13 Amazing Hikes in South America

Hiking in South America

The second-biggest mountain range in the world, the Andes, acts as the spine of South America – affecting climates, cultures and the lives of those who live in their mighty shadows.

Is it any wonder then, that some of the world’s best hikes are in South America? Embark on any of the trekking adventures below and you’ll be rewarded with ancient treasures, from Incan ruins, turquoise lagoons and dramatic mountain scenery. 

Even the continent’s most simple day treks can be a test of endurance and you’ll need to be fit and disciplined to get the most out of trekking here. If you’re up for the challenge, the following hikes in South America are sure to deliver the dose of adventure that you’ve been craving! 

Related: (opens in new tab)

13 Amazing Hikes in South America

This article contains affiliate links. Booking/buying through links you find on this site is a great way of supporting the work we do at no extra cost to you.

1. Santa Cruz Trek, Peru

  • Duration: 3-4 days
  • Distance: 50 km/31 miles
  • Best time to go: April – September
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Highest point reached: 4,750 metres
  • Starting Point: Huaraz
  • Accommodation near trailhead: El Jacal Backpacker
Peru hiking
The Santa Cruz trek takes you through world-class scenery.

The quirky mountain city of Huaraz is the starting point for this multi-day hike in the Cordillera Blanca region of the Peruvian Andes, deemed the highest tropical mountain range in the world.

You’ll drive out of the city by minibus to a small village (called Cashapampa) in the foothills of the Cordillera, where you’ll begin walking through a valley enclosed by 6,000-metre peaks. Most of the walking is done in the morning (averaging 5-6 hours a day) before the weather closes in. The goal is generally to make camp around 2 pm.

Chosen as one of the best treks in the world by National Geographic, the Santa Cruz trek takes you past amazingly blue glacial lakes, through sandy deserts and on the last day (depending on which way round you do the trek) over the Punta Unión mountain pass. 

If you’re not too tired at the end, you can tag on another day and make a detour to Laguna 69, a gorgeous turquoise glacial lake nestled in the mountains. On the way back in the minibus, you’ll catch a glimpse of Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru at 6,768 meters.

Photo taken early in the day, while we still had energy!

DO I NEED A GUIDE? The Santa Cruz trek can be completed independently or with a guide.  Guided treks can be booked in Huaraz and cost anywhere between $150USD and $300USD. Tents, sleeping bags, warm coats and other equipment can be hired from various trekking companies. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: Take a head torch, you’ll need it finding your way to the toilet at night. You should also make sure you layer up – that alpaca sweater you bought in Cusco will be your saving grace! 

2. Salkantay Trek, Peru

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Distance: 74 km/46 miles
  • Best time to go: April – September
  • Difficulty level: Moderate 
  • Highest point reached: 4,630 metres
  • Starting point: Cusco
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Hommam Hostel Boutique
Machu Picchu
The Salkantay is one of the many hikes that finishes at Machu Picchu.

This South American hike is legendary on the backpacker circuit and has made its way onto many a bucket list! Although not as famous as the Inca Trail which must often be booked at least six months in advance, the Salkantay trek also finishes at the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu and is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Popular with backpackers, luxury travellers and honeymooners alike, it is one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world.

Often voted one of Peru’s best hikes, the beauty of the Salkantay comes from the vastly diverse landscapes that you’ll trek through during the six-day hike. Each day, you’ll walk around eight hours and either camp in tents or stay in glamping-style accommodation (depending on what kind of tour you’ve opted for and whether you’ve trekked independently).

There are different lengths of the Salkantay trek offered but the full trail spans five days. During this time, you’ll make your way through hilly terrain, cross snowy mountain passes and trek through lush tropical rainforests. The final day will see you rise at 4 am(!) to complete the steep staircase up to Machu Picchu. 

As the sun rises over the ruins of the city and the clouds begin to clear, you’ll feel so on top of the world, that you’ll have to remember to pinch yourself! If you’ve still got life in your legs, you can climb Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain (tickets must be bought in advance), for amazing bird’s-eye views of the ruins.

Salkantay Pass
Yes, it was cold… Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

DO I NEED A GUIDE? You can do the Salkantay trek on your own. This involves carrying all of your own gear and sleeping at guesthouses en route. It is also possible to do the trek as part of a guided tour. Accommodation, transport, bag transfer, food, entrance fee and a return train ticket are usually included. Tours vary in cost depending on the type of experience that you opt for (e.g. camping or glamping) and can range from anywhere between $200USD-$600USD. 

