    Please note also that the weight a porter may                                                               over the summer months (Nov-Mar). Winter (Jun-
as a statement to discourage such practice will                                                            variations from year to year and month to month.      Sep) can be bitterly cold, but there is a chance of
                                                     carry of an individual client’s personal belongings   Our climate grid (please see page 22) shows
only serve to deprive the workers in question        has recently been set at 8kg (in addition they                                                              some cloudless skies and great views.
of an amount upon which they have normally                                                                 average maximums and minimums, altitudes,
                                                     will be carrying camping and cooking equipment        and focuses on cities rather than countries           Belize
come to rely.                                        to a maximum weight of 16kg). We would also           (transposed to western Europe, Chile would
Naturalist Guides (Cruise/Jungle)                    encourage you to donate any unwanted outdoor                                                                There are great seasonal variations in rainfall
                                                                                                           stretch from Norway to Tunisia). It is worth noting
                                                     clothes or sleeping bags to the porters.                                                                    in Belize. April and May are the driest months
                                                                                                           that climate is different from weather; weather
The convention is usually US$10 per person per                                                                                                                   in a dry season that runs from November to
                                                     Bargaining                                            in every country (not least of all the UK!) can
day, although this is only a suggestion as we                                                                                                                    May. In June and July heavy showers are to be
                                                                                                           show variation from the accepted climate from
understand that tipping is a personal choice. You    Bargaining is normal procedure in most street                                                               expected. Hurricanes threaten between August
                                                                                                           time to time.
will be given specific guidance on board a cruise    and indoor markets, though no fair generalization                                                           and November but are very few and far between.
– some companies recommend US$15 per day                                                                   The following is intended to give a (non-             Temperatures are high all year around, often
                                                     can be made about the amount by which the
per person for the crew, and the same again for                                                            exhaustive) flavour of what to expect, but            exceeding 30°C, although slightly cooler between
                                                     price can be reduced. Tourists can usually expect
your guides. This is often aimed at Americans,                                                             you may find it useful to refer to some of            November and March.
                                                     to have to pay more than locals. In Peru, the
who routinely tip at 15 or even 20% and we                                                                 the statistical information on our website
                                                     asking price is often more than 50% more                                                                    Bolivia
believe these figures to be somewhat inflated.                                                             (Destinations – Essentials). There are a number
                                                     than the minimum that the vendor is prepared
Please do not feel pressured into tipping at this                                                          of very useful websites which can give you
                                                     to accept, while the Otavalo Indians in Ecuador                                                             The Bolivian highlands have a temperate climate
level.                                                                                                     detailed information on today’s and the next
                                                     and street traders in Bolivia rarely come down                                                              with variations in temperature according to
                                                                                                           few days’ weather for cities around the world –
Inca Trail Trek                                      more than 10%.                                                                                              altitude and time of day. The temperature in
                                                                                                           sometimes quite small places. The anticipated
                                                     Street side vendors working from a makeshift                                                                La Paz in the sunshine can be 25°C during the
                                                                                                           weather for specific dates can be checked on
For the Inca Trail, there are specific conventions   or portable stall and selling items such                                                                    day and drop to freezing point at night.
                                                                                                           websites such as: or
concerning tipping. The accepted rates are as        as cigarettes, sweets and fruit are often                                                                   The wet season lasts from November to March;
follows:                                             extremely poor.                                                                                             outside these months there is usually sunshine
                                                                                                           Terms like ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ are of limited
If you are part of a group, each group member                                                                                                                    on the highland (altiplano). The north-east slopes
                                                     Towel Origami                                         value in countries that fall within the tropics
should allow:                                                                                                                                                    of the Andes are semi-tropical, while the eastern
                                                                                                           (as all of Central America and all of northern
• US$5 per person, per porter                        Chambermaids have learned that they get bigger                                                              lowlands are generally hot, with occasional cold
                                                                                                           South America do) as conditions vary not just
  (ratio is 1 client: 1 porter)                      tips if they sculpt your towels into swans. Fine...                                                         snaps. The Amazon lowlands, to the north, are
                                                                                                           with the time of year, but according to latitude
                                                     so long as they clean and tidy your room properly                                                           tropical.
• US$10 per person to the cook                                                                             and altitude. Winter only really has a meaning
                                                     too.                                                  in Argentina and Chile (Jun-Sep) and northern         Brazil
• US$10 per person to the guide
                                                                                                           Mexico (Dec-Mar).
However, if you are part of a very small group,                                                                                                                  The coolest months in Rio de Janeiro are from
you may consider increasing these amounts.                                                                 Terms like ‘wet season’ and ‘dry season’ are
                                                                                                                                                                 May-Sep, with temperatures from 18-32°C.
                                                                                                           more useful, as well as being self explanatory.
                                                                                                                                                                 The city can also be subject to days at a time of
                                                                                                                                                                 drizzle during this period. Dec-Mar will be humid

