How To Pack For A South America Vacation

How To Pack For A South America Vacation

South America is a vast country stretching from the skinny waistline of the Panama Canal to the tip of Cape Horn in southern Argentina. Because of its varied geography and immense size, it’s hard to squeeze every destination into one South America travel adventure – much less all your things into one backpack. Take into consideration the geography, climate, and season when you plan your itinerary, and you’ll be well-prepared for an easy-to-pack trip. Here are some tips for how to pack for your South America tour.

How to Pack for Peru

The capital of Peru, Lima is located on the central coast and it has a mild desert climate year-round. Overcast from April-October, high temperatures during the cloudy season stay around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. During November-March, the sun comes out and temperatures rise to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, temperatures cool to about 30-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Seldom does it rain in this city, only a light mist or dew called garua in Spanish.

South America Vacation

South America Vacation

Cusco is located high in the Andes, where the ancient Inca Empire set up their capital. The high elevation makes for cooler nights and warmer days, and Cusco is also more susceptible to rain. Pack a rain jacket, warm pants, and a sweater or two.

If you are planning on hiking the Inca Trail, or any other hikes in the Sacred Valley, make sure to bring few pairs of waterproof clothing, since the rainy season from December-March can get very wet.

Machu Picchu is located in the cloud forest between the highlands of the Andes and the rainforest of eastern Peru. Pack rain clothes when visiting between November and April. Nearly year-round, it stays relatively cool and cloudy until the mist burns off in the late morning. There are always bugs buzzing around, so bring bug spray and wear long sleeves.

The Peruvian rainforest is full of wildlife – including insects, so bring bug spray and wear long sleeves. You can get a malaria or yellow fever shot before you travel to Peru’s rainforest, but it is not required. The rain forest is also quite rainy and humid year-round, so be prepared to get wet – bring extra changes of clothes.

How to Pack for Patagonia

Southern Argentina and southern Chile are home to Patagonia, a stretch of land covered in ice fields, glaciers, steppe, and looming mountain ranges. December to March is the summer for Patagonia – the days are longer and warmer. It’s best not to go during June-September, although the shoulder months of November and April are good times to go if you’re up to the challenge of colder temperatures. If you are planning on day hikes, you can wear typical hiking gear – including sturdy boots and layers of clothing – but if you are planning a glacier or ice hike, consider going in a tour group with a certified guide. Some glaciers, such as Perito Moreno, require you to traverse it with a tour group. You can rent crampons and other gear in nearly any town or city, although larger cities are a better bet.

General South America Travel Packing Tips

As a general rule of thumb, pack less clothing that you think you need and more money. Only bring what you can carry. And don’t forget your toothbrush! There is a great website called that allows you to build a checklist of ítems to help remind you of everything you need to pack for your trip.

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11 Responses

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