Money-saving tip! If you are on a tight budget and can be flexible with dates, do not book the Salkantay trek before arriving in Peru. Many of the big travel companies will charge you four or even five times more than a local operator and then outsource your trek to them anyway. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: Good trekking boots or walking shoes are essential. As you walk through a variety of terrains and climates in such a short period, you’ll need to be prepared for snow, sand, dirt, rocks and railway tracks! 

RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Ways to Reach Machu Picchu.

​3. Huayna Potosí, Bolivia

  • Duration: 2-3 days
  • Distance: 10 km/ 6.1 miles
  • Best time to go: April – November
  • Difficulty level: Very difficult 
  • Highest point reached: 6,088 meters
  • Starting point: La Paz
  • Accommodation near trailhead: The Adventure Brew Hostel
Trekking Huayna Potosí, Bolivia
The Huayna Potosí hike is one of the most challenging we list.

One of the hardest South American hikes on the list, and in fact the only trek where you actually summit an Andean mountain, the trail up to Huayna Potosí is not for the faint-hearted!

Located just 25km from Bolivia’s hectic capital, La Paz, this trek is popular with mountaineering travellers who can book the two-day trip from adventure companies in the city.

The trek requires technical rock climbing skills to reach the peak and a good head for heights. Add to that the problems caused by altitude sickness at this level and you’ll understand that this trek needs to be taken seriously!

Huayna Potosi is one of the very few mountains over 6,000 meters that ‘normal’ people can climb. The first climbers to conquer the mountain in 1919, two German hikers, dubbed it the ‘easiest 6,000 peak in the world!’ (Reality check: This by no means makes it easy and many backpackers do indeed end up turning back halfway!)

The trek to the peak from base camp takes around five hours and the 360-degree views from the top are unbelievable. You’ll tower high above the rest of the surrounding mountains and on a clear day, it’s possible to see La Paz, Lake Titicaca and the stunning Cordillera Real.

DO I NEED A GUIDE?  Yes! Owing to the threat posed by the altitude and the technical nature of this trek, you should do it with a guide. Treks can be booked from La Paz for incredibly cheap. Prices begin at around $150USD, although the cheapest option isn’t always the best! Make sure that the guide is experienced and check out the quality of equipment provided including oxygen tanks. This is no walk in the park.

MUST HAVE GEAR: A warm waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers. If you don’t own them, you can hire them from the trekking company when you book.

4. Colca Canyon, Peru

  • Duration: 2-3 Days
  • Distance: 31 km/19.2 miles
  • Best time to go: March – June
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Highest point reached: 3,287 meters
  • Starting point: Chivay/Arequipa 
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Le Foyer
Colca Canyon, Peru
Colca Canyon is the second-deepest canyon in Peru.

Colca Canyon, close to Arequipa, is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and is Peru’s third-biggest tourist attraction. This interesting hike starts in the lush valley town of Chivay and takes you into the open heart of the canyon where massive condors swoop and prickly cactus shoot up from the arid earth.

It’s a very different type of trek to the others on the list as you walk down into the canyon with amazingly steep cliffs rising all around, then climb out of the gorge the next day.

The scenery is rugged and awe-inspiring and the trekking is fairly easy for a healthy and fit person, with a bit of a strenuous climb to get out of the canyon on the second/third day. A dip in the hot springs on the way back to Arequipa is a welcome luxury!

Colca Canyon treks vary in duration and will commonly span between two and three days. The hike stats above are based on the full loop which takes around three days to complete. 

Colca canyon scenery Peru
This hike is doable for most fit and healthy travellers.

DO I NEED A GUIDE?  Nope, a DIY visit to Colca Canyon is easy enough to arrange if you are happy to do a little research and book your accommodation independently. If you would rather have someone else sort the logistics for you, Colca Canyon treks can be booked at many guesthouses or travel agents. We recommend booking this hike. That way, you will be in the wonderful hands of Gloria from Arequipa Tours who is a gem!

MUST HAVE GEAR: Strong sunscreen and a good camera to capture those condors!

5. La Ciudad Perdida (Lost City Trek), Colombia

  • Duration: 4-5 days
  • Distance: 50 km/31 miles
  • Best time to go: June – September
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Highest point reached: 1,200 metres
  • Starting point: Santa Marta 
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Masaya Hostel
The trek to Colombia’s Lost City is a must-do!