18                                                                                                                                                                                                               19
and temperatures will be 32-42°C.                   Costa Rica                                           the year, and in Quito you will probably             all-year-round rainfall can be expected alongside
Iguaçú is in a subtropical region with 2 main                                                            experience all seasons in one day.                   a powerful sun. The lowland jungle area of the
                                                    In common with its tropical neighbours, Costa                                                             Petén (including Tikal) has a dry season from
seasons; summer, from Aug-Apr, is hot (temp                                                              Quito and the Central Highlands enjoy relatively
                                                    Rica enjoys two principal climatic seasons –                                                              November to May; March and April are hot
27°C) and humid, and winter, from May-Sep,                                                               high temperatures – in spite of the altitude –
                                                    dry, and wet (‘green’). However, what makes                                                               and dry.
is cooler (occasionally much cooler) and drier.                                                          owing to their position on the Equator.
                                                    Costa Rican weather so different from other
Throughout the year it is generally sunny.                                                               It can rain at any time in the jungle but the        Guyana
                                                    Central American countries is the prevalence
The north of the country, principally the Amazon,   of microclimates – owing to the greatly varying      wettest months are Apr-Jun. Temperatures in
enjoys a drier season from June to September                                                             the upland areas are spring-like and nights can      Weather in Guyana is typically hot with average
                                                    altitudes – which render the weather somewhat
(although this is when the river levels are                                                              be cold. In the Amazon and Pacific lowlands,         daily temperatures of 27°C and it remains
                                                    difficult to predict.
highest). In the Amazon temperatures rarely drop                                                         temperatures of 30°C are not uncommon.               warm during the night. The north of the country
                                                    Generally speaking, temperatures (mid-to-high                                                             experiences two wet seasons – from May to June
below 23°C.
                                                    20s) and humidity are high on the coasts but the     Galápagos Islands                                    and December to February. The south and the
Chile                                               higher altitude locations inland are cooler and                                                           Rupununi has only one wet season – from May
                                                    less humid.                                          From Jan-Apr, the Galápagos Islands are hot
                                                                                                                                                              to August.
Seasons in Santiago and surrounds are the                                                                with short heavy showers. From May to July and
                                                    Rainfall varies dramatically according to
opposite to ours in the UK. Nov to early Mar                                                             October to December it is cloudier; in August and    Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
                                                    topography but usually falls in intense bursts
can be very hot with little or no rain (Dec-Jan                                                          September it’s often cloudy and cool, and a stiff
                                                    of a couple of hours. Rains are heaviest in                                                               Situated well within the tropics, all these
being the hottest). The winter is cold and can                                                           breeze makes the waters choppier. Since the
                                                    September and October. On the Caribbean side                                                              countries have a typically tropical climate with
be very wet.                                                                                             water is cooler from May-Dec, a shortie wetsuit
                                                    of the continental divide rainfall can be expected                                                        high temperatures all year round at low altitudes.
Patagonia and the Lake District have an                                                                  is advisable for snorkelling during these months
                                                    at any time, but the drier months are Feb-Jun.                                                            Temperatures are significantly modified by
extremely unpredictable climate, with weather                                                            (the better ships make them available to clients).
                                                    Cuba and the Caribbean                                                                                    altitude – higher up it can be very cool at night.
changing day to day and morning to afternoon.                                                            El Salvador
                                                                                                                                                              May-Nov is rainy season, but places on the
Generally though it follows the same pattern        Cuba has a tropical climate and is mostly hot
                                                                                                         The dry season runs from late November to April.     eastern coast, the Caribbean side, tend to
as Santiago, with a higher chance of warm           and sunny throughout the year, although it is
                                                                                                         Temperatures are tropical – around 30°C, and it      be rather wetter, and to have a longer rainy
temperatures from Nov-Mar. Temperatures rarely      susceptible to storms and hurricanes from
                                                                                                         feels even hotter and more humid on the coast,       season, than those on the Pacific coast to the
top 14°C even in the summer time.                   August through to November.
                                                                                                         especially towards the beginning of the wet          west. Panama benefits from being outside the
Atacama is dry throughout the year with clear,      The humidity and high temperatures (up to 33°C)                                                           hurricane belt.
                                                                                                         season in May.
sunny skies. Inland, temperatures never rise too    in July and August can be enervating. From
high because of the altitude, and it can get very                                                        San Salvador, at 680m above sea level, enjoys a      Mexico
                                                    December to April the weather is more benign,
cold at night.                                                                                           slightly more temperate climate. The wet season
                                                    with temperatures as low as 20°C, and there can                                                           South of the Tropic of Cancer, which slices
                                                                                                         is characterised by daily downpours which relieve
Colombia                                            be some cool and drizzly days. Most rain falls                                                            the country in half, there is a humid and hot
                                                                                                         the heat somewhat but travel by road can be
                                                    between June and September.                                                                               climate along the coasts, especially from May to
Bogotá, at 2650m above sea level, has                                                                                                                         September, whereas in the highlands the weather
a temperate climate; it is usually warm during                                                           Guatemala                                            tends to be drier and more temperate.
the day but the evenings can be cool.               There are two seasons, wet and dry. The dry
                                                                                                         The climate in Guatemala varies greatly              Mexico City is generally dry from Nov-Apr and
The dry season on the north (Caribbean)             season in the highlands lasts from June to                                                                experiences some rain (often only an hour or so
                                                                                                         according to the altitude. In the highlands
coast lasts from December to March, when            September, and on the coast from May to                                                                   a day) from May-Sep. The high altitude means
                                                                                                         (900-2500m) – including Antigua, Guatemala
temperatures reach 30°C.                            December. The coast is especially hot, wet and                                                            that it is rarely oppressively hot.
                                                                                                         City and Lake Atitlán – the days are mild and
Cartagena is hot throughout the year, although      humid from January to April.
                                                                                                         sunny and the nights cool, with most rain falling    The jungle areas of the Yucatán tend to be hot
it is at its hottest and most humid between         Although Feb-Apr is traditionally the green (wet)    between May and October.                             and humid throughout the year; Jul-Sep is the
Aug-Nov.                                            season, there is a chance of showers throughout                                                           green (wet) season. On the Caribbean coast, high
                                                                                                         On the coast high temperatures, humidity and

20                                                                                                                                                                                                             21
     5.1 Climate Guide

                         °C Maximum

                                                                                                       °C Maximum

                                                                                                                                                                                      °C Maximum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    °C Maximum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  °C Maximum
                                      °C Minimum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 °C Minimum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               °C Minimum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                °C Maximum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             °C Minimum
                                                   Rainy days
                                                                °C Maximum
                                                                             °C Minimum
                                                                                          Rainy days

                                                                                                                    °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                 Rainy days
                                                                                                                                              °C Maximum
                                                                                                                                                            °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                                                         Rainy days

                                                                                                                                                                                                   °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rainy days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             °C Maximum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Rainy days

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rainy days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           °C Maximum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rainy days

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rainy days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         °C Maximum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Rainy days

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rainy days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       °C Maximum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    °C Minimum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Rainy days
                                      Jan                                    Feb                          March                                            April                                   May                                June                                       July                              August                                      Sept                                   Oct                                    Nov                                    Dec

