T R A V E L  I N F O R M A T I O N  A B O U T  L A T I N  A M E R I C A

PASSPORT:
Tourists must have with them a passport valid for six months after returning from trip when visiting Latin America.
CHECKING BAGGAGE WITH AIRLINES:
Airlines within North America are generally quite reliable in handling your baggage. However, baggage has been sometimes misdirected when travelers fly from one city in North America to another to take an international flight. We strongly recommend that baggage be checked through to where you board the international flight. Then, retrieve your baggage and physically check it again with the international airline flying you to Latin America. We know it is a hassle, but it will be worth it the long run.
VACCINATIONS/HEALTH:
No vaccinations are required neither for entry into Latin American countries nor for return to the USA. If you spend time in the depths of the Amazon we recommend taking shots for yellow fever (it is always advisable to check with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta for latest information).
BAGGAGE:
Most airlines for international flights allow 50 pounds per piece (max. 2 pieces). You must check with your international carrier. Each piece of luggage should have a sturdy identification tag with your home address. We strongly urge each tour member to take luggage insurance prior to departure. (For the Galapagos, one bag of 40 pounds.)
CUSTOM HINTS:
If you are taking foreign made articles (such as cameras, watches, and jewelry) out of the country, you should register them with Customs prior to departure. Otherwise, you might be liable for duty, unless you have proof of possession. Certificates of registration are obtainable from your local Custom’s office and can be gotten prior to your flight.
DUTY FREE ALLOWANCE:
When you return to the U.S. you are allowed $800.00 customs exemption, provided you have been out of the country for 48 hours and you have not used the $800.00 during the previous 3 months. Since this type of regulation can change at any time, please check with your local Custom’s office.
LOCAL CURRENCIES:
Local Currency is Nuevo Sol.  It is not necessary to exchange money in the U.S. Exchanges can be done at your hotel at the same rate as the bank (plus a small service charge). Please retain all exchange receipts. You cannot get local currency converted back to U.S. dollars without them and it is often a loss of 10% to 30%. The U.S. dollar is valuable in Latin America but traveler’s checks are not highly recommended. It is difficult to redeem them in some places.
IMPORTANT NOTE: TORN OR DAMAGED U.S. CURRENCY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
CUISINE:
In Latin America you will eat very well and economically. In the large cities you will have no problems with vegetables or drinking water, except Brazil where water is treated differently. But if you wish to play it safe, drink only bottled water. Mealtimes in Latin America are eaten later than we do. Dinner is usually between 9 and 11 PM. don’t miss the Chilean wine, the Peruvian Pisco Sour and the Brazilian Caipirinha. Imported liquors are expensive due to high taxation in Latin America.
ENTERTAINMENT:
Nightclubs in major cities in Latin America are fun and there are plenty of local shows to choose from, and usually stay open until dawn. You will find from typical folkloric shows to chic discotheques (check with your local host to get some advice).
FILM:
For the professional photographer bring enough film and batteries for your trip, as it is very expensive in Latin America and not readily available. Don’t forget your chargers and memory cards.
PACKING TIPS:
Please place your name and address somewhere on your camera, inside your purse and in your suitcase. Your passport number, place and date of issue should also be kept on your person (and leave it with someone at home). Two sets of luggage keys are a must. Toilet tissues or small packages of tissues should be kept accessible in case of emergencies. If you are going into the jungle, don’t forget insect repellent. And don’t forget that important plastic bag for dirty clothes or for a wet bathing suit (and don’t forget the bathing suit).
DRESS:
Comfort is the key word here. Latin America is very fashionable and liberated as far as pants, suits and slacks for ladies. Dress as you would in the U.S. Jackets and ties are still required in some restaurants for men. Don’t forget a good pair of walking shoes and if visiting the jungle, washable boots are advisable.
GRATUITIES/TAXES:
Service charges and taxes on rooms are generally included in your tour cost, but meals are up to the traveler (unless mentioned in itinerary). Each country varies and you should ask your guide what the procedure for tipping is. Tips to local

AVERAGE TEMPERATURE: Cooler in the evening but during the day the average temperature is 71 degrees. December is very comfortable.