South America FAQ thread
Replies: 83 - Last Post: Mar 14, 2013 1:37 PM Last Post By: JennRaine
Dec 31, 2010 4:46 AM
75Update for British passport holders
Because this has come up recently, it would be good to update what happens if you lose your British passport or have it stolen in South America.
You need to make a police report as a first step. These usually come with an identifying number for a copy to be issued. Make a note of the police station where you make the report.
You will need a passport sized photo and another form of ID to apply for an Emergency Travel Document. You will also need enough money for the fee, currently about £100 per passport. It always helps if you can supply a photocopy of the relevant pages of your lost or stolen passport.
British Embassy websites have pdf versions of the application form for an ETD. You can print it out and fill it in before visiting the consulate. You will usually find it in Passports - Urgent Travel. You must apply in person and this may entail travelling to a capital city if there is no full consulate where you are.
Next, visit the British consulate - always a good idea to phone first - to report the loss and apply for an Emergency Travel Document. The ETD will allow you to continue your travels and return to the UK. It has a limited validity - a few months only. It allows you to transit back to the UK through a maximum of 5 destination countries. The travel itinerary contained on your Emergency Travel Document under "Observations" cannot be changed. If your plans change after the document has been issued you will need to apply and pay for a new ETD to change the journey.
Some countries require a special visa to enter with an ETD. Argentina is one and there may be others. Check. Obtaining the visa in a previous destination can be difficult and time consuming.
If you also lost, or had stolen, the stamped copy of your tourist card which you completed on entering the country where you find yourself, you may need to get a copy from a government office before leaving. The consulate should know where you need to go.
As you can see, it is an expensive hassle. Try to keep your passport in a secure place, either stored in a proper safe at your lodging (carry a photocopy with you) or carefully stowed on your person when travelling. EU passports fetch a lot of money on the black market and are often a target for thieves.
Mar 31, 2011 10:09 AM
76Internet cafes and keeping your personal information safe
You're probably already familiar with the risks you run when using a public Internet shop, of having information you enter via the keyboard captured and sent to a remote operator. Spyware is a real risk when you use a public computer. It's bad enough when your email or Facebook password is lifted, but what about if you want to use online banking or pay for something with a credit card?
There are several ways to minimise the risk. Taking your own computer is probably the safest - providing you don't use unsecured wifi for sensitive transactions - but not everyone wants to truck around with a laptop or even a netbook/tablet.
I've put together a bundle of portable programs to help travellers. It's completely free, many of the programs are open-source, and it comes with my own help file for guidance. You load it onto a USB flash drive and plug that into a cybercafe computer. You could download a lot of it yourself, but the time you save grabbing the bundled version leaves you longer to concentrate on planning your trip.
There are two versions: one for basic web surfing, which includes Firefox web browser, a password safe, and a secure, onscreen keyboard. The full version has these, plus an instant message client and other programs to check out the computer for security risks.
Because people do more than email and surf in a cybercafe, I've included some digital photo tools - an editor and viewer - in the bundle.
Read more about it here .
Jun 13, 2011 8:50 AM
77The situation with foreign currency exchange in Venezuela is hard to explain. I don't understand it very well, myself. But I'll try to make it as clear as possible given my limited knowledge of Economics and having to explain it in a language that's not my native tongue.
To avoid a significant decrease in our international reserves, in 2003 the government issued a restriction on purchase of foreign currency. For that, an agency called CADIVI was created. This agency is responsible for approving purchases of foreign currency. Individuals are only allowed to buy only up to US$4,000 a year. Importers have to go through an enormous amount of paperwork, in order to have their purchase of foreign currency approved. Like any government agency, CADIVI is slow and inefficient.
Oliver | Ganar dinero
Jul 18, 2011 3:15 PM
78This is a thread warning of a scam to beware of when crossing from Tacna, Perú to Arica, Chile by colectivo (shared taxi):
Aug 22, 2011 4:01 AM
79Traveling between South America and Central America
Please refer to the link below, which is the Central America FAQ. Within the FAQ, the following is covered:
Darien Gap options, Sailboat Charters, Cargo boat options between Panama and Colombia. Post #43 to #62
Driving a vehicle across all borders in CA & SA. Post #63
Links to Motorcycle Forums ADV and Horizons Unlimited- Post #63
Nov 7, 2011 10:37 AM
80ACCESS TO CASH AND CREDIT ADVICE
You should ALWAYS contact your debit and credit card providers by telephone before you leave to get them to put on the system that you will be travelling to suchandsuch countries for suchandsuch time, or you may well run into problems. Most banks and card providers have automatic suspension of the services for a great variance in activity and location.
Generally, you should not believe your incountry hype about easy use of varying pay systems. The simpler the better. Buy some currency of the country next on your destination before you get there, to avoid problems on arrival due to ATM´s or other sources being too busy or out of cash (especially on unexpected local holidays). ATM´s are generally the best way to go. US dollars are still the best in terms of exhcannge rates and convenience, but of course there are security and other problems with carrying aorund a lot of cash. If possible, have a second debit card from a different bank in case there are connection problems, and possibly both a Visa and Mastercard credit card.