     Mexico                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Mexico
     Mérida                28 17                       4 29 17 2 32 19                                                               1 33 21                                   2 34 22                              5 33 22 10                                      33 23 11 33 23 12 32 23 13 31 22                                                                                                                    7 29 19                                3 28 18                                 3                   Mérida
     Mexico City           19 6                        2 21 6 1 24 8                                                                 2 25 11                                   6 26 12                              9 24 13 14                                      23 12 19 23 12 18 23 12 17 21 10                                                                                                                    8 20 8                                 3 19 6                                  2               Mexico City
     Guatemala                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Guatemala
     Guatemala City        23 11                       2 25 12 2 27 14                                                               2 28 14                                   5 29 16                              8 27 16 20                                      26 16 17 26 16 16 26 16 17 24 15 13 23 14                                                                                                                                                  6 22 13                                 2           Guatemala City
     Belize                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Belize
     Belize City           29 21 13 29 20 8 30 21                                                                                    6 31 24                                   7 31 24                              8 31 24 16                                      32 25 15 32 22 15 32 22 18 32 22 22 28 20                                                                                                                                                  0 28 20                                 0                Belize City
     Costa Rica                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Costa Rica
     San José              24 14                       1 24 14 0 26 15                                                               1 27 16                                   4 27 16 17 27 16 20                                                                  26 16 18 26 16 19 26 16 20 26 15 22 25 15 16 25 15 15                                                                                                                                                                                                San José
     Panama                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Panama
     Panama City           31 21                       2 32 21 1 32 22                                                               1 32 23                                   5 31 23 12 30 23 15                                                                  30 23 9 30 23 14 30 23 20 29 23 21 30 23 16 31 22                                                                                                                                                                                  7             Panama City
     Nicaragua                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nicaragua
     Managua               26 21 0.5 27 22 0.5 28 23 0.5 29 24 0.5 29 25 10 28 24 16                                                                                                                                                                                27 23 14 27 23 14 27 23 16 27 22 22 26 21 16 26 21                                                                                                                                                                                 1                 Managua
     Honduras                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Honduras
     San Pedro Sula        23 20 13 23 20 9 24 22                                                                                    6 26 23                                   6 26 24                              9 25 24 17                                      25 23 19 25 23 19 25 23 18 24 22 18 24 21 16 23 20 14                                                                                                                                                                                          San Pedro Sula
     Cuba                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Cuba
     Havana                26 18                       6 27 18 4 28 19                                                               4 29 21                                   4 30 22                              7 31 23 10                                      31 24 9 32 24 10 31 24 11 29 23 11 27 21                                                                                                                                                   7 26 19                                 6                   Havana
     Venezuela                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Venezuela
     Caracas               26 15                       4 26 15 3 28 16                                                               2 28 17                                   4 28 18                              8 27 18 13                                      26 17 13 27 17 11 28 17 11 27 17 11 27 17                                                                                                                                                  8 26 16                                 6                  Caracas
     Colombia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Colombia
     Bogotá                20 6                        6 20                        7 8 20                                8 10 20                                  9 11 20                               9 14 20                                8 12                  19                8 11 19                              8 12 19                                 7 10 19                                8 11 19                                8 10 20                                7             6                   Bogotá
     Guyana                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Guyana
     Georgetown            29 21 16 30 21 10 31 21 10 31 22 12 31 23 19 30 23 23                                                                                                                                                                                    31 22 21 32 21 15 33 21                                                                                      9 32 21                                9 31 21 12 29 21 18                                                                           Georgetown
     Brazil                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brazil
     Manaus                30 23 20 30 23 18 30 23 21 30 23 20 31 24 18 31 23 12                                                                                                                                                                                    32 23 12 33 24 5 33 24 7 33 24 4 32 24 12 31 24 16                                                                                                                                                                                                    Manaus
     Rio De Janeiro        30 23 13 30 23 11 29 23 9 27 21 9 26 20 6 25 18 5                                                                                                                                                                                        25 18 5 25 18 4 25 19 5 26 20 11 28 20 10 28 22 12                                                                                                                                                                                              Rio De Janeiro
     Salvador              29 23 6 29 23 9 29 24 17 28 23 19 27 22 22 26 21 23                                                                                                                                                                                      26 21 18 26 21 15 21 21 10 28 22 8 28 23 9 29 23 11                                                                                                                                                                                                   Salvador
     Ecuador                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ecuador
     Quito                 21 8                        9 21                        8 11 20                               8 11 21                                  8 15 21                               8 10 21                                7           9        21                 7 3 22                               7             3 22                      7            8 21                      8 13 21                                8 13 21                                8             7                     Quito
     Galápagos Islands                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Galápagos Islands
     Galápagos Islands     27 21                       7 28 22 8 30 21 15 28 20 12 27 20                                                                                                                            6 24 18                                2        23 17 3 22 17                                                         1 23 16                                5 23 17                                2 24 18                                3 25 19                                 4        Galápagos Islands
     Peru                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Peru
     Cusco                20 7 18 21 7 13 21 7 11 22 4                                                                                                                         8 21 2                               3 21 1                                 2        21 -1 2 21 1                                                          2 22 4                                 7 22 6                                 8 23 6 12 22 7 16                                                                                   Cusco
     Lima                 25 19 1 26 20 0 26 19 0 24 18                                                                                                                        0 21 16                              1 19 15                                1        17 14 1 17 13                                                         2 17 13                                1 19 14                                0 29 16 0 23 17 0                                                                                     Lima
     Bolivia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bolivia
     La Paz                18 6 21 18                                              6 18 18                              6 18 19                                   5            9 17                    3            5 17                       2           2        17                 1 2 17                               2             4 18                      3            9 19                      5 9 19                                 6 11 19 6 18                                                              La Paz
     Sucre                 18 9 19 18                                              9 15 18                              8 11 17                                   7            7 17                    5            1 16                       4           1        17                 4 2 18                               5             3 19                      6            6 19                      8 10 20                                9 12 19 10 4                                                               Sucre
     Chile                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chile
     Arica                26 18                        0 26 18 0 25 17                                                               0 23 16                                  0 21 14                               0 19 14                                0        19 12 0 18 13                                                         0 19 13                                0 21 14                                0 22 16                                0 22 17                                 0                     Arica
     Punta Arenas         15 7                         6 14 7 5 13 6                                                                 7 9 4                                    9 6 2                                 6 4 1                                  8         3 1 6 4 1                                                            5 7 2                                  5 10 3                                 5 12 4                                 5 14 6                                  8            Punta Arenas
     Santiago             29 12                        0 29 11 0 27 9                                                                1 23 7                                   1 18 5                                5 14 3                                 6        15 3 6 17 4                                                           5 19 6                                 3 22 7                                 3 26 9                                 1 28 11                                 0                 Santiago
     Argentina                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Argentina
     Bariloche            21 8                         2 21 8 3 18 6                                                                 5 14 4                                   7 10                     2 11 7                                  1 13                   6                0 11 8                               0 11 10                                 1            8 11 3                                 6 16 5                                 4 18 6                                  4                 Bariloche
     Buenos Aires         30 18                        5 29 17 5 26 15                                                               6 22 12                                  6 18                     9 4 15                                  6 4                   15                6 5 16                               6 6 18                                  8            5 21 11                                7 25 13                                7 29 16                                 7             Buenos Aires
     Uruguay                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uruguay
     Punta del Este        28 18                       8 28 17 7 27 15 11 22 12 11 18                                                                                                                   9           9 15                       7           9        14                 7 8 15                               7             9 18                      8            8 20                      9            7 22 12                                8 26 15                                 9            Punta del Este

