Cultural Attitudes

Cultural Attitudes

Please be aware of some cultural attitudes that may be important for your visit:

  • If you are invited for a meal with a local family and they invite you a dish, it would be nice if you eat it all, otherwise they may feel offended if you don’t finish it.

  • Most South America is very conservative, in attitudes and believes, please avoid scandals, or speaking out loud in sacred places. When you visit an archaeological site, be very careful where you stand or seat, it may be fragile or sacred.

  • If you take pictures of local people, they may expect for a tip, especially children. Be sure to deal with them and ask for permission before taking the photo.

  • Don’t tip the little kids with money, candies or sweets; they will appreciate school supplies or something practical and useful.

  • Some people don’t like to be photographed, especially elder people, it has to do with their spiritual believes, so be sure to ask permission before shooting, and please respect if the answer is No.

  • Tipping is appreciated in South America, and also the way you do it.

    • Guides and drivers most of the times are hired for all services in each city, you can tip them at the end of the tour, inside a little envelope, so they will not feel uncomfortable to receive it in front of the others.

    • In restaurants, 8 to 10% is expected

    • In hotels, one dollar per bag to the bell boys.

    Please tip only if you feel you received a good service.

  • South Americans are well known for being very warm and kind with foreigners; please behave back with the same attitude. It is important the way to ask and smile while you are getting a service.

  • It is important to say HI, when you are getting into a bus or room. South Americans appreciate very much this social interaction.

  • Community visits: expect modest living conditions, and in some cases no good bathroom facilities. Please try to carry tissues with you just in case you do not find toilet paper. If you find a sign that request you to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet, that might you feel weird, but as a courtesy to the next guests, please do it.

  • Some typical meals, as guinea pig (in Peru and Bolivia, for example), may be a little shocking. Do not make a scandal if you don’t want to try it, or if it is unusual or uncomfortable for you, just explain in a polite way that you do not want to try and they will not insist.

  • It is normal being chased by little kids in tourist attractions asking for a tip, offering postcards or shoeshine.

    Kindly say NO THANKS and if they keep asking, just ignore them. It is the best way to keep them away. Don’t feel bad or guilty to say NO when you don’t want to purchase something.

  • Before your trip starts, we encourage you to learn just few word that will be useful for you during your stay:

ENGLISH SPANISH
Hello Hola
Good morning Buenos días
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good evening Buenas noches
Nice to meet you Mucho gusto
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es?
Thank you Gracias
No, thank you No, gracias
Excuse me Disculpe
How much is this? ¿Cuánto cuesta?
A bottle of water, please Una botella de agua, por favor
Might I get the bill, please? Me trae la cuenta, ¿por favor?
I need a taxi Necesito un taxi
I want to go to _________ Quiero ir a __________
How do I get to _________? ¿Cómo llego a _________?

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