Describing South America in a single paragraph would be like trying to see it in a single weekend: it can’t be done, it’s impossible.
You would have to choose between hiking the Inca trail in Peru and careering on a push bike down the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia. You would have to decide whether you wanted to brave the elements in the hauntingly remote landscapes of Patagonia, or the writhing crowds in the midst of the dazzling Rio Carnival. You would have to weigh up the pros and cons of observing some of the most extraordinary life on the planet on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, or observing a complete absence of it in Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth.
South America is a vast place with a bewildering cultural and natural diversity. It is also a melting pot for scams and unpredictable transport links as well as a sometimes frustratingly laid back approach to life. Nevertheless, these quirks all play into South America’s intoxicating allure - and the only way to begin to make sense of it is to visit.
"The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream" - Jack Kerouac