22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    23
temperatures are cooled by trade winds. Aug-          to November. Throughout the year the coastal         6. What to take                                        For travel to Patagonia, and high-altitude regions,
Nov is traditionally hurricane season.                average daily temperature rarely varies beyond                                                              you can expect some days of severely cold
                                                      25º and 32ºC. Both Suriname and French Guiana                                                               weather, especially in the Chilean/Argentinian
                                                      lie outside the hurricane zone and the most          • Money-belt                                           winter (June to October) and year-round in
The climate of this low-lying country is              extreme weather condition is the sibibusi (which       - Containing those items stated in section 1.5       the Bolivian or Peruvian highland (altiplano).
subtropical and continental – expect extremes!        means forest broom), a heavy rain shower that            (Document Checklist)                               For these trips it is advisable to bring thermal
Dec-Mar is extremely hot and humid, with              passes quickly.                                                                                             underwear and good quality outer-shell clothing,
                                                                                                           • Medical kit
average temperatures in February reaching                                                                                                                         including gloves, hat and scarf.
                                                      Uruguay                                                - Anti-diarrhoea tablets and Dioralyte sachets
35°C. From July to September, temperatures
                                                                                                               of re-hydration salts                              6.2 Amazon and Mato Grosso/Pantanal Trips
are extremely variable and it can be cold in the      The weather is mild all the year around.
daytime and very cold at night. Most precipitation    Temperatures range from 10-16°C in the                 - Antiseptic/antibiotic cream                        Temperatures are typically tropical in all
falls between October and April but it can rain at    southern hemisphere winter, while in the summer        - Insect-bite ointment/insect repellent              months with average midday temperatures
any time of the year.                                 (Nov-Mar) they hover in the mid-twenties. Wet            (please see section on Malaria)                    in the range 27°C/80°F-32°C/90°F. Frost is
                                                      and windy conditions outside high summer are           - Lipsalve + sunscreen (high factor with             almost unknown, although in Mato Grosso/
                                                      not unheard of, and can make it feel very chilly.        protection against UVA and UVB rays)               Pantanal occasional cold spells lasting a day
In Cusco and the highlands, Jun-Sep can be            Rainfall is moderate and varies little over the                                                             or two and known as friagem can cause night
                                                                                                             - After-sun lotion
very cold at night, but days are usually extremely    year, apart from during July and August when                                                                temperatures to fall below 10°C/50°F from May
clear with sun. Nov-Apr are the wettest months        there are prolonged wet periods.                       - Sticking plaster
                                                                                                                                                                  to September. Rainfall throughout the year is
of the year (the Inca Trail is closed throughout                                                             - Painkillers                                        above 1,500mm/60in a year and in much of the
February) – note that rains tend to be in short,                                                             - Personal medication                                region over 2,000mm/80in.
heavy bursts, rather than continual showers, with     There are two main seasons: December to April,         NB: All these items and many more can be             Clothing should be casual, comfortable and
rains clearing towards the end of April. Nights are   when it’s hot and dry, and May to November,            purchased over the counter in pharmacies             resistant. Light colours are beneficial against
cold throughout the year at altitude.                 when it’s hot and wet. The Orinoco plains are          throughout Latin America.                            sun and bugs. Dark clothes attract mosquitoes.
Lima has a perpetual mist (la garúa) that comes       usually flooded from June to October; Angel Falls                                                           (The best colours to wear are light tones, like
in from the sea, principally from May-Oct, but is     is typically inaccessible by canoe from mid-         6.1 Clothing – General                                 brown, beige and green, which don’t highlight
otherwise fairly dry throughout the year.             December to mid-April due to low river levels. As                                                           you in the landscape, not scaring the animals.
                                                      you’d expect, altitude influences temperature – it   When embarking on any of our tours or tailor-
In the Amazon the climate is generally hot and                                                                                                                    Avoid strong colours like yellow, blue and red.)
                                                      is about 4ºC colder for very 1000m above sea         made itineraries, the following clothing list may
humid (about 30°C). The dry season is from Apr-                                                            be useful as a guide to what you will need to          It is important that you always keep at least
                                                      level. Caracas is at about 900m.
Oct and the wet season from Nov-Apr. The wet                                                               take. For warmth it is usually better to wear          one set of dry clothes for the evening.
season is characterised by a few hours of rain                                                             several thin garments rather than one thick one.       The following items may prove useful:
each day and temperatures that can reach up to                                                             If your route takes you to both the high Andes
40°C. In May there is often a layer of low cloud                                                                                                                  Clothing
                                                                                                           (where it is often very cold at night) as well as
over the rainforest.                                                                                       to jungle or very hot regions, then three or four      • Short and long-sleeved shirts/t-shirts
Suriname and French Guiana                                                                                 shirts/t-shirts and one medium-weight jersey             (lightweight wicking fabric controls perspiration
                                                                                                           is a much better combination than one shirt/t-           and dries quickly)
Both have a tropical humid climate with dry and                                                            shirt and one thick jersey. If travelling to Brazil,
                                                                                                                                                                  • Long-sleeved shirts in a light colour (cotton)
rainy seasons. There is a short rainy season in                                                            Yucatán, Belize, Venezuela, Galápagos Islands
December and January and again from April to                                                               or the Caribbean and lowlands of Central               • Lightweight trousers
July.                                                                                                      America you will need to adapt your clothing for       • Shorts
The most pleasant times to visit are the dry                                                               primarily hot weather. Pack light cotton t-shirts,     • Swim suit
seasons from February to April and from August                                                             shorts, skirts and trousers.

24                                                                                                                                                                                                                   25
• A light sweater (it gets surprisingly chilly in the   shorts or trainers for dinner.                         (but if you have your own equipment, we            consultants for specifics though the following
  rainforest, especially on boat trips)                 Maximum luggage allowance for the flight               recommend bringing it)                             general equipment list may be useful:
• Sun hat/cap                                           to the Galápagos is 20kg (one suitcase/bag).         At the luxury/first class end of the spectrum        Clothing
                                                        The following items would prove useful:-             you can use credit cards, and there are laundry
                                                                                                             facilities. These facilities are not available on    • Should be suitable for different types of
• Comfortable outdoor shoes/trainers for                                                                     budget/tourist class vessels.                          weather, light and fast drying.
  evening use                                           • Lightweight trousers                                                                                    • Light-weight trousers (consider convertible
                                                                                                             6.4 Trekking
• Rubber boots up to size 10 are provided at            • Shorts                                                                                                    trousers – where the below-knee can be
  most lodges.                                                                                               If you intend to do any hiking or trekking, you        unzipped)
                                                        • Short-sleeved shirts/t-shirts (cotton is cool
                                                          in hot climates, but light-weight wicking fabric   should get into training by doing a few long walks   • Shorts
Foul Weather Gear
                                                          controls perspiration and dries quickly)           before departure. If you have bought new walking     • Short-sleeved shirts/t-shirts (cotton is cool in
• A lightweight raincoat or waterproof poncho                                                                boots, this will provide a chance for you to wear      hot climates, but light-weight wicking fabric
                                                        • Long-sleeved shirts in a light colour (cotton)
                                                                                                             them in. If you are doing any walking in very          controls perspiration and dries quickly)
Cold fronts can sometimes pass through the              • Light sweater or sweatshirt (nights can            wet conditions or difficult terrain, you will need
Amazon and Pantanal very suddenly and                     get rather cool and you don’t want to miss                                                              • Long-sleeved shirts (as above)
                                                                                                             waterproof boots or trainers that provide ankle
temperatures can drop drastically; heavier                stargazing on deck)                                support and have a solid sole.                       Footwear
clothing can be beneficial.
                                                        • Wind resistant jacket                              Before undertaking a hike involving points of
Travel Accessories                                      • Swim suit                                          high altitude, you should take a few days to         • Good quality, well worn-in walking boots
                                                        • Wetsuits are recommended in the cold water         acclimatise in a town or village over 3000m. If      • Trekking/thick socks
• Insect repellent (50% deet)
                                                          months (July to September). These can be           you have any heart or respiratory conditions, you    • Comfortable outdoor shoes/trainers/Tevas for
• Sunglasses (suitable for strong UV conditions)
                                                          hired locally; some boats provide them.            should consult your doctor before going to high        evening use
• Torch with extra batteries/head torch                                                                      altitudes and should avoid strenuous hiking or
                                                        • Sun hat/cap                                                                                             Foul Weather Gear
• Water bottle/canteen                                                                                       trekking altogether.
                                                        Footwear                                             The hikes that we offer in the south of Chile
• Antihistamine tablets and an epi-pen for people                                                                                                                 • Rain/wind proof jacket or poncho
  with serious allergies to stings                      • Sandals (for the boat)                             or Argentina do not involve ascending to high          (consider similar trousers)
• Zip lock bags – to keep things dry                                                                         altitudes but the weather conditions can be          • Warm sweater/fleece pullover (layering lighter
                                                        • Trainers (for dry landings and rocky shores)
                                                                                                             severe and it can be rough or boggy underfoot.         garments is better than one heavy fleece)
• Swiss army knife (this cannot be taken as hand        • Teva-style sandals (for wet landings)              Please be sure you have all the equipment you
  luggage during your flights).                                                                                                                                   • Gloves and scarf
                                                        Travel Accessories                                   will need for hiking before leaving your home
For some excursions to the jungle and Pantanal                                                               country, since good quality gear can be difficult    • Headgear
lodges, you may find you are restricted to a            • Sunscreen or sun block                             to obtain and be more expensive in some              • Warm hat
maximum baggage allowance of 10kg (owing to                                                                  destinations. The degree of comfort you feel
                                                        • Sunglasses                                                                                              • Sun hat/cap
limited space in canoes or light aircraft). In these                                                         will be directly related to the effectiveness of
cases, the local operator will provide secure           • Beach towel and bath towel (most yachts                                                                 Travel Accessories
                                                                                                             your clothing and equipment. If not travelling in
storage of the remainder of your luggage.                 provide bath towel)
                                                                                                             a supervised group, the dangers of hypothermia
                                                        • Water bottle/canteen                                                                                    • Suntan lotion/sunscreen and lip balm
                                                                                                             should not be overlooked. In Patagonia it is
6.3 Galápagos Islands                                                                                                                                             • Torch with extra batteries
                                                        • Camera and plenty of film or – if digital          particularly important that you have windproof
Clothing requirements onboard boats cruising the          – plenty of memory! (underwater camera             garments.                                            • Insect repellent
Galápagos range from very informal to “smart              beneficial)                                        For our group tours, please see individual trip      • Water bottle/canteen
casual”, depending on the grade of vessel. The          • Binoculars                                         dossiers for detailed equipment and clothing         • Sunglasses (suitable for strong UV conditions)
smarter boats prefer you not to wear jeans,             • Most yachts will provide snorkelling equipment     lists. Bespoke clients should ask their travel
                                                                                                                                                                  • Swiss army knife (this cannot be taken as hand

