Travel Guide

Best Hiking Trails in South America

South America, with its diverse landscapes and unique cultures, is a hiker’s paradise. Its trails wind through high peaks, dense jungles, arid deserts, and historical sites, offering an unparalleled hiking experience. Here are some of the best hiking trails in South America:

1. Inca Trail, Peru

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is South America’s most famous hike. This 4-day, 26-mile trek takes you through beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud forest, subtropical jungle, and ancient Inca ruins before arriving at the iconic Machu Picchu. It’s a demanding hike that rewards you with a deep sense of history and stunning views.

2. W Trek, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The W Trek is a five-day hike in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park. The trek offers views of turquoise lakes, colossal glaciers, and towering granite peaks. The trail’s highlights include the Base of the Towers, French Valley, and Grey Glacier.

3. Lost City Trek, Colombia

This 4-6 day trek leads to Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), an ancient city in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s a challenging trail through dense jungle, steep climbs, and river crossings. The Lost City, surrounded by jungle and often shrouded in mist, is a sight to behold.

4. Santa Cruz Trek, Peru

This is one of the most popular treks in the Cordillera Blanca, the world’s highest tropical mountain range. The 4-day trek offers spectacular views of snowy peaks, turquoise lagoons, and vast valleys. The highest point is Punta Union pass at 4,750 meters.

5. Mount Roraima Trek, Venezuela

This 6-day trek takes you to the summit of Mount Roraima, a tabletop mountain with 400-meter high cliffs on all sides. The summit’s moon-like landscape, unique flora, and natural pools are truly surreal. It’s an adventure like no other.

6. Fitz Roy Trek, Argentina

This trek in Los Glaciares National Park takes you to the base of Mount Fitz Roy. The final viewpoint offers stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding glacial lakes. It’s a day hike, but there are options for multi-day treks in the park.

7. Salkantay Trek, Peru

An alternative to the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek offers equally amazing views with fewer crowds. This 5-day trek winds through high peaks, lowland jungle, and cloud forest, ending at Machu Picchu.

8. Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador

This 3-day self-guided trek takes you through the remote Andean countryside, indigenous villages, and ends at the Quilotoa Crater Lake. It’s a cultural experience as much as it’s a scenic hike.

South America offers a world of hiking possibilities. Whichever trail you choose, remember to respect the local environment and culture, and prepare adequately for high altitudes and changing weather conditions.

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