Some of the Best Hikes in South America
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Inca Trail Tours

Some of the Best Hikes in South America

5 min read

Sep 27, 2017


By Conrad McGarvey

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Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 02:43 pm

The 5 Best Hikes in South America

Most of us have heard about the Inca Trail (Peru), or the W Trek in Torres del Paine (Chile). These must be the two most famous hikes in South America. The Inca Trail is particularly attractive, finding itself on many traveler’s bucket lists. This 4-day hike is often booked to capacity, for months in advance, with energetic hikers and backpackers.

However, there are a lot of alternatives which are less famous but just as beautiful. So if your walking boots are patiently waiting for your next hiking adventure, check out these equally breathtaking and lesser-known hikes in South America!

1. Lares & Salkantay Trek – Hikes in Peru


First on our list of hikes in South America are the Lares & Salkantay Treks. If you are looking for something different and less packed, the Salkantay Trek (5-day trek including Machu Picchu) and the Lares Trek (4-day trek including Machu Picchu) are two fantastic options. The Lares Trek remains the more mysterious trail of the two, taking guests on an alternative route through small villages surrounded by amazing landscapes, and ending in Ollantaytambo on the 3rd day.

From Ollantaytambo, travelers can take the train to Aguas Calientes to visit the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. I highly recommend spending at least 2 days in Cuzco at the beginning of this trip to acclimate to the high altitude.

Travel Tip: This is a fantastic trekking option if the Inca Trail is crowded. Camp throughout the trek and then spend the final night in a charming hotel in Aguas Calientes. Find out more about the Lares Valley Trek

2. Santa Cruz Trek – Hikes in Peru


A classic on the list of the 5 best hikes in South America. In just 4 days the Santa Cruz trek covers 50km (30 miles). Walkthrough the wild, fertile valleys of the Cordillera Blancas while passing by pristine lakes and snow-capped mountains – an excellent route for nature lovers.

Then, hike the trails of Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru, and then cross the Punta Union path, at 4760 meters (15617 ft) of altitude. The Punta Union path is the highest point on the trek and offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding area. The Santa Cruz trek will leave any traveler craving more for what this area has to offer.

Travel Tip: This trek is ideal for travelers who have plenty of time to explore. Spend your nights camping under the stars! Find out more >> Peru Tours

3. Ciudad Perdida Trek – Hikes in Colombia


If you like adventure and discovering magnificent wildlife, this 5-day hike from the Santa Marta region to La Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City) is a must on any 5 Best Hikes in South America list. The Lost City Trek takes hikers through lush jungles, hills, and river valleys in northern Colombia.

Throughout your journey, meet with local communities and discover the unique biodiversity of the forest, before finally reaching the most impressive archeological site of the country: The Lost City. While here, admire its bridges, paths, and aqueducts that date back to the 8th and 9th centuries.

Travel Tip:If you enjoy a bit of adventure, nature, and culture, this is the hike for you. Rest in cozy hammocks at night!

4. Chapada Diamantina – Hikes in Brazil


If you love to venture off the beaten path to find beautiful scenery, then Chapada Diamantina, located 6-7 hours by bus from Salvador de Bahia, is the best fit for you! You don’t necessarily need to hike to visit this beautiful region, but if you want: many hikes are available for all levels, ranging from 1 day to 8 days in length.

One of the most popular hikes is the 5-day hike through the Pati Valley. Walkthrough amazing landscapes, featuring waterfalls and natural pools like Poço Azul, which might be one of the most beautiful hikes in Brazil.

Travel Tip: For a bit of “off the beaten path” scenery, Chapada Diamantina is the spot for you. Find basic accommodation in bed and breakfasts while you explore the vibrant terrain. Find out more >> Travel Guide to Chapada Diamantina National Park

5. Quilotoa Loop – Hikes in Ecuador


If you are visiting Ecuador and would like to visit villages where you can see how the locals live, then Quilotoa Loop is a fantastic option for you! Quilotoa is an old volcano that today hosts a beautiful turquoise lake in its crater, that changes color depending on the sun.

The loop consists of 200km (125 miles) of Andean Trails. There are different trek options, ranging from 2 to 6 days, that take you through small Andean villages and markets. The Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador is a must on any list like ours called the 5 Best Hikes in South America.

Travel Tip: If you plan a visit to Ecuador and would like to meet the locals of charming villages, this is the place for you! Find basic accommodation in bed and breakfasts throughout your journey.

Contact a Travel Expert about the Best Hikes in South America

Looking for more information? Contact an expert on the best hikes in South America. Start your South America adventure tour today.

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Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 02:43 pm

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