Fiction was invented the day Jonas arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale. – Gabriel García Márquez.
Part of what makes a great trip are the books that accompany you on the journey and come to form part of the memory. So it’s pretty important to choose the right ones. Some are inevitably easy, breezy and escapist reads (fifty shades of grey anyone?!) while others are chosen to compliment the destination and get us in the mood. To help you pick the latter we thought we’d create a list of our favourite books for South and Central America travel. Before you know it, you’ll be watching tango dancers in the streets of Buenas Aires, chilling on Copacabana Beach, hiking through forgotton forests discovering Mayan ruins and walking Peruvian mountain trails. Here are our recommendations for travellers to Argentina, Chile, Galapagos Islands and Colombia. We’ll be back soon with more ..
South America general
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey, by Che Guevara, Bruno Gerardo
The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, is now a popular film and a New York Times bestseller. These travel diaries capture the essence and exuberance of the young legend, Che Guevara. In January 1952, Che set out from Buenos Aires to explore South America on an ancient Norton motorcycle – “La Poderosa”, the Powerful One. Written eight years before the Cuban Revolution, he encounters an extraordinary range of people-from native Indians to copper miners, lepers and tourists-experiencing hardships and adventures that informed much of his later life. During his travels through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, Che’s main concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found, and which young woman might be coaxed into it. However by the end of the journey, a politicized Che Guevara has emerged and within a decade the whole world would know his name.
The Galapagos Islands
Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin’s Journal of Researches, by Charles Darwin
When the Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was just twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. While the expedition was planned to be two years long, it lasted almost five and Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land. It was this expedition that resulted in his theory of evolution by natural selection and led to the most controversial book of the Victorian age: “The Origin of Species”. It also transformed him from a rather confused young man into a scientific celebrity. His travel journal shows a man fascinated with nature making acute observations regarding natural history, geology, people, places and events.
In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin
The author became fascinated by Patagonia when he was little. His grandmother had a scrap of prehistoric animal skin in her home, sent to her by a cousin, Captain Charley Milward, from one of the ends of the earth: Patagonia. Bruce Chatwin’s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia is packed with evocative descriptions, incredible historical events, and unforgettable anecdotes (for me, its these anecdotes which make it a truly great travel book). An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, it’s a must read for any Patagonia travellers.
Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez
This is one of the greatest love stories ever written.. so evocatively written that it really takes you to another place in time and makes you wonder – how long could you wait for love? In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall madly in love. When Fermina finally chooses to marry a rich, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies and Florentino attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
Of course, you’ll have your own favourites and there is a huge mountain of Latin American literature much of which is wonderful and well thought of. What are your favourite books?