Before you start thinking about planning your trip to South America, let us give you some tips.
The tropical and subtropical portions throughout South America allow for travel throughout the year. However parts of Patagonia, a region within lower Chile and Argentina, is partially inaccessible during the deepest winter. Traveling during the “shoulder season” of late spring (October - early December) and early fall (April and May) generally provide the best times to travel to South America. This is due to the perfect balance of climatic conditions, amount of travelers and accessibility to sites. Additionally, it provides more moderate temperatures in the tropics and the possibility of spring flowers or fall colors in the far south.
Generally, the rainy season is “summer” and the drier season is “winter”. For example, Carnival in Brazil happens during the rainy season in February, which is the summer in Rio. However, the event is rarely affected by the rains. Though south of Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile, you can expect a pattern as you know it from home. Warm summers, cold & rainy winters. Just remember the Southern Hemispheres seasons happen at opposite times. December is summer with July being winter and June having the shortest days.
Bolivia and Paraguay are other countries that tend to be less expensive. Traveling through Brazil can also be quite affordable as the cost for domestic flights is low, including the 4-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon. Major cities of South America, such as Rio de Janeiro and Santiago de Chile, can be as expensive as most major world cities - depending of course on the current exchange rate.
Food in South America actually as safe as it is at home. And
like at home, even after you clean and rinse the ingredients
before cooking, there are still some bacteria remaining.
Therefore the main difference is that your stomach is familiar
with the bacteria at home, and therefore does not react. In some
countries, with their dissimilar climates, the bacteria present
are just different, and can cause your stomach to have a
In any case, be careful! In the tropics, it is highly recommended to avoid fresh salad, as well as “anything which cannot be peeled or cooked." In places such as the Amazon, locals do not eat salad. Larger restaurants often provide them because of the demands of tourists. Though, stay away! Choose instead, for example, sautéed Brazilian kale, known as “couve."It is made with a hint of garlic - another deterrent to the stomach bug!
Your guide will gladly takes tips in US$ or Euros as well, so don’t be shy! However do not give your guide the currency of another South American country. Use only the country’s money, US$ or Euros. In general, credit cards are widely accepted, even for your drink on Copacabana beach! It is always best to use the local currency, which is available from most banks' ATM's, or paying by credit card. Please see further information on each country’s page.