Government Advice: Tips for Travelers to South and Central America

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Government Advice: Tips for Travelers to South and Central America



Editor's note: The information below was issued in May 1989 and revised in October 1996 by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. All data contained herein is subject to verification; the most current information is available by calling the U.S. State Department's Emergency Center at 202-647-5225.



FOREWORD
CURRENT TRAVEL INFORMATION
ENTERING AND LEAVING—PASSPORTS AND VISAS
HEALTH
SAFETY TIPS—CRIME
SAFETY TIPS—CIVIL UNREST
DRUG AND FIREARMS OFFENSES
PHOTOGRAPHY
U.S. WILDLIFE REGULATIONS
SHOPPING FOR ANTIQUES
DUAL NATIONALITY
ADOPTING A CHILD ABROAD
INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC COUNTRIES
FOREIGN EMBASSIES IN THE UNITED STATES
U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES ABROAD


FOREWORD

Travelers to Central and South America are usually welcomed with courtesy and warmth. There is great diversity in the region. You can visit major cosmopolitan cities, ruins of great ancient civilizations, primeval tropical rainforests and breathtaking locales. However, there are important things that you should know before you travel. That is why we have prepared this publication. We wish you an enjoyable and memorable journey.


Please note that travel to Mexico and the Caribbean are covered in their own publications.




CURRENT TRAVEL INFORMATION

The Department of State's Consular Information Sheets* are available for every country of the world. They describe topics such as unusual entry regulations, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability and drug penalties. They also provide addresses and emergency telephone numbers for U.S. embassies and consulates in the subject country. In general, the sheets do not give advice. Instead, they describe conditions so travelers can make informed decisions about their trips.


In some dangerous situations, however, the Department of State recommends that Americans defer travel to a country. In such a case, a Travel Warning is issued for the country in addition to its Consular Information Sheet.


Public Announcements are a means to disseminate information about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or trans-national conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. They are issued when there is a perceived threat, usually involving Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Public Announcements have been issued to deal with short-term coups, pre-election disturbances, violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.


Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements* are available at U.S. regional passport agencies; at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad; or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818. They are also available through airline computer reservation systems when you or your travel agent make your international air reservations.

Before you travel, check to see if a Travel Warning is in effect for the country or countries that you plan to visit.


You can access Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements 24 hours-a-day in several ways.


Telephone

To listen to them, call (202) 647-5225 from a touchtone phone.


Fax

From your fax machine, dial (202) 647-3000, using the handset as you would a regular telephone. The system prompts you on how to proceed.


Internet

Information about travel and consular services is available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' World Wide Web home page. The address is http://travel.state.gov. It includes Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, passport and visa information, travel publications, background on international adoption and international child abduction services and international legal assistance. The site also links to the State Department's main home page at http://www.state.gov, which contains current foreign affairs information.


* The publications mentioned above may be contained in their entirety in this Yearbook, see CONTENTS for location.

Consular Affairs Bulletin Board

If you have a personal computer, modem and communication software, you can access the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). To view or download the documents from a computer and modem, dial the CABB on (202) 647-9225, setting your software to N-8-1.


There is no charge to use the telephone, fax and bulletin board systems other than normal long distance charges.


As you travel, keep abreast of local news coverage. If you plan more than a short stay in one place, if you intend travel to an area where communications are poor, or if you are in an area experiencing civil unrest or some natural disaster, you are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration takes only a few moments, and it may be invaluable in case of an emergency. Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and your passport number with a friend or relative in the United States. If your itinerary is not fixed, try to get in touch with family and friends frequently so they will know how to reach you if necessary.




ENTERING AND LEAVING—PASSPORTS AND VISAS

U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport to travel to all Central and South American countries with the exception of Panama and short stays in French Guiana. (Panama and French Guiana require proof of U.S. citizenship such as a birth certificate or passport. However, the U.S. Embassy in Panama encourages U.S. citizens to travel to Panama using their U.S. passports.) Visa requirements for U.S. citizens vary from country to country. Certain countries do not require a visa for a short tourist stay. For some, you need to obtain a tourist card from the airline office or at the destination airport. Other countries require you to obtain a visa in advance from that country's embassy or consulate. Some places have additional entry requirements such as proof of sufficient funds and/or onward or return tickets. If you do NOT meet the entry requirements upon arrival in a country, you will not be admitted and will have to leave on the next plane.


