Thank you everyone for the cellphone advice - I will look into it! As for the rest of my concerns, including camera space, please read below!
tarinay - I definitely will not - my dad recommends me a new country everyday even though I keep telling him this is basically finalized hehe.
Thanks for the replies!
I have sort of figured out how I will get from place to stay and where I will stay:
After landing in Lima, I will stay at the Loki Hostel most likely - I am still looking into transportation for how to get to the Hostel. Also, I am still deciding on whether or not to fly to Cuzco or do train/bus.
In Cuzco, I will probably stay at the Loki Hostel as well. For Machu Picchu, I haven't looked into specifically where I will be staying and what train I will be taking. For Lake Titicaca, Dos Manos will provide the transportaiton (75$ for a 3 day tour). I am still unsure of how to get to the Pantanal from Puno, but I am starting to look into that as well. I may even have to go from Juliaca > Lima > Sao Paulo and then bus it to Cuiaba or something. Hopefully this will be easier once I have finally decided on a Pantanal tour agency, so I know exactly where I need to be. (I am still leaning toward the Northern Pantanal). As for the rest of the trip, I haven't looked into it much but I don't think it should be too difficult. Hopefully everything starts coming together soon, because my schoolwork is not going to get any easier!
I'm still working on comparing Pantanal agencies - I will post again once I have made some sort of tangible progress.
Here's a few random questions:
Should I bring my laptop to South America? I assumed that I wouldn't because in case I get robbed or something. I was thinking that I just bring a couple SD cards, and not even bother uploading pictures on to the internet, but rather just bring a couple 8 GB flash drives and upload them on to there, and them empty out the SD cards. How does that sound? So all I will really need to bring is an SD card reader, flash drives, SD cards, and my camera of course.
I'm not sure if I will need batteries, my camera has a battery charger where I can just plug it in to an outlet. Will this not work in SA?
I'm currently communicating via e-mail with the Brazilian consulate in Chicago in order to obtain a Visa. I cannot apply yet because I am still waiting for my passport in the mail (I had to renew it, it may still be a couple weeks at least). However, one of their other requirements is that they want a print out of the round trip ticket or the flight itinerary or something. However, I do not know which airport or airline I am taking yet, because I am going to go there after Peru... I do not even know the exact dates, and probably won't know the exact dates until well into June when I am on my way to Lake Titicaca. So how am I supposed to provide this information? I asked them and their response was "We do ask that you provide flight itinerary/plans of entry and exit from Brazil."
I replied back reiterating the fact that I will not have that available and explained my situation, and they have yet to reply. I wonder how strict this? Can I not give them estimates? It's pretty ridiculous.
I need some medical help - I'm not expecting anyone to give me some professional medical advice, but just opinion based on personal experience, or links to some information.
Anyways, so I needed a Yellow Fever vaccination in order to get into Brazil. Before I could do this, I was told that I need to make an appointment for a travel consultation in order to get my Yellow Card (sort of like a passport for medical history I believe). The consultation was with a registered nurse, and it was free through my school. It lasted almost 3 hours! I thought it would be a waste of time but it was pretty informative. However, it is always nice to have a second opinion, so please let me know if you have any thoughts on what she is recommending below.
The nurse recommended a lot of different things based on where I am going:
-Yellow Fever Shot ($90) (done)
-Swine Flu Shot ($0) (done)
-Typhoid Shot (49$)
-Seasonal Flu Shot (20$)
-Hepatitis A Shot ($3) (this is recommended even if I am not traveling, so I will definitely get this done)
-TB test to see if I need a shot
-Tetanus vaccination (I don't think she mentioned this, and I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I'm reading that I should have this before going into Manu)
-Cipro - I think this is some sort of anti-diarrhea antibiotic drug that I should take if I happen to get really sick and have diarrhea and vomitting. She also recommended bringing some Pepto or Imodium.
-Malaria Medication - She is recommending I take malarial medication. She was unsure about the Malarial risk in the Pantanal, but she said that there is risk in Iguazu, but I'm not sure she knew what was she talking about as she did not seem very confident with regards to malaria. She is using some program/website called Travel Medicine Advisor to make her recommendations. She recommended taking Malarome or Lariam for malaria medication.
This is the main thing that I am unsure about, can anyone help me out with this?
Based on Google searches, I'm reading that there is about a .1% risk for malaria and Leishmaniasis in Manu, and there is almost no risk in the Pantanal or Iguazu either. Obviously these aren't medical documents where I'm getting this information from, but rather from tourists who have had personal experiences with this, and also from tour agencies.
Tourists are saying that the malaria tablets will just make you feel sick and ruin the trip, and there is no point. I should just stick to DEET mosquito repellant (30-50%?), as that will simultaneously protect me from Dengue Fever as well.
As for rabies, as long as I am sleeping with mosquito nets I should be fine, I don't think there is really a need to look into pre-exposure vaccinations for this, right?
I'm assuming the mosquito nets will be provided?
-She also recommended that I make sure that my medical insurance company is covering me when traveling abroad - to make sure that their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expences such as medical evacuation. This is what most travelers do, right? I'm going to call my health insurer soon.
-She also recommended drinking only bottled or boiled water. Will I have to buy a case load of bottled water over there? Where will I get this? She gave me a sheet with all of these tips, they even go as far to say as use bottled water to brush my teeth. Also, never drink unpasteurized milk - that makes sense.
She also said to bring some electrolyte powder patches (i.e. Gatorade) to put in your water because your body will need electrolytes even more in that part of the world.. I forget what her justification was exactly, something about the proper minerals not being in their food I believe.
Please post if you have any input on any of this! Thanks!