Reading Suggestions for South American Region

Reading good books about the areas you’re visiting tends to make your trip much fuller and more rewarding. As weight is limited, you might consider reading the thickest books before you leave for your trip!

The major country-specific guidebooks (i.e., Lonely Planet, Rough Guide) tend to offer a good overview of the country’s history. One of the best resources for travel books is Longitude Books ( They organize books by country/region, which makes it easy to see what is available.

Many books will give you insight into South America. Here are just a few suggestions:


Ecuador & Galapagos:

The Galapagos Conservancy has a very good reading list to reference.

Ecuadorian Amazon:

  • The Map Maker’s Wife, an amazing story about a French geographical expedition to Ecuador around 1800, and the debutante from Cuenca who married a member of the team, and eventually followed him down the Amazon river basin, alone.
  • Through the Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot (the basis of the recent movie The Point of the Spear), about Missionaries who were killed by Houranis in Ecuador, and the compelling aftermath for both communities.


Peru &

Peruvian Amazon:

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail:

Go to the Destination Information page.