Eight months into our trip and we’ve arrived in South America. Taking a flight from Auckland we went back in time, but landing in the fast rush that is Santiago, we’ve been swept up in the colourful life down here. This part of the trip will take us from the depths of Patagonia, to the vineyards of Mendoza, the deserts of San Pedro, the peaks of the Andes, and the thicket of the amazon. I’m donning my hiking boots and brushing up on my Spanish, ready to see the wonders of this beautiful continent.
Chileans are loud and scarily friendly. I say scary because I’ve never seen bigger smiles given to a stranger, let alone a backpacker – we don’t always get a warm welcome. Santiago is an international hub, a magnet for young travellers, historians, students and artists alike. In the south, you’ll find mountains, glaciers and a sense of epicness found nowhere but Patagonia. Follow the trail of the great Andes 3000km to where the land curves into the dancing sands of the Atacama desert.
The eight largest country in the world, Argentina is a place while life explodes in noise, movement and colour. The cities throb, the mountains loom and the sun shines high. For all it’s vibrancy, there’s quiet too. In a country so large, there are huge expanses of nothingness, wild and untouched. Here the pumas and condors roam free. Only the gauchos live in these parts, kings on their horses, as wild as the land.