books to read before travelling to peru

7 Books To Read Before Travelling To South America

Now’s the time to start thinking about your travel plans for 2020. And, whether you intend to backpack solo through Europe or fancy taking a trip to Asia in pursuit of tasty food and a life-changing spiritual experience, reading during your journey can help to enhance your trip. Especially if you read one of these books before travelling to South America. did a study regarding the quest for wanderlust and how literature plays a role in modern-day adventure. And, they found that while travel guides and even online publications like ours exist, there are few better ways to immerse yourself in the local culture than by talking to locals about their national literature or diving straight into one of the country’s most famous books.

These are the seven books that you should read before travelling to Africa. They’ll all help you understand the culture from their eyes. Get ready for a whole new wave of literary travel.

For more literary travel recommendations, check out the full list and map of World Travel Through Literature.

Books To Read Before Travelling To South AmericaHow do these rankings work?

1. Delirio

Best to read before travelling to: Colombia

What it’s about: “A historical tale about life in Bogotá during the 1980s and it especially highlights the violent drug trade and its effects on Colombian society. Restrepo tells multiple tales exploring Colombia’s difficult past and the country’s transformations over the years.”

books to read before travelling to south america

2. The Tango Singer

Best to read before travelling to: Argentina

What it’s about: “The Tango Singer is a fictional tale of an American student who travels to Buenos Aires to research for a piece that he is writing about Argentine tango. He is searching specifically for a legendary but mysterious tango singer, but his search begins to reveal an unsavoury side of the city. It is set in the early 2000s, and while one of the main themes is the problem of crime and lack of justice, it also paints a beautifully vivid picture of Buenos Aires’ tango culture.”

books to read before travelling to south america

3. The Ecuador Reader

Best to read before travelling to: Ecuador

What it’s about: “This fabulous collection of essays, articles and perspectives is a must have for anyone wanting to understand the beating heart of Ecuadorian history and culture. Starting with Ecuador’s Pre-Colonial past and showing the country’s growth as an independent nation up to modern globalization, this collection of works will help you see the great mosaic of Ecuador’s history and culture.”

books to read before travelling to ecuador

4. Death in the Andes

Best to read before travelling to: Peru

What it’s about: “A chilling tale is of murder, terrorism and vengeful spirits in the mountains. At once menacing and beautiful, his landscape is as unpredictable as the bands of outlaws that roam through it, plaguing the imagination of Corporal Lituma and his junior officer, who are charged with investigating disappearances in the mining community around their post. Unsettling and memorable.”

books to read before travelling to peru

5. A Nation of Enemies

Best to read before travelling to: Chile

What it’s about: “How Chile, once South America’s most stable democracy, gave way to a culture of fear. The authors explain and illuminate the rift in Chilean society that widened dramatically during the Pinochet era.”

6. Child of the Dark

Best to read before travelling to: Brazil

What it’s about: “A first-hand account of life in the streets of Sao Paulo from 1955 to 1960, details the plight of an artist, writer and single mother of three children who, while living in a hovel, supported her family by digging through the garbage for paper and scraps to sell.”

books to read before travelling to brazil

7. Lands of Memory

Best to read before travelling to: Uruguay

What it’s about: “The mysteriousness inherent in everyday phenomena and the bizarre, sometimes romantic relationships between people and the objects with which they surround themselves are the constants in this arresting collection: a gathering of six stories by the Uruguayan fabulist.”

Elizabeth Thorn

Elizabeth has lived and worked in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, all of which have contributed to her passion for travel writing. When she's not writing, you can find her exploring little hideouts in Colombia or watching photography tutorials on YouTube.

Contact: [email protected]

View stories