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Traveller by Cenote Tortuga in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Multi-Country Latin America Travel Guide

Latin America, a land of fiery rhythms and vibrant colors, is an enchanting destination that offers a kaleidoscope of travel experiences. Explore the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu, where ancient Incan history whispers through the stone walls, or venture into the dense Amazon rainforest, where the symphony of wildlife creates an immersive natural orchestra. Immerse yourself in the lively energy of Mexico City, where centuries-old traditions meet contemporary art scenes, or traverse the arid landscapes of Patagonia, where glaciers stand as testament to the earth's ancient history.

But Latin America is not just about its landscapes; its cultures are equally rich and diverse. Dance to the beats of salsa in Havana's cobblestone streets, or savor the bold flavors of Peruvian ceviche. Engage with the indigenous cultures of Guatemala's highlands or immerse yourself in the lively Carnaval celebrations of Brazil. Each country in Latin America is a chapter in a vibrant story, inviting travelers to explore a fusion of history, art, and nature that is uniquely captivating.

Key Facts

Time Zone

Varies by country

Money

Varies by country

Dialing Code

Varies by country

  • The diversity: Each country has its own unique flavour and culture. You can hear the accents change when you cross the border, along with the currencies, sounds and smells and food too!
  • The people: Latin America is well known for its warm and open people. The local people would have no hesitation in approaching you to help if you seem lost and they seem to take pride in sharing their lives and culture with tourists.
  • The nightlife: Carnival in Rio, anyone? Wine bars in Buenos Aires, Salsa clubs in Cuba? The nightlife in Latin America is unreal!
  • The tropical beaches:  From the famous beaches of Copacabana in Brazil to the less-discovered surf paradises of El Salvador - there is a beach to suit everyone!
  • The cities:  The cities across the continent are an awesome mix of ancient vibes and neon-modern metropolis'. From the high-up capital of La Paz in Bolivia to the European feel of Buenos Aires.
  • The sacred sites: From Tikal in Guatemala, Copan in Honduras to Chichen Itza in Mexico, Latin America is full of atmospheric ancient sites overflowing in history.
  • Bucket List: From visiting world wonders such as Chichen Itza and Christ the Redeemer to scuba diving the black hole in Belize to hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Latin America has it all!
  • The landscapes: There aren't many places that can boast pure white beaches, volcanoes, steaming jungles, empty deserts and snow-capped mountains!
  • Language skills: Looking to learn a language then Latin America is the place to be. With Spanish schools catering to all levels across the continent, it is a cost-effective way to immerse yourself in the culture and language!

With over 12 different countries on our destination list, there are so many amazing cities to see. We travel to all the best-known capitals (Quito, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Bogota), as well as other cities that might not spring to mind as readily (Santiago in Chile, La Paz in Bolivia, Rio in Brazil). 

  • Visit the ancient ruins in the jungles of Tikal, Guatemala
  • Ramble through the tiny villages hugging the lake's edge at Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala
  • Learn to surf in El Salvador
  • Learn to dive in Belize
  • Visit the world's second-largest barrier reef in Honduras
  • Get inspired with a visit to the cloud forests near Monteverde in Costa Rica
  • Visit the twin volcanic peaks in Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
  • Learn about local life in the Amazon rainforest
  • See the views of Christ the Redeemer in Rio
  • Eat steak and drink red wine in Argentina
  • Learn the samba at the Rio Carnival in Brazil
  • Speed across the salt flats in Bolivia
  • Cycle death road in Bolivia
  • View the stunning wildlife on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Pichhu, Peru
  • Go to the swing at the end of the world in Banos, Ecuador
  • Hike the Torres del Paine in Patagonia/Chile
  • Visit the Atacama desert in Chile
  • Hike Rainbow Mountain in Peru

Whilst South American food is not as well known as other cuisines, those people in the know understand just how delicious and varied it can be. Here is a list of unforgettable culinary experiences you should try in Latin America

Ceviche in Peru - This started in Peru but is widespread across South America. It involves raw white fish cured with citrus juice, chilli, onion and coriander. Think of it as the South American sashimi

Empanadas in Argentina - The crispy, semi-circle-shaped pastry is served hot and filled with meat, veggies and cheese.

Pisco Sour in Chile - This popular cocktail is becoming more famous around the world and whilst it started in Chile, it can now be found in almost every bar in Latin America. Pisco is a local brandy, and it is mixed with egg whites, angostura bitter, lime juice and sugar.

Dulce de Leche in Colombia - Dulche de Leche is a popular confection that is found in many Latin American desserts. It is a milky caramel made from milk, sugar and vanilla and is served with everything from doughnuts to toast.

Platanos Fritos - Fried plantains are a staple South American delight and can be found on almost every corner!

The climate of Latin America can be generally described as wet and humid, however as it is such a large continent each region will have its own climate and weather patterns. Unsurprisingly, the further south you go (think Patagonia) or the higher up (think La Paz in Bolivia) the colder the temperature.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

The majority of Latin America speaks Spanish as their primary language, however, there are a few notable exceptions such as Brazil (Portuguese) and Belize (English). Outside of Belize, English is not widely spoken so polish up on a few phrases for your travels!

There’s a lot of variation in plug sockets across Latin America and sometimes even within one country! Sometimes they’re 2-pin, sometimes 3, sometimes round pin, sometimes flat. Your best bet is to bring a compact universal adaptor.

Don’t get involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Latin American drug trafficking detection methods are sophisticated and anyone attempting to traffic drugs should expect to be arrested. Conviction leads to severe penalties. 

Ayahuasca, or yage, is a traditional plant used in ‘spiritual cleansing’ ceremonies by indigenous communities in Latin America. It is not recommended to try this yourself as the drink contains a hallucinogenic drug called DMT which can cause serious complications.

Health

No doubt you’ll have a happy and healthy trip. However, it’s always good to take some precautions. Health considerations differ across countries, but some advice is applicable across most of Latin America:

  • Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance in place to cover you for any health problems you may have while overseas.
  • Ensure you’ve had any vaccinations necessary for the destinations you’ll be visiting. We’re not qualified to offer you medical advice, so you should visit your GP well ahead of time. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different countries.
  • Make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.
  • Take high-factor sun cream! The sun can be very intense towards the Equator and getting burnt is no joke.
  • Take measures to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Mozzies are part and parcel of the Asian experience, but with good repellent, burning coils and covering up a bit in the evening, you can avoid getting bitten too much.
  • Take a first aid kit to cover minor injuries and ailments. It’s especially advisable to pack treatment for stomach problems as travellers’ diarrhoea is common.

Safety

The large majority of Latin America is safe and most travellers come home without running into any issues. However, pick-pocketing and theft are always a risk, particularly in tourist areas, so keep your valuables safe, secure and out of sight. Never carry too much cash on your person and pay special attention when withdrawing money from cash machines. There are often safes at your accommodation where you can leave valuables before heading out. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for any specific safety concerns relating to your destination.

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