In addition, most Central and South American countries require a departure tax. If you are departing to a neighboring country, the tax may be small, but if you are returning to the U.S., the tax could be fairly substantial per person, regardless of age. Be sure to have enough money at the end of your trip to be able to pay the departure tax so you can get on the plane!


For authoritative information on a country's entry and exit requirements, contact its embassy or consulate (see the list of foreign embassies at the end of this section). When you make your inquiries, ask about:


  • where to obtain a tourist card or visa;
  • visa price, length of validity, and number of entries;
  • financial requirements: proof of sufficient funds, proof of onward or return ticket;
  • special requirements for children traveling alone or with only one parent (see below);
  • health requirements;
  • currency regulations: how much local or dollar currency can be brought in or out;
  • export/import restrictions; and
  • departure tax: how much and who must pay.

Restrictions on Minors

Many countries impose restrictions on minor children who travel alone, with only one parent, with someone who is not their parent or who are nationals of the country, including dual nationals. A child must present written authorization for travel from the absent parent, parents, or legal guardian. If the parent or guardian traveling with the child is the sole custodian, the court order granting custody may, in some cases, serve as the authorization document. For certain countries, the documentation must be translated into Spanish or Portuguese and/or authenticated at the embassy of the country in question before departure from the U.S.


If any of this applies to you, inquire about the following at the embassy or consulate of the country your child plans to visit:


  • the age of majority at which the restriction no longer applies (i.e., age 15 in Argentina, age 18 in Brazil);
  • the type of document that can overcome the restriction (i.e., court order, statement of absent parent or parents);
  • whether notarizing the document is sufficient or if it must also be authenticated by the country's embassy or consulate;
  • whether the document must be translated.
  • whether the permission of the mother, father or both parents is required.

Bringing Your Own Car, Plane or Boat

If you plan to drive to Central or South America or arrive in a private plane or boat, contact the embassy or consulate of each country you plan to visit to learn what is required for entry and exit. You may not be able to enter certain countries unless you have had your vehicle documented by that country's embassy or consulate before you leave the United States. Besides title and ownership, at most borders you will need to show insurance coverage effective for the country you are entering. If your U.S. insurance does not cover you abroad, you can usually purchase insurance when you enter a country. In some countries, if you are involved in an accident that causes injury, you will automatically be taken into police custody until it can be determined who is liable and whether you have the insurance or financial ability to pay any judgment. There may also be criminal liability assigned if the injuries or damages are serious.


If you are a visitor, you will not ordinarily have to pay import duty on your car, but you may have to post a bond or otherwise satisfy customs officials that you will not sell or dispose of the vehicle in the country. Before you get behind the wheel, be sure you are in compliance with the automobile import regulations of your destination country or countries.


If driving, check the Consular Information Sheet for information regarding security threats that might be encountered on the highway. You should also keep in mind that in many countries road conditions and local drivers' concern for safety fall far short of what is customary in the U.S.




HEALTH

Information for travelers on health precautions, immunizations and areas with specific health issues can be obtained from local health departments, private doctors, travel clinics or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia (CDC). The CDC can be reached by telephone at 404-332-4559, or, you can visit their home page on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov. General guidance can be found in the U.S. Public Health Service book, Health Information for International Travel, available for $14.00 from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.


Insurance. Review your health insurance policy. If it does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing insurance that does. Also consider obtaining insurance to cover the very high cost of medical evacuation in the event of accident or serious illness.


Insects. Mosquito avoidance measures, if used day and night, may help prevent malaria and other less prevalent insect-borne diseases found in parts of Central and South America.


Food. Throughout most of Central and South America, fruits and vegetables should be washed with care and meats and fish thoroughly cooked. Water is generally not potable and should be boiled or chemically treated. Diarrhea caused by contaminated food or water is potentially serious. If it persists, seek medical attention.


