Things You Need to Know Before Taking a Trip to South America

Photo by sharptoyou/Shutterstock

Things You Need to Know Before Taking a Trip to South America

Historic sites like Machu Picchu in Peru and Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ the Redeemer have resulted in huge spikes of travel to South America in recent years. The continent is full of fascinating places to discover and traveling there is becoming easier and easier with increasing air routes. Most destinations around the continent tend to need the same travel advice and precautions before visiting.

table of contents

[x] close

Things You Need to Know Before Taking a Trip to South America

Get Your Vaccines and Medicine

Photo by Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock

Vaccines become almost essential if you're planning to visit rural areas like anywhere in the vast Amazon Rainforest, but even if you're just heading to the cities it's worth being well-prepared. Typhoid, cholera, yellow fever and rabies are all recommended to take if you're heading there. Along with hepatitis A and B if you've not had them before. When entering countries in South America, border control staff can often ask for you to show proof of vaccination, especially for yellow fever.

Temperature can Change Drastically

Photo by Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Most people tend to associate South America with hot, humid temperatures, not unlike Southeast Asia. However for many destinations on the continent this is not the case and you'll need to be prepared for it. Cusco, the gateway city to Machu Picchu for example can get pretty cold at night, even going below zero due to its high altitude. Especially if you're planning to do some mountain climbing, you'll need to pack thermal wear.

The Continent is Huge

Photo by Sara Winter/Shutterstock

Traveling between countries in South America can take up a huge amount of time, sometimes even days. While flying is obviously much quicker, budget flights are still pretty uncommon around the continent unlike other places around the world, although this is slowly changing. Trains are also fairly rare and usually only domestically. If you do decide to visit multiple countries, make sure to add plenty of extra time, just in case buses are delayed.

Most Places are Quite Safe

Photo by marchello74/Shutterstock

South America gets a fairly bad reputation for travel in international news, and most people still assume Colombia is extremely dangerous from the drug wars that plagued the nation in the 90s. Unsurprisingly things have changed since then and most destinations are as safe if not even safer than many cities around the world. Capital cities like Lima and Bogota have dangerous areas just like any capitals around the world. Just be careful and make sure to look up information on places you're planning to stay in. Be wary of scams also, there's plenty of people looking to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.

There are so Many Underrated Places Still Unknown Internationally

Photo by Adwo/Shutterstock

Sites such as Machu Picchu and Foz do Iguaçu have long since become internationally recognized destinations that most people make the long journey to South America just to see. However there are hundreds of equally incredible places all over the continent that have yet to become famous worldwide. Colombia's lost city, Caño Cristales, The Rock of Guatape along with Venezuela's Mount Roraima are just a few of the many stunning sites you'll find here. If crowds of tourists aren't your thing, make sure to search for some of the lesser known places in South America, there are plenty of them.

Make Sure to Have Cash (But Keep it Safe)

Much of South America is still new to the idea of cashless payments and cards aren't usually accepted everywhere. Most restaurants and even hotels will often want to be paid in cash, so bringing a healthy amount to use with you is highly recommended. ATMs might not always work with your card and some places in South America are notorious for having rigged ATMs to steal from unsuspecting tourists. However make sure not to have large amounts of money on show, and prepare some 'emergency cash' in other places than just your wallet, just in case it gets stolen.


Across the whole continent of South America are a wealth of incredible destinations perfect for exploring. The last few years have seen many countries in the region build impressive infrastructure to help tourism flourish, making now the perfect time to head to the continent.




FEATURED ON South America