Positioned almost entirely in the southern hemisphere, South America is an excellent location to work, live, and have fun. It is comprised of twelve countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile each with its own unique cultures. Additionally, South America also features some of the most remarkable physical features across the continent, such as the Andes Mountains, the Amazon Rainforest, the Atacama Desert, the Brazilian Highlands, the unique landscapes of Patagonia, and the many islands that line the South American coastline. South America spans from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and all the way south nearing the Antarctic. As a whole, South America is one of the most unique continents on the planet.
The People of South America
If you’re looking for a smaller, more attentive population to market your business to, South America’s inland areas are sparsely populated, while certain cities like San Paulo, Brazil are among the most populous in the world. Three of the five most populated cities in all of the Americas are in South America: Sao Paulo, Bogota, and Lima. After Brazil, Argentina has one of the largest population centers in South America, with over 13 million people in the Buenos Aires region.
In Argentina, people of European descent make up about 65-79% of the population, while Europeans make up from 1-31% in areas such as Peru. Indigenous people make up most of Bolivia’s population, while Amerindians are predominant in Ecuador. Paraguay and Venezuela’s populations have huge numbers of Mestizos (people of European and American Indian descent). Other populations throughout South America include African, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese, and Syrians.
The South American Economy
South America’s extensive natural resources allow its countries to generate significant revenue by exporting goods, some natural, but many manufactured. Clothing, steel, tobacco, timber, and automobiles have helped the continent bring in $400billion (US) annually. The export of coffee alone accounted for $5.4billion in 2016.
Soybeans, nuts, sugar, bananas, and various fruits are also huge revenue sources. South America accounts for 10% of the world’s total exports of agricultural products.
Many countries in South America bring in significant revenue based on tourism. South America’s unique mixture of mountain ranges, dense jungles, and historic civilizations offer countless opportunities for exploration. Cities like Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Cartagena offer excellent offerings of culture, nightlife, art, museums, cuisine, and shopping. South America is known for its many world-famous beaches, as well as being home to one of the oldest and tallest mountain ranges in the world, the Andes, and the largest river in the world, the Amazon.
The highest waterfall in the world, Salto Angel, is located in Venezuela. Many mountain ranges, especially those located in Ecuador, allow for excellent mountain climbing. Many of these mountain peaks are frozen cold, which is a stark contrast to the sub-tropical climate that dominates most of the continent.
Bolivia features the world’s largest salt flat. One of the most picturesque and historic places on the planet, Machu Picchu, is found in Peru. This ancient citadel was home to the Incas in the 15th century before it was abandoned.
Although Rio de Janeiro is known for its great beaches and a thriving nightlife, it is also known for having the world’s largest urban forest, with mountains and trees that are ideal for hiking.
Then there is the Amazon River, all 4,000 miles of it, holds a length equal to the distance between New York and Rome. The river, which runs inland from atop the Andres mountains, just feet from the Pacific Ocean, empties into the Atlantic. This single river provides 20% of the earth’s supply of freshwater.
The Amazon Basin, often called Amazonia, spans just over 1,700 miles and includes areas of almost every South American country. 200 days, on average, of rainfall happen yearly in the Amazon, resulting in around 100 inches of rain total. The only way to access many areas around the Amazon that are not accessible via roads is through boating the Amazon river’s tributaries (or by air). Some of these tributaries are over 1,000 miles long. There aren’t any bridges that cross the Amazon and very few cities that border it, given the dense rainforest surroundings. However, this doesn’t stop tourists from traversing the river, either on their own or with luxury guided tours that make use of lodging built along the river for that purpose.
South America is regularly on the world stage, especially in regards to sporting events. Brazil recently hosted the 2016 summer games and the Youth Olympic Games will be hosted in Argentina in 2018. Every winner of the FIFA world cup has either come from Europe or South America and the longest-running football tournament, the Copa America, has been held in South America since 1916.