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
Manaus and the jungle: We had left Porto Velho on a bus. This chapter starts with our arrival at a boat landing on the Amazon and tells our story...
The largest forested area in the world, with an immense diversity in terms of flora and fauna - and a huge flood. The UNESCO World Heritage...
The next legs of our journey brought us into the vast interior of Brazil. Key words are deforestation, gold rush and long stretches on bus. This...
Ouro Preto was the centre of the 18th century gold rush. We also visited nearby Mariana before continuing our journey to Belo Horizonte. This...
The Portuguese found gold in the hills of Ouro Preto and built a city full of splendid colonial architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage...
The historic colonial centre of Paraty and four natural areas in the south of Brazil have been included on the World Heritage List. The UNESCO...
Looking for beaches and old colonial towns south of Rio. This article is part of a travelogue from of a five month journey in 1987-1988 to several...
The departure from Norway and first adventurous and dramatic days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This article is part of a travelogue from of a five...
The beaches and hills of Rio contributed to it becoming one of the world's most famous cities. The people living here added the rest. The UNESCO...
This is the story of a five month journey to South America. My girlfriend Bo and I visited five countries on the continent, from Brazil in the east...
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.