SOUTH AMERICA has to be the easiest place to travel as a overlander.
Is not required for any of the countries - you are issued a temporary import paper at each border that can range from 3 to 12 months depending on which country you enter.
Are issued at the border of each country, are free and can easily be extended in most large cities.
Lots are recommended but Yellow Fever is the only compulsory certificate being required.
We have ALL our injections and carry our vaccination booklets as proof - available from Trailfinders.
The only other thing you need to consider is Malaria medication - so seek advice from your travel clinic or check out this site - www.traveldoctor.co.uk
TRAVEL INSURANCE :
We use www.travelnation.co.uk - we remain very happy with their service and prices after 4 years of use.
Chemists are well stocked and supermarkets are easy to find - IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!
For advice on each country - please click on the map page.
MAPS AND GUIDE BOOKS
We bought the Lonely Planet guide books and Rough guides maps for our trip - the maps are as good as any German variation and are almost half the price.
If we source local maps that may be better, we will put details on each countries page but we would recommend buying this route map in Buenos Aires - it costs 35 pesos and contains lots of useful information for Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
GARMIN MAPS -
Argentina/Uruguay/Chile - www.proyectomapear.com.ar
Brazil - www.portalgps.com.br
MOSQUITO BITE PREVENTION
We discovered Mosi-guard and Nobite on our last trip -both are natural remedies that worked very well for us. The Nobite is for spraying onto our clothing and the Mosi-guard is for our skin - we would recommend the Mosi-guard liquid rather than the cream as it soaks in quicker. www.mosi-guard.com
For treating a net we used KO Tab with great success - even flies dropped dead instantly on contact! Available from www.daerr.de
Nobite can be ordered from www.globetrotter.de but it does mean an expensive postal arrangement - no-one in the UK stocks it as yet.
We have tried to get a second passport each but have been refused every time - we know it can be done and that it is legal but the Passport Office refuse to play ball with us. So we did the next best thing - Dave got a Irish passport. Did you know that you are entitled to one if you have a parent that was born in Ireland, that includes Northern Ireland! It is a relatively easy procedure and having a Irish passport can actually save you money - some countries charge a much smaller visa fee for the Irish than the British. It’s a great shame that they stopped issuing passports to the spouse 3 years ago, but at least one of us now has a second passport.
It seems that most travellers have major problems with gas bottles and filling them up. Modern European screw top or bayonet top bottles cannot be refilled over here. We had to buy a Argentine 10 kg bottle at a cost of £35 - top-up’s cost £3. (Be sure to buy your bottle from a YPF fuel station in Argentina and then you can return it with a full refund when you leave.)
To complicate things more, each country has different sized bottle tops, making it impossible to fill a bottle that does not belong to that country!
German overlanders with old style European bottles buy a multi adaptor set from a German supplier and this works for them everywhere. Another option is to get a Torneria (metal worker) to make you a set of adaptors once you are here - not so simple.
We survived by filling our Argentine bottle each time before entering Chile. When we went further north the weather improved so we cooked with our Coleman multi fuel stove outside.
LATEST NEWS -
Gas bottle filling is easy in Salta AR and Cusco PE - see our info pages for details. We also found a very cheap adaptor kit in Germany but one week later the company closed! Another option but it is very expensive
WWW.SOCAL.CO.UK sell a universal adaptor kit for £139.
WHICH VEHICLE TO TAKE?
A Land Rover with a roof tent would be difficult in Patagonia and the far south - the weather is definitely not for roof tents or pop-ups - some of the overlander trucks have to face into the wind it’s so severe.
As things stand we are absolutely convinced that our truck is the best option, we blend with the locals, parts and mechanics are everywhere and they’re cheap compared to Europe.
Here is some information on which vehicles are commonly found in South America - maybe this will help you to decide on which vehicle you want for a trip over here...
ARGENTINA/ URUGUAY/ CHILE/ BRAZIL -
Argentineans love to fish and camp so you will see vans and old buses converted to accommodate their passion of travelling. The most popular vehicle to travel in is the old Mercedes bus - you find them everywhere and we have even met a French family who are considering buying one to complete their S.A trip in - the Bolivian roads wrecked their mobile home!
Older style Renault Traffic vans are everywhere as are Peugeot Boxer vans - most have been converted in some way as ‘mobile homes’. The newer model Iveco Daily vans are popular - only the military drive the 4x4 versions - so there must be parts available somewhere. And new Mercedes Sprinter vans can be seen everywhere.
A note for Land Rover owners - you find them everywhere, official garages are scarce in Argentina and Bolivia but Brazil and Chile have reasonable coverage. Puma engines dominate the market in Chile but the 300Tdi is still the favoured engine in Brazil.
BOLIVIA / PERU/ ECUADOR/ COLOMBIA/ VENEZUELA -
Toyota’s rule in Bolivia (old and new) and in a lot of Peru. The further north you drive the more USA vehicle makes you will see - FORD, DODGE etc. But you will also find all of the other vehicles we have mentioned above and some Land Rovers.
NOT BEEN TO ECUADOR/COLOMBIA/VENEZUELA YET - WILL UPDATE PAGE LATER.....
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU COME HERE....
Buying tyres -
The cheapest places are ;
The Zona Franca (tax free) areas of Chile - Punta Arenas and Iquique.
Ecuador and Pedro Juan Caballero (another tax free zone) in Paraguay.
Getting vehicle work done -
Definitely the cheapest places are Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador.
Technical/ electrical issues -
For example - inverters, solar controllers, fridges and water heaters can be found here with a huge amount of effort and many miles but they are not of a European standard. Be aware that finding suitable spare parts for your European overland equipment can be extremely difficult if not impossible.
Try to equip your vehicle with as few ‘gadgets’ as possible or be prepared to have to purchase local standard equipment or to ship spare parts over from Europe.
IMPORTING PARTS TO LATIN AMERICA -
This is VERY important information you should know.
Chile is the easiest country to import parts into. If your vehicle is already in the country you will have been issued with a import paper - on this part is a temporary import number (TITV nr). When you need parts sent be sure to have this information on the envelope, this will help your package to pass through customs quickly and normally means that you will face NO import charges on the part.
We have shown the photograph of our envelope sticker.
Please copy this exactly then write your own import number and registration number on.