Before your trip

Before your trip

Chile, Brazil, Argentina

TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION

  • Passengers travel internationally are required to have a passport with validity of at least six months beyond the conclusion of your trip. It is also recommended to have a minimum of three blank pages in your passport. Travelers without the requisite blank visa pages in their passport may be refused entry, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense.
  • U.S. Resident Aliens need both passport and Alien Resident Card for re-entry to the United States.
  • Carry emergency contact person’s name, address, and telephone number with you.
  • Keep travel documents, passport, personal necessities and valuables with you at all time. Leave a copy of the important documents to your family or pack another separately from the original itself. We suggest you scan and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help speed up the replacement process.
  • Be sure you have all the necessary documents and money before leaving home for the airport.
  • For U.S. passport holders visiting Argentina, Brazil, and Chile for tourism travel of 90 days or fewer, no entry visa is required. If you hold a non-U.S. passport, check with the consulate near you about the requirement for travel to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

Chile: https://chile.gob.cl/estados-unidos

Brazil: http://cgwashington.itamaraty.gov.br

Argentina: https://eeeuu.cancilleria.gob.ar/en

CONSULAR INFORMATION

The US Department of State provides Country Specific Information Sheets for every country in the world, as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. Find this information by calling 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444, or online at www.travel.state.gov.

BAGGAGE 

  • Baggage charges and insurance are at the owner’s responsibility. Baggage allowance may vary by airline and is subject to change at any time. For up to date baggage allowance, restrictions, and fees, always check with the appropriate airline before traveling.   
  • It is recommended that all checked luggage has a lock (TSA accepted combination locks are recommended) and use Peony Tours’ red luggage tag showing the name and contact information of the owner. These brightly colored markers help identify you and your luggage quickly. 
  • DO NOT pack prescription medicine, valuables and other personal necessities in checked luggage. Keep them in your carryon bag. 
  • Note: Samsung Galaxy note 7 telephone is prohibited on board. 
  • Consider packing one change of clothing, one set of underwear and toiletry in your carry-on bag to avoid inconvenience caused by delayed or lost luggage.
  • Baggage allowance on the coach: Peony Tours welcomes each passenger to bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag on the coach. Due to the limited capacity for luggage storage on the vehicle, Peony Tours does not accept more than one suitcase per person in order to avoid any additional charges for excessive luggage. 
  • Consult www.tsa.gov for USA airport restrictions on baggage and TSA approved locks. 

HEALTH, INSURANCE & MEDICAL MATTERS

  • Travelers are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance prior to departure for your own protection. 
  • It is important to familiarize yourself with any potential health issues or concerns related to your destination, and so we strongly recommend consulting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit them online at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel or call 800-232-4636.
  • Though no vaccinations are required for your trip with the exception of persons traveling from or via an infected area, the US Department of State still recommends travelers to receive yellow fever vaccine prior to traveling to South America. It is also recommended to carry the proof of yellow fever vaccination throughout. Please note that, the yellow fever vaccine should be administered 10 days prior to travel in order for it to be effective.
  • Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions. Consult your doctor for suggestions on prevention and treatment.
  • If you are taking prescription medication, please pack in your hand luggage sufficient quantity for the duration of the trip and make sure it is fully labeled.
  • In case of illness during your trip, please immediately notify your tour manager and local guide for assistance. 

WEATHER

  • Use a website such as www.weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfalls during your travel times. 
  • Buenos, Argentina’s capital city is cold in winter and hot and humid in summer. 
  • Rio de Janeiro, the 2nd largest city in Brazil, has a tropical climate. Most of the year, the climate is warm and humid. Occasionally temperatures can reach to a high of 104 F, but mostly they hover around 86 F.
  • The climate in Santiago, capital city of Chile, is Mediterranean, with mild winters and very warm and dry summers. 

ELECTRICITY

In Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, the electricity is 220 volts AC 60 cycles. Some hotels have 110 volts AC or adapters. Travelers are advised to bring an international converter and adapters for the trip.