Beaches. Certain beaches in the region are dangerously polluted. Avoid swimming at beaches that might be contaminated with human sewage or dog feces. Swimming in fresh water in the areas where schistosomiasis is found should also be avoided.

Mountains. Visitors in the Andes may experience symptoms of altitude sickness such as insomnia, headache, and nausea. If you become sick, descend to a lower altitude if possible. Mountaineers should learn about the symptoms of high altitude pulmonary edema, a condition that is fatal unless remedied by immediate descent.


Another hazard of high altitudes is sunburn . Exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases not only as you approach the equator, but also as you ascend in altitude. Sunscreens may help prevent this.




SAFETY TIPS—CRIME

As in a number of places around the world, crime in many parts of Central and South America seems to be increasing. Visitors should take common sense precautions:


  • Safety begins when you pack. Leave expensive jewelry behind. Dress conservatively; a flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. Use travelers checks, not cash. Leave photocopies of your passport personal information page and your airline tickets with someone at home and carry an extra set with you.
  • Use a money belt or a concealed money pouch for passports, cash and other valuables.
  • In a car, keep doors locked, windows rolled up and valuables out of sight. A common trick is for a thief to reach through a car window and grab a watch from a persons wrist or a purse or package from the seat while you are driving slowly or stopped in traffic.
  • When you leave your car, try to find a guarded parking lot. Lock the car and keep valuables out of sight.
  • When walking, avoid marginal areas of cities, dark alleys and crowds. Do not stop if you are approached on the street by strangers, including street vendors and beggars. Be aware that women and small children, as well as men, can be pickpockets or purse snatchers. Keep your billfold in an inner front pocket, carry your purse tucked securely under your arm, and wear the shoulder strap of your camera or bag across your chest. To guard against thieves on motorcycles, walk away from the curb, carrying your purse away from the street.
  • Use official taxi stands rather than cruising taxis. Illegal taxis can be decoys for robbers.
  • Whenever possible, do not travel alone. If you travel in isolated areas, go with a group or a reputable guide.
  • Avoid travel at night.
  • Do not take valuables to the beach.

Any U.S. citizen who is criminally assaulted should report the incident to the local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.




SAFETY TIPS—CIVIL UNREST

Some countries in Latin America experience periodic political violence aimed at national government targets or even at foreigners. In a number of countries, kidnapping for political and/or profit motives is widespread and U.S. citizens sometimes fall victim. In addition to checking the latest Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, you may also want to contact the U.S. embassy in the country or countries you plan to visit for the most up-to-date information on the security situation.


Always carry your papers with you and do not overstay the validity of your visa or tourist card.


Avoid public demonstrations. Travelers can accidentally become injured if caught up in them. Also, American citizens have been arrested when local authorities have thought they were participating in civil demonstrations. If you are detained or arrested for any reason, ask to speak with a U.S. consular officer.




DRUG AND FIREARMS OFFENSES

Most Central and South American countries strictly enforce laws against the use, possession and sale of narcotics. Foreigners arrested for possession of even small amounts of narcotics are generally charged and tried as international traffickers. There is no bail, judicial delays are lengthy, and you can spend 2 to 4 years in prison awaiting trial and sentencing. If you carry prescription drugs, keep them in their original container, clearly labeled with the doctors name, pharmacy and contents. Check with the embassy of the country you plan to visit for specific customs requirements for prescription drugs.


Laws concerning importation and possession of firearms can also be strict, with stiff penalties for violations. U.S. citizens who legally keep weapons in their boat or car in the U.S. sometimes forget to remove them before arrival in a foreign country, resulting in imprisonment.


PHOTOGRAPHY

Be cautious when taking pictures. Local authorities in many Central and South American countries consider all airports, police stations, military locations, oil installations, harbors, mines and bridges to be security-related. Photography of demonstrations or civil disturbances is also usually prohibited. Tourists have had their film confiscated and have been detained for trying to take these types of pictures. When in doubt about whether you can take a picture, ask first.




