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South America travel information

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The fourth largest continent in the World, South America has a population of 382 million people. It holds 12 countries and 3 dependencies within its borders. The continent is connected to North America by the Isthmus of Panama and extend southward down to Cape Horn. Twelve percent of the world's landmasses are to be found in South America. There are 12 Latin nations located on this Continent namely,   Argentina,   Bolivia,   Brazil,   Chile , Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana,   Paraguay,   Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and   Venezuela . The continent also play host to three dependencies which are South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands (UK) , the Falkland Islands (UK) and the French Guiana (France).

Many of the world's geographical attractions can be found in South America; the 2 nd highest mountain ranges (after the Himalayas) in world, the Andes, lies on the western and northern fringes of the continent. The Andes mountain range is also home to Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain of the western hemisphere. Its main lowland; the Amazon Basin, is drain by the world's second longest river, the Amazon River, at the equatorial region. In addition, at the north of the continent, the Orinoco River runs through the Orinoquia Basin. One peculiarity of the Orinoco River is the Rio Negro (Spanish for Black River).

It is a tributary of the Orinoco River, which actually form a natural canal between the Amazon River. Irrigated by the world's largest river systems, the world's largest area of rainforest can also be found on this continent within the Amazon River basin. Apart from having some of the world longest rivers here, South America also, has a few big lakes that are unique. Lake Titicaca and Lake Poopó located in the Andes are some of the world's highest elevated navigable lakes.

Due to its length of 7,400 kilometers, South America has several types of climates. With a major part of South America lying along the equatorial band, a hot and humid tropical climate characterize this region. Southward, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, you will find the climate here ranges from cool to cold depending on the time of the year.

The varieties of climates here also give South America some of its most famous vegetation landscape. The Amazon Rainforest, the flat Pampas of Argentina famous for its juicy beef, the Gran Chaco (which means “hunting ground” in Quechua) of Paraguay are all the results of the diversity of climates that are found on this continent.

South America also has the most diverse ethic ancestries in the world. The descendants of the Spanish “conquistadors”, the Portuguese, African blacks and Native Americans are what give South America its rich diversity in ethnology heritage. The “Mestizos”, those of Spanish European and Native American descents, form the majority of the population of South America in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Whereas, the "Caboclo”, those of Portuguese and Native American ancestry are found mainly in Brazil. Those of Iberian and African descent, known as the “mulattos” are predominantly found in Brazil together with the Blacks. The Blacks can also be found in large numbers in Coastal Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname.

The Spanish language represents the official language of nine of the Sovereign nations on the Continent whereas for Brazil, Portuguese is the official language. For Guyana, English is the official language, French for French Guiana and Dutch for Suriname. Of all the Native American languages that are in South America, Aymara, Guaraní, and Quechua are the ones most widely spoken. The Latin Americans are actually quite proud of their ancestry in fact so much so that Guarani is also an official language of Paraguay apart from Spanish. Despite its diversity in ethnology, 90 percent of the population in South America practices the Roman Catholic faith. The Protestants are mainly to be found in Chile and Brazil.

The railways and roads systems represent the major modes of transportations in South America due to their abilities to carry bulk goods and large numbers of passengers. Although the land transportations systems dominate most parts of South America, the rivers transport networks, plays an important part too, in countries like Argentina, Chile and Brazil. The Air transports system is also an important part of the transportation networks system of South America, which has been developing rapidly after the Second World War.

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