The must do hikes of South America
The must do hikes of South America
When it comes to choosing a place that evokes mystery, adventure and long-lost cultures, South America has to be #1. If you’ve ever watched an Indiana Jones movie or something similar, South America is widely used as the setting. Venturing into uncharted territory although however dangerous keeps drawing you in, for the curiosity of the human brain wants more and more. We assure you, if you travel to South America you will only want to keep seeing more.
To optimize adventure in South America there are countless activities to fulfil your travel lust. However, picking the right excursion is important and as a far as hiking goes it’s something that most of us can accomplish given the right push and inspiration.
Torres del Paine
From April to September the W Trek is open to visitors in the world-famed Patagonia. If you’re a bit of a hiking nut, then a visit Patagonia has to be on your life bucket list. There probably isn’t a place in the world like it, and for many is the #1 destination for rugged, natural and scenic hikes. The most southern city in the world, Puento Arenes is the starting point of the hike, which can go up to 9 days, however most take up the popular 4 day hike option. Patagonia is shared with Chile and Argentina, but Torres del Paine is with Chile. This won’t be your humid jungle excursion, the familiar sights will be prickly granite spikes, frozen glaciers, turquoise lagoons and backdrop views that will make you even more speechless. With all the talk about NASA finding new planets in our solar system, hiking to these peaks you’ll feel you’ve got there before them.
One of the more difficult hikes than the others on the list, Potosi takes around 2-3 days before requires careful planning. Altitude reaches over 6,000m here so make sure you are fit and can handle this excursion before rushing into it. Unlike some of the things to do in Bolivia that brag adventure (Death Road, Amazon Rainforest) this hike requires more technical climbing than just ordinary hiking. Not only that many travellers regularly turn back on their ascent. That being said, don’t be put off, even though it’s difficulty is high, it is said that anyone can hike here without having to be qualified or with specific permits. The end of the journey yells success, with Lake Titicaca and La Paz in full view.
Nicknamed ‘The Lost World’ has hikes that surpass over 100km over a 5-day stretch. One of the most adventurous hikes in South America and certainly Brazil’s, Parque Chapada Diamantina is throws everything nature and wildlife has at you. Caves, snakes, waterfalls, old diamond fields, rivers, lagoons, villages, ruins and death-defying drops all exists here. Forget Brazil’s beaches, bars and football filled streets, one of the must do’s is the Lost World hike! This hike can be broken up into day visits also.
Embark on a 5-day trek to Colombia’s Lost City in an action packed adventure. Only discovered from the outside world in the 1970’s, you’ll encounter a plethora of experiences on this trek. Roam through the rainforest to encounter to Kobi tribe who have resided here for thousands of years. Cross waist high waters, clamber up steep inclines, and even use a human birdcage crossing Indiana Jones style. Once you reach the ruins they provide a spectacular panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada. The ruins are still used for ritual purposes from the tribes once per month
Inca Trail Machu Picchu
One of the most famous and spoken about hikes in the world, the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is as popular as ever. So popular, you’ll have to book up this specific hike months in advance. Still, don’t worry if you want to visit Machu Picchu there are several alternative hikes. The Inca Trail is the original route to reach the Machu Picchu set by the Inca’s generations ago, and whilst passing many peaks, jungles, villages and other ruins on the outskirts because of it’s limited availability, it really is a once in a life time experience.
Sticking with Peru, Colca Canyon is not to be underestimated because Machu Picchu get’s all the attention. Colca is the 2nd largest canyon the world has to offer. Although you won’t be hiking for as long as the other hikes on the list brag (Colca Canyon only takes 2 days) the hike can be strenuous so make sure you’ve kept fit with the days leading up to it. What more is uniquely at Colca Canyon you will encounter is giant swooping condors and uprising prickly cacti. A rugged and unmerciful terrain, Colca Canyon is one of those hikes that make you appreciate hiking in the first place.
Volcano’s are notorious when active, and the noise they bring to will be deafening, yet at Quilotoa this emerald lake filled volcano is as peaceful as anywhere in South America. You’ll likely to be the only travellers you see for 4-5 days whilst roaming through villages in the middle of nowhere. One of Ecuador’s most scenic hikes.
With high altitudes, icy surfaces and steep climbs, Cotopaxi isn’t somewhere you can put on your trainers and go figure. Adjusting to the altitude maybe important for some, and being in a general good state of health despite you only hiking for 2 days to reach the peak.
Kaieteur Falls is Guyana’s most notable natural attraction, but reaching it via hiking is no easy feat. It’s probably one of the toughest excursions on this list, so approach this hike with caution. Due to Guyana’s untouched lands (88% is covered in jungle), it won’t be rare to encounter tropical wildlife here whilst reaching the world’s largest single drop waterfall. If you like offbeat destinations, Guyana and this 4-5 day hike tops this list.
Another off the beaten track destination, Mount Roraima isn’t visited by many in comparison to the other hikes listed, mainly due to the turmoil still happening in Venezuela. If you do make it to Venezuela though, this hike is alongside visiting Angel Falls of Venezuela’s must see’s. The 1912 novel ‘The Lost World’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was said to be inspired by it’s unique formation. A challenging excursion that’s peak strays above the clouds, you’ll encounter some of the oldest land formations on earth.