From time to time I slip up on my travel plans. After travelling non stop for almost 8 months, it’s inevitable that I would slip up somewhere and it just so happens that my first visit to Latin America would kick off with a spanner in the works.
I was beginning a very ridiculously long travel day when I left the French Caribbean to make my way toward Buenos Aires for my first visit to the region. Having now travelled extensively throughout each region of the world, I was buzzing with excitement to arrive to South America for the first time.
But I wasn’t prepared. And yes, I was refused entry to Argentina and Brazil…
I boarded a 10 minute flight from St Barthelemy to St Maarten, followed by a flight to Puerto Rico, then followed by a flight to New York. After one night in New York (I can’t refuse a chance to visit my favourite city!!). The following day I returned to the airport, ready for another long journey from New York to Toronto, followed by a stop in Santiago and finally arriving in Buenos Aires.
It was at the check-in counter for my flight with Air Canada (which was a terrible experience by the way) that I was informed I was unable to board without a receipt of my “reciprocity fee” to enter Argentina. Having had no prior understanding of said fee, I was a little puzzled to say the least. Earlier on in the year when I knew I would be travelling to the country I had done a quick google search to find that there was no visa requirement for Australians… but I didn’t look carefully enough.
As it turns out, while not needing a visa per se, an Australian visiting Argentina would need to pay a “reciprocity fee” prior to arrival into the country, or you will be refused boarding.
What is a reciprocity fee?
This was indeed my next question.
Citizens of Australia, Canada and the United States will need to ‘register’ their travel to Argentina prior to arrival and pay a fee online. This fee is charged to these citizens because our countries charge Agrentinians to enter our country – so according to them, this is only fair.
The fee will cost Australians $100; Canadians $93 and Americans $160.
As it turns out, I was able to board my first flight to Toronto and fill in the forms online during my one hour layover there. Whilst not ideal and slightly stressful, this was good news considering I was starting a Contiki tour on the day of my arrival in Buenos Aires.
But Wait, There’s More…
After Buenos Aires, my next stop would be Iguassu Falls, which are both accessible in Argentina and Brazil. Having no knowledge of a Brazil Visa requirement prior to my day of arrival into BA, I was in for a pretty bad surprise. I arrived in BA on a Saturday – embassy closed. Sunday – embassy closed. Monday just so happened to be a public holiday – embassy closed. On Tuesday I was due to arrive in Brazil.
So I remained optimistic, read a few blogs that stated you can get a visa at the border in Iguassu Falls, and hopped on my flight nonetheless.
The visa at the border takes a minimum of 24 hours, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. You will however need to be at the Embassy between the hours of 8-10am in order to recieve your visa early the following day (available for collection at 11.00am).
Please consider that this was a very painless visa encounter, and often this is not the case in Latin America – aka you could be waiting longer or have a more difficult time, depending on many variables.
But alas, access granted. Hola Brazil!
While normally things are smooth sailing, in this case I was lucky to find a quick solution to both my Argentina and Brazil debacles. As a full time travel blogger I will be the first to admit that I should have been better prepared when visiting South America – however I’m a firm believer in ‘things will always work out’ so I was probably a little too relaxed but there was nothing to stress over in the end solution!
But for my next stop, Chile, I did my research. So it’s time for my next adventure!