Reflectons of Journey to South America

As a four-decade Licensed Journey Agent, worldwide airline worker, researcher, author, trainer, and photographer, journey, whether or not for pleasure or enterprise functions, has all the time been a big and an integral a part of my life. Some 400 journeys to each portion of the globe, by way of highway, rail, sea, and air, entailed locations each mundane and unique. This text focuses on these within the South America.


Argentina, the primary of them, entailed entry by Buenos Aires, and its city-related sights included the Plaza de Mayo; the Catedral Metropolitano; the Casa Rosada, the mansion and workplace of the Argentinean President and the well-known balcony from which Eva Peron spoke to the lots; and the just about necessary tango present.

A facet journey to San Carolos de Bariloche was a deposit into the German Alps, with its structure and chocolate outlets. A 585-kilometer drive of the Circuito Grande encompassed the lake- and mountain-surrounding Llao Llao Lodge and Resort for a sublime afternoon tea, the Villa Traful, the Villa la Angostura, and “teleferico,” or “chairlift” ascents, up the Cerro Otto and Cerro Catedral for dramatic views and lunch.

Different Argentinean journeys additional north entailed entry by Puerto Madryn and a tour of the Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery, the world’s largest.

The motor coach, on this case, left the pier and crossed the bridge towards Nationwide Route 3, the principle freeway connecting Buenos Aires within the north with Ushuaia within the south, beneath powder-blue skies, traversing Chubut, considered one of Patagonia’s provinces, previous the flat, dry, scrub-blanketing steppe topography attribute of the coast. Passing by Trewel, a city settled by the Welsh the place conventional afternoon tea was nonetheless served and the second largest within the space with its personal regional airport, it threaded its method by the low-elevation White Hills, which appeared just like the Badlands of South Dakota, and intercepted the dry, dusty, gravel floor of Provincial Route 1, passing indigenous South America wildlife virtually camouflaged by the low scrub, such because the mara and the guanaco, the South American equal of the camel. Finally getting into the gates of a personal sheep farm, it lined the ultimate 39 kilometers to the rookery, itself on the Atlantic, the place the hills rose from the predominately flat bills, finishing its 170-kilometer drive.

Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery itself provided a glimpse into the life of those sea birds.

Magellanic penguins, that are diving seabirds with hydrodynamic our bodies, inhabit the prices of Argentina and Chile, feeding at sea and breeding on land. Punta Tombo, with 175,000 breeding pairs, is the world’s largest breeding penguin colony. Throughout September, males return to the world, refurbishing their earlier 12 months’s nests, at which period the females are reunited with them. After courtship, the feminine lays two giant eggs, whose 40-day incubation interval is guarded by the male and the feminine on alternating days.

For a brief interval after delivery, the chicks, carrying a feathery, grey coating, are unable to swim, throughout which period the males comply with exact paths to and from the ocean with a purpose to acquire meals till the pores and skin mulches off. When they’re sufficiently old, they’re the primary to go away the nest, adopted by the dad and mom.

On the finish of the breeding season, they migrate greater than 6,000 kilometers from the Patagonian coasts and the Falkland Islands to islands off of Brazil, throughout the April-to-September interval.

Quite a few penguins have been considered throughout the one-kilometer stroll, however their grey, rock-resembling pores and skin and their semi-hidden areas, in recessed filth burrows beneath the low dome crops, initially rendered them undetectable. Crossing a picket footbridge, beneath which a mess of them poised themselves towards the recent solar, and following a winding, climbing filth path, I virtually kicked two giant, grey rocks on both facet. Each, it turned out, have been penguins, which apparently had no innate worry of people.

A lava rock outcrop, on the finish of the path a couple of meters larger and overlooking the seaside and the Atlantic Ocean, had sprung from volcanic exercise 120 million years in the past.

The grey gravel seaside, affected by hundreds of penguins, led instantly into the ocean at a really slim angle, serving because the pathway to their sustenance. The Punta Tombo penguins swim so far as 600 kilometers from their nests to hunt nourishment for his or her chicks, whereas a one-minute dive takes them 12 meters beneath the water’s floor.

South of Buenos Aires and served by Ushuaia, the world’s most southern metropolis, was Patagonia, with its dramatic waterfall, forest, mountain, and glacier topography in Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park, a few of which was skilled on a journey on the Practice on the Finish of the World, the narrowest of the present narrow-gauge railroads.