U.S. WILDLIFE REGULATIONS

Endangered species and products made from them may not be brought into the United States. The penalty is confiscation and a possible fine. These items are prohibited from import: virtually all birds originating in Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Venezuela; furs from spotted cats; most lizard-skin products from Brazil and Paraguay; many snake-skin products from Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay; skins from the Orinoco crocodile; and all sea turtle products.




SHOPPING FOR ANTIQUES

Most countries in Central and South America control the export of objects from their pre-Columbian and colonial heritage. This may also include relics and/or reproductions of antiques. Some countries claim ownership of all such material and consider the export of antiques, without the permission of the government, to be an act of theft. In addition, under U.S. law, importers of all pre-Columbian monumental and architectural sculpture, murals and certain archaeological and ethnological materials are required to provide proof to the U.S. Customs Service that these artifacts are legally exported from the country of origin. Beware of purchasing artifacts unless they are accompanied by an export permit issued by the government of origin.




DUAL NATIONALITY

Some countries in Central and South America do not recognize acquisition of U.S. citizenship unless the naturalized U.S. citizen renounces his or her original nationality at an embassy or consulate of the country of origin. A person born in the United States of a parent or parents who were citizens of another country may also be considered by that country to be their national. If arrested, a dual national may be denied the right to communicate with the U.S. embassy or consulate. Dual nationals may also be forced to serve in the military of their former country, or they may not be allowed to depart the country when their visit is over.

If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, a dual national or have any reason to believe another country may consider you its national, check with the embassy of that country as to your citizenship status and any obligations you may have while visiting. When you research your citizenship status, bear in mind the purpose of your planned trip can affect your status. Your acquired U.S. citizenship may be recognized by your former country if you only visit there. If, however, you take up residence, the country may consider you as having resumed your former nationality. This can happen even if the embassy of the country has stamped a visa in your U.S. passport.


Dual nationals should also be aware that they may be required to use a passport from their country of origin to enter or leave that country. The U.S. Government does not object to the use of a foreign passport in such situations. U.S. citizens may not, however, use a foreign passport to enter or leave the United States and must travel on their U.S. passports.


If you have any questions about dual nationality, contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, telephone (202) 647-5225.




ADOPTING A CHILD ABROAD

While most foreign adoptions are processed without significant difficulty, in some instances and in some countries U.S. citizens have experienced problems when attempting to adopt children from some Central or South American countries. Several countries in the region have either outlawed adoptions by foreigners or passed a law requiring formal court adoption of the child in the country before the child is permitted to emigrate to the U.S. These changes have lessened the potential for legal challenges to the adoption, but have not necessarily streamlined the procedures for U.S. citizens.


Any citizen interested in adopting a child from a country in Central or South America is encouraged to contact either the U.S. embassy in the country, or, in the United States, the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues (telephone 202-736-7000) to obtain information on the adoption process in that country.




INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC COUNTRIES


Argentina

Argentina is a medium income nation with a developing economy. The quality of facilities for tourism varies according to price and area. U.S. citizens who are also citizens of Argentina (dual nationals) should call the Argentine Embassy or nearest consulate to clarify their status and to obtain the latest information and requirements for travel.


Belize

Belize is a developing country. Facilities for tourism vary in quality.


Bolivia

Bolivia is a developing nation with a slowly growing economy. Facilities for tourism are adequate but vary greatly in quality. Roads outside the major cities are frequently unpaved. Rail transportation is below standard. In addition to the American Embassy in La Paz, you may also seek assistance at two consular agencies, one located in Santa Cruz and the other in Cochabamba.



Brazil

Brazil has a developing economy. Facilities for tourism are good in the major cities, but vary in quality in remote areas. Those arriving in Brazil without a visa are usually required to depart on the next available flight. Minors (under 18) traveling alone, with one parent or with a third party must present written authorization by the absent parent(s) or legal guardian, specifically granting permission to travel alone, with one parent or with a third party. This authorization must be notarized, authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or nearest consulate, and translated into Portuguese.


