On the way to Chavín de Huantar, the famous pre-Incan archeological site I called to be dropped off here as soon as I saw this beautiful lake - Laguna Querococha with the backdrop of Yanamarey (5237m). There is one mjor trail that follows the left shore which I duly took - and some locals I passed by were quite surprised to find me on this herding route. I could have followed it all the way had it not been for some ferociously-looking dogs that blocked the pass further up which chased me away on two successive attempts to bypass them - anyway on my way back I was rewarded with a nice encounter with a family who run a roadside eatery near the main thoroughfare and played with their little daughter while I was waiting for any bus that could take me back to Huaraz !
South America makes up the southern half of the Americas and a large part of Latin America. It's home to the world's longest mountain range, biggest waterfall and largest river -- even these mammoths pale in comparison to the stunning variety of life forms thriving in the rainforest. To the northwest, off the coast of Ecuador, lie the Galapagos Islands, which are unique for hosting species not found anywhere else on earth. These were the subject of study for Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution, which he himself said will require proof in every single case. The main languages in South America are Spanish and Portugese, which basically tells you which European countries colonized the place. The South American wars of independence took place over two decades in the early 19th century, led by Simon Bolivar of Venezuela and Jose san Martin of Argentina. Following liberation from Portugal and Spain, South America took off into its own development, capitalizing on the rich deposits of oil, gold, copper, silver and tango musicians. Brazil is the largest country in South America and home to one of the world's best parties, Carnaval. Have you heard of samba music? How about bossa nova? Maybe dancing for three days straight? I can't say enough good things about South America. All the world's continents have amazing secrets and treasures laying in wait for your discovery, but in South America... just have a look at our pictures while you're waiting for online confirmation of your plane tickets to hit your inbox.Text by Steve Smith.