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South America
I went to South America for nine weeks, traveling through Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. I was there from October 7 to December 10, 1996.

In Ecuador, I spent some time in the capital of Quito, then went into the rain forest for five days. I also spent a week on a boat in the Galápagos Islands, which I highly recommend for animal lovers.

In Perú, I stayed in Miraflores (a district of Lima), did a side trip to see the Nazca lines, then went on to Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca (including the Floating Islands).

After a brief stay in La Paz, Bolivia, it was on to Chile, where I spent several days driving around the Lake District. I then went to Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan, the jumping off point for Torres del Paine National Park, a fabulous place in Chilean Patagonia. The landscapes in Torres del Paine NP are among the most magnificent I have seen anywhere in the world.

My final country was Argentina. While still in Patagonia, I visited the Perito Moreno Glacier, which was a spectacular sight. Then I went to Buenos Aires for few days. From Buenos Aires I did a weekend excursion to Iguazú Falls.

People have often asked which was the best place I visited. I have not been able to decide on only one, but I have narrowed it down. The following places are the "greatest hits" of my trip. For animals, the Galápagos Islands easily win the prize. For history, as well as spectacular scenery, nothing compared to Machu Picchu in Perú. For sheer scenic beauty, the nod goes to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. And for cities, Buenos Aires was the clear winner.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. The people were warm and friendly and I exploded a number of South America stereotypes: I didn't get robbed or kidnapped, I didn't get sick (though I was careful about the water) and I didn't have to pay any bribes. I look forward to returning. I hope these web pages manage to convey the enthusiasm I felt for the continent and its people.

  Pop-Up Slide Shows:

    People of South America: In the larger cities of South America, the residents dress much as in other major cities of Europe and North America – in other words, not very interesting from a photography point of view. Outside the major cities and particularly in the Andes region of Ecuador and Perú, however, many people still wear traditional dress. The photos here concentrate on these people. (20 Photos)  [Preview This Slide Show]
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© 1996-2002 Bruce G. StumpfAll Rights Reserved