Traveling with a Drone | South America


Taking a drone on a plane is probably the most stressful thing for any voyager traveling with a drone. If you haven't checked the entry requirements the drone can be taken away, and then you not only end up losing your drone but also not having it in your travel destination!



Well, I backpacked with a drone through almost the whole of South America. I got away with only one crash, which was actually my own fault. For all my fellow drone travelers, here is an article of all the restrictions you need to know about when traveling with a drone in South America.


Before I jump into this, I want to say that I traveled with a DJI Mini 2, its size is 138×81×58 mm when unfolded and its flying weight is under 250g. This is the perfect combination of size and weight that never triggers the bigger drone issues. So this article will be about traveling with a drone of this size and weight, as well as other drones that fall into the 'small drone' category.


If you are traveling with a bigger drone I am pretty sure anything bigger than the above-mentioned falls into the 'commercial drone' category and then wherever you go you will be required specific licenses.


So anyone traveling with DJI Mini 2 or DJI Mini 3 Pro, keep reading.


Also, there is a difference between taking a drone whilst transiting via a bus or plane. Although the requirements are the same regarding drones, on planes, it is more about the battery. In short, you can maximum take a battery of 2 grams of lithium. Also, they always have to be in your carry-on luggage and not the big one you give away. The battery restrictions vary depending on the aircraft company but this is the minimum allowed almost everywhere, so sticking with this amount should be ok.


The DJI Mini 2 and DJI Mini 3 Pro batteries are perfect, they fit the standard!


In South America, some countries require you to pay the import duties of the drone, but again only if it is over a specific amount, usually $500, so having your drone receipt (or photo) with you is a good idea.

RESTRICTIONS BY COUNTRY


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN COLOMBIA

For drones smaller than 250g you do not need a license or specific permits to fly them in the country or to take them in by plane.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN ECUADOR

For drones smaller than 250g you do not need a license or specific permits to fly them in the country or to take them in by plane.


If your drone cost more than $500 you will need to pay an import tax at the airport. The tax can be up to 35%.


IMPORTANT NOTE: You can bring drones to Galapogas Island but you are not allowed to fly them there.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN PERU

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


For drones above 250g, you are supposed to declare and pay a tax (around 18%) upon entering.


IMPORTANT NOTE: You are not allowed to fly near Machu Picchu.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN BOLIVIA

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


For drones above 250g, you have to register upon arrival and have a license.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN BRAZIL

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


For drones above 250g, you have to register upon arrival and have a license & insurance.


But you only can bring in one drone at a time. You also can only fly below 120 meters (400 feet)


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN ARGENTINA

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


Drones above 250g, need to be registered upon arrival.


You can only fly below 120 meters (400 feet), or 43 meters (140 feet) in controlled areas. You have to see the drone at all times. You cannot fly a drone out of your sight.


IMPORTANT NOTE: You are not allowed to fly in Iguazu National Park where Iguazu Falls are. You are allowed to fly over the Patagonia area.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN CHILE

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


Drones above 250g must be registered upon arrival and you need to request authorization from the DGAC.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN URUGUAY

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


You can only fly below 120 meters (400 feet). You have to see the drone at all times. You cannot fly a drone out of your sight.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN VENEZUELA

You have to have a license to fly in Venezuela, any type of drone.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN PARAGUAY

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


In general, there is not much information on drone restrictions or entry requirements.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN GUYANA

For drones under 250g, there are no restrictions or requirements.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN SURINAME

You need to obtain a permit from the Minister of Public Works, Transport, and Communication to be able to travel to Suriname with a drone and fly there.


DRONE RESTRICTIONS IN FRENCH GUIANA

I haven't been able to find much information about this country.