Text Index: South America on the Matrix

South America Home Page:  A brief description of my nine-week trip to South America in 1996. There are links to pages with photos and other information about the other countries I visited.

Map of South America

Argentina:  I was in Argentina for only a little more than one week and it wasn't nearly enough time. Nevertheless, I was able to visit Patagonia and the Perito Moreno glacier (a spectacular sight), as well as Iguazú Falls in the north. I also loved Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires:  Buenos Aires was my favorite among the cities I visited in South America. Beautiful parks, great restaurants and wide boulevards all contribute to the city's reputation as the "Paris of South America."

Iguazú Falls:  The falls are higher and wider than Niagara Falls in their setting in a tropical rain forest makes a visit all the more worthwhile.

Patagonia:  The highlight of my visit to Argentine Patagonia was the massive Perito Moreno glacier, but there was also a certain stark beauty to these windswept grasslands (plus, lots of barbequed lamb).

Map of Argentina

Chile:  The photos from Chile range from the beautiful Lake District south to the southern tip of Punta Arenas. Along the way, there is Torres del Paine National Park, one of the world's most scenic areas.

Lake District:  Chile's Lake District is an area of fertile farms and lush countryside. There is a distinctive German flavor here and, but for the occasional volcano, one might at times be in the European Alps.

Torres del Paine National Park:  This part of southern Chile is one of the most beautiful spots on earth! The jagged peaks, gushing waterfalls, glaciers and guanacos make this a world-class destination. The photos show the park, as well as a hike to Las Torres, themselves, after which the park was named. Also, photos from Punta Arenas and the Serrano glacier in southern Chile.

Map of Chile

Ecuador:  Ecuador offers wide variety for the traveler, from the Andean highlands around Quito, to the lowlands of the Amazonian rain forest, to the unique landscapes and habitats of the Galápagos Islands.

Galápagos Islands:  If you are an animal lover or a nature enthusiast, the Galápagos Islands are not to be missed. There is no other place like them on earth. The wildlife is completely unafraid of humans (even birds refuse to fly away). This is where Charles Darwin found compelling evidence that shaped his theory of evolution and you can still see evolution in action today on these remote islands. Plus, the snorkeling is fantastic!

Cotopaxi National Park:  Cotopaxi National Park boasts the second highest active volcano in the world.

Quito:  Scenes from the capital of Quito.

The Rain Forest:  I spent five days in the Ecuadorian rain forest, along the Rio Napo, which is a tributary of the great Amazon River. Photography was difficult given the wet conditions, but there are few photos here to give a flavor of the area.

Map of Ecuador

Perú:  Machu Picchu, and the other Inca sites around Cuzco, are magical places that should be on every traveler's "wish list." In addition, Perú offers the mysterious Nazca lines (gigantic figures drawn in the desert by an ancient culture), the floating islands and the spectacular scenery of the Andes mountains.

Cuzco Region:  Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire, the "navel of the universe." Although defeated by the Spanish in the 1500's, much of the Inca influence remains in and around Cuzco, including massive Inca sites such as Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo. Nearby, is also the interesting Sunday market at Pisac.

Floating Islands:  The Floating Islands in Lake Titicaca, near Puno, Perú, offer a glimpse of a unique way of life that probably will not exist for much longer. Ancient people created these manmade islands in the lake as a means of protection from surrounding enemies. Today, the enemies are gone, but many residents still live as they have for centuries.

Lake Titicaca and Altiplano:  On my way from Cuzco to Puno, to visit the Floating Islands then proceed on to Bolivia, I had crossed the high altiplano of Perú and had a chance to take in its austere beauty, as well as some of the small towns along Lake Titicaca.

Lima and Miraflores:  Lima is the capital and largest city in Perú and is made up of many districts, one of which is the upscale Miraflores district. Some photos from the Spanish colonial center of Lima as well as the seaside area of Miraflores.

Machu Picchu:  Machu Picchu is the largest and best preserved of the ancient Inca sites (the Spanish never found it). It is a magnificent area that should not missed! Photos here include the ruins themselves, as well as the spectacular scenery as seen from high atop the neighboring mountain of Huayna Picchu.

Nazca:  The strange lines (or "geoglyphs") drawn in the desert around Nazca have perplexed archaeologists for almost a century. Why were the figures created and, given that the figures can only be appreciated from the air, how was the ancient civilization able to create them? Photos also include scenes from the Nazca cemetery, where mummies and human bones lie exposed to the elements.

Map of Perú

South America Information:  Here are some links to other information that travelers may find useful in planning a trip to South America.

South America Regional News:  Recent news from South America.