Street crime is a problem in Brazil, especially in areas surrounding hotels, bars, nightclubs, discotheques and other establishments where visitors tend to gather, including locations adjacent to the main beach areas in Rio. In addition to the American Embassy in Brasilia, you may seek assistance at the Consulates General located in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the Consulate in Recife and the Consular Agencies in Belem, Manaus and Salvador de Bahia.


Chile

Chile has a stable government and a strong economy. Civil disorder is rare. Tourist facilities vary according to price and area. American citizens are required to pay a "processing fee" of $20 in U.S. currency (exact change) at the international airport check in point. Those considering scientific, technical or mountaineering activities in areas classified as frontier areas are required to obtain authorization from the Chilean government. Requests for authorization must be presented to Chilean authorities at least 90 days prior to the beginning of the expedition. The portions of Antarctica claimed by Chile are exempt from these preapproval requirements.

Colombia

There is a Travel Warning in effect for Colombia. Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Violence affects a significant portion of the country. As a result, all in-country travel, both official and private, to all destinations by U.S. government employees is restricted. Kidnapping for ransom and political purposes is increasing in Colombia. In recent years, several U.S. citizens have been kidnapped, and two U.S. citizen kidnap victims were killed.


If you must travel to Colombia, a valid U.S. passport and a return or onward ticket are required. U.S. citizens do not require entry visas for stays of less than 30 days. Stiff fines are imposed if passports are not stamped on arrival and if stays exceeding 30 days are not authorized by the Colombian Immigration Agency (DAS Extranjeria). Minors under 18 traveling alone, with one parent or with a third party must present written authorization from the absent parent or legal guardian. The authorization must be notarized, authenticated and translated into Spanish. Minors must also present a notarized copy of their birth certificate. If the child was born in the United States, the birth certificate must be notarized by a Colombian consulate within the U.S. If the child was born in Colombia, the birth certificate must have been issued by a Colombian notary.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a developing country. Tourist facilities, particularly in the capital, are generally adequate. It is strongly recommended that U.S. citizens use a valid U.S. passport to enter Costa Rica. U.S. citizens must have an onward or return ticket. Kidnapping of foreigners is on the increase. Money exchangers on the street pass off counterfeit U.S. dollars and local currency. Credit card fraud is growing.


Ecuador

Ecuador has a developing economy. Tourist facilities are adequate but vary in quality. Avoid the areas within approximately 30 miles of the Colombian border because of criminal and Colombian guerrilla violence. Refer to the Consular Information Sheet for further details. There are numerous traffic accidents involving buses. Bus travel throughout Ecuador can be particularly dangerous because of the frequency of crimes perpetrated against bus travelers. Kidnappings of foreigners, including Americans, is on the rise. Maritime safety standards on some tour vessels to the Galapagos Islands are deficient. It may be useful to verify the credentials of tour vessels in advance. Under provision of Ecuadorian law, a business dispute that would normally be handled by civil litigation in the U.S. may be converted into a criminal proceeding. This provision of law has been used to impose travel prohibitions against resident Americans and has resulted in U.S. businesspersons being arrested.

El Salvador

El Salvador has a developing economy. Tourist facilities are not fully developed. Credit cards are widely accepted. The Salvadoran constitution prohibits foreigners from participating in domestic political activities, including public demonstrations. The government of El Salvador considers such involvement to be a violation of the participant's tourist visa status. Mine removal efforts have ended, but land mines and unexploded ammunition in back country regions still pose a threat to off-the-road tourists, backpackers and campers. Currently, it is extremely difficult for prospective adoptive parents to begin adoption proceedings in El Salvador.


French Guiana

French Guiana, which is an overseas department of France, is a sparsely populated wilderness. Tourist facilities are available, but in some instances are not highly developed.


Guatemala

Guatemala has a developing economy. Except for luxury hotels in major cities and tourist destinations, tourist facilities are not fully developed. U.S. citizens whose passports are lost or stolen in Guatemala must obtain a new passport and present it along with a police report of the loss or theft to the main immigration office in Guatemala City to obtain permission to depart. Identification must be carried at all times.


