Figure out the best way to get from Central to South America, when you should book your accommodations for Carnaval and local language school recommendations. If it's on South America, it's in this forum.

South America Recommendations and Raves

flhesq

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  • Added on: December 2nd, 2005
Getting Cash In Brazil With Your International VISA CardHere are links for finding Bank of Brazil and HSBC branches in Brazil where you may be able to use your international VISA card to get withdraw cash from teller machines. Remember that not all of these locations will have machines equipped to handle international visa cards, so you will have to do some research or asking around to find a machine with the international VISA card logo, a machine that will accept your international card. These sites are in Portuguese, so you may need some help to find the information if you do not speak Portuguese, or maybe you'll do just fine on your own.

https://www11.bb.com.br/site/atd/Agencias.jsp
 https://www11.bb.com.br/site/atd/Agencias.jsp 


 http://www.hsbc.com.br/common/atendimento-conveniencia/caixas-automaticos.shtml


http://www.hsbc.com.br/common/atendimento-conveniencia/...as-automaticos.shtml

Ignatius Cheah

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  • Added on: December 20th, 2005
Hey dudes!!

Sorry to ask this question, but eh, does anyone knows how to get cheap tickets from Asia (specially from Singapore) or Australia (anywhere) to South America? The flight websites given by Boots and Travel are only flights originating from the US. And other websites that I've found result in crazy prices such as USD$2000-3000. Gosh....hope to find one that is below USD$1000.

Can anyone advice me please? Really hope to visit South America soon! Thanks!

scoots

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  • Added on: December 31st, 2005
Yes, that's a difficult one Cheah. I'd recommend piecing it together on your own. They best way will probably be to get to the states, like L.A., and then find a cheap ticket to S. America. You will be able to fly the cheapest out of Bangkok if you want to come from Asia. Air Asia flies cheap from Singapore to Bangkok. The last time I was in Thailand I was able to find something for about $500 from Bangkok to L.A. I think it was Korean Airlines. Check a Bangkok travel agent, they are cheap and there are a million of them.

Then, from L.A., you'll have to find another airlines that goes to S. America. Depending on where you go, you should be able to get to S. America for another $500 (one way). I just found a ticket from Miami to Bogata one-way on LAN airlines for $160!! You have to do some net surfing, get on these S. American Airlines websites and find specials. I also found a one-way ticket from LA to Miami on American airlines for $120, so I'll be able to get from LA to Bogota for about $300.

You can do this on your own, or if you find a good travel agent they can piece this all together for you. I'm thinking with a little diligence you can do it for less than $1000.
****

Scootin' Round the World: www.mytripjournal.com/scoots

jimbobbill

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  • Added on: January 6th, 2006
The posts here seem to have gone off topic a bit. Where are all the posts from people telling us about little hidden away places they have found or nice clean friendly hotels etc. As much as I am interested in the prices of bus tickets I am more interested in the recommendations of other travellers so I can plan my trip in SA.
Can't posts be moved or deleted if they are in the wrong topic? This topic is pinned after all so a lot of people must go in and just not bother again cos ift does not have the information that they expected.

Jim

p.s. I know that this post does not really fit in with the topic title either but couldn't really post it anywhhere else.
"Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself."

George Bernard Shaw

Rubens

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  • Added on: January 17th, 2006
just another low cost airline.. BRA : http://www.voebra.com.br/

MarkCO

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  • Added on: February 4th, 2006
A fantastic source of information for traveling in SA is the South American Explorers club. They do require an annual fee ($50), but they have clubhouses in Quito, Lima, Cuzco and Buenos Aires that are loaded with information- libraries, trip reports and all of the latest lowdown on where to stay and what to do.

I planned a whitewater kayaking trip to Equador in '96 based in part on info from SAE trip reports before there were any guide books, and it turned out great.

Cheers!
Mark
---
Home away from home.

Mostly harmless...

MarkCO

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  • Added on: February 4th, 2006
La Tetera is a great place to stay in Pucon, Chile. Reasonable price, clean rooms, great breakfast and good information on the area.

Cheers!
Mark
---
Home away from home.

Mostly harmless...

anna d

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  • Added on: February 17th, 2006
quick Peru recommendations:
if you´re in Arequipa, you must take a tour of Colca Canyon--the most typical tour is 2 days, one night, but longer (usually 3-5 or 8-9 days) tours are also widely available. there are tons of agencies that run tours, and often hostels/hotels will arrange them for you--mine set me up with an EXCELLENT tour guide and small group (about 15 ppl), that included lots of historical info and stops along the way, hiking, a visit to some hot springs, nice accommodations and breakfast in Chivay, and a hike into the canyon to do some condor spotting, all for $25.
Carlos Lazo Quintana, Tour and Trekking tour guide carloslazo48@hotmail.com (has been leading the tours for 10 years, speaks several languages, is extremely informative and fun!)
Also, I´ve been staying at the Hostal Astorga, www.hostalastorga.com, which I recommend to anyone who is looking for a break from the crowd (don´t stay here if you´re looking for lots of action!). It´s in Yanahuara, a 15 min. walk from the plaza de armas, and offers quiet, affordable rooms with lots of creature comforts! (private marble-tiled baths with towels, breakfast served anytime before 11, afternoon tea if you want it, cable tv, phone, and a beverage-stocked fridge in your room! some rooms offer great views of the city/volcanoes. Manuel and his mother are the sweetest and will go out of their way to make sure you feel at home! i paid $12 a night off-season.)