Pulling away from the wooden-log, alpine Estacion del Fin del Mundo, the eight-car, green-painted practice, propelled by the tiny, 1944 South African-built steam locomotive, adopted the one-meter, narrow-gauge observe by dense, dark-green forest right into a whirling snow blizzard on its seven-kilometer stretch to the Nationwide Park Station. The low shrubs, rivers, and grazing horses wore coats of white, whereas the gray-granite and dark-green mountain face rose virtually vertically from the fitting coach home windows.

Following the slim, virtually toy-like observe, which multiplied into two, the practice arced to the left of the 2 branches, which have been separated by a crude log fence, and ceased motion at Puente Quemado, its solely cease, with entry to waterfalls.

Emitting an preliminary, train-trailing explosion of white smoke and translating piston movement into wheel-turning energy, the practice chugged out of the Puente Quemado station by the whirling, white snow blur, which obscured the mountains and decreased them to however specks of darker hues barely distinguishable by the blinding, horizontal streams of frozen flakes. Snaking rivers have been decreased to silver-gray mirrors.

Coming into Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park, the practice moved by flat, barren, tree stump-ubiquitous terrain referred to as the “tree cemetery.” The sky cracked into an excellent blue and the fleecy-white mountains once more grew to become seen, mirrored by the winding, silver, mirror-like river. The white-blanketed valley, a veritable winter wonderland, stretched to the rising peaks.

Belching streams of thick, white steam, which swept over the chain of tiny, slim, inexperienced coaches like a draped veil and briefly obscured visibility by their home windows, the miniature locomotive climbed the average observe grade, pulling its eight, tourist-packed automobiles into an arcing proper curve by a thin, brown-barked tree forest. Following the multiplying observe, from the one spur to the present 4, the engine branched to the left-most of them and decreased velocity, pulling into the platform of the Nationwide Park Station at 1335 with a remaining chug.

As all of the doorways have been concurrently opened and the 100 or so passengers climbed right down to the gravel, Ferrocarril N2 expelled a final, drained hiss of steam.

After a tour of Ensenada Bay and Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park, a efficiency of the Ballet Folklorico Cruz del Sur was capped with candy and savory empanadas.

A subsequent journey to Stanley within the Falkland Islands included a motor coach drive alongside the harbor, passing the Jubilee Villas, the Upland Goose Lodge, and the Christ Church Cathedral. Stops have been made on the Falkland Islands Museum, East Harbor, the Girl Elizabeth, a rusted, three-masted cargo ship itemizing to port at Gypsy Cove, Stanley Airport, and Surf Bay Seashore. The tour ended with a peat chopping demonstration.

Cape Horn marked the southern tip of the South American continent.


Brazil equally accounted for multiple-trip journey.

Entered through Rio de Janeiro, a seaside metropolis, it was well-known for its Copacabana and Ipanema seashores, the 38-meter Christ the Redeemer Statue atop Mount Corcovado, which required a number of suspended gondolas to succeed in, and for Sugarloaf Mountain, its granite, cable car-accessed peak.

Petropolis, a mountain retreat, was topped by the Imperial Museum, which displayed furnishings within the former palace of the Nineteenth-century Emperor Dom Pedro II.

A facet journey, through Curitiba within the Brazilian state of Parana, entailed a keep on the elegant Lodge das Cataratas and an in depth inspection of the water spray emitting Foz do Iguacu, or Iguacu Falls, and its nationwide park.

Boca da Valeria, Manaus, Parintins, and Santarem have been all locations visited on the Amazon River.

The primary of those took the type of a self-guided strolling tour of the primitive pocket of Boca da Valeria, with inter-language, Spanish and Portuguese communication with the locals.

Sights within the extra main metropolis of Manaus included the Museu do Indio, the Aoologico do CIGS, and the Opera Home-Cultural Middle Largo de Sao Sebastiao/Amazonas Theater.

Parantis provided a singular, tricycle tour. The three-person tricycle featured a metallic body and picket, box-like lodging with a padded bench seat for 2, a padded again help, and a cover, and was linked to a standard, single-wheeled bicycle behind it with a bicycle seat, pedals, a sprocket, two rearview mirrors, and a single tire. A procession of some 40 of those autos leisurely negotiated the streets.

Sights pedaled to included the Curral do Boi Caprichoso, which was in-built 1998 and served as the situation of the Caprichoso, or Blue Workforce’s, competition rehearsals.

Liberty Sq., constructed in 1997 on the location of Parintins’ first airport, featured sculptures which depicted town’s historical past.

