South America has some of the highest mountain ranges in the world (like the Andes) – it is the second-highest mountain range in the world. The continent offers some of the best and challenging hikes in the world. Even one-day hikes are sure to test the endurance and strength of the mightiest trekkers and hikers.
With different landscapes spread across the continent, it offers diverse views to suit the needs of every hiker out there. For example, you’ll find jungle treks in Colombia, glacier treks in Patagonia, volcano treks in Ecuador, and more. The list below includes some of my personal favorites, and I will tell you all about them.
Please Note: All the trails and hikes mentioned below need you to have hiking shoes, a backpack, correct clothing, camping equipment, sleeping bags, tactical pants, tactical belts. You can check out the 5.11 Belt – it is used by the authorities and is rightly suited for moderate to tough hikes. Most of the places offer fresh drinking water, but to be safe, carry water purifying tablets.
1. Salkantay (Peru) – Salkantay is the best and the most affordable way to reach Machu Picchu. The trek will take you through everything a hiker dreams of – dense forests, glacier lakes, hot water springs – with snow-capped mountain peaks looking at you. You’ll also trek beneath the sacred peak of Salkantay mountain.
You’ll have to walk for five to six days, and once you reach Machu Picchu, you can spend a comfy night in Aguas Calientes.
Duration: Six to Seven Days
Best Time to Hike: April to September
2. La Ciudad Perdida (Colombia) – If you’re looking for an offbeat trek which is not flooded with tourists, La Ciudad Perdida should be on top of your bucket list. Also known as the Lost City of Colombia, La Ciudad Perdida had always been a hidden gem until the 1970s. The trek will take you through dense rainforests, you’ll have to cross multiple rivers, and then the forest will open its gates to the Lost City.
The city was built during the eighth and fourteenth centuries by Tayrona Indians – remains of which can still be seen at some of the places. The trek is not challenging, but you’ll need to be fully equipped as there is some steep hiking involved.
Rainforests can be extremely humid – make sure to wear suitable clothes and carry mosquito repellant with you.
Duration: Five to Six Days
Best Time to Hike: December to March
3. The Colca Canyon (Peru) – Enough of the treks for pro hikers. It’s time to tell you about a relatively easier trek in Peru – the Colca Canyon. Visited by a lot of tourists every year, the Colca Canyon is the second biggest canyon in the world. This two-day trek starts from Chivay and leads to the vast landscape of the canyon, making you realize how small humans are when compared to the power of mother nature. The vast views will be a treat to your eyes, and you’ll quickly find spots to click some Instagram-worthy pictures.
This trek is different from those mentioned above as the only plants you’ll find here are cactus.
Duration: Two Days
Best Time to Hike: March to June
4. Huayna Potosí (Bolivia) – This trek is sure to test the best of them all, Huayna Potosí is the most challenging trek in the list. Although the time required is just two days, it involves summiting a mountain and climbing a height of more than 6000 meters. The slope near the glacier is moderate but steepens as you approach the hill. The mountain slope will test your physical strength for at least five hours, but the panoramic views are to die for.
Duration: Two Days
Difficulty: Very Difficult
Best Time to Hike: May to September
The treks mentioned above are sure to fill your body with the adrenaline you desire. Please take everything you need for your safety at these places as some of them are remotely located. Think I missed something? Please tell me in the comments below.