What’s the Adventure?
Nowhere on the planet is there so much scenic variety within one continent as in South America. Adjacent to the mighty Andes backbone lie the vast tracts of Amazonia’s exotic jungle and also the arid moonscapes of Altacama, the driest desert in the world. Further to the south, there’s one of the most impressive and accessible fjord and glacier systems on earth. But the most practical appeal of South America is the relative lack of bureaucracy and visa complications that overshadow much 4x4 travel elsewhere in the world.
The first hurdle to cross is the need to make an ocean shipping and incur these costs right at the outset. If you have already configured your vehicle to fit into a 20-foot container, you are in good shape to secure shipping quotes quickly.
There is a compelling argument to travel to South America by first shipping to North America’s east coast. The journey would then include some interesting travel down through Central America prior to the main journey. The Darien Gap remains an impediment to land travel, but there are good shipping options from Panama to deal with this.
Our Favourite Bit?
South America’s Southern Cone route is at its best during the summer. Off-road travel is by choice rather than necessity, and the route provides some splendid destinations. The National Parks (see 13) on Argentina’s Atlantic shoreline protect some of the most spectacular colonies of coastal wildlife anywhere. Reaching the world’s most southerly point accessible by vehicle at Ushuaia may be an important destination for you, but it marks a turning point in every sense. Moving north again, from 55º south into lower Chile, leads you to the Torres del Payne National Park (see 12). This is the place to don your walking boots and wander southern Chile’s beautiful mountain landscapes. Travelling further north, and back in Argentina, visit the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier (see 11) carved from enormous blocks of deep blue ice. Returning to Chile through the remoter parts of Patagonia, stay a while in the tranquility of Chile’s Lake District (see 10) before heading for Santiago.
Making it out alive
The South American continent is one of passion, variety and colour. It offers excitement, adventure and cultural diversity beyond your expectations.
You won’t be disappointed.
Now is definitely the time to visit, especially as the exchange rate with the US dollar is in Sterling’s favour. And the best way to make the most of your trip is definitely in a Land Rover.
The full story can be found in the July 2011 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.