Undiscovered by the Western world until the 1970s (even though the locals knew of its presence for hundreds of years), La Ciudad Perdida is visited by far fewer tourists than it deserves – especially when you consider the hoards that descend upon Machu Picchu!

The ancient Lost City was estimated to have been built between the 8th-14th centuries by the Tayrona Indigenous people and although only circular stone terraces remain, the site is a wonder to behold, perhaps made all the more amazing by the relatively few crowds!

The trek will take you through rainforest, walking through streams and wading through rivers and then finally to the entrance of the Lost City where the trees open up to offer spectacular panoramic views of the blue-tinged, jungle-clad mountains.

There is some steep hiking on the trail but there are also plenty of river swimming opportunities along the way to help you cool off. One of the most interesting parts of the trek is the encounters with the indigenous Kogi tribe that have been living a traditional life in the area for thousands of years.

DO I NEED A GUIDE? Yes, you are not able to do the Lost City hike independently. The trek costs around $550USD, which is the standard price, regardless of which agency you book through. It can be booked online in advance or once you arrive in Santa Marta.

We recommend the highly-rated Expotur, a reputable agency that is part of CORPOTEYUNA, a local community and sustainability association within the tourism industry.

MUST HAVE GEAR: Make sure you take a good mosquito repellent with you as the insects can be extremely persistent in the jungle!

RELATED ARTICLE: Trekking to Colombia’s Lost City.

6. Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Distance: 62 km/39 miles
  • Best time to go: March to October
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Highest point reached: 1,420 metres
  • Starting point: Vale do Capão (Bahia)
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Pousada Pé no Mato
Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
Chapada Diamantina National Park is hugely popular with hikers.

There’s much more to Brazil than football and beaches! This awesome five-day trek opens up the incredible ‘Lost World’ of the amazing Parque da Chapada Diamantina.

The route will take you up and over dramatic table-top mountain plateaus in the heart of the Pati Valley, down to lush plains, past gushing fresh waterfalls, subterranean rivers and amazing crystal clear lagoons hidden in caves.

You can glimpse Brazil’s highest waterfall, Cachoeira da Fumaça, stay with locals, pass by the tiny ghostly village of Ruinha and through the diamond-era stone ruin of Igatu. This really is a swashbuckling adventure!

The park is, of course, named after the ‘diamond rush’ that engulfed the area during the 19th century (Chapada means steep cliffs and Diamantina means diamonds) – so watch out for something sparkling in the stones along the way!

Chapada Diamantina Trek Brazil
Hikes in Chapada Diamantina National Park should always be done with a guide.

DO I NEED A GUIDE? Yes. Chapada Diamantina National Park is very difficult to navigate solo and it is easy to become lost there, especially because the phone signal is unreliable. A guide is always recommended for travellers. Check out our recommended local provider here. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: Lots of layers. Chapada Diamantina’s location means that temperatures can drop pretty low at night! A strong suncream is also recommended.

Also read: Incredible National Parks in South America.

7. Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Distance:  9.9 km/6.2 miles
  • Best time to go: December – January
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Highest point reached: 5,897 meters
  • Starting point: Latacunga
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Hostal Café Tiana
Cotopaxi volcano, Ecuador
The weather is an important factor of making it to the top of Cotopaxi.

Located in the famous ‘Valley of the Volcanoes’, Cotopaxi is a highly popular tour from Ecuador’s capital Quito. On a day trip, backpackers flock to this active volcano to hike up to the glacier, making a clear tick off their bucket lists.

Despite the popularity of this trip, not many people actually summit the iconic peak of Cotopaxi Volcano which on a clear day can be seen from the capital.

Located about an hour and a half from Quito and close to Latacunga, you can book the trek in either city. If you’re planning to summit, you’ll camp on the first night at a height of 4,500 meters. You’ll rise bleary-eyed at around 1 am to attempt the summit the next day. It should take around half an hour to reach the snowline, and a further five hours to reach the peak. When the skies are clear, this will offer spectacular views all around.

Owing to the extreme altitude, the Cotopaxi summit trek is only recommended for experienced hikers who have already acclimated. Although it is possible to make the summit year-round, the weather is a really important factor in completing this trek. 

It is important to note that Cotopaxi volcano is active, meaning that it is likely to erupt again in the future. In total, it’s known to have erupted 87 times with the most recent of these occurring in 2015 and continuing into 2016. If there is volcanic activity, Cotopaxi National Park will close to visitors. 