CLOTHING / THINGS TO BRING

  • Check www.weather.com for weather conditions before you go, and pack accordingly. 
  • We suggest you bring comfortable, casual clothing in natural, breathable fabrics. It’s best to bring clothing you can layer. Formal clothing is not necessary.
  • Comfortable good walking shoes. 
  • Sweater or lightweight jackets.
  • Lightweight raincoat or poncho.
  • Sunglasses, sunblock, and sunhat.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Lightweight binoculars (optional)
  • Simple first-aid kit.
  • Prescriptions and medications (we recommend you carry these in their original bottles and/or packaging.)
  • Chargers and cables for electronics.
  • Voltage converter and adapter plugs.
  • Note: Laundry service is available at your hotels.

ARRIVAL AIRPORT INFORMATION & CUSTOMS

Peony Tours representatives cannot enter the secured areas. This includes Immigration, Customs halls and luggage claim area. Luggage carts are available, free of charge, at all airports. Collect your luggage and exit, Peony Tours’ local representative will greet you as you in the arrival hall; look for the person holding the distinctive Peony Tours signboard. All luggage from the group will be collected for transfer to your hotel in a separate vehicle. 

LANGUAGE

Argentina: Spanish; 

Chile: Spanish and Castilian; 

Brazil: Portuguese

TIME ZONE  

Time in Chile and Argentina is 2 hours earlier and Brazil is 3 hours earlier than the Eastern Standard Time in U.S. (except when the U.S. goes on daylight savings times from March to November). 

MONEY MATTERS

  • Chile: The official currency in Chile is the Chilean peso, also denoted by CLP. The banknote denominations are: $1000, $2000, $5000, $10000, $20000. The coin denominations are: $1, $5, $10, $50, $100, $500. The US dollar is not widely accepted in Chile.
  • Brazil: The official currency in Brazil is the Real (R$), also denoted by BRL. The banknote denominations are R$2, R$5, R$10, R$20, R$50, R$100. The coin denominations are: 5cvs, 10cvs, 20cvs, 50cvs, R$1. Tourists can use US dollars for tipping. Generally, the US dollar is not widely accepted in Brazil.     
  • Argentina: The official currency in Argentina is the Argentina peso, also denoted by ARS. The banknote denominations are: $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. The coin denominations are: 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, $1, $2. US dollars are widely accepted in Argentina. 
  • We suggest you exchange a certain amount in the US before departure.
  • Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are most accepted in each country. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card. Be prepared to show your passport with credit card transactions.
  • Bank Hours: 

Chile: Mon-Fri 9am-2pm, Sat-Sun Closed

Brazil / Argentina: Mon-Fri 10am - 3pm, Sat-Sun Closed

  • ATMs: All major banks have branches and ATMs in most towns and cities in Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. A list of these locations can be found on your bank’s official website, but not very convenient.

As of November 2019, the following exchange rates apply: USD 1 = BRL 4.01

USD 1 = ARS 59.57

USD 1 = CLP 741.60

FOOD & DRINKS

  • Argentina: Beef is a major part of the Argentine diet. The local specialties are: empanadas (basked pastries with a meat filling), Chorizo or morcilla (meat sausage), bife de chorizo (sirloin/New York Strip steak)
  • Chile: The local specialties are: Pastel de choclo (corn casserole filled with ground beef, onions, chicken, raisins, hardboiled egg, and olives and topped with sugar and butter), Empanada de queso (a deep-fried pastry filled with cheese).
  • Brazil: The most famous food is feijoada, a dish of black beans, pork, and dried meat served with rice. 
  • Do not drink tap water anywhere. Please purchase bottled water at local grocery stores.
  • Drinks are not included on tour fare

