My first visit to South America was in May, 2005 When I traveled to Iquitos in the Amazon region for a short 3-day stay in a rainforest lodge. That one short visit of less than a week had such an impact on me that I’ve returned to Peru around 30 times since. (I’ve honestly lost track of the number of trips there.)

Besides most of the typical tourist sites, I’ve traveled deep in the Andes mountains many hours away from any tourist centers as well as up and down the Amazon River and its tributaries. I’ve gone by air and bus, but also on long journeys in combis — a passenger always overloaded with passengers and livestock and luggage — and long trips through the rainforest in a thatch-roofed boat  barely a few inches above the water line. (You don’t know what fun is until you spend 6 hours on a dusty, one lane road disappearing up into the mountains leading a remote village in a 15-passenger van loaded with 22 people and a chicken in your lap!)

Despite all the time I’ve spent traveling the country, I know I’ve only scratched the surface of all there is to explore.