In the past, unfounded rumors that foreigners are involved in the theft of children for the purpose of using their organs in transplants have led to threats and incidents of mob violence in parts of Guatemala. If you visit areas outside of the major tourist and business destinations, there is a greater likelihood, albeit small, of such an incident. The risk is also increased for tourists who have contact with Guatemalan children. Adoptive parents, in particular, are encouraged to travel within Guatemala without their adoptive children or to limit such travel when possible.


There have been sporadic terrorist incidents during periods surrounding key political events. Violent crime is a very serious and growing problem throughout the country, including murder, rape and kidnapping. U.S. citizens have been among the victims. Night travel between cities anywhere in Guatemala is extremely dangerous.


Guyana

Guyana is a developing nation. Except for hotels in the capital city of Georgetown, tourist facilities are not fully developed. Road conditions throughout the country are poor. Bring prescription medicine sufficient for your length of stay and be aware that Guyana's humid climate may affect some medicines. Many birds are protected species. Visitors wishing to take a tropical bird back to the U.S.

need to obtain quarantine space in advance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Inspection Service. Proof that space has been reserved for the bird in the U.S. must be presented to the Guyana Ministry of Agriculture before permission for export will be given.


Honduras

Honduras has a developing economy. Tourist facilities are generally adequate, but vary in quality. Judicial delays are common. Suspected criminals, including U.S. citizens, have been detained for years without trial or sentencing. Although safe bottled water is widely available, tap water is not potable in Honduras and should be boiled or chemically treated to help prevent cholera and gastrointestinal disorders. Medical care is limited, particularly outside of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. It is usually impossible for visitors to cash personal checks in Honduras. It is also extremely difficult to arrange for the transfer of funds from abroad to Honduras, especially to the Bay Islands, where banking facilities are limited. If you travel to rural areas and to the border regions near Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, exercise caution because armed bands have operated in these areas.


Nicaragua

Nicaragua has a developing economy and lacks an extensive tourist infrastructure. Travelers checks are accepted at a few major hotels and may be exchanged for local currency at authorized exchange facilities. Although many restaurants and hotels now accept credit cards, acceptance is not as widespread as in the U.S. Travel in remote areas in the northern and central departments is strongly discouraged because of violent crime.


Panama

Panama has a developing economy. Outside the Panama City area, tourist facilities vary in quality. The Pan American Highway ends at Yaviza in the Darien Province, and the final portion from Chepo to Yaviza is reasonably passable only during the dry season (January-April). If you plan to travel to South America by car, you may wish to take the automobile ferry "Crucero-Express" to Cartagena, Colombia, or ship your car on a freighter. Travel beyond Yaviza may be dangerous, and there is no Panamanian police presence in much of Darien Province, which is known to be frequented by guerrillas, smugglers, and undocumented aliens.


Paraguay

Paraguay is a medium income nation with a developing economy. Tourist facilities are good in Asuncion, poor in other major cities and almost nonexistent in remote areas. Minors under 20 traveling alone, with one parent or with a third party must present written authorization from the absent parent(s) or legal guardian, which grants permission to travel alone, with one parent or a third party. The authorization will need to be notarized and translated into Spanish. Due to serious problems in the international adoption process in Paraguay, including chronic unpredictability in the issuance of final decrees, uncertainty over case processing and prospects for proposed new adoption regulations, prospective adoptive parents are strongly urged to postpone any commitment to adopt a Paraguayan child until such time as the adoption situation is clarified.


Peru

Peru is a developing country with significant tourist and commercial activity. The quality of tourist facilities varies, depending on cost and location. The U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on official travel of U.S. government employees to several areas because terrorist groups and narcotics traffickers continue to use violence. (For information on the restricted areas, please consult the Consular Information Sheet on Peru.) If you visit places high in the Andes, such as Cuzco and Puno, you should be aware of the effects of high altitude and the sickness it can cause. In addition to the American Embassy in Lima, you may seek assistance at the Consular Agency located in Cuzco.