SHOPPING

  • Most guests enjoy the chance to purchase items that reflect their destination, and so as a courtesy, your guide may recommend a particular shop or arrange a shopping visit. Please note, however, that these recommendations should not be taken as Peony Tours’ endorsement of the shops, merchandise and/or pricing. You assume all responsibility for any transactions that take place, including shipping arrangements that are made.
  • The decision to shop while traveling is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please contact the tour leader or our local representative immediately. Any after-sales correspondence must be between the passenger and the shop in question. 
  • Prices at hotel shops and tourist shops are generally fixed; however, when shopping at the local markets, bargaining is expected. Values Added Tax rate is 21% in Argentina, 4-25% in Brazil, 19% in Chile. 
  • To avoid disappointment, we suggest the following guidelines:
  • Compute the exchange rate and thoroughly review credit card receipts before signing.
  • Take your purchases home with you whenever possible. Airfreight can take many months and actual shipping charges can be excessive. Customs delays, fees, and regulations can further complicate the issue. If you choose to ship purchases, we suggest taking a picture of the item(s) and/or marking them in some way to ensure you receive what was purchased. For example, you could write your name on the backside of a rug. Determine if your shipment will be delivered door-to-door or to the nearest customs facility, as is often the case. Most goods shipped from other countries to the United States are subject to Customs duty. 
  • Duty taxes, if applicable, are paid as you re-entered the United States. Regardless of assurances by merchants, these cannot be prepaid on your behalf. 
  • Keep all sales receipts for items purchased throughout your trip and try to pack all the items that you will need to declare together. This will ease the Customs process upon re-entry into the U.S. 
  • Observe U.S. Customs restrictions when bringing in goods from the tour. Consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at http://www.cbp.gov for more details. 

CALLING FROM US

Contact your cellular telephone provider to determine if your phone operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and what, if any, activation may be required. If your phone is not GSM-enabled, you may find that renting a phone specifically designed for use overseas is the most practical option. 

To Argentina, please dial: 011 54 xx xxxx xxxx

To Chile, please dial: 011 56 xx xxxx xxx

To Brazil, please dial: 011 55 xx xxxx xxxx

INTERNET ACCESS

Most hotels offer complimentary wireless internet services in all areas as well as a business center. Consult the front desk for specific details on each property.

US EMBASSIES & MISSIONS  

Chile: https://cl.usembassy.gov/

Argentina: https://ar.usembassy.gov/

Brazil: https://br.usembassy.gov/

TIPPING

Please note that gratuities are not included in your tour cost. They are customary, and their purpose is to encourage and reward quality service. Our tour conductors, local guides, and drivers do their utmost to make your trip smooth and pleasant. Gratuities are a way of showing your appreciation and also constitute a large part of their monthly income. However, tips are NEVER mandatory. Peony Tours suggests tipping in the following manner (US dollars):

$5 per guest per day to tour leader

$5 per guest per day to local guide

$2 per guest per day to local driver

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Respect other guests, your tour guides and drivers. Refrain from talking when tour guide is speaking.
  • Safely of travelers has always been our number one concern. For your safety, you should notify the tour guide ahead of time if you plan to go out at night or roam at a free time alone.
  • Always be cautious when staying at a hotel. Never allow strangers into your room. Keep doors locked at all times.
  • Use the safes where available in your accommodations to secure your valuables, especially passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times. Be mindful of your surroundings and take extra caution in crowds. 
  • For the protection of your own interests, read carefully your itinerary and hotel information prior to the tour. Leave a copy to your family or friend.
  • A nice and smooth trip counts on every group member’s high cooperation. It is important to follow the indicated meeting time and meeting point. Use the red round name badge provided by Peony Tours for easy identification. To make your trip as enjoyable as possible, allow enough time for flight check-in, security screening, and boarding: 2 hours for USW domestic travel, 3 hours for international travel. In case of an emergency, please contact Peony Tours immediately. 

USA / During Office Hours (Mon-Fri, 9 am - 5:30 pm)

Headquarters 626-289-2450

Los Angeles Office 626-289-1010

San Francisco Office 650-259-9983

New York Office 212-973-1998

USA / After Office Hours, Weekends, Holidays

Emergency Contact 626-592-8448