Bumbodromo was the dividing level between town’s Crimson and Blue Workforce sectors. The Bumbodromo, constructed in 1988, was the situation of the annual folkloric competition, its stylized ox head configuration offering seating for the authorities in its face, the doorway by its horns, and the pinnacle its primary area with bleacher seating. The stadium alternatively served as a college, a well being heart, and a sports activities area throughout the the rest of the 12 months.

Lastly, Our Girl of Carmel Cathedral, based on Might 31, 1962 and constructed of brick with tiles, was positioned within the coronary heart of town and was the most important Catholic Church within the state of Amazonas with a 40-meter-high tower.

Santarem sightseeing included the Centro Cultural Joao Fona, the Museu de Santarem, and a typical manioc farm, consisting of thatched-roof, open huts with Amazon-indigenous fruits, and demonstrations of medicinal plant utilization, rubber tree extraction, and manioc flour processing.


Like Argentina and Brazil, Chile was toured on a number of, multiple-mode journeys.

Sights visited on the primary of them, from Santiago, included day journeys to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, the latter a seaside resort.

This was adopted by a flight to Puerto Mont, a port metropolis in Chile’s Lake District and gateway to the Andes Mountains. A 577-kilometer highway protection, from a base lodge in Puerto Varas entailed Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales, Petrohue, within the shadow of snow-covered peaks, and the Osorno Volcano. The automotive climbed the winding, cloud- and mist-shrouded highway towards it, transitioning from pavement to gravel, because it handed the graceful, black, treeless hills at its summit. Its 1,200-meter-high alpine heart featured a cafeteria, a present store, ski lifts, and views of Lake Llanquihue beneath and the snow-covered volcano itself above.

La Serena, accessed by Puerto Coquimbo, afforded sightseeing alternatives of its lighthouse, the Iglesia Santo Domingo, the Plaza de Armas, the Museo de Historia Regional, the Catedral de la Serena, the Iglesia San Agustin, the La Recova Market, and La Herradura Bay.

Punta Arenas, a metropolis close to the tip of Chile’s southernmost Patagonian area, was positioned on the Strait of Magellan, which itself linked the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and was typically used as a base for excursions to the encircling wilderness and the continent of Antarctica.

Cerro la Cruz provided views of town’s multi-colored, low constructions, the darkish, blue-velvet Strait of Magellan, and the silhouettes of the mountains on the Argentine facet of Tierra del Fuego. Precept sights right here included the Cementario Municipal, the Braun Menendez Home, La Plaza Munoz Gamero, and the Cathedral.

Lunch, in El Galpon (the shed), a reconstructed, relocated picket ranch home with tree-trunk help beams, wagon wheel chandeliers, an open-pit fire, an A-frame ceiling, and trendy, almost-Scandinavian wooden block eating tables, included pisco sours; cheese empanadas; open hearth pit-roasted lamb and rooster, rice salad; scalloped potatoes; sliced tomatoes; corn and onions; a carrot, nut, and raisin salad; rolls and butter; Chilean crimson wine; strawberry cheese cake; mocha ice cream rolls; trifles; and occasional.

A subsequent farmland strolling tour amid sheep, llamas, and horses was capped with a sheep-shearing demonstration.


Cartagena was the foremost vacation spot throughout a visit to Colombia. Situated on its Caribbean coast, its walled Previous City, based within the Sixteenth century, was characterised by squares, cobblestone streets, and colourful colonial buildings.

The precept sights right here included the Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, the Craft Market, the Plaza de Santo Domingo, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the Palace of the Inquisition, San Pedro Claver Church, and the Naval Museum of the Caribbean.


Ecuador, one other multiple-trip and -mode South American nation, provided a very diversified journey expertise.

Guayaquil, the recent, humid metropolis on the coast, served because the gateway to a cruise of the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago some 1,000 kilometers distant within the Pacific Ocean and regarded one of many world’s foremost wildlife-viewing locations. Its protected standing and remoted terrain sheltered a range of plant and animal species, which have remained unchanged all through. Charles Darwin’s personal go to in 1835 and his commentary of each the islands” wildlife impressed his concept of evolution.

A five-day, 298-nautical mile cruise aboard the 48-passenger, 878-ton Corinthian entailed two every day expeditions of the islands of San Cristobal, Tower, Bartolome, and Santiago, often requiring naked foot submerges into the water and a brief trek to shore.

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sat within the Andean foothills at an altitude of two,850 meters. Constructed on the muse of an historical Incan metropolis, it was identified for its well-preserved colonial heart, which itself was wealthy with Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century church buildings and different constructions mixing European, Moorish, and indigenous kinds.

