Travel in Latin America
From lush, tropical beaches to sky high, snow packed Andean peaks, South America remains a fairly remote destination for most travelers. This translates into the continent not being ruined by tourism, say, like, Venice, Italy. But, sometimes the price one pays for virgin territory is in comfort. Hard bus seats on an endless bumpy road or plumbing-less restrooms can wear the hardiest traveler down, which is why being properly prepared for a very south of the border adventure is so important. Read on to learn how to travel comfortably around South America.
Speak in tongues. Learning more than a few phrases of everyday Spanish is going to increase the enjoyment of South America tenfold. Don’t worry about how you sound; it’s the effort that counts. Pack a small phrasebook, too. Develop your ear through Spanish language radio and TV. Really branch out and learn Portuguese, too, for your foray into Brazil.
Inoculate yourself against diseases, and make sure your regular vaccines, such as tetanus, are up to date. Yellow fever, Hepatitis B and mosquito borne diseases are a reality in certain parts of the continent.
Bring the (filled) medicine bag. Aspirin, stomach settlers, anti-bacterial creams, band aids and other common medicine chest items will help in times of discomfort. Plus, who wants to go looking for medicine in a strange land while feeling sick? Make sure any prescriptions are well filled, and don’t forget birth control items. Contact lens solution could be hard to come by, too.
Dress for warmth. And for the heat. South America runs the gamut of temperature ranges. The equator, Andes mountains, close proximity to the South Pole, desert, Amazon jungle and so on punctuate the South America’s climate scale. Bathing suits don’t take up much space, but jackets, mittens, hats and scarves do. Consider renting proper attire if you need extreme weather clothing or equipment such as skis.
Casual clothing will suffice, but more elegant wear may be required in the big cities. Black works wonders in going from one venue to another.
Use clocks as a guideline. Latin America is famous for its loose interpretation of time. (But always be on time for travel departures; you don’t want to be the one left at the station!) Get used to the more relaxed concept of time. Dinner will take longer to reach you. Clerks may seem disinterested, but they’re just operating differently. No sense stewing over a few minutes. Why ruin your trip?