People hiking up Cotopaxi volcano
A lot of people hike to Cotopaxi glacier but few tackle the summit!

DO I NEED A GUIDE? Yes. Tours to the summit begin at around $280USD per person, however, they can increase up to nearly $600USD. It is recommended that you look for a guide who is certified by the Ecuadorian Association of Mountain Guides (ASEGUIM). There’s a $10USD entrance fee to the park. Travellers looking to venture up to the glacier but no higher, can head out on a day trip or book a 2-day combo tour (includes a visit to Quilotoa crater lake).

MUST HAVE GEAR: Temperatures can go from hot to cold very quickly and so layers are a must for this trek. Take a good fleece and waterproof jacket.

8. Mount Roraima, Venezuela

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Distance: 64 km/ 40 miles
  • Best time to go: December to April
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Highest point reached: 2,810 metres
  • Starting point: Paraitepuy
Mount Roraima
Would you tackle Venezuela’s Mount Roraima hike?

This out-and-back multi-day hike showcases some truly incredible scenery and offers travellers the chance to really get off the beaten track. The landscape is similar in places to that of Chapada Diamantina National Park in Brazil but of course, you’ll see a range of different flora and fauna.  It is a challenging hike and should only be attempted by those with a high fitness level. 

As many of you will already know, Venezuela does not have the best reputation when it comes to traveller safety. This is a real shame because there are some truly amazing natural wonders in the country, just waiting to be explored. 

Mount Roraima is close to the Brazilian border and it is possible to jump over, head to Santa Elena and then organise a trek from there, without needing to pass through Venezuela’s most dangerous locations. 

Still, if you’re considering hiking to Mount Roraima, you should always research the situation on the ground before making any concrete plans to visit. Venezuela’s political and economic stability fluctuates wildly so what is safe today may not be so tomorrow. 

DO I NEED A GUIDE? Yes. A guide is compulsory to do this trek and can be hired in the nearby town of Santa Elena. Alternatively, you can hire a guide close to the start point in Paraitepuy but it may be logistically challenging to get here independently. Tours begin at around $300USD and will usually need to be paid for in US dollars in cash.  

MUST HAVE GEAR: A water purifier such as the Grayl Geopress. You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy! 

9. The W Trek, Chile

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Distance: 80 km/50 miles
  • Best time to go: September – April
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Highest point reached: 870 metres
  • Starting point: Punta Arenas 
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Haiken Hostal
Torres del paine views
The W trek is one of the most popular hikes in South America.

This trek is named after the ‘W’ shape of the amazing four-day, 80km route through the awesome Torres Del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. There is also a longer route that takes 9 days, known as the O Circuit. This trail follows a loop of the entire national park for those wanting to fully immerse themselves in this incredible area.

The spiky peaks provide an out-of-this-world landscape that is like nothing on earth. With turquoise alpine lagoons, pristine glaciers, granite spikes and brilliant white powdered snow, the views are simply breathtaking.

The park is open year-round, however, if you want to do the trek self-guided, this is only possible from October through to April. This is because, during the winter, the daylight hours are few, meaning you’ll need to cram in around 7-8 hours of hiking into just 4 or 5. The weather can be unpredictable at any time of year so make sure you pack for all seasons. 

During the four-day hike, you can either camp or stay in mountain lodges (refugios), with dorm-style accommodation along the way, which can make your experience a little more expensive, but warmer and more comfortable.

Torres del Paine National Park
For those who want longer in Torres del Paine, check out the O Circuit. Photo credit: Steven Bewick.

DO I NEED A GUIDE? No. The W Trek is very popular with shoestring backpackers and doing it independently generally costs around 10% of a guided tour ($150USD vs. $1,500USD)! If you did want to go with a tour group, you can book a guided trek through the national park with a company or travel agency. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: Bring lots of snacks as food is expensive in the national park, due to it being so remote! Clif bars and Kendal Mint Cake are good options!

RELATED ARTICLE: Torres Del Paine Trek: Seeing the Highlights in 3 Days.

10. Fitz Roy Trek, Patagonia – Argentina

  • Duration: 1-3 days
  • Distance: 30 km/18 miles
  • Best time to go: October to April 
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Highest point reached: 2,900 metres
  • Starting point: El Chaltén
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Rancho Grande
Fitz Roy trek
Mount Fitz Roy is an iconic hike in Patagonia.

