All You Need to know about the Top 10 Best Hikes in South America

Written By: The Planet D

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.

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

roraima venezuela best hikes in south america
Taking in 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
Difficulty: Challenging

2. Fitz Roy, El Chaltén – Argentina

Fitz Roy best hikes south america
Fitz Roy is one of best hikes in south america

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
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

3. Las Torres del Paine – Chile

10 best hikes in south america featured image
The Best Hikes in South America

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
Difficulty: Moderate

4. Huayhuash Circuit – Perú

hikes in south america

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
Difficulty: Challenging

Looking for a great hike in North America? Check out The Wild Coastal Trail of Pukaskwa National Park

5. Inca Trail, Machu Picchu – Perú

hikes south america

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
Difficulty: Moderate

Order our favourite Hiking boots Merrell Moab Waterproof for your next hiking adventure

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
Difficulty: Moderate

7. Ciudad Perdida – Colombia

best hikes in south america

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
Difficulty: Challenging

8. Chapada Diamantina – Brazil

hiking south america waterfall

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
Difficulty: Moderate

While in Brazil, be sure to visit Iguazu Falls: Check out our jet-boating video

9. Huayna Potosí – Bolivia

hiking south america 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

hiking in south american high mountains

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. 

10 great hikes of south america
10 of the best hikes in South America

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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!

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let’s explore the world together!

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

28 thoughts on “All You Need to know about the Top 10 Best Hikes in South America”

  1. Thanks Stephen for sharing your recommendations! They look awesome!. What a great way to get out and about and see a place.

    Reply
  2. Great hike information! I also recommend in the area of patagonia, exactly in the chalten, a walk with moderate difficulty, to visit a little known glacier. It is the Torre Glacier. After 4 hours of trails of wild beauty, we find an imposing glacier, a lagoon with iceberg (in winter and spring the lagoon is frozen). Recommendation: take everything you need since in that area there are no park guards or inhabitants

    Reply
  3. I agree with all the hikes (and climbs on the list), my favourite would defiantly be Huayhuash Circuit, I hiked that trail in 1997, before the crowds, although I suspect the crowds are not that big. Great article Miguel. Cheers, Brad

    Reply
  4. Hi Damir! Yes, South America is definitely a great destination! friendly people, awesome landscapes, great hikes, nice culture… I just love it!

    Reply
  5. Great tips! Hiking in South America has always been one of my favorites. It’s less crowded than in, say Europe, and so much more beautiful. Meeting up with locals in the villages is always fun and my..how high these mountains sore. How can u not fall in love with it! Time, however is an issue. Feels like i never have enough time to do what i want to 🙁

    Reply
  6. Thank you guys!! I’m really glad that you liked the post! 🙂
    Thanks for the tip Ed! I’d like to visit Punta del Diablo one day.. so I’ll check it out!

    Reply
  7. Hi James,
    It’s great you have done Cotopaxi and Huayna Potosi!! Roraima and Huayhuash are definitely not that hard.. but it takes more days.. so it can be also difficult if you are bringing all your food, clothes and gear as I did.. we brought our own food and gear for 10 days in the case of the Huayhuhash circuit so you can imagine” Anyway.. they are great hikes!

    Reply
  8. Wonderful 10 list. I like to visit Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru. It is a different feeling after hiking and looking at the view of surroundings.

    Reply
  9. Great post Miguel. But you should also try Punta del Diablo (Uruguay). Been here last year and it was amazing. Sadly I only visited Uruguay. else I could have visited some of these awesome destinations.

    Reply
  10. Mount Roraima looks amazing! Definitely has a kind of science-fiction look. And Las Torres del Paine offers such a raw and magical experience with the “end of the earth” sentiments. Great post1

    Reply
  11. Great photos!

    Have done Cotapaxi and Huayna Potosi and can definitely back those up.
    How did you find the levels of difficulty for #1 and #4?

    Reply
    • Thanks Stephen. This one definitely goes out to Miguel, he has a lot of great choices here. It makes me want to pack my bags right now and go to South America!

      Reply