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Three Books You Should Read Before Travelling To South America

Travelling often involves long bus journeys and flights or just gives you the perfect chance to sit back and relax with a book in one hand and a drink in the other. While I was away I surprised myself with the amount of books I read. Here’s a few recommendations if you’re headed off to South America (or just looking for a new read or two)!


Turn Right At Machu Picchu – Mark Adams Turn right at machu picchu

This humorous book sees its author follow the original journey of Hiram Bingham who discovered the lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu. Adams, bored of the daily grind and seeing other people take on great adventures, embarks on his own adventure. The book is interspersed with historical details from the founding of Machu Picchu to Adams’ current trek. It’s amazing how much there is to learn. If you’re interested in the mystical city, or are planning your own trip there, this book is a must read!




Marching Powder – Rusty Young
Marching PowderIn the middle of La Paz in Bolivia is a prison with a difference. The inmates have to pay to be there and must buy their accommodation. Weird, huh? Marching Powder is the story of a British convicted drugs trafficker who finds himself in the Bolivian prison. Whilst Bolivia tried to cover up the truth of this prison Rusty Young, a tourist, agrees to write the true story of life in Bolivia’s notorious prison. An extraordinarily interesting read about life in a unique prison.




The Voyage of the Beagle – Charles Darwin Charles Darwin Voyage of the Beagle

Before a trip to South America, and the Galapagos Islands in particular, Charles Darwin’s book is a must read. This book documents Darwin’s travels around the continent and has a whole chapter on his finds on the Galapagos that eventually led to the theory of evolution. Whilst there’s a lot of scientific wording and description that can get confusing, Darwin’s voyage makes for an interesting historical read that will give you some background to this vast continent.


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  1. I would definitely add Chatwin’s. ‘In Patagonia’, Guevara’s ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’, and any of Herge’s adventures of Tintin’s in Latin America

    Great post!

    1. How could I forget Tintin!? A Patagonia book would be interesting. I didnt get to visit but it must be amazing there!

    2. Great suggestions. I personally like the Motorcycle Diaries.And as a nod to my misspent youth, Tintin.

      1. Thanks! I’ve never read the Motorcycle diaries, I think I’m going to have to change that soon! I do love some adventures of Tintin though!

  2. I loved Marching Powder. I was given a battered old copy while I was travelling in South East Asia as every backpacker there seemed to be reading it. Such an interesting read.

    1. I found it really interesting and got through it so quick. Such a different prison experience. Stood outside the prison when I was in Bolivia earlier this year, you wouldn’t know it was a prison at all really. Just a big building like any other.