Many travelers, from North America, Europe, etc., visit cities of the Southern Cordillera and hardly feel that they have left home. Sheltered by international hotel chains from language, customs and culinary shock; and circulating with the business or professional classes, there is little cultural dislocation. Those traveling from North America don't even experience much jet lag. True, the business hours in cities such as Santiago tend to be longer, with rush hours centering on 8AM and 7PM. Some sectors close down for an extended siesta, and in Argentina formal dinners tend to start surprisingly close to midnight. But all in all, no culture shock. And in industries such as forestry, agriculture and mining which are geared to export, there is an international mind-set, which has unfortunately contributed to some of the environmental and land-use problems to be discussed.
But the cultural gradient between this "magic circle" and the rest of the territory can be steep, be it into the slums of the big cities or the hinterlands, and this is especially true in Peru and Bolivia. It is not just a decrease of means or a measure of poverty, but a change in mind-set, and in the countryside a return to "older" ways of living. To consider these more "simple" lifestyles would be a gross misrepresentation. But to the jaded eyes of many gringos, these ways of life will seem more "colorful".