South America has extremely diverse landscapes and so, of course, has a number of the world’s best hikes! Most remarkably, there are the Andes, which is the second-highest mountain range in the world, which is home to the most awe-inspiring treks on the planet.
With 100s of different trails stretching across the continent, this guide will help you to discover some of the best spots to hike in South America.
So if you’re looking for a jungle walk in the undulating hills of Colombia, volcano treks in the immense mountains of Ecuador, or cliff climbing among the glaciers of Patagonia, our list will let you know where you should go, what you require as well as when to go.
Lost City Trek To Teyuna National Park
If you’re looking for an undiscovered trail that few have traversed, a journey to Colombia’s northernmost wilds is right up your alley. Starting in Santa Marta with G Adventures, discover the lush jungle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on this challenging trek to Ciudad Perdida, which is an ancient Colombian city that was developed by the native Tayrona people. Needing 1,200 steps to get to the final entrance of Teyuna, it’s estimated that only 10% of the ruins are unearthed, which lends to the enigmatic appeal of this forgotten city. Highlights include swimming in the Buritaca River, watching hummingbirds flutter through the trees, and sleeping in open-air hammocks.
Santa Cruz Trek
The unusual mountain city of Huaraz is the beginning point for this three-day trek in the Cordillera Blanca section of the Peruvian Andes, deemed to be the tallest tropical mountain range in the world.
You’ll get out of the city by minibus to a tiny village (which is called Cashapampa) in the foothills of the Cordillera. Here you’ll start walking through a valley that has 6 000-metre mountains all around you. A lot of the walking will be done in the morning (five-six hours per day) before the weather closes in. You’ll be making camp each and every single day around 2 pm.
Frequently voted as one of Peru’s best hikes, this trail takes you past incredibly blue glacial lakes, through a strange sandy desert which feels like a mountain beach and on the last day (dependent on which way round you approach the trek) over the Punta Unión mountain pass. At 4 750 metres above sea level, it provides stunning vistas of the high peaks (Tauliraju, Rinrihirka and Paria).
You’ll camp amidst amazing scenery every night, getting up at sunrise to 360-degree views of snowy peaks.
If you’re not too exhausted on the last day, you can tag on another day and attempt a side-trek to Laguna 69, a beautiful turquoise glacial lake snuggled in the mountains that is a photographer’s dream. But if you’re too tired, you can kick back and enjoy Canadian online slots for real money instead. Either way, on your way back in the minibus you’ll catch a peek of Huascaran – the highest mountain in the Andes at 6,768 metres.
With walking the famous Inca Trail being incredibly expensive and booked up constantly, Salkantay is the best affordable alternate hike to Machu Picchu. This very scenic trek will take you past snow-capped peaks, turquoise glacier lakes, natural hot springs and through impenetrable Peruvian jungle.