From the world’s longest mountain range, to the highest capital city, to the world’s largest waterfall and the highest altitude lake, South America offers travelers a chance to see many of the world’s most extreme and most beautiful landscapes. Whether it’s exploring the world’s largest salt flats, or floating down the world’s largest river, South America offers something for everyone.
With 120 days spent exploring just 6 of the continents 13 countries here is what four months down south stacks up to:
Number of kilometers travelled: From Buenos Aires, Argentina up to Cartagena, Columbia we travelled over 16,700 kilometers, of which almost 14,000 was by bus. This equates to driving from Toronto to Vancouver and back – twice!
Hours spent on the bus: To cover those 14,000 kilometers crisscrossing the Andes Mountains several times took 250 hours, or the equivalent of 10.5 straight days.
Number of night’s spent Couchsurfing: 22 nights with 7 different amazing hosts, the only country missed was Bolivia. More tips on couchsurfing here.
Number of “World Wonders” Visited: 3 – Iguazu Falls, Bolivan Salt Flats and Machu Picchu.
Total Number of Pictures taken: Over 4000 – thank goodness for 64 GB memory cards and our laptops to back them up!
Days spent at the beach: 25, South America is colder than we expected in the spring. We spent most of the time cities with the exception of the north coast of Peru, until we hit the Caribbean warm waters of Colombia.
Number of ancient ruins visited: 5 – Machu Picchu, Peru, Chan Chan, Peru, Huaca Pucllana, Peru, Parque Arqueologio, Cuenca, Ecuador, Parque Arqueologio, San Agustin, Colombia. From the infamous Machu Picchu to the lesser known sites across the continent, getting your fill of ancient civilizations is easy in South America.
Number of “Plaza de Armas” Visited: 7 – all the major cities in South America have one major main square almost always named Plaza de Armas that marks the center of the downtown area.
Number of national beers tried: 12 (mostly via Andrew). Andrew’s favourite brew: Cristal from Peru. Mine: Redd’s from Colombia, more of a cider than a beer.
Number of new Facebook Friends: 24, just a fraction of the great people we have met along the way.
Amount of empanadas eaten: too many to count.
Jen’s Overall Recommendation: There is so much to see and do in South America it’s hard to know where to begin. Budget travel is still a possibility but don’t expect it to compare to South East Asia. With 13 countries covering a landmass of 18,000,000 square kilometers, the time to visit South America is now!