cinderellag

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  • Added on: March 14th, 2006
Thank you so much for this information! Do you have any idea if these rules are basically the same for Chile and Argentina? I'll be in Santiago and Buenos Aires...

quote:
Originally posted by flhesq:
Banking in Brazil

I've live in Brazil for two years, surviving a one-month bank strike, helping an Internet start-up, and now as a family man, with a wife and three children. Coming from the United States, I've had to learn to negotiate the Brazilian banking system to achieve my goals, first as a tourist and now as a permanent resident here.

Crucial Preparations with Your Bank in Your Home Country

Once you are overseas, you may find it impossible to change the instructions you’ve given your bank about some very important things. Most banks will not allow online money transfers unless you have given them permission in writing, which will be difficult if not impossible once you are overseas. Meanwhile, no one else at home will be allowed access to your account or change its terms unless you have given them power of attorney before you left home. You may be able to order a money transfer from your account to another account by telephone, but only if you have pre-authorized this in writing while you were physically present at your own bank.

This power of attorney is a simple form that you can complete in your bank branch at home, but you and the person to whom you give this power must be personally present at the bank to it and cannot do it by mail. It’s so easy when you’re at home, but impossible without a court order once you’re overseas. Consider giving a trusted friend or family member power of attorney over a checking account at home to facilitate your wishes while you’re overseas. You may want to establish a particular account for this purpose, to facilitate your international transfer of funds.

(Forget about getting Western Union or MoneyGram in Brazil. You must have a Brazilian Physical Person Certificate (CPF) to receive these transfers, and as a short-term tourist you will not have this available to you. Only through a trusted personal friend who receives the money in his name might you be able to receive funds by Western Union or MoneyGram in Brazil, and that friend must have unblemished credit with their CPF card. If you don’t have a trusted friend in Brazil with good credit yet, then try not to lose your money and your credit cards here.

Accessing Money that’s not in Brazil

The quickest, most reliable method I've found in Brazil to access money that is overseas is to use an international VISA debit card and withdraw money at Brazilian bank cash machines. This allows me to access funds that are in my US or French checking account or savings accounts while I am in Brazil. This also allows people overseas to transfer money to me, by depositing in those accounts for my access here, using my US or French VISA debit card. You can also easily and conveniently make most purchases in Brazil using an international Visa debit or credit card.

There are some very important precautions however, which if disregarded can easily lead to disaster when in Brazil:

First, not all VISA cards can be used internationally. An ex-girlfriend found this out painfully when she arrived in France with a non-international VISA card and found she had no access to her accounts and could not make any purchases. Be forwarned! Go to your bank and confirm that your card is international AND will be honored in the country that you intend to visit. You must be VERY sure to inquire and research at your bank before going overseas.

Second, not all banks or all branches of banks in Brazil have cash machines that are equipped to handle the International VISA card. The equipped machines are typically in tourist locations. The bank machines that accept the international visa card will have an eight inch by eight inch plaque on the machine with color pictures of six acceptable cards, including the blue international VISA card and logo. In a bank lobby, there are typically some machines with this logo and others without, or no machines at all with this logo. If the machine doesn’t have this logo, your card will be rejected and ejected.

Among the Brazilian banks with machines that accept the international VISA card are Bank of Brazil and HSBC, but again you must look for the machine(s) with the VISA logo. These are the two international banks present in most Brazilian cities, and I am aware of no other international banks with a similar presence. I suspect that all HSBC branches would have international machines, being an international bank. In Salvador, a city of 3,000,000, only the Bank of Brazil locations in Pelhourinho and Barra (tourist areas) seem to be equipped for international VISA cards, while many of the others do not accept them. Unfortunately, average Brazilians will not typically understand this problem, so you may have to ask for help at Bank of Brazil and then you will be told where to go.

Lost VISA Debit and Credit Cards

If you lose your VISA card, you may be screwed. Your bank will be happy to send you another one, but only to the address of record for your card, which is probably in your home country. When the replacement arrives at your home in your home country, people there may forward the card to you and it might arrive in Brazil within a month of the time when you first called your bank, because it takes two weeks for most mail to reach Brazil. A hell of a lot of good that process would be in an emergency!

You can change the address on your VISA account, but the issuing bank won’t send the card to the new address until three weeks or more after the address has been changed. Visa might advance you a few hundred dollars in Brazil in case of a lost card, but that may also be unsatisfactory.

Don’t count on receiving emergency funds by Western Union or MoneyGram either. You will probably find that it is impossible to send or receive money by Western Union and MoneyGram without a Brazilian version of the US Social Security number which, as a foreign tourist, you probably will not have. The best strategy is not to lose your VISA card in the first place.

