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Travel in South America

At Cox & Kings, we believe that a good holiday is not luck, but judgment. We have compiled the following information to outline the nature of travel in Latin America and to help you prepare for your holiday. However, even with the most meticulous planning, minor problems can occur and, while 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 South America.

British Foreign & Commonwealth Advice:

Cox & Kings supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Aware campaign to help you stay safe and healthy overseas. Find out more at FCO Travel Aware. The FCO website provides travel information for many countries around the world which includes advice on safety and security, entry requirements and health, as well as general information. Cox & Kings strongly recommends that you, and everyone on your booking, visit the FCO website and read the advice about the country you are planning to visit prior to booking. You should also revisit the advice regularly prior to your departure as it may change frequently. It is also possible to sign-up to receive FCO e-mail updates for your destination so you are aware of any changes to advice they issue and we recommend you do this. There are different levels of advice, and sometimes this includes advice against travelling to certain areas or countries. To check the current travel advice, visit gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and follow @FCOTravel on Twitter and Facebook.com/fcotravel.

Flights

International flights: On most of our tours, the following carriers will be used: British Airways, KLM, Iberia, Avianca, LAN, United 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 stop-off airport, should this apply. Services are classified as direct when there is no plane change involved. Please note, direct scheduled services are only available between the UK and Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico. For all other destinations, flights are indirect. 

Internal flights: Many countries within South America have their own air pass and, wherever possible, our tours will be constructed with the appropriate one, which will minimise the costs of the internal flight. Please note that the majority of air passes have restrictions; if you require an itinerary with full flexibility, please contact your travel 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 air pass. 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, while 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.

Flight amendments: Most of the tours in this brochure use special airline fares. These have certain conditions that 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.

Special requests: 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.

Airport departure taxes: International UK departure tax is included in the cost of your holiday (unless otherwise stated). Most cities in South America levy a departure tax for passengers departing on international flights, while there may also be a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Often taxes will be included on your ticket and we will advise you accordingly, otherwise taxes will have to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in US dollars. 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 charges with your final documents and our local agents will confirm any amounts payable on arrival. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or US dollars to cover such taxes.

Road travel

Generally, road travel in South 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 that 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 tailoring 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. For Escorted Group Tours, transport will usually be in the form of a European-style coach or, for smaller groups, may be by minibus. For individual journeys, transport will generally be by saloon car. In destinations where conditions require it, off road driving will be in 4×4 vehicles.

Car hire

Cox & Kings can arrange self-drive holidays to certain parts of South America. Please inquire for further details and note that we advise against self-drive in some regions because, in our opinion, it is unsafe. In the event that you wish to book an independent self-drive, 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.

Train travel

With the exception of Peru, the opportunities to travel by train in South 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 travel consultant to discuss the facilities that are available on a particular route.

Early starts

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 South America, or in order for us to maximise the opportunities for sightseeing during your tour. A number of flights to South America arrive / depart early in the morning and, while we will endeavour to schedule your tour with a flight that arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.

Accommodation

Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout SouthAmerica. 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 (eg to a lake- or falls-view room, de luxe or suite), please speak to your travel consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and applicable supplements.

Check-in & check-out times: For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in and check-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, but 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 check-out time, you may either speak to the hotel reception to see if you can keep your room or secure your room prior to departure and pay an additional supplement – please contact your South America travel 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. Sometimes, however, 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.

Single accommodation: Generally in South 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 to discuss the matter with the hotel manager.