The “Gringo Trail” refers to the well-trodden backpacker route within South America, named for the many Caucasian (gringo) travelers it attracts. In 2015, I spent three months on the trail, documenting my travels with video. Like all of my previous trips, I set off with a one-way ticket and no plan.
I started off in Peru, since this was the country I was most excited to see. Highlights included living in a remote, self-sustaining community in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. This community was truly isolated, as it was only accessible via a grueling 9-hour trek through the jungle. The experience taught me a lot about how dependent on Pachamama (Mother Earth) we as humans truly are.
I also learned that Machu Picchu is so much more than just the typical postcard shot. Visiting this sight in person and learning about it gave it more meaning. Being able to see examples of the Inca’s intelligence among the ruins was an experience that left me in awe.
After Peru, I traveled downwards though to Bolivia. Memorable experiences in Bolivia included spending a night on Isla del Sol, an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca. Here I witnessed one of the most amazing sunrises I’ve ever seen.
I also did a tour of the famous Salar de Uyuni. The salar was spectacular, just as I had imagined, but the rest of the tour caught me off guard. I had no idea how diverse and beautiful the rest of Southern Bolivia’s landscape was. Over the course of four days, we passed everything from huge volcanoes to colorful lagoons, to random rock formations in the middle of the desert, to bubbling geysers.
Afterwards, I flew to Colombia, as many other travelers I had met seemed to have amazing things to say about this country. I was greeted by friendly people and amazing street art.
From there, I worked my way up the Caribbean coast, all the way up to Punta Gallinas, the most northern point of the continent of South America. This was an off-the-beaten-track destination, and getting here was a challenge. But the dark red sand dunes, beautiful beaches, and general sense of vastness were totally worth it.
“A Gringo Trail” is a travel film that provides a glimpse into my experiences. A three-month trip was not nearly enough time, as South America is so large and diverse. I have only scratched the surface. There are so many more countries to explore and so much more to see and do. Yet, I know that one day, I’ll be back, for this gringo’s trail is not over just yet.
Jessica Devnani is a freelance videographer and travel writer from Ontario, Canada. She’s visited six continents and hopes to continue her travels indefinitely. Checkout her website Pink Plankton.