Adventure Traveller, Miguel of travelsauro has travelled extensively to every continent and today he’s rounded up a comprehensive list of the 10 Best Hikes in South America for you to choose from.
South America is a land of vivid colors, strong traditions and stunning landscapes. From the dense Amazonian jungle to the most idylic Caribbean beaches, there are plenty of options for all sorts of visitors.
If there is one thing that will really blow your mind, it’s the spectacular hiking you will find throughout the continent. Here are the 10 Best Hikes of South America.
After seeing these hikes, we want to pack our bags and go now! I’m sure you are going to feel the same way. Enjoy.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best Hikes in South America
If you decide to explore this beautiful land, the huge Andean range will reward you with surreal waterfalls, pristine lagoons, huge volcanoes and lost cities. With a variety of options for one-day or multi-day hikes, inexpensive prices and quality facilities, it’s no wonder that South America has become one of the top destinations for hiking lovers!
1. Mount Roraima – Venezuela
It’s not by accident that this is the first hike on the list; Mount Roraima in Venezuela is simply another world!
This huge tepuy (tepui) is one of the oldest land formations on earth and offers stunning views of the great savannah, other tepuys and waterfalls. Once on top, you’ll find scenery reminiscent of science fiction, with strange, naturally shaped rocks and rare flora and fauna, the likes of which you have never seen before.
Duration: 5-6 days
2. Fitz Roy, El Chaltén – Argentina
Enjoy awesome peaks, turquoise lagoons and huge glaciers on easy day hikes. Most of the famous spots, like the Fitz Roy or Cerro Torre, are just a few hours’ walk from the town of El Chalten, so you don’t even need camping gear! For the most adventurous, there are some amazing multi-day routes along which you can explore the very heart of the wild Patagonia.
Duration: 1 day
3. Las Torres del Paine – Chile
The hike to Las Torres del Paine is a wonderful way to explore one of the most remote territories in South America. Being really close to the end of the world, this is a land of strong winds and unpredictable weather, where huge mountains rise beyond beautiful lakes and rivers. You can complete either the “W trek” or the “O circuit.” Both will take you to the two main attractions: Las Torres and Los Cuernos del Paine.
Duration W trek: 5 days
Duration O circuit: 9 days
4. Huayhuash Circuit – Perú
This is a challenging long hike that will take you deep into the Peruvian Andes, where you’ll find massive mountains, glaciers, mirror lakes and local culture. It’s a good alternative to the beaten Santa Cruz trek, with fewer hikers. You’ll have the chance to visit villages, buy cheese from the locals and enjoy awesome scenery, which you’ll have almost to yourself!
Duration: 10-12 days
Looking for a great hike in North America? Check out The Wild Coastal Trail of Pukaskwa National Park
5. Inca Trail, Machu Picchu – Perú
Even though the Inca Trail is by far the best-known way to reach the marvellous city of Machu Picchu, there are some great alternatives, like the Salcantay or Lares routes. All of these explore the ancient Inca territories and take you through beautiful rainforests and massive valleys before reaching Machu Picchu—one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Duration: 2-5 days
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6. Quilotoa Loop – Ecuador
Imagine a trail along green valleys and friendly villages, and with almost no tourists! You can stay at mountain lodges, eat local food like the guinea pig (which is actually pretty good) and practice your Spanish with the friendly residents before reaching the Quilotoa lagoon, an amazing crater lake that will leave you astonished!
Duration: 4-5 days
7. Ciudad Perdida – Colombia
Would you like to explore lush forests and ancient cities while taking the opportunity to meet indigenous community members? This hot and humid trip takes you through the hills, rivers and waterfalls of the Sierra Nevada, where the Tayrona people still maintain their traditional customs and culture.
Duration: 4 days
8. Chapada Diamantina – Brazil
Brazil is much more than caipirinhas, surf and nice beaches. If you visit the northern region of Bahia, don’t miss the Chapada Diamantina, a stunning region full of tea-colored rivers and lagoons, green valleys and, above all, lots of high waterfalls everywhere!
Duration: 3-5 days
While in Brazil, be sure to visit Iguazu Falls: Check out our jet-boating video
9. Huayna Potosí – Bolivia
Known as one of the easiest 6000-meter mountains to climb in the world, this is a very popular route in Bolivia that provides awesome views of Lake Titicaca and Cordillera Real. This is more a climb than a hike, so you must be in really good shape and have a good acclimatization plan.
Duration: 3 days
Difficulty: Challenging – High
Love pushing yourself to the limit? Peruse our Epic Adventures Page
10. Cotopaxi Volcano – Ecuador
Climb the glacier of this active volcano with a perfect conical shape and enjoy stunning views from the top, with a magical sunrise over the clouds, as well as other huge mountains and volcanoes around. Be sure you are physically prepared before climbing Cotopaxi because it’s not an easy walk!
Duration: 2 days
Difficulty: Challenging – High
Traveling to South America? Get the Complete Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring.
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Hi, I’m Miguel, adventure traveler and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last five years, always trying to explore and hike some of the most remote regions.
Follow me on my blog travelsauro and enjoy exciting adventures in places like Papua, Timor, the Himalayas, Africa and the Caribbean!