Bolivia, Ecuador & Peru

Bolivia, Ecuador & Peru

BOLIVIA  –  ECUADOR  –  PERU

T he large mountain range of the Andes, stretching through seven thousand kilometres of longitude, runs along the Pacific Ocean’s coast for the whole length of South America, from latitude 11 degrees north to latitude 56 degrees south. With some of its peaks reaching nearly seven thousand metres – the highest being Aconcagua at six thousand nine hundred and sixty two metres – apart from the Himalayas and Karakoram, the Andes is the largest mountain range in the world.

In their central part, the most remarkable characteristic is the vast plateau of the Altiplano which, with heights of above four and five thousand metres, extends itself between parallel mountains from Peru, through Bolivia, reaching the north of Argentina and Chile. Along their length, the Andes encompass tropical and equatorial zones in the north, down to latitudes reaching almost as far as Antarctica in the Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia. These circumstances, together with the gradation of the different altitudes between the coast, the mountains and the eastern jungles, create the most diverse of ecosystems.

The first inhabitants of the Americas arrived from Asia through the Bering Strait towards the end of the last glacial period (eighteen to fifteen thousand years ago) and by the fourth millennium B.C. they were already building important and monumental cities on the Peruvian coast. In view of its long history, its people’s capacity for developing efficient agricultural irrigation techniques and their advanced degree of economic, political and religious organization, the Andean region can legitimately claim to be one of the principal cradles of civilisation.

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