Excursions to Cotopaxi Nationwide Park entailed lunch in a hacienda and a subsequent horseback journey, and to La Mitad del Mundo, or equator, the place guests might unfold their legs, inserting one foot within the northern hemisphere and the opposite within the southern one.

One other expedition, accessed by the port metropolis of Manta, entailed a tour of Machalilla Nationwide Park. Situated in Puerto Lopez, within the southwestern nook of the state of Manabi, the 136,850-acre park was created in 1979 to protect Ecuador’s tropical scrub desert and dry forest. Of its lowland and rain forest fauna, the white-tailed dove, howler monkey, anteater, and agouti have been its precept ones, together with some 200 species of birds, whereas its flora included the mesquite tree, the kapok, the guayacan, the guaruma, the barbasco, the prickly pear, and the balsa tree.

Particular sights included the Agua Blanca Museum, the archaeological web site and burial urns, Sabastian, the Craft Market, and Playa las Frailes, a seaside bookended by lush, inexperienced hills with crashing surf. A tour-included field lunch each symbolically and virtually featured tuna, caught from the very ocean that lay solely yards away. It was adopted by a nature stroll throughout the now-dry Rio Buenavista and thru the Bosque Humedo de Sabastian.

French Guiana:

Situated on the northern coast of South America between Suriname and Brazil, French Guiana, which was settled by the French throughout the Seventeenth century, was each an Abroad Division and an Abroad Area, and constituted the most important portion of the European Union exterior of the European continent itself.

The Iles du Salut, or Salvation Islands, lay eight miles northeast of Kourou within the mid-Atlantic and comprised Ile Royale, Ile St. Joseph, and Ile du Diable, the latter Satan’s Island itself.

Settled by French colonists searching for to flee the disease-ridden jungle of the low lands on the continent in 1760, they subsequently served as outposts for ships too giant to dock in Cayenne, and have been initially referred to as “Iles du Diable” or “Satan’s Islands.”

A stroll to the trail’s summit was met with a treed, inexperienced grass expanse of the island and a number of other penal colony-remnant constructions, such because the two-story, balconied “Gendarmerie Poste des Iles” or “island police station,” and the brick and block “Eglise Classee,” or church, which was constructed in 1854. Its


Lima, he capital of Peru, was located on the Pacific coast, and its preserved colonial heart afforded sightseeing of its Plaza Mayor, the Catholic Archbishop’s Palace, the Authorities Palace, the Cathedral, Metropolis Corridor, the San Francisco Monastery, San Marcos College, and the Parque del Amor.

Tacna, positioned in Northern Peru and a brief distance from the Chilean border, afforded sightseeing alternatives to the Museo Ferroviario; the Catedral de la Ciudad de Tacna, a neo-Renaissance church positioned on the central Paseo Civico; the Plaza de Armas; the Fuente Decorative; the Arco Parabolico, devoted to the troopers of the Battle of the Pacific; and the Casa de Jorge Basadre, reached after a single-car practice journey throughout the Atacama Desert from Arica.


Uruguay, developed all through a lot of the twentieth century, was considered one of Latin America’s extra progressive international locations, notable for its political stability, superior social laws, and a comparatively giant center class. Montevideo was the principle port of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and afforded sightseeing alternatives of its Plaza Constitucion, the Plaza Independencia, the Parliament, and the Plaza de la Armada.


Venezuela, accessed by its capital, Caracas, accounted for 4 journeys. Its sights, centering on Simon Bolivar, the nation’s liberator, included the Centro Simon Bolívar, la Plaza Bolivar, la Casa Natal, El Capitolo, and la Catedral.

A “teleférico,” or cable automotive, ascent up Mount Avila, within the Maripez District, supplied magnificent views and alternatives for lunch.

Outlying sights included Los Tecques Glass Manufacturing facility and Colonia Tovar. The latter, based on April 8, 1843 by a bunch of 390 immigrants from the then-independent state of the Grand Duchy of Baden, bore the cultural imprint of their origin with peaked, A-framed constructions paying homage to a German village. Handmade ceramics have been made and purchasable, and lunch in la Selva Negra, or “The Black Forest,” Restaurant featured typical German fare, resembling sauerbraten, dumplings, schnitzel, wurst (sausages), and sauerkraut.

Margarita Island, solely 40 kilometers north of Caracas within the Caribbean Sea, provided sunbathing and seaside alternatives at Playa El Agua and Isla del Cabo, reached after a brief boat cruise, in addition to cultural ones in Laguna de la Restinga Nationwide Park.