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What to pack in South America

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The Ultimate South America Packing List

So you’ve booked your tour to South America, sorted your travel insurance, what’s next? Time to get organised! With adventure travel it can be difficult to know what to pack, especially in a region as diverse as South America. What you need to bring for exploring the Amazon jungle could be very different from hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and different again if you’re throwing in a cruise to the Galapagos Islands. You don’t want to be packing for a million what-if scenarios and yet you definitely want to avoid wishing you had something when you don’t. Here’s our guide on what to pack for a holiday to South America.

General Packing List

  • 1 Main backpack 50 L (Large enough for your belongings plus a little extra space for souvenirs)
  • 1 Day bag

Clothing



South America has a diverse range of latitudes and altitudes across a dozen countries, making it difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all packing list. You will also need to bear in mind that the weather tends to be unpredictable, especially when trekking at high altitude and when on tours in the Amazon Jungle.

  • Trousers/leggings
  • Athletic shorts/shorts
  • T-shirts/tops
  • Long sleeved tops
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket
  • Jumper/sweater/fleece
  • Swimwear
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sunhat/warm hat (depending on the season)
  • Trainers/sneakers
  • Sandals/flip flops
  • Night time clothing

Toiletries

You don’t need to fret too much over toiletries and medicines as you can easily pick these up in cities for a very cheap price. However, if you are planning on sticking entirely to hiking routes you may want to prepare a little more.

  • Soap
  • Shampoo & conditioner (an alternative is a combo or shampoo bar. There’s no risk of any leakages and uses less plastic)
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Suncream
  • Medical kit (pain killers,
  • diarrhoea remedy, rehydration salts, antiseptic cream, plasters, bandages, safety pins etc)
  • Plastic bags (for keeping wet/used clothing separate)
  • Deodorant/antiperspirant
  • Insect repellent & bite cream (we recommend using Deet 35% minimum)
  • Personal medication or products
  • Hand sanitiser

Electronics

It’s a good idea to download some games, music, podcasts or programs to your device before you leave so you aren’t relying on wifi!



  • Mobile phone, phone case and charger
  • Headphones
  • Plug converter
  • Torch (a keyring torch is perfect)

Other

  • Passport
  • Money
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Money belt
  • Sunglasses
  • Padlock
  • Reusable water bottle

Optional

  • Deck of cards/card game
  • Laptop, charger & hard drive
  • Camera & memory cards
  • Books/kindle
  • Travel journal/diary
  • Pen/pencil
  • Snorkelling kit

Hiking

or rent hiking equipment such as waterproofs, hiking boots and poles, however these can be a little expensive. Read our blog here for more information on packing for the Inca Trail.

  • Hiking shoes/boots (make sure these are comfortable and worn in to help you avoid blisters)
  • Hiking trousers/leggings
  • Thermal underwear (depending on the season)
  • Quick drying t-shirts
  • Thick hiking or walking socks
  • Fleece
  • Gloves
  • Altitude sickness tablets
  • Snacks/energy bars
  • Quick drying towel (such as a microfibre towel)
  • Toilet paper/tissues
  • Walking poles
  • Sleeping bag & silk sleeping bag liner
  • Portable battery pack for charging your electronics



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