The experience of a trip is directly related to the route chosen, the time invested in it, and the season of the year in which the trip is made. This is how we see that the same network of routes can serve different purposes and also provoke different perceptions of the territory covered.
Currently, many of the towns connected by the Inca Road are internationally recognized for their cultural legacy and scenic beauty (1). Others are also protected ecosystems at the state or private level. In this way, the network of roads of the Inca empire, which once served as a basis for adventure to discover new lands is today a tourist network that links South America.
(1) Cities such as Lima, Cusco or Machupichú, among others are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. See Wikipedia <https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:Patrimonio_de_la_Humanidad_en_el_Per%C3%BA>.
This second publication of the series of Infographics titled South America and the Expanding Route shows the protected areas near the Inca road network in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru (2). On this information is superimposed the 33-day road trip done by the INTU collective of Peru (3) which unites the cities of Cusco in Peru, Puerto Varas in Chile, and Lima in a trip of approximately 8,900 km (4).
(2) For Argentina see Gobierno de Argentina, Áreas Protegidas <http://www.ambiente.gov.ar/aplicaciones/mapoteca/mostrar.asp?idmapa=57>; for Bolivia, Servicio Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas de Bolivia <https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/National_parks_of_bolivia.PNG>; for Chile, CONAF, Archives SINIA of georeferenced cartographic information, Áreas Silvestres Protegidas del Estado; for Ecuador, Centro de Información Ambiental, Ministerio del Ambiente, Áreas Protegidas <http://download.geofabrik.de/south-america>; for Perú, SERNANP, Áreas Naturales Protegidas <www.geogpsperu.com>.
(3) INTU explains: “We are a group of multidisciplinary professionals who believe in personal growth and inspiration through travel and adventure. Our objective is to connect people with cultures.” See <http://colectivointu.com/p/info/>.
(4) This is the distance between cities in which one or more nights were spent; mileage on detours is, therefore, not considered.
As explained by INTU member Diego del Rio, the motivation for the trip was the Cumbre de Turismo Aventura 2015 (The Adventure Tourism Summit) (5) “[…] As we are active members of this association, we decided to attend and get to know parts of our continent. As it took place in Chile, our objective was … to connect Cusco with Chilean Patagonia” (6).
(5) The World Summit of Adventure Tourism was held in Puerto Varas, Chile October 5-8, 2015. This event was organized by Adventure Travel Trade Association. See <http://www.adventuretravel.biz/events/summit/chile-2015/>.
(6) Information obtained in conversation with Diego del Rio (May 2016).
The infographic shows those modern roads that have their origins in the Inca system and that were also part of the attractions discovered and experienced on this trip (7). In addition, sections were included that unite towns and villages, although not coinciding with Inca routes, but whose cultural foundations are attractive for tourism because of their characteristic landscapes (8). Finally, there are routes that were not part of the Inca network, but which currently connect southern Chile with the rest of the continent and which, like many other modern roads, are part of this expansion of pre-Columbian routes and are also recognized ways to explore the South American landscape (9).
(7) For example, we include the current tourist routes that connect Cusco with Machupichu or Cusco with Lake Titicaca, in the Sierra or the city of Tacna with Lima in the coastal sector.
(8) An example is San Pedro de Atacama together with the Valley of the Moon and the Tatio Geysers.
(9) Another example is the Panamerican Highway or Route 5 South in Chile.
Similarly, the trip published by INTU is analyzed highlighting tourist destinations visited and associated with distinct recreational activities. This is complemented by a column, which shows the cities and towns that were lodging points and the times allocated for each to include 21 lodging points in a journey of 33 days. In this way, not only was the territory covered from one point to the next, but the route travelled was experienced, either through daily walks or longer stays in order to “explore this part of the world with hikes, or by paddling, kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, skating (longboard) and horseback riding, among many other activities. Freedom, exploration, and adventure were what inspired and motivated us to continue growing as tourism professionals and photographers. This project was a dream come true.” (10)
(10) Information obtained in conversation with Diego del Rio (May 2016).
To conclude this pair of infographics, comparing the difficult experience of Diego de Almagro on the routes of the sixteenth century with the road trip made by the INTU collective on the twenty-first century roadways, it is essential to highlight the role of infrastructure, the territorial information obtained and the resources available to traverse a continent.
In the course of 500 years these factors have undoubtedly changed, so that the idea of landscape obtained by Diego de Almagro on his journey south that took two years and with the goal of colonizing was certainly different from the idea obtained by INTU traveling even longer distances in just over a month.