Welcome to South America
South America is among the most untouched place on earth and the geography and plant life
greatly contribute to keeping it that way. The continent is, in places, difficult
to access or cross, giving the people distinct cultures and ways of life.
Although to many people South America may seem similar from region to region (with
perhaps Brazil being an exception), in reality the continent is incredible diverse
in terms of culture. Maybe the most obvious of these differences comes in Brazil,
which was settled by the Portuguese, however, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana
also had non-Spanish colonizers. In fact, this region became a destination for Indian
immigrants and today maintains cultural aspects from Asia.
The way each part of the continent developed also gave each region a distinct atmosphere
and culture. Parts of Brazil were occupied by African slaves and today have cultural
aspects from Africa. Along much of the western coast the Spanish explorers and settlers
married the locals, creating a unique culture merging aspects of Europe, such as
the Spanish language, architecture, and Catholicism, but relying on local foods
and way of life. Further into the Andes, particularly in Bolivia and Peru, the Aymara
and Quechua have in places maintained additional aspects of their historic cultures,
and in more ways than just architecture.
Creating even more diversity, some countries, such as Argentina and Venezuela have
remained very closely tied to historic cultural roots in Europe as Argentina boasts
great Italian, German, and Spanish foods. In fact, these countries, in addition
to parts of Chile, Uruguay, and others, remain very closely tied to Europe in numerous
cultural aspects and have more similarities to Europe than they, arguably, do to
much of South America.
In addition to the many ethnic and historic influences, the landscape has also altered
the lifestyle of many people in South America and the way of life in the high Andes
is dramatically different from that in the Amazon River basin, the Caribbean coasts,
or in one of the continent's major cities. There are many South Americas to
be explored and no matter your goal, you can likely find it here, from beautiful
vistas to diverse foods.