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Traveling in Latin America: requirements and necessary vaccines

If you plan to move through Latin America, it is important that you know the requirements of each territory. Here you can find information on the general characteristics for traveling through South America, Central America and Mexico, as well as the recommended and mandatory vaccines in each area.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Necessary procedures

Latin America is made up of a total of twenty countries. Each of them has special conditions to enter, although they have some similarities.

General information

In all countries there are certain nationalities that are allowed to go without the need to apply for a visa. In each territory, this list varies, although usually they are usually States of the European Union, as well as of North America, in addition to some parts of Latin America and Japan.

In general, these people are asked to have a valid passport, a return ticket to their country and financial solvency to meet the travel expenses. This permit usually has a maximum duration of 90 days. However, in some areas like Mexico it reaches 180 days.

If you are concerned about the language, you should know that in all countries Spanish is spoken, with the exception of Brazil (Portuguese is used), French Guiana and Haiti, in which French is spoken.

However, in some territories they have more official languages, corresponding to the indigenous ethnic groups in the area. These are some of the most prominent:

  • Bolivia: Quechua, Guarani and 34 more languages
  • Haiti: Haitian Creole
  • Paraguay: Guarani
  • Peru: Quechua

Mobility agreements

On the other hand, we find some agreements that allow people from member countries to move between these territories with only their ID or identity card.

In 1969, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) was formed, whereby there is free mobility among its associated countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

In Central America we find the Central American Free Mobility Agreement, also known as CA-4. The states that are part are El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras.

In addition, in South America there is the Mercosur, founded by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in the Treaty of Asunción. At present, these are the member countries whose citizens can travel without a passport:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Other requirements

If you plan to travel with your children in Latin America, they will not need any additional documents as long as both parents go with them. The same roles as adults (passport, visa, etc.) will be required. In addition, it is advisable to bring the Family Book.

However, if the child is going to go alone or with one of the parents, you may need a authorization official. This depends on your nationality.

As for pets, it is possible to go with a dog through this territory, although it will be necessary to document the rules of each country. In general, they should be vaccinated against rabies, dewormed and with a certificate of good health issued by a veterinarian.

Also, if you are looking for information on the conditions of each airline and company for the transport of animals, you can visit the following article: Traveling with pets: airline rules and tips.


There is no mandatory generalized vaccine throughout Latin America. However, if you come from a country where yellow fever is endemic and you are going to visit one of the following countries, it is required have that vaccine up to date:

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Ecuador
  • The Savior
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Paraguay
  • Surinam

However, if you are going to visit a risk zone in the countries named above, the vaccine against this disease is recommended. The same happens in these states:

  • Brazil
  • French Guiana
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Regarding Brazil, you can know all the vaccines and health requirements necessary in this article: Vaccines to travel to Brazil: what are the main diseases?

In any case, it is advisable to consult the particular information of the territory to be visited, as this may vary. On the other hand, for any destination on the continent it is advisable to have these vaccines updated:

  • Tetanus-Diphtheria
  • Triple viral (measles, rubella and mumps)
  • Hepatitis A


If you travel to this continent by ship or plane, you will not have to submit any documentation other than that required by the destination. The same happens you go by bus.

However, if you go in your own vehicle Like a car or motorcycle, you may be asked for the following border papers:

  • Car Documentation
  • Driving license
  • Vehicle ownership or notarized authorization of the owner
  • Driving license
  • insurance

In addition to these, each country has specific requirements, so you may need to acquire a temporary certificate to confirm that you visit the territory as a tourist.

It is advisable to have the Passages card in Douane (CPD), as it is a guarantee of the payment of customs duties in the event that the vehicle does not leave the country.

Recommendations for Spaniards

The Ministry of Employment and Social Security of Spain grants different guidelines for citizens who wish to travel outside the European Union. It indicates that to go to any country in Latin America it is necessary to have the passport in order.

Although in some cases it is not mandatory, it is recommended to hire a private medical insurance, since Embassies and Consulates are not responsible for this type of expenses, which in some countries can be quite high.

An international driving license is required to drive outside the European Union, as long as the country to which you are leaving does not have the model permit provided in the Geneva or Vienna Conventions.

Likewise, if you are going to stay for a long period of time in one of the following States, you can exchange the Spanish driver’s license for that of that country thanks to different agreements:

  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Uruguay

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block “Prepare the trip“so you can continue reading:

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