Travel in Latin America
At Cox & Kings we believe that a good holiday is not luck but judgment. We have compiled the following advice to outline the nature of travel in Latin America and to help you prepare for your holiday. Even with the most meticulous planning, however, minor problems can occur and, whilst our local representatives are always on hand to rectify such occurrences, we do request that you have a patient and broadminded approach to travelling in Latin America.
On most of our tours, the following carriers will be used: British Airways, KLM, Iberia, Aerolineas Argentinas, LAN, Continental Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Tam Airlines. The name of the airline and the city of the departure and arrival airports are listed in the tour itineraries, together with the stopoff airport, should this apply. Direct services are used where possible and are classified as direct when there is no plane change involved. Please note there are no direct scheduled services available between the UK and: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guyana, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Colombia or Venezuela. A chart detailing the approximate journey times for transatlantic routes to Latin America and between the major cities in Latin America is listed on page 103.
Many countries within Latin America have their own air pass and, wherever possible, our tours will be constructed with the appropriate air pass, which will minimise the costs of the internal flight. Please note that the majority of air passes have restrictions; therefore if you require an itinerary with full flexibility, please contact your tour consultant who will advise the additional cost to provide you with a more flexible ticket. Please also note that in certain cases we may not be able to book internal flights under an airpass. In this event a supplement may be payable.
Flight Delays & Insurance:
Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with onward connections and / or hotel and holiday arrangements and, whilst the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost, additional costs may well be involved for accommodation in the event of an overnight cancellation and also after your arrival at your next destination. These may be in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward travel. It is important that your insurance covers you against the costs incurred as a result of cancellation or delay to your flight. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Cox & Kings will endeavour to request any specific meals or services, on the condition that we are told at the time of booking. Specific seat requests with most major airlines can now only be requested if travelling in Business or First Class. We are able to request general seating preferences for Economy Class passengers, however, please remember that they are ‘requests’ and as such are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed.
Most of the tours in this brochure use special airline fares. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict changes of date, route and airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Airport Departure Taxes:
International UK departure tax is included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated). If you are flying via the United States or travelling to Mexico, the appropriate country and departure taxes are also included. Most cities in Latin America levy a departure tax for passengers departing on international flights, which have to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in US dollars. Other cities within a country may also levy a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Occasionally, taxes may be included on your ticket and we will advise you accordingly. Since there is no standard charge between countries, and taxes are subject to change, it is not possible to list the taxes in this brochure. We will advise you of the current charge with your final documents, and our local agents will confirm the amount payable on arrival. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or US dollars to cover these taxes.
Generally, road travel in Latin America is reasonably good, however conditions vary greatly between the modern capital cities and the more remote areas. When travelling off the beaten track, roads are frequently narrow, bumpy, pot-holed and have stretches which are not sealed, or which are under reconstruction. In Costa Rica, Cuba, northern Chile and Bolivia particularly, conditions are very dusty and / or bumpy, and the road journeys tend to be quite strenuous. Road conditions change throughout the year and heavy rain and extreme weather patterns can affect journey times. If we are tailor-making an itinerary for you, it is always a good idea to discuss your particular preferences with your travel consultant, who will endeavour to include as much or as little road travel as you require. Types of vehicles vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour: on escorted groups, transport will usually be in the form of a European-style coach or, for smaller groups, may be by mini-bus. On individual journeys, transport will generally be by saloon car. In destinations where conditions require it, off road driving will be in 4 x 4 vehicles.
During some itineraries, it may be necessary to depart for excursions or transfers to the airport very early in the morning, sometimes before dawn. This is normally either due to the flight schedules within Latin America, or in order for us to maximise the opportunities for sightseeing during your tour. A number of flights to Latin America arrive / depart early in the morning and, while we will endeavour to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.
Cox & Kings can arrange self-drive holidays to Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica. Please inquire for further details and note that we advise against self-drive in any other parts of the region because, in our opinion, it is unsafe. In the event that you do wish to book an independent self-drive to any other country than those listed above, please be aware that this does not form part of your package holiday with Cox & Kings and as such Cox & Kings is not liable in any way for this part of your holiday. Please ensure that, if you do make such a booking, your insurance policy covers you.
With the exception of Peru, the opportunities to travel by train in Latin America are much more limited than in Europe or India, for example. Where train travel is an option, it can be very rewarding and enjoyable; however, trains cannot be compared with those in Europe, and in some cases are quite basic. Where possible, we will always try and reserve first class tickets, but these cannot always be booked and do not exist on all routes. Please contact your tour consultant to discuss the facilities that are available on a particular route.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Latin America. In the larger cities, the hotels we use are fully modernised and have excellent facilities, unless you choose to opt for the more colonial style property, where facilities may be limited. In some smaller cities and more remote areas, we try to offer the best hotels available. However, these may be quite simple - sometimes small colonial-style properties, in which rooms may vary in size - and often have relatively basic facilities. Please note, all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room (e.g. to a lake or falls view, de luxe or suite etc.), please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-in & Check-out Times:
For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in/out time is normally 12 noon, but this does vary between hotels. If your flight arrives early in the morning, we will endeavour to secure a room for you on arrival; however this cannot be guaranteed and is at the discretion of the hotel, subject to availability. If you have an evening departure and require your room until a more suitable checkout time, you may either speak to the hotel reception to see if you can keep your room, alternatively you may secure your room prior to departure and pay an additional supplement - please contact your Latin America tour consultant for advice.
Jungle Lodges & Remote Areas:
Accommodation in some wildlife lodges, particularly in Guyana and the Amazon rainforest, are not comparable to the better properties found in parts of Africa and the Far East. Accommodation is often reached via narrow and unsealed roads, or by boat, and can be a long way from other civilisation. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation is the best available; however sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases, we feel that the inconvenience of such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of staying in these more remote areas.
Generally in Latin America, single and double rooms carry the same price, which means that single supplements for certain itineraries can seem high. In addition, single rooms cannot always be guaranteed at all hotels and lodges, especially in peak season. Occasionally, the location and standard of single rooms may not be as good as that of doubles, although often there is no difference. If you are in doubt, we suggest you request a double room at an additional supplement. If you are unhappy with your room while on holiday, please ensure that you query this with a Cox & Kings local representative at the time. In the absence of a Cox & Kings representative, we advise you discuss the matter with the hotel manager.
FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE TRAVEL ADVICE
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) produces a wide range of material about overseas countries that may be visited by British citizens, to ensure that travellers are properly informed about any overseas destination, particularly in relation to political unrest, crime and health issues. Where the FCO considers that British citizens would face unjustifiable risks to health, it actually advises either against travelling to the country in question or against non-essential travel to that country. Full details of all FCO advice can be obtained on the FCO website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
VISAS AND HEALTH FOR LATIN AMERICA
We work with Visa Swift, a company that specialises in visa processing. Please visit its website to find out if you require a visa, download visa application forms, follow links to important embassy websites or make general inquiries about its visa service. Visa Swift also offers a full range of passport services including passport renewals, second passports and replacement passports. The Visa Swift service is easy to use: simply go to the website and follow the steps to apply for the visa that you need. Once submitted, you can track the progress of your visa application online. Please telephone 020 7025 4744 for more information or visit the Visa Swift website: http://www.visaswift.com/coxandkings.aspx
For information on inoculations you will require in this region please click here »