The Mount Fitz Roy Trek in Argentina is one of Patagonia’s best hikes and offers an alternative to hiking Chile’s Torres Del Paine O Circuit. The trek is located in the ‘Parque Nacional Los Glaciares’ and can be accessed from the small town of El Chaltén in southern Argentina.

The hike showcases incredible scenery of the mountains (with the peaks of Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre taking the top prizes). Get ready for refreshing swims in alpine lakes and possibly afternoon avalanche watching on the nearby slopes which are warmed by the heat of the sun.

The landscape is diverse and the trekking shouldn’t be too challenging for those who are in good shape, you’ll almost forget about the exertion with the amazing views all around anyway!

Sidestepping day hikes to Lago de Los Tres and Laguna Sucia are well worth the diversion. For those who are into rock climbing, there are also some world-class climbs in this region of Argentina.

Los Glaciares National Park (1)
Los Glaciares National Park is very well-signed.

DO I NEED A GUIDE? No. As the trail in this part of Los Glaciares National Park is very well-marked, there is no real need for a guided tour, so if you’re happy to carry your own tent and luggage along the way – this independent option is a great way to experience the wilderness. Bear in mind that campsites must be booked in advance and camping is only allowed in designated areas. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: A warm sleeping bag and camping equipment. Don’t forget your stove!

11. Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador

  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • Distance: 36 km/ 22 miles
  • Best time to go: June to September
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Highest point reached: 3,915 metres
  • Starting point: Sigchos
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Starlight Inn
Laguna Quilotoa
The final stop on the Quilotoa Loop is the incredible crater lake.

The Quilotoa Loop is arguably Ecuador’s most popular multi-day hike. Beginning in Sigchos and finishing at the breathtaking Quilotoa Lake, this trek presents just the right level of challenge for the average traveller. 

The hardest part comes at the very end of the hike as you ascend to the highest point at Quilotoa Lake. Although this makes the final section a bit of a slog, you’ll steadily acclimatise as you follow the trail which is one of the best ways to stave off the ill effects of altitude. 

Budget-friendly and easy enough to navigate (if you’re feeling unsure, pick up a map from one of the local accommodation providers), this route can be completed in anything from 3 to 5 days, depending on how quickly you hike. 

Quilotoa Loop Trail Uri Aki
This is a budget-friendly, multi-day hike in Ecuador. Photo credit: Uri Aki.

DO I NEED A GUIDE? Nope. The Quilotoa Loop is easy to do independently. You can either bring/rent a tent to camp along the route or stay in one of the many economical accommodation options along the way. Expect to budget around $100-$150USD per person. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: Hiking poles or a wooden stick but not for the reason you may think! It is possible that you may meet some less-than-friendly stray dogs on the trail. The threat of a stick is usually more than adequate for keeping them away.  

12. Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Distance: 36 km/22 miles
  • Best time to go: March to October
  • Difficulty level: Difficult
  • Starting point: Georgetown
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Julian Guest House
YouTube video

This is one hardcore South American hike that will only be suited to the very adventurous! Although plenty of visitors to Guyana will embark on a day trip to see Kaieteur Falls, few will take on this challenging trek. 

Combining boat trips, hiking and camping in the jungle, the trek to Kaieteur Falls promises to be an epic adventure. Along the way, you’ll pass through some beautiful landscapes before finally tackling the steep ascent up to ‘Oh My God’ mountain where you’ll reach the top of the falls. 

Nature lovers will adore this trek and it is hugely undertouristed, meaning you’ll have a real chance of spotting rare wildlife. In fact, so few people tackle this hike that you may likely meet nobody else throughout your entire journey! 

DO I NEED A GUIDE? This is one trail that the tourists have not really found. Therefore, a guide is essential. Even though you’ll find other sources telling you that the cost of hiring a guide for this trek is a couple of hundred dollars, these are day tours to the Falls, not the entire trek. This is a costly hike that starts at $650USD per person. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: A sunhat is a must as are copious layers of suncream. Guyana gets super hot and humid! 

Also read: Epic South American waterfalls.

13. Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Distance:  1.5 km-4km/ 1-2.5 miles
  • Best time to go: September – May
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Starting point: El Calafate
  • Accommodation near trailhead: Calafate Hostel
Perito Moreno hiking
Perito Moreno wins the prize for the most unique hike on our list!

Perito Moreno Glacier is a natural wonder that has to be seen to be believed. Spanning 250km², this ice field is the planet’s third-largest freshwater reserve! Located in Los Glaciares National Park, no trip to Patagonia is complete without a visit here. 

