South Amer­ica

Outer Edge - - Contents -

Those seek­ing vast land­scapes, na­ture left to its wildest de­vices and the sheer force of the el­e­ments should head to South Amer­ica. Here the wilder­ness is bound­less, the peaks are jagged, and the si­lence is deaf­en­ing but for the whistling of the wind and the creak­ing of the glaciers. Con­di­tions can be chal­leng­ing for even the hardi­est but the sense of ad­ven­ture is elec­tri­fy­ing. Team all this ex­hil­a­ra­tion with cosy fire-lit lodges, the warm hos­pi­tal­ity of the lo­cals and a fine pam­pas-reared steak washed down with a hearty Mal­bec and you’ve got your­self the per­fect des­ti­na­tion for the ac­tive ad­ven­turer, the gourmet trav­eller and the wilder­ness seeker alike.

Chile Around 0 of Chile is made up of moun­tains which makes it an ad­ven­ture play­ground for hik­ers, skiers, ice-climbers and adren­a­line junkies alike. The soar­ing ge­og­ra­phy cre­ates plung­ing gorges and surg­ing rivers with white-knuckle rapids boast­ing some of the best raft­ing in the world. The Fu­taleuf River in the Patag­o­nian An­des swirls with glacial wa­ters tum­bling through stun­ning alpine scenery. Some stretches are suit­able for be­gin­ners whilst oth­ers rage with Class V rapids that will chal­lenge even the most ex­pert rafters. Chile also boasts miles and miles of pris­tine coast­line and be­cause on av­er­age it’s only 10 mile wide, you’re never very far from the ocean. Aboard a kayak you can glide si­lently through Patag­o­nia’s spec­tac­u­lar bays, crys­talline wa­ter­ways and icy fjords, en­joy­ing close en­coun­ters with the abun­dant bird and sea life and feel­ing dwarfed by almighty ice­bergs.

Ar­gentina Ar­gentina is best ex­plored on horse­back. Four hooves can carry you where four wheels can­not and you’ll find your­self wind­ing up for­got­ten An­drean trails, con­fronting the nose of a glacier head on and dis­cov­er­ing re­mote com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing tra­di­tional gau­cho life­styles. With the varied ter­rain comes long can­ters across open val­leys, windy climbs along ex­posed ridges, me­an­ders through en­chanted forests and splash­ing gal­lops through turquoise wa­ter­ways and with no en­gine noise and lit­tle en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact it’s the per­fect way to reac­quaint your­self with Mother Na­ture. You can choose to base your­self at a beau­ti­ful es­tancia and en­joy daily rides into the wilder­ness or you can em­bark on a seven day jour­ney through the Patag­o­nian Lake Dis­trict, spend­ing the nights in iso­lated refu­gios and fly camp­ing on the shores of glacial lakes. The angling is also phe­nom­e­nal in Ar­gentina and the beau­ti­ful Tra­ful River boasts some of the finest fish­ing on the con­ti­nent. Catch land-locked salmon and rain­bow trout then swim in crys­tal clear wan­ders.

Peru Vis­it­ing Cusco, high up in the An­des, is like walk­ing through a liv­ing mu­seum of Peru­vian his­tory with colo­nial churches and man­sions sit­ting atop gran­ite Inca walls on streets still known by their in­dige­nous 4uechuan names. The in­fa­mous Inca Trail lead­ing to Machu Pic­chu is one of the world’s most iconic walk­ing des­ti­na­tions but it is pos­si­ble to es­cape the crowds by tak­ing the -day Salka­n­tay Route’ in the Cordillera Vil­cabamba. This route crosses the spec­tac­u­lar , 00 m 15,000 ft Salka­n­tay Pass, de­scends into cloud for­est val­leys, passes through small vil­lages and al­lows for overnight stays in com­fort­able lodges along the way.

For se­ri­ous moun­taineers, the Cordillera Blanca Trek is a chal­leng­ing but ex­hil­a­rat­ing 1 day hike through the 8NESCO Bio­sphere Re­serve and World Her­itage Site of Huas­carin Na­tional Park. Cordillera Blanca, the high­est trop­i­cal moun­tain range in the world, ri­vals the Hi­malayas in scale but ar­guably beats them on beauty. This trek is rated ul­ti­mate chal­lenge’ mean­ing you will be travers­ing steep, rugged ter­rain at high el­e­va­tions with sub­stan­tial al­ti­tude gains and losses and no ve­hi­cle sup­port. You’ll cross seven passes (five of them over 15,000 feet), and camp at al­ti­tudes of 1 ,000 to 1 , 00 feet. Al­though not for be­gin­ners, this route is one of the world’s bet­ter kept se­crets and a bucket list tri­umph for any ex­pe­ri­enced hiker.

Guyana uyana is truly one of South Amer­ica’s last fron­tiers but his lit­tle known gem of­fers rich re­wards for those dar­ing enough to get off the beaten track and visit. Nat­u­ral trea­sures range from flooded sa­van­nahs and me­an­der­ing rivers to thick, sul­try jun­gles and the awe in­spir­ing .ai­eteur Falls. The colo­nial cap­i­tal of eorge­town con­trasts with the in­dige­nous tribes and tra­di­tional vac­queros (cow­boy) com­mu­ni­ties. Na­ture lovers can seek out the elu­sive jaguar, gi­ant anteater or gi­ant ot­ter whilst twitch­ers can ob­serve close to 1,000 species of bird life in­clud­ing the uianan Cock-of-the-rock, Ru­fous-winged round Cuckoo and the Sun Para­keet. English-speak­ing and cul­tur­ally Caribbean, the na­tion also boasts great rum, a pas­sion for cricket and ex­cel­lent mu­sic.

The pure beauty of yuana lies in the fact that peo­ple sim­ply don’t go there but as the say­ing goes for­tune favours the bold’, and if in­deed you are bold enough to set foot here, rest as­sured you will be hand­somely re­warded.

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