Latin American Adventure Travel
Latin America is located in the western hemisphere between the United States to the north and Antarctica to the south. Latin America includes Mexico, Central America, the West Indies and South America. On the west Latin America is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Latin America contains nearly 50 countries and dependent territories and makes up nearly 15 percent of the total land surface of Earth.
Latin America contains more than a half billion people and is culturally, ethnically and racially diverse. Latin America contains numerous indigenous peoples, as well as peoples originating in Europe, Africa and Asia. However, most Latin Americans speak either Spanish or Portuguese.
The geography of Latin America is dominated by the Andes Mountains on the western side of South America and the large Amazon River basin in eastern South America and most of Latin America lies in the tropics. Central America is geologically active with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes common in the region. In 1968, 87 people were killed when the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, erupted. The Andes mountain range is the longest mountain range in the world. Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world is located in Venezuela. The Atacama Desert, found in Chile, is one of the driest deserts in the world. The Amazon River is the largest river in the world and the only river that can be seen clearly from outer space. The Amazon River begins in the Andes Mountains of Peru and branches out into many tributaries making up the Amazon basin. The Amazon basin contains the Amazon rainforest the largest rainforest in the world. The Amazon Rainforest is the largest source of flora in the world and provides over 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. For this reason, some refer to the Amazon Rainforest as the “Lungs of the Planet”. In many places indigenous people still practice a traditional lifestyle based on subsistence agriculture or as hunter-gatherers and there are still some tribes residing in the Amazon Rainforest that have never made contact with the civilized world. In Brazil, the Amazon River empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Latin America is rich in natural resources. Nearly 90 percent of the world’s production of emeralds comes from Colombia. Mexico and Peru are the largest producers of silver in the world.
Latin American nations like Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay are heavily influenced by the ancient pre-Columbian cultures. One of the earliest known Latin American civilizations was at Norte Chico, located on the Peruvian coast. The monumental architecture of Norte Chico is contemporaneous with the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. While Egypt’s Great Pyramids at Giza are better known throughout the world, there are actually more pyramids found in Latin America than the entire rest of the world. Mesoamerican peoples built these pyramids from around 1000 B.C. up until the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century.
Most notable of these Mesoamerican peoples are the three great civilizations of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas. The Mayan civilization began about 250 in Central America. While the Aztecs civilization emerging into prominence in the early fourteenth century, largely in Mexico. The Inca civilization dominated the Andes region of Latin America during the fifteenth century.
Latin America is one of the most biodiverse continents on the earth. Latin America is home to many interesting and unique species of animals including the llama, alpaca, vicuña, anaconda, piranha, jaguar, tapir, Andean condor, and many species of parrots and monkeys.
Latin America attracts millions of tourists every year. Some of the most visited places in the region include the Amazon Rainforest, Machu Picchu, the Galápagos Islands, Rio de Janeiro, Angel Falls, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia, Nazca Lines, Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, Bogota, Chichén Itzá, Mexico City, Lima, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Cartagena.
Another popular type of travel destination is the national park. For more information on the National Parks of Latin America
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