Almost ten years ago, in early 2006, I finally stepped foot on the South American continent. I had been toying with the idea of going since 2001! I was just too young and too scared (and at that time, I had zero Spanish) to make the trip on my own. Five years later, however, I just could not give a darn. Fearful or not, alone or with friends, I just had to go. I could not wait anymore. The longing and desire to go were just too great! My Spanish comprehension was just clicking into place at that time. I spent about six weeks in South America and traveled to Argentinian/Chilean Patagonia (to the very South: Tierra del Fuego in Ushuia), Atacama Desert, Bolivian Altiplano (passing through Potosi and La Paz), Lago Titicaca (highest lake in the world), Puno, Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Lago Sandoval (Peruvian Amazon), and Lima. On the same trip, I also went to Santiago and Valparaiso in Chile and Montevideo, Uruguay to visit a friend. I also added extra days in Buenos Aires to get to know this beautiful city.
Note: Photos are not in order of preference or order of visits.
My very first trip made a lasting impression on me. I have been hooked with South American ever since. I could not really continue my South American adventures until 2014 however, when I went to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. In between, I did a little bit of Central America, such as Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico; Guatemala (which I fell in love with and still deeply love!), Honduras, and Cuba.
Why do I (and many others) become so fascinated with South America? I think it is the right combination of exotic traditional Andean cultures that are still strongly practiced, mythical Pre-Columbian/Meso-American civilizations, and the amazing landscapes (glaciers, mountains, deserts, beaches, jungles, waterfalls! You name it and they have it!). Added to these, the Continent boasts amazing food, happy-go-lucky and friendly people, great music that one can dance to anytime and anywhere…..the list goes on! And being around spanish speakers and speaking the language just put me in a “happy” place, somehow, inexplicably.
I do not know the main reasons, but I am hooked and I will just go with the flow. It has been too long for me to write in details of the trips I did nine years ago, however, the happy and positive impressions remain as strong as back then.