South America is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Whether it be mountain climbing, discovering ancient civilizations or sunbathing on the beach, there is something for everyone.
But the continent cannot be generalized and described with sweeping overviews, each country has its own distinct culture which can be delightful but also challenging. It is important to thoroughly research each country to determine which is right for you.
Because the land is so vast and varied we have compiled the ultimate guide to traveling in South America.
1. Safety in South America
Traveling in South America is generally safe but some cities are considered safer than others for visitors. It's a good idea to check with the your embassy in that country to be aware of any areas you should avoid.
2. Vaccinations and Travel Health
Be sure to schedule a trip to your doctor or travel clinic while planning your trip with a detailed itinerary as different regions have varied health requirements. Plan well in advance as some require more than one shot and in some cases, such as Yellow Fever, require a visit to an authorized clinic.
More information on vaccinations in South America.
3. Passports and Visas
You will need a passport to travel to South America. Many countries require passports to be valid for six months after arrival.
Each country will have different requirements for entry and may require a visa in advance and/or a reciprocal fee. You can find more information on visa and passport requirements here but also check with embassy you are visiting or your travel agent.
4. Decide what to pack
South America is an enormous mass of land and the climate can change drastically between cities. While coastal areas are often quite humid, those in higher altitudes can be considerably colder, particularly at night. If you are traveling during the rainy season its also important to plan accordingly.
For more tips check out: How to Pack for your Trip
5. Trip Planning
Preparing and planning for a trip to South America can be overwhelming. Our guide to South America is a great resource for tips on packing, destinations, must-see attractions and much more.
Check out: Plan Your First Trip