South America

  • 12 sovereign states: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela;
  • 2 dependent territories: the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands;
  • 1 internal territory: French Guiana
  • Aconcagua: the highest mountain in the Americas 6,961m
  • highest capitals: La Paz (3,650 m), Quito (2,850 m), Bogota (2,640 m)
  • South America has the world's driest desert, tallest waterfall, longest mountain range (Andes, 7,242 km), largest rain forest, and biggest river by volume of flow.
  • tepui: tabletop mountains, means "house of the gods". One of the oldest rock formations in the world. More than one hundred in Venezuela.
  • Mapuche: lives in the southern end of South America, now in Chile and Argentina.
  • About 1/3 of South America's land is used for farming or ranching.
  • Most of the world's emeralds come from Colombia.


  • c. 10,500 B.C.: people live in Monte Verde, Chile.
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus "discovered" the New World of the Americas.
  • 1530s: The Spanish explorers invade South America.
  • 1500s - 1800s: Europeans take Aficans to South America to work as slaves.
  • 1888: Slavery ends in Brazil,.


  • 1438–1533, capital: Cusco
  • 1533: Spanish conquest led by Francisco Pizarro
  • Peru, western Ecuador, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, a large portion of what is today Chile, and the southwesternmost tip of Colombia
  • sun worship
  • Quechua: the Inca language. Now the most widely spoden indigenous language in the Amricas.
  • Inka = ruler in Quechua
  • Sapa Inca: "the only Inca", the ruler of the Kingdom of Cuzco and later, the Emperor of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu) and the Neo-Inca State.
  • Inca were able to construct "one of the greatest imperial states in human history" without the use of the wheel, draft animals, knowledge of iron or steel, or even a system of writing
  • pachamama=mama earch
  • incan: master of fibers
  • Machu Picchu: the ancient Inca city in the Peruvian Andes; the residents abandoned the city in the 1530s. In 1911, it was rediscovered by an American explorer.


  • Pantanal: world's largest tropical wetland area (Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay)
  • Andes Mountains, the longest mountain range in the world: 7,000 km long, 200 to 700 km wide, avg height ~4000m. 7 countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
    • Andean Condor
  • The Gran Chaco: hot and dry grassy lowlands. It covers parts of Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia.
    • Quebracho: a tree grows there, provides strong timber and tannin for dyeing leather.
  • Pampas: south of the Gran Chaco. Flat, fertile plains, in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. Gauchos: cowboys.
  • The Atacama Desert: the driest desert, the sky is extremely clear, one of the best places for studying stars. Rich in copper and sodium nitrate (used for fertilizer and gunpowders).
  • Iguaçu Falls: on the boarder of Brazil and Argentina. 275 falls.
  • Patagonia: the southern end of South America (Argentina, Chile). mostly in Argentina, includes the Andes in the west and dry plateaus and plains to the east.
  • The Galápagos Islands: lie abuot 600 miles west of Ecuador; 18 volcanic islands. Wildlife. The penguins there live farther north than any other kind. The islands' marine iguana is the only lizard that feeds in the ocean.
  • The Amazon rain forest: the world's largest tropical rain forest; it covers about 2 million square miles, or 5.2 million sq km. It carries more water than any other river. Only the Nile is longer. It produces 20 percent of Earth's oxygen. Animals: poison-dart frog, toucan, tapir.
  • Lake Titicaca: located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, 3,812 meters above sea level. the highest navigable lake in the world. Home to Uro-Aymara Indians; floating islands made from reeds that grow on the shore.
  • The Guianas
    • Spanish Guiana: Guayana Region, Venezuela
    • British Guiana: Guyana
    • Dutch Guiana: Suriname
    • French Guiana: French Guiana, an oversea dept of France
    • Portuguese Guiana: State of Amapa, Brazil

Largest Airlines

Full service:

  • LATAM: Chile, Brasil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay
  • Avianca: Columbia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas: Argentina

Low cost:

  • Gol: Brazil (all B737)
  • Azul: Brazil. (has widebody A339)
  • Viva: Viva Colombia, Viva Peru (all A320)
  • SKY: Chile, Peru (all A320)
  • JetSMART: Chile, Argentina (all A320) By Indigo Partners (also created Frontier, Volaris, Wizz)

Airlines with widebodies:

Airlines Aircraft All Lieflat All direct aisle access
LATAM Chile 767/787 Yes No
LATAM Brasil 767/787/77W Yes NO
Avianca (Columbia) 787 Yes Yes
Aerolíneas Argentinas A332 No No
Azul A332/A339/A359



  • Perito Moreno Glacier


Currency: USD


  • Otavalo Market: vast andean handicrafts market.

Fly to Galápagos:

  • Mainland: Guayaquil (GYE) , Quito (UIO), Manta (MEC)
  • Islands: Galápagos Ecologic Airport (GPS) (Baltra Island), Airport Isla San Cristobal (SCY)

2 hr from GYE or MEC, 3 hr 45 min from UIO

LATAM only from GYE, Avianca from all 3 airports

Bus from GPS airport to Puerto Ayora


Maracaibo Basin contains large reserves of crude oil. The basin also holds almost a quarter of Venezuela's population.


  • Portugal ruled Brazil until 1822.

Sao Paulo

  • CPTM: commuter rail, 7 lines
  • Metro: 6 lines
  • South America's biggest city; has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan.

favelas 贫民窟


  • Salar de Uyuni: salt flats.

Almost all international flights, including long-haul services to Madrid and Miami, operate out of Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra due to the severe limitations of El Alto International Airport in La Paz, located over 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level.


  • Colonia del Sacramento

Food and Drink

  • Chicha: corn beer


  • Simón Bolívar (1783-1830): led independence from the Spanish Empire (Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama)
  • Pachacuti: "reformer of the world" 9th Sapa Inca 1438–1471/1472, transformed Kingdom of Cusco to the Inca Empire, built Machu Picchu