Travel in South America
Is South America safe? The short answer is yes, traveling in South America on a guided tour is safe. Like anywhere in the world, crime does exist and some places are safer than others. Being on tour with a guide eliminate most risks, and booking with a travel agency gives you local contacts, should you decide to explore on your own a bit. At Ideal South America:
- We organize safe transfers to/from your airport and hotel
- We work with expert, experienced and qualified English-speaking guides
- We only use recommended hotels in safe parts of cities
- We won´t organize a tour if we think it is not safe
For additional general and country travel info: https://www.state.gov/travel/
How long does it take to get to South America? South America is a huge continent but here are some ideas of flight times from Miami, Florida.
- Lima, Peru: 5 hours 30 minutes
- Rio, Brazil: 8 hours, 30 minutes
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: 8 hours, 35 minutes
- Quito, Ecuador (for Galapagos) : 4 hours, 5 minutes
Note travelers from North America will stay in nearly the same time zone, with little (1-2 hours) or no change.
How do we manage altitude sickness?
- Plan your trip so that you increase in altitude gradually – acclimatize.
- For example, in the Peruvian Andes, start in the lower Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, finish in Cusco.
- Take it easy on the first day at altitude – stay hydrated, rest, walk slowly, no heavy lifting.
- If your doctors advises as such, take Diamox or similar days before arriving at altitude
Does Ideal South America provide travel insurance? No, for your convenience we offer travel insurance plans through Travel Insured, Squaremouth, and Travelex and can assist you with the process. We recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected.
Do I need any special travel insurance? The type of insurance you choose will depend largely on your personal situation, health, and so on. We recommend that you take out your travel insurance within 14 days of booking your trip. Make sure your insurance covers all activities that you will carry out during your trip. You may need additional coverage for such activities as whitewater rafting, mountain biking, diving, mountaineering or traveling at high altitudes.
What if I cancel my trip? Please see our Terms and Conditions. If due to an unforeseen covered reason you are unable to travel, or if you miss part of the trip due to the same, get documentation of these events and contact us immediately. Bring a copy of your travel insurance policy on the trip and contact your insurance provider as soon as possible as well.
Are flights included in the tours? The prices you see on our website and in our brochures are quoted ‘land only’ prices without flights. We can book flights for you but we recognize that everybody has different airline preferences and affiliations and may choose to book all or some flights themselves.
Does Ideal South America book flights? Yes, we can book flights. We offer competitive rates for all flights – international and national. Ideal South America can book all of your flights from home, or, if you prefer, only local flights in South America.
Can I get air miles if I book with Ideal South America? Of course! Just give us your air miles information and we will make sure your flights are included.
What happens if my flight is delayed or there is any other disruption to my trip? Like anywhere, there can be unexpected delays in South America. In case of any delay or change to your program, we will re-arrange your activities to the best or our ability to ensure you still have a wonderful trip. The benefit of traveling in a private, customized tour is that it is much easier to accommodate any small changes to plans.
Do I need a visa for South America? Sometimes. It depends what countries you visit and your nationality. Many nationalities do not need to apply for visas ahead of time to visit Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, for example. The big exception is Brazil. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do need a visa to enter Brazil. The visa must be obtained before travel either at a Brazilian Consulate or Embassy in your home country or online, if that service is available. This is required even if you plan to visit the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls just for one day. To visit Bolivia, citizens of the USA must also get a visa ahead of time, or pay the approx. $160 USD upon arrival in the country. Always keep in mind this information is ever changing, depending on the changing relationships between countries. Check with your travel authorities to verify, such as: https://www.state.gov/travel/. For assistance with Passports and Visas see Fastport Passport.
Ideal South America Tours
Can I travel at any time? All our tours are customized for you. This means you can travel any day you like, for as long as you like. Southern Patagonia and Antarctica have a set season so travel here is only recommended during the austral summer.
What´s included in Ideal South America tours? Our tours typically include all accommodations, tours and transfers as listed in your personal tour program. Breakfasts are included in all hotels and some other meals are included, depending on your tours. Prices listed on the website are usually for tours without flights but we are happy to quote including flights if you prefer.
Will I be in a large group with other travelers? All tour programs at Ideal South America are private and customized. This means that we put together a trip just for you and your friends / family. At times, we will join you with other people for a day tour, for example to the islands on Lake Titicaca and in The Galapagos. If you would rather have all tours private you can just let us know. The exception is Galapagos where park regulations mean that all tours are in small groups.
On a group day tour, how many people would there be? It will of course vary across countries, but we endeavour to keep the group tours to manageable sizes of 12-16. There will be no big bus tours with 30+ people.
Does Ideal South America organize trips for single travelers? All our tours are customized. We can plan a tour for one person, or a hundred people! Generally in South America, hotels charge per room. This means that a single person is likely to pay slightly more for accommodation. At Ideal South America, we do all we can to keep the costs down for our single travelers.
Can I travel with children? Many of us at Ideal South America travel with our own children, so we know what works and what doesn’t on a family trip to South America. Because we customize every tour, we can make sure we plan the perfect trip for you – taking into account the needs of your whole family.
What type of accommodations should I expect? These range from comfortable 3* hotels to the best 5* hotels in South America. At Ideal South America we choose the accommodation that best suits your preferences and budget. Some are more local, boutique options, while others are more modern city ones. All will be in safe, convenient locations – in your own room, with your own bathroom (en-suite).
Bookings & Payments
How do I pay for my tour program? Once you have agreed with your travel consultant on your tour, we will ask you for an initial deposit. The deposit is typically:
- 50% of the tour program price +
- The entire price of any international flights booked with us (from North America to South America and back, for example)
Then 45-60 days before the start of the tour program, we will ask you for the remaining 50%.
How can I pay for my tour? We accept all major credit cards, worldwide – Visa, MasterCard & AMEX. We also accept payment by safe money transfer. We may be able to offer a discount for payments by bank transfer – please ask us for details.
How do I know my money is safe with Ideal South America? Ideal South America is a licensed and bonded Seller of Travel – #37821 – registered with the Florida Dept. of Consumer Services. ISA is also a member of ASTA, the largest association of travel agents in the world – # 900192006 – in good standing since 2010. Once you make a deposit and book your trip, we will send you a receipt and start making the reservations. We will then send you confirmations, including the reservation codes for your internal South America flights, for example. We can also share contact information of others who have traveled with us. They can give you a more independent evaluation of their experience with ISA. Of course feel free contact us if you have any further questions not answered here: [email protected]; 1-800-820-7932.