Suriname

Suriname is a developing nation. Transportation, communications and other infrastructure elements do not meet U.S. standards. Roads in the interior are poorly maintained and often impassable. Tourist facilities vary, depending on price and area. The government of Suriname and private tourism companies have expanded tourism in the interior by establishing several guest houses and tour packages. Visitors to Suriname who are injured or become ill during their visit will not be admitted to the only hospital with emergency and intensive care facilities unless they pay an advance deposit equal to ten days stay (payable only in U.S. dollars) or provide proof of adequate insurance coverage in a form the hospital will accept. You may experience disruptions in travel plans due to the varying scheduled airline service to and from Suriname.


Uruguay

Uruguay is a medium income nation with a developing economy. The quality of tourist facilities varies according to price and area.


Venezuela

Venezuela is a middle income country with a well developed transportation infrastructure. Scheduled air service and good all-weather roads, some poorly marked and congested around urban centers, connect major cities and all regions of the country. Its tourism infrastructure varies in quality according to location and price. If you do not have a Venezuelan identity card, you will need to carry your U.S. passport with you at all times. Certain areas along the border with Colombia have travel restrictions. If you visit those areas, you may be subject to search and seizure. Foreign exchange transactions must take place through commercial banks and exchange houses at the official rate. Credit cards are accepted at most tourist establishments. Outside of major cities, Venezuelan currency is required for most transactions. Visitors departing Venezuela can exchange local currency up to $5,000.




FOREIGN EMBASSIES IN THE UNITED STATES

Embassy of ARGENTINA
1718 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 797-8826


Embassy of BELIZE
2535 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 332-9636


Embassy of BOLIVIA
Consular Section
3014 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 232-4828 or 483-4410


Embassy of BRAZIL
Consular Section
3009 Whitehaven St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 745-2820 or 745-2831


Embassy of CHILE
1732 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 785-3159


Embassy of COLOMBIA
2118 Leroy Place, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 387-8338


Embassy of COSTA RICA
2112 S St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 234-2945


Embassy of ECUADOR
2535 15th St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-7200


Embassy of EL SALVADOR
2308 California St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 265-9671

FRENCH GUIANA
Embassy of France
4101 Reservoir Road, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 944-6187


Embassy of GUATEMALA
2220 R St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008-4081
(202) 745-4952


Embassy of GUYANA
2490 Tracy Place, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 265-6900 or 265-6903


Embassy of HONDURAS
Consular Section
Suite 310
1612 K St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 223-0185


Embassy of NICARAGUA
1627 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 939-6531 or 939-6532


Embassy of PANAMA
2862 McGill Terrace, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 483-1407


Embassy of PARAGUAY
2400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 483-6960


Embassy of PERU
1700 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 833-9860 through 9869


Embassy of SURINAME
4301 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Suite 108 Washington, DC 20008
(202) 244-7488


Embassy of URUGUAY
1918 F Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 331-1313 through 1316 or (202) 331-4219


Embassy of VENEZUELA
1099 30th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 342-2214


U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES ABROAD

ARGENTINA
American Embassy
4300 Colombia
1425 Buenos Aires
Tel: (54)(1) 777-4533 and 777-4534
Fax: (54)(1) 777-0197


Mailing address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34034


BELIZE
American Embassy
Gabourel Lane and Hutson St.
Belize City
Tel: (501)(2) 77161 through 77163
Fax: (501)(2) 30802

Mailing address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34025


BOLIVIA
American Embassy La Paz
Avenue Arce No. 2780
La Paz
Tel: (591)(2) 430251
Fax: (591)(2) 433854


Mailing address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34032


BRAZIL

American Embassy
Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 3
Brasilia
Tel: (55)(61) 321-7272
Fax: (55)(61) 225-9136


Mailing address:
American Embassy
Unit 3500 APO AA 34030

American Consulate General
Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Presidente Wilson
147 Castelo
Rio de Janeiro
Tel: (55)(21) 292-7117
Fax: (55)(21) 220-0439


Mailing address:
American Consulate General
Rio de Janeiro
Unit 3501
APO AA 34030