26                                                                                                                                                                                                                 27
  luggage during your flights)                       company shops. These can then be used                  (outside of La Paz).                                  Laundry
• Plastic bags of various sizes for keeping things   from pay phones in the street for national and         220-240 volts: Cuba (newer hotels), Panama
                                                     international calls. Be careful in those countries                                                           Most hotels except the very cheapest have a
  sorted out in your baggage. Zip-lock bags work                                                            (modern homes and hotels), Argentina, Bolivia (in
                                                     where there is more than one phone company                                                                   laundry service, and they usually take between
  well. (They’re also great for camera gear.)                                                               La Paz), the north-east of Brazil, Chile, Paraguay,
                                                     (e.g. Chile) as often the cards are not accepted                                                             10 and 24 hours to return your clothes. Hotel
                                                                                                            Peru, Uruguay.
6.5 Camping                                          by other companies. Beware of being sold a                                                                   laundry services tend to be expensive, but can
                                                                                                            Standard British plugs will need an adapter to        be more convenient and often offer a faster
                                                     “phonecard” which is actually a pre-paid top-up
For group tours, see individual trip dossiers for                                                           two-pin plugs. The sockets usually accept both        service than the cheaper launderettes which
                                                     card. If it states the word “celular” anywhere on
details of what you should take if you are joining                                                          round and flat pins, but some on 110 voltage are      can often be found nearby.
                                                     the card, don’t buy it.
a trip that involves camping. Bespoke clients                                                               flat pin only, so you will need an adapter with
                                                     Similarly, some denominations of phonecards            both (worldwide adapter). You can buy these
should ask for specific information from their
                                                     may be insufficient to make international calls.       in electrical shops, branches of Boots (in the UK),
travel consultants. As a general rule, sleeping
                                                     If in doubt, ask first! Very occasionally, a “ficha”   luggage shops and at airports.
bags are often available locally but we cannot
                                                     or “cartão telefônico”, may have to be bought to
ensure their quality. For that reason some                                                                  For quick-reference see:                              8. VISAS
                                                     make local calls. In Buenos Aires and in Cusco,
clients prefer to take their own sleeping bag                                                     
                                                     Peru, small “call shops” seem to be springing up
or a sleeping bag liner.
                                                     on every street corner. These are cheap and open       Photography
                                                                                                                                                                  The following information relates to British
                                                     long hours.
                                                                                                            The majority of travellers now have digital           passport holders and to stays of 30 days or
                                                     Mobile phone coverage abroad depends on                                                                      less, and in all cases to clients whose personal
                                                                                                            cameras. Memory cards (often expensive) and
                                                     your network and phone model. You should                                                                     and professional circumstances do not preclude
                                                                                                            batteries can be bought at many of the principal
7. Useful Information                                contact your service provider for details. Note
                                                                                                            tourist destinations, but do not rely on this –       their entry to a country, or their transit through
                                                     that in remote areas there will be no mobile                                                                 it. Other passport holders should enquire to the
                                                                                                            bring them from home. If you need to free
                                                     coverage. The service is constantly improving                                                                consulates of the countries to be visited.
                                                                                                            up memory space, there are outlets in many
Telephone Services                                   – there is now coverage, for example, at Machu
                                                                                                            main towns where you can download your                Most Latin American countries do not require
                                                     Picchu and sporadically in the Sacred Valley and
Phone calls can be made from most hotels of                                                                 images onto discs.                                    British passport holders to obtain a visa.
                                                     Cusco-Puno routes in Peru.
3 stars and above, though there is a fee charged                                                            Film for old-style cameras should be purchased        However, if on your route to Latin America your
for this that may vary from 10 to 100% of the call   Internet and Email                                     before you go if you use transparencies, as slide     plane will touch down in the USA, you will be
cost. Most hotels will allow you to make reverse                                                            film can be hard to come by. Film for prints is       required to complete an ESTA form. Please ask
                                                     Internet access is widely available in Latin
charge (collect) calls as well as use a telephone                                                           almost universally available but can be more          for our detailed fact sheet.
                                                     America (although it is limited in Cuba) in cities
charge card. Always check with the hotel prior                                                              expensive, especially at main tourist sites.
                                                     and tourist areas, either in internet cafes or                                                               Most nationalities (except CARICOM members)
to calling – most make a service charge.                                                                    It is advisable to buy from shops where it looks
                                                     from your hotel. Your tour leader or local guide                                                             do require a visa to visit Suriname. The nearest
It is cheaper to go the local phone centre                                                                  as though they have a reasonably good turnover
                                                     should be able to point you in the direction of the                                                          consulate is in Amsterdam. Please enquire for
(telefónica) to make an international call.                                                                 of film, and don’t store it in very warm conditions
                                                     nearest internet centre. More and more hotels                                                                our detailed fact sheet if you are making your
Procedure and prices vary. Most telephone                                                                   – check the expiry date! If you are going to a
                                                     offer broadband connections, and usually provide                                                             travel arrangements through Journey Latin
companies have direct dialling. You will usually                                                            jungle area it is advisable to buy some fast film
                                                     cables if their service is not wireless.                                                                     America.
receive a plastic tag with a number for the                                                                 (e.g. 400 ASA) in advance. The canopy cover
                                                     Electrical Voltage                                     of rainforest regions makes photography very          British passport holders require a tourist card
respective booth, make all your calls, then hand                                                                                                                  to visit Cuba. We can issue these – at a cost of
in your number and be charged accordingly.                                                                  difficult if you are using 100 ASA speed film.
                                                     110-120 volts: Cuba (older buildings), Mexico,         Conversely, a clear day in the high Andes will        £25 if you are making your travel arrangements
There is generally a charge for a collect call       Guatemala (mostly), El Salvador (flat pin plugs),                                                            through Journey Latin America.
from these booths.                                                                                          make slow film, (e.g. 100 ASA) a better bet.
                                                     Honduras (flat pin plugs), Nicaragua, Costa Rica       If possible, do not develop your film in Latin
Most countries now operate with telephone            (flat pin plugs), Panama, most parts of Brazil,        America, as the service is frequently sub-
cards, bought in most kiosks or telephone            Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Belize, and Bolivia      standard.

28                                                                                                                                                                                                                  29
9. Sustainable Tourism                                 • Consider offsetting the carbon emissions             prices. Our tour leaders and travel consultants         • Conserve electricity by switching off lights,
                                                         from your transatlantic flight using the             can make some great personal recommendations              air-conditioning or heating when you leave
                                                         TICOS scheme.                                        about where to sample local delicacies.                   your room.