In case anybody is consiudering those old travellers cheques, forget about using them, hard to cash, and now a lot of charges. Best only to have a few for the ultimate last opportunity if all goes bellyup.
NOTE ON ARGENTINEAN CURRENCY CONTROLS
-After the election, the Argentinean government imposed currency controls. There are no problems buying Argentine Pesos with foreign cash or debit or credit cards. However, the legal selling of foreign currency with Aregentine pesos or anyo other currency (for example, buying Chilean pesos with American dollars) have ground to a halt. This is to keep up the articficially high official rate of the Argentine peso.
-THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS EXCHANGING FOREIGN CURRENCY FOR ARGENTINE PESOS
-Except for small items, the US dollar is accepted almost everywhere, at even better rates. For example, in Mendoza here, you get 4.28 pesos for one US dollars, but many stores, restaurants and hotels say now have signs in their windows saying they will accept US dollars at the equivalency of 4.65 to 4.85 pesos, a real advantage. Therefore, _it would be a very good deal to take as many US dollars into Argentina that you are comfortable carrying aroun_d, as you will get amuch better rate than getting the equivalent at ATM´s. The best rate is the black market, where you can now get as much as 5.40 pesos for the dollar, but of course that is difficult for foreigners (never buy on the street, there are a lot of forgeires of all currencies out there)
-Be aware that many high-demand hotels, language instructors and resorts are now insisting when taking reservations on payment in dollars through cash, credit card or PayPal. This is because they are not worried about losing customers who want to pay in the local currency because they have enough that will pay in dollars.
-AFIP (the Argentine tax agency controlling currncy exchange houses and banks) has said they will allow foreign currency to be bought with Argentine pesos only if the buyer can prove the source of the Argentine pesos. In the case of tourists, this means showing the receipt of the purchase of the Argentine pesos from the exchange house or ATMs. This has not been happening in practice, tourists have been refused rechanging pesos into foreign currency even with the ATM receipts.
(so you may want to save them). However, even this system appears not to be working, so the best strategy may be to try to use up all your excess pesos before you leave or you will risk having to sell them in other countries at very low rates.
-I expect that in the coming months, the US dollar will become the real unofficial currency of Argentina.
Edited by: mendocinateacher
Edited by: mendocinateacher
An addendum to this as of end of December 2011. Exchanging Argentina pesos in neighbouring countries is apparently not that hard based on reports; of course the rates may possibly not be at a good rate. I myself have just returned fron Chile, where I had no problem exchanging Argentine Pesos for Chilean pesos at a pretty good rate, so my comment about it being difficult to exchange the pesos outside of Argentina seems wrong, at least for neighbouring countries in South America.
-still no story from anyone who has successfully exchanged Argentine pesos back into foreign currency using ATM reciepts, so be prepared to carry any unspent pesos out of Argentina for exchange.
Edited by: mendocinateacher
May 20, 2012 11:51 AM
81TORRES DEL PAINE
POSSIBLE CHANGES TO RULES OF ACCESS
After last year's huge fire in TdP was set off by a visitor, new controls have been studied in order to protect the park. These should begin to be put in place from September 2012.
The possible changes include: a wrist bracelet where the intended time of stay in the park and intended route appears, different entrance fees according to the time spent in the park, monitoring of trekkers on the different portions on routes such as the W so that those who do not make it to the next refugio or campground do not just camp where they find themselves, possibility of required guides for less visited areas of the park. Some of these are more complicated than others, i.e. the lack of enough guides for less visited areas. There would also be changes in the administration of the park.
Below is a portion of a news item from today outlining possible changes:
Todos los turistas que ingresen al parque administrado por dicho organismo portarán un brazalete de un color específico, que indicará los días de permanencia y el recorrido autorizado, para tener un mejor control sobre los distintos sectores de la reserva.
A esto se podría sumar un cobro diferenciado, dice el director nacional de Conaf, Eduardo Vial. "Es una de las ideas que se podrían implementar. No es lo mismo un turista que recorre en vehículo el parque por un día, que quien realiza el circuito de trekking de diez días", afirma.
Hoy se paga un monto fijo de $15 mil, los extranjeros, y $5 mil los chilenos, en temporada alta.
Otra medida ya definida será que quienes inicien una caminata en cualquiera de los senderos habilitados deberán cumplir con un horario máximo de salida.
"De esta forma evitaremos que algunos visitantes se queden rezagados y no puedan llegar a los campamentos implementados. Ahora muchos se quedan en el camino y hacen campamento en lugares que no cuentan con las condiciones adecuadas", explica Vial.
También se considera que en tramos más alejados y con menor carga de visitantes, como el sector Zapata -cerca del glaciar Pingo-, sea obligatorio el recorrido con guía, aunque aún se está evaluando cómo se podría implementar. "Lo estamos analizando, porque no hay muchos guías; yo no conozco a ninguno que esté cesante. Pero hay lugares muy remotos al interior del parque, y en esos casos se hace necesario", dice Guillermo Santana, el administrador de la reserva.
If you are visiting the park from September on, you may encounter new rules in place. None should adversely affect your visit and, on the contrary, should make everyone's visit safer and protect the natural beauty of the park.
Jun 15, 2012 7:13 PM
Mar 14, 2013 1:37 PM
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