1. Help Centre
  2. South America Travel Information

Travel Health (South America)

Visit a doctor before travelling

We recommend that you contact either your GP or Travelvax (1300 360 164) for advice on
vaccinations and travel health. Travelvax has a comprehensive website that you may also find
useful: www.travelvax.com.au

We strongly recommend that you see a doctor at least six weeks before your holiday to allow time for any necessary vaccinations, etc. Remember to take your itinerary with you to the appointment. For the very latest travel advice, please check Smart Traveller before you depart. 

Malaria, Zika (ZIKV) and Dengue Fever

Some of our Latin America itineraries will visit countries where malaria, zika virus and dengue fever are a moderate risk in some parts. You cannot be vaccinated against any of these
illnesses, but please check with your doctor if they advise the use of malaria tablets. As all three are transmitted to humans by mosquitos, travellers should always exercise care to avoid bites by wearing covered clothing and using insect repellent, especially in the evenings.


You may also want to consider getting a rabies vaccination; please check with your doctor if this is recommended. However, this is not an immunisation and medical advice should still be sought immediately if an animal or bat bite is sustained, even if you have had the rabies injection.

Drinking Water

In most places it is not safe to drink the tap water, nor take ice in your drinks, however, safe bottled drinking water is readily available for sale everywhere from small shops, supermarkets,
restaurants and hotels. Always ensure that the seal is unbroken.


Some of our tours reach areas of high altitude. Your Tour Dossier will list altitudes reached each day. Please refer to this information to satisfy yourself that you are physically able to undertake your chosen itinerary. AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) occurs in some people of varying ages and fitness levels when they travel to altitudes over 3,000m. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, nausea or loss of appetite, breathlessness or headache. These usually develop over the first 36 hours at altitude and not immediately on arrival.

Your guide will be extremely well-trained in dealing with its effects – taking it easy and taking some time to acclimatise are the best ways to prevent and combat it. Usually the symptoms will subside after a day, however; if symptoms worsen you should seek medical advice and descend in altitude immediately.

It is recommended to drink more water, nonalcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks and avoid exertion after arriving over 3,000m. Our itineraries ensure you will stay overnight at least 100m below the maximum altitude reached during that day, another effective method for combatting AMS. We have adapted the itinerary to make sure that your time at these heights is as relaxed and easy as possible.

Personal Medical Kit

Take all pharmaceutical products that you may require on your tour; do not rely on being able to purchase these during your holiday. Consider taking a ‘personal medical kit’ containing any
medication or medical equipment you may need during your time in Latin America:

  • All prescribed medication (with a cover note from your doctor)
  • Headache tablets
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets
  • Cold and flu tablets
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Lozenges
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Hand sanitiser/or hand wash
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Spare pair of glasses/contact lenses

If you need to purchase any pharmaceuticals or medical equipment while in Latin America– you may ask your National Escort or hotel staff to help you locate a pharmacy, identify medication or to translate from the local language to English. If you need medical attention they will be able to arrange a call from a doctor. However, the decision to purchase or take any non-prescribed medicine is entirely your own.

The staff at Wendy Wu Tours (in Australia and in Latin America) are not medically qualified. Therefore they are neither able, nor allowed to give any medical advice, recommendations or
administer medications.