American Consulate General
Sao Paulo
Rua Padre Joao Manoel, 933
Sao Paulo
Tel: (55)(11) 881-6511
Fax: (55)(11) 852-5154


Mailing address:
American Consulate General
Sao Paulo
P.O. Box 8063
APO AA 34030


American Consulate Recife
Rua Goncalves Maia, 163
Recife
Tel: (55)(81) 421-2441
Fax: (55)(81) 231-1906


Mailing address:
American Consulate Recife
APO AA 34030


CHILE
American Embassy
Av. Andres Bello 2800
Santiago
Tel: (56)(2) 232-2600
Fax: (56)(2) 330-3710


Mailing address:
American Embassy
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20521-3460


COLOMBIA

American Embassy
Calle 22D-BIS, No. 47-51
Ave. El Dorado & Carrera 50
Bogota
Tel: (57)(1) 315-0811
Fax: (57)(1) 315-2197


Mailing address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34038


COSTA RICA

American Embassy
Pavas
San Jose
Tel: (506) 220-3939
Fax: (506) 220-2305

Mailing address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34020


ECUADOR

American Embassy
Avenida 12 de Octubrey Avenida Patria
Quito
Tel: (593)(2) 562-890
Fax: (593)(2) 502-052


Mailing address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34039-3420


American Consulate General
9 de Octubrey Garcia Moreno
Guayaquil
Tel: (593)(4) 323-570
Fax: (593)(4) 325-286


Mailing address:
American Consulate General
APO AA 34039


EL SALVADOR
American Embassy
Final Blvd. Santa Elena
Antiguo Cuscatlan
San Salvador
Tel: (503) 278-4444
Fax: (503) 278-6011


Mailing Address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34023


FRENCH GUIANA
American Embassy
Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel: (597) 472-900
Fax: (597) 410-972


GUATEMALA
American Embassy
7-01 Avenida de la Reforma
Zone 10
Guatemala
Tel: (502) 331-1541
Fax: (502) 331-0564


Mailing Address:
American Embassy
Unit 3303
APO AA 34024


GUYANA
American Embassy
99-100 Young and Duke Streets
Kingstown, Georgetown
Tel: (592)(2) 54900-9
Fax: (592)(2) 58497

Mailing Address:
American Embassy
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20521-3170


HONDURAS
American Embassy
Avenida La Paz
Tegucigalpa
Tel: (504) 36-9320 or 38-5114
Fax: (504) 37-1792 (Consular fax))

Mailing Address:
American Embassy
Unit 2909
APO AA 34022


NICARAGUA
American Embassy
Km. 4-1/2 Carretera Sur
Managua Tel:
(505)(2) 66010 through 666013
Fax: (505)(2) 669074

Mailing Address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34021


PANAMA

American Embassy
Apartado 6959 Panama 5
Panama City
Tel: (507) 227-1777
Fax: (507) 227-1964


Mailing Address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34002


PARAGUAY

American Embassy
1776 Mariscal Loipez Avenida
Asuncion
Tel: (595)(21) 213-715
Fax: (595)(21) 213-728


Mailing Address:
American Embassy
Unit 4711
APO AA 34036-0001


PERU

American Embassy
Consular Section
Av. La Encalada s/n
Block 17
Monterrico
Lima33, Lima Tel: (51)(1) 434-3000
Fax: (51)(1) 434-3037


Mailing Address:
Consular Section
Unit 3740
APO AA 34031


SURINAME
American Embassy
Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129
Paramaribo
Tel: (597) 472900
Fax: (597) 410972
Mailing Address:


AmEmb Paramaribo
Department of State
Washington, DC 20521-3390

URUGUAY
American Embassy
Lauro Muller 1776
Montevideo
Tel: (598)(2) 23-60-61
Fax: (598)(2) 48-86-11


Mailing Address:
American Embassy
APO AA 34035


VENEZUELA
American Embassy
Calle F con Calle Suapure
Colinas de Valle Arriba
Caracas
Tel: (58)(2) 977-2011
Fax: (58)(2) 977-0843