Our Responsibility                                     Whilst on your travels remember...                     Speaking with People                                    • Use environmentally friendly shampoos and
                                                                                                                                                                        detergents, particularly when you are outside
                                                       Out and About
To us, sustainable tourism is nothing new.                                                                    • Why not try and learn some of the lingo?                big cities in ‘the wild’ and your shower water is
Ever since we started in 1980, we have believed        • Remember to respect local traditions and               Speaking a few words of the local language,             going to end up in a river!
that it’s our responsibility to do all we can to         culture.                                               even if it is just ‘hola’ or ‘gracias’, will change   • Try to reuse and refill your drinking water
protect the places to which we send clients and                                                                 the way people react to you. You’ll get a much          bottles where possible. Many hotels have water
                                                       • Ask permission before photographing
to ensure that as much as possible of the money                                                                 warmer welcome and this in turn can enrich              ‘garrafones’ filled with treated ‘agua potable’
                                                         indigenous people and events, particularly
spent filters through to local economies. Since                                                                 your experience and interaction with the                that is perfectly safe to drink. If your hotel does
                                                         religious processions.
2008, we have held AITO’s prestigious 5-star                                                                    local people.                                           not, you could leave a suggestion that they
                                                       • Ask for an address and send photos to the
sustainable tourism status, in recognition                                                                    • Traditions and ways of life differ greatly across       provide one.
                                                         people you photographed – many won’t have
of our efforts in this area.                                                                                    the cultures of Latin America. As a rule of
                                                         photos of their families.
We, and everyone we ask to deliver services                                                                     thumb, people in lowland regions are more
                                                       • Simple gifts for children, such as crayons,            gregarious and relaxed than those who live
to you, take pride in offering sustainable holidays
                                                         balloons, colouring books or even a mini               a more austere life in the mountains, and many
with minimal impact on the environment and
                                                         football can bring a huge smile to a child’s face.     Latin Americans are modest and camera-shy.            10. Recommended Reading
maximum support for community development,
                                                         Resist handing out sweets as dental care is,
and in ensuring good working conditions.                                                                      • Please try to be sensitive to local customs. The
                                                         mostly, poor.
For more information about our sustainable travel                                                               pace of life outside the main cities is slower
initiatives, please visit the sustainable travel       • Giving money to children on the street only            than in the UK, and you may have to draw on           ARGENTINA
section on our website for more information:           encourages begging; instead consider donating            your reserves of patience in some situations.
                                                       to schools or local conservation or charitable                                                                 Labyrinths                                                                         • There is still widespread poverty in many
                                                       organisations.                                                                                                 – Jorge Luís Borges
                                                                                                                countries: you may like to consider taking
How You Can Help                                                                                                                                                      The best short stories by the father of modern
                                                       In the Market                                            clothes, shoes or toys with you that you might
                                                                                                                                                                      Latin American fiction.
We have seen for ourselves how tourism, if                                                                      be happy to leave behind.
                                                       • Buy local handicrafts and support local                                                                      The Uttermost End of the Earth
well-managed, eco-friendly and sustainable, can                                                               Minimise Your Environmental Impact                      – Lucas Bridges
and does benefit the destination. While you are                                                                                                                       An interesting history of the settlement of
on holiday, just a small effort will help to protect   • When bargaining, remember that a small               • Stick to the paths and walkways whether you
                                                         saving for you could make a big difference for                                                               Tierra del Fuego in the 19th century by British
the natural environment, traditions and culture                                                                 are in the jungle, on a mountain trek or in a
                                                         the seller.                                                                                                  missionaries. Includes some fascinating anecdotes
of your destination – the things that make it so                                                                Mayan ruin. They are there for your safety and
                                                                                                                                                                      about their interaction with the native Indians.
special in the first place.                            • Don’t buy ancient artefacts or anything                also to preserve the local wildlife and help to
                                                         made with endangered animals or plants e.g.            avoid further erosion of the landscape.               Bad Times in Buenos Aires: A Writer’s
Before You Go                                                                                                                                                         Adventures in Argentina
                                                         hardwoods, shells, exotic feathers, coral, furs
                                                                                                              In Your Hotel                                           – Miranda France
• Learn something about the countries you plan           or eggs.
                                                                                                                                                                      The author shares her experiences as a young
  to visit to find out about the culture, politics,    Eating out                                             • Clean water is a precious resource, so use it
                                                                                                                                                                      freelance journalist living in Argentina in the
  geography, religion and local customs.                                                                        sparingly. Try and take quick showers rather
                                                                                                                                                                      early 1990s.
• Try and remove unnecessary packaging from            Where possible, choose smaller local restaurants,        than baths as this helps to save water.
                                                       bars and cafes; your money will benefit                                                                        The Real Life of Eva Perón
  any products you are taking with you, and                                                                   • Advise your hotel that you don’t need towels or
                                                       individuals instead of companies, plus you will                                                                – Nicholas Fraser
  dispose of it at home first. Recycling has yet                                                                sheets laundered daily. This can save on water
                                                       get a far more authentic gastronomic experience                                                                A well-researched, historically accurate and
  to really take off in Latin America so the less                                                               and energy.
                                                       by sampling typical dishes at very reasonable                                                                  unbiased view of Evita’s life.
  you leave the better!

