Considered a sub-continent of the Americas. South America is the fifth most popular continent with over 390 million inhabitants.
The 2 major languages are Spanish & Portuguese, given the long history of colonialism. Others including English, French, dutch, Quechua & many other native languages. The dominant religion is Christianity, Roman Catholicism with over 80% in Hispanic countries, some 65%-70% in Brazil practicing. French Guiana also has a large number of Protestants. Guyana and Suriname are exceptions, with three major religions: Christianity in general, Hinduism, and Islam. The timezone is UTC -2 to UTC -5
GEOGRAPHY: Located in the western hemisphere, South America is connected to North America by the Isthmus of Panama. Bordered west by the Pacific Ocean, north & east by the Atlantic Ocean, northwest by the Caribbean Sea and north America. The highest point is Cerro Aconcagua, Andes Mountains, Argentina at 22,833ft (6,959m) while the Lowest point is Peninsula Valdes -151 ft (-40m) below sea level also in Argentina. Geographic Center of the continent is Chapada dos Guimarães, in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil; at 15° 27´ S 55° 44´ W. Horizontal Width from Lima, Peru, to Fortaleza, Brazil is 2,705 miles (4,353 km), while the vertical Length from Cartagena, Colombia, south to Ushuaia, Argentina is 4,443 miles (7,149 km)
CLIMATE: Long periods of drought occur. Broad zone of tropical wet and dry climate. Conditions are hot, humid and wet (year round) in the coastal regions of Colombia and Venezuela, and along the Equator and in the massive Amazon. In the far north, trade winds bring much-needed cooling relief to the coastal areas of Guyana and Suriname. In the north-eastern areas of Brazil - the hottest region in the country - summer temperatures exceeding 100°F are somewhat common. In the far south, conditions are subtropical, with some chilly mornings, fall and winter.
CULTURE: South America offers a variety of cultural experiences. In the Andes, native traditions and languages still live strong. The east and south of the continent is more of a blend of cultures that immigrants from Europe, Africa and other parts of the world have brought with them. South Americans are culturally influenced by their indigenous peoples, the historic connection with the Iberian Peninsula and Africa, and waves of immigrants from around the globe. Cuisine as colourful and diverse as its people, world famous dishes include feijoada, ceviche, empanadas and of course Argentina's barbecued steaks. Widely used ingredients include corn, potatoes, chile peppers and lima beans. Soccer is the dominant game on the continent.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGY: One of the most biodiverse continents on earth, home to a great deal of unique species of animals including anacondas, jaguars, piranhas, llamas, vicuna, tapir and many others. Home to the largest forest, the Amazon forest which covers 30% of the continents total area. The amazon rainforests possess high biodiversity, containing a major portion of the earths species.
ECONOMY: Subsistence farming is widespread, with about 30% of the people working about 15% of the land. Commercial agriculture, especially of the plantation type, fares better in terms of production because of the large scale and the opportunity to use modern, mechanized methods. Among the agricultural exports are coffee, bananas, sugarcane, tobacco, and grains. Meat is also an important export. In the interior, hunting and gathering of forest products are the chief economic activities of the indigenous peoples. Fishing is also a central industry. In the more accessible areas, forest products are removed for export. An increasing number of South American industrial centers have developed heavy industries to supplement the light industries on which they had previously concentrated. South Americans also have gradually developed their natural-gas reserves; hydroelectric plants produce most of the continent's electricity. A continent rich in gold, silver, copper, iron ore, tin & petroleum
FUN FACTS: South America’s Condor Is the World’s Largest Flying Bird ~ More than 20% of Earth’s oxygen is produced in South America ~ Brazil has won the highest number of FIFA World Cup.
TOURISM: A land of ancient ruins, soaring Andean peaks and sweltering, seemingly endless jungle, South America is a true treat for the adventurous traveller.
Go hiking on the world's longest continental mountain range in ARGENTINA, visit the salt flats Salar De Uyuni for the most amazing landscape & backdrops in BOLIVIA, stop over for a very colourful & exciting festival of good music, dancing & cultural exhibition at the carnival Rio de Janeiro in BRAZIL, walk the world's highest and driest Atacama desert in CHILE, have a mud bath in the Totumo volcano in COLOMBIA, tour the UNESCO world heritage cultural site Cuenca in ECUADOR, learn some history at the South Georgia museum in FALKLAND ISLAND, experience one of the 9 annual space launch from the jungle in FRENCH GUIANA, marvel at the height & force of the worlds largest single-drop waterfall Kaieteur Falls in GUYANA, visit one of the seven engineering wonders of the world, the Itaipu dam in PARAGUAY, explore the Amazon forest in PERU, get covered in brightly covered powder at the Holi Phagwa in SURINAME, learn to tango in URUGUAY & have a relaxing time, or engage in water sports at the beaches of Los Roques Islands in VENEZUELA.