Tickets purchased – Let the forms begin
We have booked our tickets to South America, where we will spend 3 months doing the big lap around that continent before heading to Europe for spring on the Mediterranean and surrounding locations which will be another month of adventure.
Afterwards, we head to Thailand for a relaxing holiday in Chiang Mai to recover from our first two holiday adventures.
Before we leave, there are many forms to complete, a few administrative tasks to cater for an almost five-month absence, and health planning, which we take seriously.
Step 1 – Check visa requirements.
We are travelling through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil and Argentina in that order before departing for Rome to start our European leg of the holiday. First step? go to the Smartraveller website and check the visa requirements – Do not, and I repeat do not rely on any words I write here because I don’t get paid to research and document any changes to visa requirements, or safety levels, but the folks at Smartraveller do.
As it turns out, Chile requires a visa before arrival and as I have been completing the visa online I do have some observations. Good visa information from the Chilean Government is available here. The actual visa application form is here. You can save your place and you are given a code which you enter along with your passport number to resume editing of your application. There were some questions that were relevant to folks who have family in Chile and for those, after contacting the consulate in Melbourne they advised me what to enter in those fields. We haven’t booked our accommodation in Chile yet and that has to be entered into the visa application. We have to provide statements, as in bank statements of financial liquidity which can be screen captures of bank statements. I don’t know how much is enough but be aware that these need to be submitted as well.
On the COVID vaccination side of things, we have had three vaccinations and will be lining up for our fourth in September. Through the mygov (Australian) website, you can connect your vaccination results on medibank with mygov and generate an international certificate of your vaccinations which should be accepted in most countries. Print an old-fashioned paper copy and carry it with you as well.
We have booked into a travel clinic in Melbourne which offers bulk billing on the consultation part of the appointment to get your vaccination. We need the Yellow Fever vaccination to visit a number of South American countries.
I have also opted to sign up on Chile’s MeVacuno site as a foreigner so if needed, local officials can see that I have registered my (our) vaccination certificates with that site. All this is free. Again, I found out about this on Smartraveller.
We are planning to take a tour into Bolivia via vehicle to visit the Uyuni salt flats so we will need to have details of that available prior to completing our visa application. [update] It turns out we will be able to enjoy a very similar experience on the Chilean side of the border in a place called San Pedro. So that leads us onto the itinerary. What are we going to visit in Chile?
We arrive in Santiago and plan to acclimatise for a day before heading to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.
Once we have acclimatised, it’s off to Patagonia and hopefully the “W” track.
At the time we are down in the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, we will also head across the border into Argentina to visit El Calafate and Puerto Moreno glacier. This means we will need a multiple entry visa for Chile.
I think this is good place to end this post.