They did not even ask for propina, they were just nice and laughing when they took up position in front me knowing that I could not resist the temptation to photograph them.
For a traveller, the Inca descendants from the Andes Mountain Range represent the quintessence of this part of the world. A poor people, yet proud. A traditionalist people, yet striving to enhance their material well-being. In most South America countries, the military dictatorships have been in charge, in close cooperation with the Church.
In combination with immense differences between rich and poor, most countries have had profound difficulties in developing an economy able to produce a decent standard of living in all segments of the population. On the other hand, very positive trends have been emerging over the last, say, twenty years.
All this goes for the rest of Latin America as well. (By the way, this website categorises everything north of the South American (sub-) continent as North America, for reasons of geography.)
South America consists of 12 independent countries of which I have been to six. If you click the country links above, you will find all entries from each country.
I have not been to Argentina, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, or Venezuela. They are indicated by the yellow colour in the following map.
There are also a few other territories of a different legal status in this region, for instance the Falkland Islands and South Georgia which are British overseas territories, and French Guiana which is a French overseas region. It is normal to group Central America and the Caribbean as part of North America, and I follow the same definition.
Map of South America. Sandalsand has been to countries marked with a green colour, and not the yellow countries. (Map source: Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (user Luan))
Posts from South America
Our next few days in La Paz were actually quite lazy with little happening. This article is part of a travelogue from of a five month journey in...
This is my story about the trip from Puno on Lake Titicaca across the Bolivian Altiplano on the road to the city of presumable peace – La Paz. This...
This photo gallery is from a journey to Peru in 1987. Consult the map page for details. Explore all Peru entries on...
Like in Brazil and Ecuador we stayed in Peru approximately a month (32 days) and I would like to summarise some impressions from our stay. This...
Puno, Titicaca and reed boats: The next leg of our journey through South America went to the town of Puno. It is right on the world’s highest...
Finally, one of the highlights of this South American journey was coming up. We were going to visit Machu Picchu. In addition we’re going to spend...
Cuzco's secret is the mix of Inca remains, Spanish colonial buildings, and the lives of its present-day indigenous population. The UNESCO World...
This is undoubtedly one of the world's most famous sights, the remains of the hilltop town of the Incas. The UNESCO World Heritage List includes...
Christmas was coming up and we wanted to press on into the mountainous southern Peru, and away from Lima. We flew to Cuzco, the ancient capital of...
Lima, and the long journey to get there: After a month in Ecuador we returned to Peru. We spent two days nearly continuously on buses from Riobamba...
The capital of Peru has a powerful appearance due to its Spanish colonial legacy. The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand...
This photo gallery is from a journey to Ecuador in 1987. Consult the map page for details. Explore all Ecuador entries on...
In Latin America, even atheists are Catholics. (Carlos Fuentes)
A fact sheet
This is Wikipedia’s introduction to this region.
Map and numbers
- Area: 17,840,000 km2
- Population: 420,458,044 (2016)
- Population density: 21.4/km2
- Nominal GDP: $3.94 trillion (2017)
- PPP GDP: $6.57 trillion (2017)
- GDP per capita: $9,330 (2017)
- Demonym: South American
- Countries: 12
- Dependencies: 3
South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions (like Latin America or the Southern Cone) has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics (in particular, the rise of Brazil).
It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the northwest. It includes twelve sovereign states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela), a part of France (French Guiana), and a non-sovereign area (the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory though this is disputed by Argentina). In addition to this, the ABC islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama may also be considered part of South America.
South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometers (6,890,000 sq mi). Its population as of 2016 has been estimated at more than 420 million. South America ranks fourth in area (after Asia, Africa, and North America) and fifth in population (after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America). Brazil is by far the most populous South American country, with more than half of the continent’s population, followed by Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru. In recent decades Brazil has also concentrated half of the region’s GDP and has become a first regional power.