Cash Machine Access Fees

Bank of Brazil and HSBC do not seem to charge a fee for cash withdrawals at their machines using international VISA cards. They make their money by giving you an exchange rate which may be five percent less than you would get at unofficial exchange centers. I find that Bank of Brazil gives me around 2% less on exchange than the rate quoted at http://xe.com/ Unfortunately, to use those unofficial exchange centers you must have CASH to trade; you will have to accept the bank’s exchange rate if you want to withdraw money at their cash machines and the money comes out of the machine in Brazilian Reais only.

Since your home bank will charge the same withdrawal fee whether you withdraw ten dollars or a thousand, it makes sense from a bank fee perspective to withdraw fewer times and withdraw more money each time. If you don’t have a safe place to keep cash, it might be better to pay more frequent withdrawal fees.

Bank of America charges me $5.00 USD every time I make a withdrawal at a Brazilian cash machine. You’ll find that this is enough money in Brazil for you AND two friends to have lunch at an all you can eat restaurant, so you may want to limit the number of these cash machine withdrawals.

VISA Card Security

If you carry your VISA card in a passport pouch with your passport inside of your pants, you may not lose it while you are in Brazil. Otherwise prepare to live without your VISA card and your passport, because most tourists who carry these in any other fashion end up losing them before their trip is over. Good passport pouches hang invisibly from your belt inside of your pants. For God’s sake, don’t wear your passport or anything else of value in a pouch that hangs from your neck inside your shirt, with the strap visible outside of your t-shirt!! If you keep your money as I suggest then only by attacking you and stripping your clothes off will anybody be able to separate you from your VISA card and passport.

If you keep a picture of your intimate friend in your wallet, don’t make it a naked picture because the thief who steals your wallet will see your friend naked. When you follow good advice and use a passport pouch that hangs inside of your pants, you should inconspicuously remove your VISA and passport from your pants only when absolutely necessary, and then put them back in the pouch and inside your pants immediately. I’ve had the same passport since year 2000 in seven different countries using this practice. Others, who kept their passports in their pockets, pocketbooks, suitcases, jacket pockets and other places have lost their passports while mine was safe and sound.

In some instances, I have slept in my pants so that I would know where my passport was at all times – in my pants. Obviously, if other people know where your passport pouch with VISA card are then it is no longer safe from them.

Of course, it makes for funny scenes at the airport when customs asks for your passport and you begin reaching into your pants to access it. But at least you know you’ll find it when you reach into you pants, and you can learn to do this deftly and inconspicuously with practice – just as inconspicuously as a pickpocket reaches into your back pocket where you thankfully have nothing at all of value.



Not all banks and bank branches have cash machines that will accept the International visa cards. Only Bank of Brazil and HSBC seem to have

Bald Mike

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  • Added on: April 12th, 2006
Rapa Nui - Easter Island

Don't miss it, it's far more than just a bunch of statues and well worth the effort to get there (especially as you can fit it in as part of RTW ticket).

No need to worry about accomodation, there are a load of people at the airport to meet each flight, we got a room $15 per person, don't go to the youth hostel.

You can hire a jeep for around $45 for a day, and can just about see everything in 1 day, but stay longer if you can.

Ignatius Cheah

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  • Added on: April 16th, 2006
thanks for the tip scoots! appreciate it!

xpatgeo

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Location: Orange, Australia

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  • Added on: May 10th, 2006
Often overshadowed by the Andes experience to the north, the south of Mendoza province, in Argentina is just as awesome, and fairly off the main tourist trail. Base yourself in Malargue and get a tour of the Caverna de las Brujas and Payunia national park, both incredible.

There is also a wonderful little camping/refugio place between Malargue and Payunia called Manqiu Malal, set in a little gorge with a waterfall and really cool geology (BIG fossils). The place is run by a few guys, many of who are, or are in training to be, Aconcagua guides. Its a little bit of a renowned place for climbing (whole bunch of different grades) and a little canyoning and they also do horseriding. Best thing for us was a little restaurant with 'goat baked in mud oven' specialty, yuuum. Everything is homemade and the guys are just really nice.

Check out our blog page on the mendoza area...

Mendoza - mountains, boarding, drinking and getting bogged.

Definitely worth it if you have some time in and around Mendoza.

stevemce

Guidebook Dependent
 
Posts: 21
Joined: September 16th, 2005

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2006
For those people thinking about volunteering in South America,
there is a list of free and low-cost volunteer opportunities here:
http://www.volunteersouthamerica.net

Steve McElhinney
www.volunteersouthamerica.net - Support free Volunteering

editor@allsouthernchile.com

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  • Added on: May 15th, 2006
Sendero de Chile is a trail system being built to connect all the trails in Chile, including most of the national parks.

Sendero de Chile information and maps in English
The English Portal to All Southern Chile: www.allsouthernchile.com

kelseyjcm

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Joined: October 25th, 2005

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2006
i've heard that there is a spot that you can swim at the base of iguazu falls.... don't know how to find it. a well kept secret... one friend did do it and said that it was amazing.


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