Southern America is immersed in historical heritage sites and culture unlike anywhere else in the world. With several destinations deemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the Machu Picchu, Galapagos Islands, and Iguazu Falls there is a lot to feast your eyes on, learn, and experience!
However, like in any other country, there are certain Do’s and Don’ts when you pay a visit to South America. Giving respect and recognizing culture are musts when traveling after all.
What To Do
Do try to learn a little Spanish
Learn some basics of politeness. A simple hi (hola), thank you (gracias), goodbye (adios) and sorry (lo siento) will surely help you get by. Learn to interact on a basic level. Not all locals speak or understand English.
Do prepare clothes for summer
You need to be prepared for every hot temperature that you can think of in Southern America. Relatively warm regions dominate its climate. Please bear in mind to leave flashy or revealing outfits at home if you do not want the ‘unwanted attention.’
Do make copies of important documents
Your Visa, passport and insurance documents are very important. Make sure you had these organized and duplicated in case of misplacement.
Do prepare cash
Make sure you have some local cash and keep track of the conversion rates. It is also recommended that you call your local bank and ask about activation requirements for card use in South America, as well as information on transaction fees.
Do install travel apps on your mobile device
Google maps, Uber, and a translation app will be a great help. It is also recommended to purchase a phone plan with unlimited data as a backup even if there is Wi-Fi in your accommodation area.
What Not To Do
Do not lose your debit or credit cards
As you may know, cash is king in everywhere. Few places will accept a credit card at all, and for the few that accepts credit cards, you will probably get hit with a charge.
Don’t accept the prices of the goods you’re being sold
As a traveler in a foreign land with a little Spanish, getting ripped off is somehow unavoidable. Haggle responsibly.
Do not travel with excessive jewelry
Keep your necklaces, rings, bracelets, expensive watches, and other jewelry in a safe place like hotel safe lockers.
Do not forget to bring your towel
If you are planning to travel to South America, bring your towel. This is not always available to rent at hostels and budget home stays, and even if they do have towels available, you are not sure if it is clean. Apart from that, used clothes do not make a decent substitute.
Do not accept drinks in bars from local strangers
Safety first. Always take precautions especially when you are in a foreign land. And of course, deny politely avoiding bar trouble.
Do not rely on the Internet when looking for good food in South America
Sure, most people look up to the Internet for reviews before trying anything. But remember that we all have different taste or perspective. It is recommended to look for crowd locals for food or restaurants recommendations.