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High in the Andes
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Andes Mountain Range

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Article and Photographs by Pablo Corral Vega

On familiar ground, an Ecuadorian explores lifeways shaped by the lofty range that spans a continent.

Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.

I was born in the Andes, in the colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador. The mountains have been my lifelong companions, and I still make my home at their feet. To those of us who are their children, they are alive. We listen to them, learn to read their moods, and respect their power. Sometimes they welcome us with their solid embrace. Other times they shake with fury, and we know to stay away. Still sacred to some, they speak to the souls of all, reminding us how vulnerable we are. There are millions of us, brown, white, and black, mestizo and mulatto, and we have all labored to help build this continent of sadness, magic, and irrepressible hope.

Get the whole story in the pages of National Geographic magazine.

In More to Explore the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information. Special thanks to the Research Division.

The Panama hat is actually an indigenous product of Ecuador. Panama hats got their name because they were shipped through Panama on their way to the United States. The erroneously named hats are woven from thin straw, which grows in Ecuador’s coastal lowlands. The straw is harvested, shipped to weaving centers such as the Andean city of Cuenca, and made into hats by weavers.

Andes Journey
For information on the seven countries featured in “Andes Journey,” check out the website of this travel book publisher.

Aymara: Language, Culture and History
Go to this site to learn more about the Aymara language and the culture of Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.

Find information on Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua at this site.


Chacon, Richard. “Aid in Colombia Slowed by Panic, Chaos,” Boston Globe, January 30, 1999.

Foley, Erin L. Ecuador: Cultures of the World. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 1995.

Rackowiecki, Rob. Peru, A Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications, 1991.

Swaney, Deanna. Bolivia. Lonely Planet Publications, 1996.


Muller, Karin. Along the Inca Road: A Woman’s Journey Into an Ancient Empire. National Geographic Books, 2000.

Roberts, David. “Iron Man of the Andes,” National Geographic Adventure (Jan./Feb. 2000) 72-81, 121-123.

Reinhard, Johan. “Frozen in Time,” National Geographic (Nov. 1999) 36-55.

Banks, Joan. “Journey Into the Wild,” National Geographic World (Mar. 1999) 9-12.

Miller, Jack. “Chile’s Uncharted Cordillera Sarmiento,” National Geographic (Apr. 1994) 116-130.

Reinhard, Johan. “Sacred Peaks of the Andes,” National Geographic (Mar. 1992) 84-111.

White, Peter T. “An Ancient Indian Herb Turns Deadly: Coca,” National Geographic (Jan. 1989), 3-47.
McIntyre, Loren. “The High Andes: South America’s Islands in the Sky,” National Geographic (Apr. 1987) 422-459.

Arden, Harvey. “The Two Souls of Peru,” National Geographic (Mar. 1982) 284-321.

Tschopik, Harry, Jr. “At Home in the High Andes,” National Geographic (Jan. 1955) 133-146.

Phillips, Henry Albert. “Bolivia—Tin Roof of the Andes,” National Geographic (Mar. 1943) 309-332.


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