I fell in love with south America in 2008. I studied in Buenos Aires for 4 months, sandwiched between a month in Patagonia and two more traveling up the west coast of the continent. I think that almost from the moment I came home it’s been my goal to go back… mostly, I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of what the continent has to offer. I mean, I never even went to Brazil!
To me, the really unique thing about south America is that (almost) all of the countries speak the same language. Imagine if the United States was the same as it is today, except that each region of the country was a sovereign nation, with different currency, a slightly different history, and so much regional slang. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Speaking Spanish gets you so far in south America. And each new currency, regional history, and slang (che boludo) is an exciting new puzzle. The people are hospitable and friendly, even when I tell them plainly “soy estadounidense.”
Lastly, the natural landscape is just crazy. The Andes are big (102 peaks over 6,000 meters)! And there is no shortage of open spaces; the Gran Chaco bleeds into the Pampa, creating a vast region of flatland. And then the Amazon… I don’t even know what to say about it, because I’ve never been.
So why south America? Because it’s big and interesting; it’s diverse but also similar. Because I’ve been there and I already know all of these things.