30                                                                                                                                                                                                                      31
Santa Evita                                              children are circling like vultures as he waits          from yak farming in Chilean Patagonia was born          One Hundred Years of Solitude
– Tomás Eloy Martinez                                    to die. As his beneficiary he chooses an unknown         in their shared Beirut prison cell.                     – Gabriel García Márquez
A highly readable exploration of the myth of Eva         missionary living deep in the wilds of Brazil.           Clandestine in Chile                                    An epic magical realist novel that tells the story
Perón in Argentine society.                              Accurate descriptions of the Brazilian                   – Gabriel García Márquez                                of generations of the Buendía family – founders
                                                         Pantanal abound.                                         A picture of life under Pinochet, told by a film        of Macondo, a remote Colombian town.
                                                         The Hour of the Star                                     director who returns, after 12 years, under a           The Fruit Palace
Bolivian Diary                                           – Clarice Lispector                                      false identity.                                         – Charles Nicholl
– Ernesto Che Guevara                                    This lucid, charming book tell the story                 Twenty Love Songs and a Song of Despair                 The Fruit Palace of the title sells only fruit, but it
These 1966 and 1967 diaries were written                 of Macabea, a typist who does not know how               – Pablo Neruda                                          happens to be in Santa Marta, the small town at
during Che’s attempt to establish a guerrilla            to type. She represents the under-classes                Some of the most beautiful love poems ever              the centre of Colombia’s cocaine trade. Nicholl
insurrectionary movement in Bolivia.                     in Brazil. The book gives a clear insight into life      written. Every Chilean can recite at least half a       relates his quest for “The Great Cocaine Story”
Sons of the Moon: A Journey in the Andes                 in the country.                                          dozen of these poems.                                   with madcap energy and vividness in this classic
– Henry Shuckman                                                                                                                                                          travel book.
                                                         CHILE                                                    My Invented Country
An account of the author’s trip to visit the Aymara                                                               – Isabel Allende                                        In Trouble Again: A Journey Between the
– a people living in a remote, isolated region of        The House of Spirits                                     The life story of Isabel Allende, which focuses on      Orinoco and the Amazon
the mountains in Bolivia.                                – Isabel Allende                                         her relationship with Chile and its complicated         – Redmond O’Hanlon
                                                         An epic novel tracing Chile’s turbulent history          history and politics.                                   O’Hanlon ventures into the Venezuelan jungle
                                                         through the story of the tragedies befalling                                                                     encountering poisonous snakes, Yanomami
                                                                                                                  Eight Men and a Duck
Dona Flor and her Two Husbands                           successive generations of females within                                                                         Indians and recalcitrant guides. With an
                                                                                                                  – Nick Thorpe
– Jorge Amado                                            a family.                                                                                                        enthusiasm and attention to detail rivalling that
                                                                                                                  A very readable book about the author’s trip
Amado’s lively narrative takes the reader on a           In Patagonia                                                                                                     of the 19th Century explorers who influenced
                                                                                                                  from mainland Chile to Easter Island in a reed
tour through Bahia using the story of a young            – Bruce Chatwin                                                                                                  him (such as Henry Walter Bates) he adds his
                                                                                                                  boat made on Lake Titicaca.
woman haunted by her late husband’s ghost.               Drawn to Patagonia since an early childhood                                                                      own brand of satirical observation making
                                                                                                                  The Postman                                             his Amazon account an extremely witty and
Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life                       fascination with his grandmother’s scrap of hairy
                                                                                                                  – Antonio Skármeta                                      intelligent read.
– Alex Bellos                                            Giant Sloth skin, Chatwin is intrigued by odd
                                                                                                                  Subsequently adapted for the silver screen in the
Bellos’s study of football in Brazil, its history, its   miners, Darwin, the Welsh and the log cabin built                                                                CUBA
                                                                                                                  award-winning film, Il Postino, The Postman is
players, supporters and legends, works from              by Butch Cassidy. (The book covers Chilean and
                                                                                                                  a story of poetry, love, politics and life set in the
the standpoint that Brazilian football is one the        Argentinian Patagonia: the famous Milodon Cave                                                                   Our Man in Havana: An Entertainment
                                                                                                                  years preceding the Pinochet dictatorship.
modern wonders of the world – ‘the beautiful             is actually in Chile.)                                                                                           – Graham Greene
game’ being an art form in itself and a universally      Curfew                                                   COLOMBIA & VENEZUELA                                    Greene makes light of spying during the Cold
recognised trademark and brand.                          – José Donoso                                                                                                    War. A vacuum cleaner dealer is recruited as
                                                                                                                  The Lost Steps                                          a spy for a secret British organisation in Cuba.
Rebellion in the Backlands                               Accounts of life under the Pinochet dictatorship.
                                                                                                                  – Alejo Carpentier                                      The main character struggles to keep his life in
– Euclides Da Cunha                                      The Nanny and the Iceberg                                A composer, fleeing an empty existence in New           check and his conscience within bounds.
Da Cunha reflects on his experience of the               – Ariel Dorfman                                          York City, embarks on a journey to an area
aftermath of the Canudos war: a historical               A humorous account of an exiled Chilean                                                                          Selected Poems
                                                                                                                  relatively untouched by civilisation – the upper
episode of 1896-97 that culminated in the                returning to his motherland following the end                                                                    – Nicolás Guillén
                                                                                                                  reaches of the Amazon.
extermination of a religious sect that had               of the dictatorship, and his struggles to win the                                                                Fidel’s official poet laureate of the Cuban
                                                                                                                  Love in the Time of Cholera                             revolution.
effectively denied the legitimacy of the                 affections of his father and a beautiful Chilean girl.
                                                                                                                  – Gabriel García Márquez
Brazilian Republic.                                      Between Extremes                                                                                                 The Old Man and the Sea
                                                                                                                  A touching story of love and mortality set in a
The Testament                                            – Brian Keenan and John McCarthy                                                                                 – Ernest Hemingway
                                                                                                                  traditional Colombian coastal town at the turn of
– John Grisham                                           A well-written testament to friendship by Keenan                                                                 Hemingway was at his shining best when he
                                                                                                                  the 19th Century.
An ageing multimillionaire knows his greedy              and McCarthy whose dream of making a million                                                                     wrote about the fearless old man, Santiago, and

32                                                                                                                                                                                                                            33
his epic personal battle with a hooked marlin.        Guatemalan woman onto the political stage.             – Carlos Fuentes                                     on where to go and what to see in and around
Inspirational stuff even if you’re not a fisherman.   Menchu’s powerful voice records the plight of the      Chronicling a family history from the pre-           Cusco. (Best bought on arrival in Cusco from one
Cuban Music: From Son and Rumba to the                Guatemalan people during the Civil War, which          Revolution period through to 1960s allows            of the shops around the main square)
Buena Vista Social Club and Timba Cubana              claimed the lives of her brother, mother, and          Fuentes to show the failure of the Mexican           General Song (Canto General)
– Maya Roy                                            father.                                                Revolution.                                          – Pablo Neruda
An account of Cuban music through the ages;           The Full Montezuma                                     The Labyrinth of Solitude                            The Latin American continent through history
includes an extremely interesting and updated         – Peter Moore                                          – Octavio Paz                                        and poetry. In section 2, The Heights of Machu
section on contemporary Cuban music from              An Australian backpacker’s odyssey through             An attempt to define the identity of the Mexican     Picchu, Neruda chronicles his own journey to the
a social perspective.                                 Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean              people through culture and history.                  ancient Inca citadel.
Cuba: The Test of Time                                with the Girl Next Door, dodging political riots,      The Savage Detectives                                The Dancer Upstairs
– Jean Stubbs                                         cockroaches and hurricanes along the way.              – Roberto Bolaño                                     – Nicholas Shakespeare
A short analysis of the first 30 years of the Cuban   Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey                     Bolaño’s award-winning epic tale of two poets,       A thriller and detective story set in the era of the
Revolution from the historical and economic           – Salman Rushdie                                       Ulisses Lima and Arturo Belano, and their lives in   Shining Path guerrilla movement.
viewpoint. Still fascinating and useful even          Travel tales and social commentary set in              Mexico City in the 1970s and subsequent travels      Touching the Void
without the upheaval of the ‘90s.                     Nicaragua. Stirring and original in its simple         in Europe and Africa.                                – Joe Simpson
                                                      descriptions of the country that provides              Tinisima                                             The story (recently made into a film) of a climbing
                                                      an impressionistic picture of the country              – Elena Poniatowska                                  accident in Northern Peru when Simpson’s
The President                                         in bright, patchwork colours unavailable               A biography of the Italian-American                  partner was forced to cut the rope.
– Miguel Ángel Asturias                               in usual journalistic dispatches.                      photographer Tina Modotti, focusing largely          The White Rock
A dark, often harrowing account of life under the     Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize,                on the Mexican cultural revolution and its           – Hugh Thomson
Guatemalan dictator, Manuel Estrada Cabrera,          Guatemala & Mexico                                     leading protagonists,including Diego Rivera          An exploration of the Inca heartland. Part
which denounces the atrocities committed by           – Ronald Wright                                        and Frida Kahlo.                                     travelogue, part history lesson – British
those who held absolute power. A real life tale       An entertaining and educational travel book                                                                 filmmaker Thomson relates his travels through
that, disturbingly, creates some parallels with       about the Maya region. Highly recommended for                                                               Peru and Bolivia.
Orwell’s fictitious novel 1984.                       those interested in the ancient and modern Maya.       Deep Rivers                                          Cochineal Red
The Lost Chronicles of the Maya Kings                 MEXICO                                                 – Jose María Arguedas                                – Hugh Thomson
– David Drew                                                                                                 An account of the influence of pre-Hispanic          A journey back from the world of the Incas to the
Explores the collapse of the Maya Empire,             Like Water for Chocolate                               cultures on modern life in Peru. Good                first dawn of Andean civilisation.
including a fascinating and well-crafted portrait     – Laura Esquivel                                       descriptions of Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
                                                                                                                                                                  Peregrination of a Pariah: 1833-1834
of the Maya world.                                    Set in turn-of-the-century Mexico, it tells the tale   Conquest of the Incas                                – Flora Tristan
Selected Writings                                     of the youngest of three daughters whose fate          – John Hemming                                       A lively and fascinating eye-witness account of
– Rubén Darío                                         is to remain single so that she can take care of       A readable and authoritative book of Pizarro’s       life in 19th-century Peru.
Originally from Nicaragua, Darío is considered the    her mother in old age. Forbidden love and family       conquest of Peru and his search for El Dorado
                                                      traditions are mixed together with a hint                                                                   Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
father of Latin American poetry.                                                                             in the 1530s. An astonishing account of war
                                                      of magical realism.                                                                                         – Mario Vargas Llosa
Green Mansions                                                                                               strategies and upsets between unequal forces
                                                                                                                                                                  Highly original novel set in 1950s Lima. The
– W H Hudson                                          The Old Gringo                                         with vastly different technologies.
                                                                                                                                                                  anxieties of an aspiring writer, his fears, doubts,
A poignant meditation on the loss of wilderness.      – Carlos Fuentes                                       It gives a real understanding into present-day
                                                                                                                                                                  failures and experiences are conveyed using
First published in 1904.                              Interweaving politics, history and the mysterious      relationships between Spanish and native
                                                                                                                                                                  Peruvian society as a microcosm of Latin
                                                      death of writer Ambrose Bierce, Carlos Fuentes’        peoples in South America.
I, Rigoberta Menchu                                                                                                                                               America. (There are many more excellent novels
                                                      novel is a love story set within the rebel army of     Exploring Cuzco
– Rigoberta Menchu                                                                                                                                                by this highly acclaimed author.)
                                                      Pancho Villa during the Mexican Civil War of 1913.     – Peter Frost
The testimony that catapulted an indigenous
                                                      The Death of Artemio Cruz                              An excellent book giving up-to-date information

