Packed with essential information in a clear, concise format and delivered in an engaging manner, the second edition of First-Time Latin America helps prepare readers planning their trip. It includes information on what tickets to buy, where to stay, what to eat and how to stay healthy. There are insightful overviews of each Latin America country highlighting thes best places to visit with country specific websites and necessary budget information. It is designed to answer the ''soft'' issues not addressed by country-specific guides, for example, how to lessen the culture shock of your very first night in Latin America; what to think about if you''re considering travelling on your own and what to do when you return home. This edition includes an expanded chapter on working and studying in Latin America. This guide is designed for the weeks/months before you get on the plane.
Polly Rodger Brown was a contributor on the sixth edition of The Rough Guide to Mexico and has travelled widely in Latin America. James Read is an experienced travel writer and has both worked and travelled in the region. He currently works for the BBC World Service as a writer and researcher.
This book is intended to prepare you for your trip, whether it’s a couple of weeks on the beach in Cancún or a twelve-month journey from Mexico down to Tierra del Fuego. It’s a book to read before you go rather than an on-the-road guide, a planning handbook to help you decide on the kind of trip you’d like to make and prepare you for your journey. The first thing you’ll need to decide is which countries and regions in Latin America you want to visit and which places to skip: the possibilities are outlined in Where To Go, the opening section of the book. The book focuses on the twenty countries of Central and South America plus Mexico, and thus includes several countries – Belize, Guyana, Suriname – that are not strictly speaking part of Latin America, and excludes others – namely Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico – that are. We’ve chosen to do this because travellers visiting several countries on the mainland may well include non-Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking countries on their itinerary, while most people visiting the Caribbean island nations tend to do so without visiting the mainland. If you’re intending to visit one of the Latin American Caribbean islands mentioned above, however, you’ll find much of the general information and advice we give is also relevant there. For each country covered, you’ll find a profile outlining what the destination offers first-timers, including a roundup of the main highlights and suggested itineraries, as well as a selection of personal recommendations and more out-of-the-way attractions.
The middle section of First-Time Latin America, The Big Adventure, deals with the practical details of travel in the region. This is where you’ll find chapters on how to choose the right ticket and which guidebook to use, advice on how long you can afford to stay away and what you need to take with you when you go, and a selection of books and films to inspire your travels, along with lists of useful websites to consult. This section also looks at life on the road in Latin America, giving you an idea of what to expect in terms of transport and accommodation, advice on how to stay safe and healthy while you’re away, and tips on how to avoid the potential hassles and hazards that await the unwary traveller. Finally, the Basics section at the back of the book is packed with useful addresses, websites and phone numbers for further information on everything from discount flight agents and specialist tour operators to jungle equipment suppliers and volunteer work opportunities. Even after you’ve read through this book, we can’t guarantee that you’ll avoid every potential pitfall on the road, but hopefully you’ll feel well prepared for what awaits you and excited at the prospect of travelling in Latin America. When you return home, be sure to send in your own anecdotes and travellers’ tales for inclusion in the next edition.
Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
Great book for travelers planning their first trip to the region.
I bought this book when I first began planning my trip to Latin America. I hadn't ever been to the region and wanted to know as much about it as possible. When I bought the book, my prior travels included the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and I knew that Latin America would be a bit different! It's a great book for travelers planning a first trip to Central or South America, and also a great guide for first-time travelers in general. I think people of any age would find this book helpful, too--it's information that any traveler will find useful.
There is a chapter on each country in the region with highlights to consider visiting, plus practical information on what to take, how to get around, routes to consider, visas, health, safety, and lots more. It's not a book you will probably take with you when you leave, but one you'll want to read in the beginning or mid-stages of planning your adventure. It'll answer a lot of your questions and concerns and help you have a better idea of what to expect.
I'm definitely glad I bought and read this book as it prepared me well for my three month adventure in Central America and addressed many of my concerns and questions. Recommended for everyone considering or planning a trip to Latin America.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
Buy this first!
By J. L. DeBiase
A great book to start with. We bought First-Time Asia before we took off to Asia for 6 months and it was extremely useful to help with all the planning and decide where we wanted to go. This time we know we want to go to Latin America but have no idea how south we will go or what so this book is great for the rampant changing of minds that occurs while we plan trips bc the information is so broad and covers everything. But it's just the basics. You will need a guide for each country you go to to take with you (we usually buy them used and trade them in when we arrive). Leave this one at home.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
Good book but....
This book is a really enjoyable and rather helpful. However, defs not a travel guide for south america. Buy the lonely planet shoestring. Really, more of a pleasure read for background information than anything. Still, a really fun read! However, not entirely essential. Word to the wise about south america, keep your wits about you, but it's really not as scary as lonely planet makes it seem. Also, learn some spanish if you haven't already, your language skills are the number one most helpful thing you can bring with you.