|Cruising South America|
Pre / Post Cruise Tours
General Travel Tips
· Flights. Direct non stop daily flights to Chile (Santiago) and Argentina (Buenos Aires) leaves from Miami, New York JFK, Atlanta, Dallas Fort Worth and Los Angeles LAX. Usually the flights leave at night and arrive at destination mid morning. Your Cruise will be during winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere. To prevent a possible cold, during your flight to and from South America try to drink orange juice and Coca Cola.
· Airport. Try to be at the airport 3 hours before departure to have plenty of time the comply with the new strict security rules.
· Time. Between october and mid march, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay have the same time; New York, Ecuador and Peru have -2 hours.
· Telephone. International phone calls usually are cheaper in Argentina and Chile.
Travel checks are easily accepted in the Bureaux de Change only in capital cities, but not out of them. There is plenty of ATM that accepts Visa, Mastercard, Diners, AmEx, Plus, Maestro and Cirrus. Sometimes notes of $100 are not accepted; in Ecuador be careful about the almost perfect colombian made forgeries. OANDA have a online Currency Converter.
· Argentina. Take small US notes. Be careful accepting argentinian notes; check that both sides are normal notes. In circulation there is certificates of paymet like Patacon, Lecop, Quebracho that in one side have a small letters text and are valid only in some areas of Argentina. Foreigners can exchange back argentinian pesos up to a maximum equivalent to $300 US dollars. Chilean currency accepted in Buenos Airesat 80%, best at the airport; Uruguayan Nuevos pesos at 85%.
· Chile. In Arica you can change soles from Perú at 85%, other cities 40-50%; no risk changing money, look in downtown (21 de Mayo street). Argentinian currency not recommended.
· Ecuador. The legal currency is the US dollar. Sometimes is possible to change soles from Perú at 60-80% of the face value.
· Peru. In downtown Lima and Miraflores there is many Bureaux de Change and street changers. You will loose app. 2% in the US dollar and 25-30% in southamerican currencies.
· Uruguay. Argentinia pesos at 75% or are not accepted, chilean pesos 80%. Easy in downtown and Tres Cruces Bus Terminal.
Prices (equiv. US dollar) march.15th, 2003 Argentina Chile Ecuador Peru Uruguay Local Currency Peso Peso US Dollar Sol Peso One Dollar (click to update) 3.20 750 1 3.45 Can Coca Cola 0.45 Cup Coffee 0.80 Local phone call 2 min 0.08 2 min 0.15 Glass Mineral Water 0.30 One Minute to US 0.30 Post Card to US 0.35
· South American countries are very different between each other but usually are safer than you may imagine (ie. Bogotá have a lower rate of killings than Washington DC) and even safer than home. In Arica (Chile) you can leave your cars with the windows opened, the documents inside and the keys in the contact. It is not unusual to see a women walking alone in the night.
· Do not trust completely in the official Travel Advisories. As a example, now the British Government recommends not to travel to Ecuador except due to essential business, while hundreds of british visitors are happy around the country. It is better avoid the selva near the colombian border and do not take long distance night buses.
· Ports of Call are safe and normally there is police near by.
· In downtown Lima try to be careful, there is groups of thiefs in the old center that are known as "pirañas", like the amazonian fish that attacks in droves. I had ever seen so many police guards as in the center of Lima.
· Perhaps you are afraid about terrorism, like all we are. Is impossible to be except of risks, but they are lower in the southern hemisphere. As a example, in Chile exist the biggest Palestinian colony of the world and the relationships with the jewish community are excellent, and it is not rare to know about mixed marriages. In South America foreigners are very well received and in countries like Chile the word "gringo" have a very friendly meaning !.
· The small groups of my tours, maximum 6 persons, reduce even more the risks. In case of any emergency there is always a cell phone on board.
In/From South America
Terrorism and Self Defense
Report Terrorist Activities
CIA Manual Bio/Chem/Nucl
Written February 2001
OANDA The Currency Site
Prices in South America
World Satellite Photo
S. America Satellite Yahoo