34                                                                                                                                                                                                                  35
GENERAL                                                Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries             A Penguin History of Latin America                    Insight Guides
                                                       of the Pillage of a Continent                           – Edwin Williamson                                    Glossy, coffee table guides containing excellent
The Trail to Titicaca                                  – Eduardo Galeano                                       Williamson combines the sensibility and mastery       photographs and cultural and historical essays.
– Rupert Atlee                                         A left-wing masterpiece – though some critics           of language of a man of letters with the rigour and   Bradt
A bicycle journey through Chile, Argentina and         hate it. It touches the heart of capitalism and         depth of knowledge of an academic historian to        Aimed at walkers, naturalists and adventurous
Bolivia in aid of Leukaemia research.                  explores it in a way few have dared. More than          give us an introduction into Latin America through    travellers. More emphasis is laid on useful maps
Reasons of State                                       a history book, it is a compilation of essays that      her history. An extremely readable synthesis.         and trail-routes than practicalities. A good read
– Alejo Carpentier                                     shows how the ‘strong’ abuse and stand over             Conquistadors                                         and useful companion to the general travel books.
A novel that looks into the classic despotic Latin     the ’weak’.                                             – Michael Wood                                        ITM Road Maps
American dictator.                                     Saddled With Darwin                                     Wood describes fairly and sensitively the vast        ITM maps are good if you are travelling to one
Papillon                                               – Toby Green                                            gulf that separated the Bronze Age (Aztec and         particular area. They are more detailed and
– Henri Charrière                                      An interesting voyage in the footsteps of Darwin        Inca) cultures of Latin America from the Western      each map is annotated with historical and
The author’s memoirs, now considered to be             by a young intrepid explorer with a fantastic           behemoth that overwhelmed and destroyed               geographical descriptions.
an amalgam of many stories from the forçats            sense of humour. A good balance of history              them, stressing in particular the near total
condemned to the notorious penal colony in             and adventure.                                          inability of each society to comprehend the
                                                                                                                                                                     6 clear maps of Latin America and the Caribbean.
French Guiana. A bestseller in its time.               Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey Around                    morals and values of the other.
                                                                                                                                                                     Ideal for general use.
The Voyage of the Beagle                               South America                                           Guidebooks and Maps
– Charles Darwin                                       – Che Guevara
A landmark of natural history, Darwin’s account        Full of high drama and comedy, Che’s book is            Below is a brief summary of some of the
                                                                                                                                                                     This is by no means an exhaustive list. These
of a voyage in 1831 to map the coast of South          the story of a remarkable road journey. Moving          publishers that provide guidebooks and maps
                                                                                                                                                                     books have been recommended by our staff
America.                                               examples of Guevara’s idealism and solidarity           to Latin America. Their publications are widely
                                                                                                                                                                     though there are many more.
One River: Exploration & Discoveries in the            with the oppressed are recounted in a vivid             available in major bookshops, or online.
Amazon Rain Forest                                     record that provides an insight into Che’s mind.        Footprint
– Wade Davis                                           The film version was released in 2004, starring
                                                                                                               Publishers of the South American handbook since
Davis is an ethnobotanist interested in the            Gael García Bernal.
                                                                                                               1923, Footprint now produces single country
native use of plants. He has a rare ability to mix     The Feast of the Goat                                   titles too. The most comprehensive guides
technical science writing with a deep knowledge        – Mario Vargas Llosa                                    for budget, upmarket and business travellers
of history, culture and politics and make it flow      The best dictatorship novel to come from Latin          alike. Compact and updated regularly. Highly
into coherent narrative. A must for anyone             America. An insight into the life of Rafael Trujillo,   recommended.
interested in the cultures and history of the          who ruled the Dominican Republic with an iron
                                                                                                               Lonely Planet
Amazon basin.                                          fist between 1930 and 1961.
                                                                                                               The Travel Survival Kit series is aimed at the
The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts                 The Endurance                                           independent traveller. Travel tips, clear street
– Louis De Bernières                                   – Ernest Shackleton                                     maps and cheap food and accommodation
Set in a fictitious Latin American country, this       A first-hand account of the Endurance expedition        listings make these books good value for money.
novel offers all the tragedy, ribaldry, and humour     to the South Pole as the Great War raged in             Lonely Planet also produces phrasebooks, city
Bernières can muster from a debauched military,        Europe. The ship was crushed by the ice and the         guides and travel atlases.
a clueless oligarchy, and an unconventional band       men were forced to survive in and escape from
                                                                                                               Rough Guides
of guerrillas. There’s a plague of laughing, a flood   one of the world’s most hostile environments.
                                                                                                               Useful off-the-beaten-track information and
of magical cats, and a torture-happy colonel.
                                                                                                               excellent sections on history, music and
This is the first of a trilogy, and is followed
                                                                                                               literature. What they lack in practical tips Rough
by Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord and The
                                                                                                               Guides make up for in background information.
Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman.

36                                                                                                                                                                                                                    37
The information in this dossier has been compiled with all reasonable care and
is accurate to the best of our knowledge. We try to update the printed version
once a year, but the information is inevitably subject to change without notice.
Journey Latin America accepts no responsibility for the dossier’s accuracy,
and will entertain no claim for compensation, for inconvenience or contingent
liability should information prove to be incorrect or out of date. Where possible
we have given website addresses for you to check the latest information. See
our website:



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