While doing research for our South America trip, we didn’t find that many travel blogs by Singaporeans or Malaysians. We hope others who are thinking of South America as their next stop would find this useful.
We’re going to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. Only Bolivia requires tourist visas and they can be obtained on arrival with a fee of about USD$100. Other requirements include photocopy of passports, passport pictures, onward travel documents, but it seems like this depends on the officer on duty as well.
Ok this was the most expensive item (about $1k) and we had to really consider if this was absolutely necessary. But at the end of the day, being sick and looking for a clinic isn’t fun. We took our jabs at Tan Tock Seng Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic to protect against the following : Yellow Fever (needed for Bolivia visa), Rabies (don’t want to be a walker!), Influenza, Typhoid and Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis. We also purchased altitude sickness pills for Bolivia and Peru. We’ll be at 12,000 feet, the same height as Darren’s skydiving jumps!
Deciding which company to go with really depends on what your main cost concerns are and for us, it’s healthcare. We purchased AXA Smart Traveller Comprehensive Annual Plan as it covers up to $600k for overseas medical expenses and $60k for post-trip medical expenses.
Apparently you can’t get any South American currency in Singapore. We went to a couple of money changers and banks, and all shook their heads when we asked for pesos. So we changed some USD instead and we’ll be using our ATM cards throughout. We are bringing along our ANZ, HSBC, UOB and DBS cards and they charge about $5 per withdrawal.
Just so we have a tiny bit more than nothing in terms of proficiency in Spanish, we downloaded the Duolingo app and took 12 classes and can now say hello, how are you, please, our names and ages and where we’re from! Not much but hopefully we’ll pick up more as we spend time there.
Darren also applied for his international driver’s license through AA online, we bought a Steripen for suspicious looking water and downloaded Google translate and maps for offline use.
Last but not least, we pray for open hearts to love the places and people that we come across.