Many travellers visit the glacier but not all of them opt to do the glacier trek. Although you do need to be a decent level of fitness to do this hike, it tends to be the price that puts most people off. While there is no doubt it is a costly activity, the opportunity to hike in these kinds of surroundings doesn’t come up very often! 

This is the only South American hike on our list to not span multiple days. Don’t scoff at glacier hiking on Perito Moreno though, it is one of the best day hikes you’ll ever do! 

Perito Moreno Glacier 2
It might be expensive but it is well worth splashing out on a glacier hike at Perito Moreno!

DO I NEED A GUIDE? Yes. The Perito Moreno Glacier trek can only be done with a guide and comes with a steep price tag. Expect to pay upwards of $300USD for the ‘Mini Trekking’ experience and $500USD+ for the longer ‘Big Ice’. The difference between the two is that the latter will afford you more hiking time on the glacier. 

MUST HAVE GEAR: Crampons. You won’t get very far without these! Luckily, they’ll be included in the cost of your tour. 

Also read: The Alternative Tour to Perito Moreno Glacier & Astounding National Parks In Argentina

Have we missed one of your favourite South American hikes from our list? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Nikki Scott Bio Pic
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker. At age 23, she left the UK on a solo backpacking trip and never returned. After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine about backpacking in Asia. The rest is history.

Find me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

18 thoughts on “13 Amazing Hikes in South America”

  1. The order of this list is strange to me haha, but it’s all subjective and I’m glad you had an awesome time 🙂

    For me, Colca Canon and the Salkantay trek should be nowhere near this list. They were both rubbish

  2. Did Salkantay trek in September 2018.. very affordable and a cool trip to do.. lots of variety.. moderate shape required.. elevation and such.. plus getting to Machu Picchu control gate at 5 am and hiking the 1700 steps the ticket…

  3. You actually don’t have to book the Inca trail 6 months in advance.. A friend booked 3 days in advance from cusco for only $150.. You will be robbed if you book online in advance!

  4. Nice list but I´m very surprised to see Santa Cruz as number 1 and even more surprised that huayhaush, considered as one of the most beautiful treks in south america -if not in the world, isn´t mentioned… Besides that I think Cachora-Choquequirao – MP trek can´t be missing in this top 10. It´s the only trek you go through 5 different ecosystems and the scenery is stunning! So your list need a little revision i think 😉

  5. Mount Roraima, located south of Venezuela, it is a 6 to 9 day trip depending you, theres is one trip that you can visit the triple point, is the border of three countries Venezuela, Brasil and Guyana. The only access is through Venezuela. The Disney movie Up, is based on The Angel Falls and Mount Roraima. There is another trekk in Angel Falls really nice.

  6. Great list, just in case someones checking this for future travel, As Jared mentioned the dates are wrong. They just got it in reverse, its open Sept-April not April to September. Cheers!

  7. Is it mandatory to pay for these paths. We have tons a trails in Canada but we only have to pay a back country camping licence. Just wondering

  8. What outfitter(s) lead the tour of the Valley of the Volcanoes and Cotopaxi Volcano? You mention its 2 days and $160. Thanks

  9. Just wanted to point out that you have incorrect dates for Torres Del Paine/W-Trek. Other than that, thanks for the list! This really helped shape my trekking in SA.

    1. Right; I just did the “O” hike in Torres Del Paine in February, so the wrong dates are listed. Also, 9 days seems a little long for the O; I did it in 5 1/2 days.

  10. You totally forgot Mount Roraima in Venezuela. It is a 6-7 day trip to one of the oldest mountains on Earth.

  11. Great list! I even did four of them over a year travelling in South America…makes me wish that i was back there!
    My favorite though is missing from the group. Mt Roraima in Venezuela is the most spectacular trek i’ve ever done!

  12. Awesome top list! I am planning to complete many of these during my 6 months travel in South Awmerica.
    I think the Quilotoa trek that you mention under number 6 should be considered as a trek on its own, as you can spend up to 2 weeks trekking there.

    1. Hey. did you do the 6 month South America. I want to the same thing. If so can you give me some tips or/and suggestions.

      Thank you

  13. Awesome! The most itchy feet-inspiring South America Backpacker post to date 🙂

    In less than a month I’ll be on the Salkantay trek and I can’t. wait. I’m still planning my treks for Bolivia and Torres del Paine. Your suggestions sound phenomenal. Thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top