Bolivia: Spanish (60%), Quechua (25%), Aymara (15%) - other languages spoken are: Araona, Ayoreo, Baure, Kallawalla, Trinitario and about 27 others.
Brazil: Portuguese, and over 188 living languages and dialects from indigenous tribes and about 155,000 speakers of American Indian languages in three main linguistic groups - Carib, Arawak and Tupi-Guarani; including Tucano and Ticuna, which have their own language group and has an oriental sound to its pronunciation with complex tones.
Ecuador: Spanish, Quichua (several dialects), Cofan, Siona, Achuar-Shiwiar, Awa-Cuaiquer, Chapalachi, Tsafiki, Embera, Huaorani, Zaparo, Tetete (3 native speakers remain, considered extinct)
Peru: Spanish, Quechua, and over 300 dialects and 93 living languages including Shipibo and Huitoto.
Money and Banks
It is preferable to take dollars in a mixture of denominations. Sometimes it is hard to get change and specially purchase currency when in the rainforest basin, so local currency should be purchased upon arrival. Travellers checks are good but are exchanged with a discount, may be hard to exchange outside of main cities. Credit card only work well in larger cities and the percentage is a little higher, American Express is not well accepted. There are ATM´s in all main cities, yet it is smart to check the discount percentage or cost per transaction.
The exchange rate can move up or down in a matter of hours, days or weeks. Usually unpredictable it is best to purchase currency locally. Keep most money in dollars and exchange as you need. Current rates can be found online on the internet.
Ecuador: USD (yes, United States Dollars)
Peru: Nuevo Sol
Staying in touch
There are internet cafe´s everywhere and you can have a full hour of internet for 1 Dollar. If you need to call, it is best done from an internet cafe it is cheaper, calling from your hotel can be extremely expensive. Post is variable, it takes between 1 to 3 weeks to deliver a postcard to USA or Europe.
Rule of thumb: Follow your local guides advise or ask the concierge at your hotel.
Latin America is quite safe and you are unlikely to encounter any dificulties. Though robbery is fairly common in the large capital cities, the Amazon tends to be quieter and safer. The large cities of South America are no safer than large cities in North America, Europe, Asia or Australasia. In the Amazon however, there is much more a sense of community and our guests can be at ease. On the river and in the forest we are in one of the least densely populated areas on the planet and also one of the safest. There is virtually no risk of crime on the expedition.
Latin Americans are fond of tourists and their culture which they garner from movies and from large immigrant communities abroad. Latin Americans are of a easy going nature. In short, Latin American people are generally quite fond of foreigners and when travellers get to know South America, the feeling usually becomes mutual. We are very careful to ensure that all our contacts with people in the field are respectful and positive.