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
More than a month (33 days) in Ecuador was much more than we expected when we arrived here, not to talk of what we said before arriving in South...
After spending more than three weeks in the capital of Ecuador we turned south in the Andes Mountains to visit a string of mountain towns and...
There is much lovely scenery to enjoy in the Andes, and this part of it in Ecuador boasts several volcanoes - and more. The UNESCO World...
We spent most of the following three weeks on an intensive Spanish language course in Quito, with a few breaks in between. This article is part of a...
This is my story from the world's most famous Amerindian market town, Otavalo, and a very interesting guided trip to the villages around. This...
We crossed the border from Peru in the south and went straight to Quito. We immediately found Ecuador to be an exciting country and with a lovely...
The capital of Ecuador is situated high in the Andes mountain range and has some splendid Spanish colonial architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage...
The next week we continued across the Andes in northern Peru and prepared to move on up north to Quito, Ecuador. I also wrote a letter home. This...
This is the story of our travels in the Amazon region in Peru and its difficult connections. We had stayed the night in Leticia, Colombia, the twin...
This photo gallery is from a journey to Brazil in 1987. Consult the map page for details. Explore all Brazil entries on...
Impressions from Brazil: We have now been almost exactly a month in Brazil, thirty days more precisely. That is almost what we had planned or...
A Colombian sidestep: Moving west on the Amazon we made a quick trip into Colombia. This article is part of a travelogue from of a five month...
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.