Inka Travel Guides
Inka Travel Guides

South America is the fourth largest continent in the world, covering an area of 17,819,000 sq km. It encompasses 13 countries - Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname – and, with 379,500,000 inhabitants, has the world’s fifth largest population.
Natural highlights of the continent are the Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest in the world, and the Andes Mountains, the world’s second-greatest mountain range after the Himalayas.

South America is bordered by the South Pacific Ocean to the west, the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Southern Ocean to the south. The continent’s highest point is Mount Aconcagua (6962m) and its lowest is the Valdes Peninsula (-40m). It lies in the western and southern hemispheres, with a relatively small section in the northern hemisphere.

The population of South America is a composite of ancestries, ethnic groups and races, making the region one of the most diverse in the world. The specific composition varies from country to country, but the predominant group in half of the countries of South America (including Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Venezuela) is the Mestizos (of a mixed European and indigenous descent). Amerindians (including Quechua, Aymara, Mapuche and Guarani) are found in large numbers only in a few countries (including Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador). There are also significant populations of Blacks, originally African slaves who were brought to Latin America from the sixteenth century onward and live mostly in Brazil, but also in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Mulattoes (of a mixed European and black descent) are found mostly in Brazil, but also in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. There is also a large Asian community (mostly found in Brazil and Peru) of mainly Japanese and Chinese descent. Whites are the actual overall predominant group in South America and are the overwhelming majority in countries such as Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. At present most white Latin Americans are of Spanish or Portuguese origin. Small groups of Zambos (of a mixed African and Amerindian descent) are also found in Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.

Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in South America.
Spanish and Portuguese (in Brazil only) are the predominant languages. French is spoken only in French Guiana and Dutch only in Suriname. Various other European languages (such as English, Italian and German) are spoken in small areas of various countries. Native American languages (including Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani) are widely spoken in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay, and to a lesser extent, in Ecuador and Chile.

Major economic activities - including logging, mining, grazing, farming and drilling - are causing serious environmental problems throughout South America. Deforestation and erosion, from extensive mining and logging, are the biggest issues. The forests, including the Amazon, are being cut down at an alarming rate, which is endangering wildlife and reducing biodiversity. Nonetheless, the continent still maintains a high percentage of the earth's ecosystem.

Inka Travel Guides offers a diverse range of itineraries in four South American countries – Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. Our activities include trekking and mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, wildlife watching, and cultural discovery.

Inka Travel Guides