Lovers of hiking are in it for all sorts of reasons, but they all agree that nothing can beat the burning sense of achievement and joy that comes from completing a challenging but rewarding hike.
Combining tough terrain with stunning scenery along the way makes for a killer hike you’ll just have to add to your bucket list. So, here Brian McPeek details some of the top hiking locations in South America. Passports at the ready!
The Dientes Circuit, Chile
In their list of 5 of the Toughest Walks in the World, worldwalks.com puts The Dientes Circuit in at number 2. It’s a combination of the remoteness of the island, the extreme weather, and the jagged terrain that also makes it into our list, too.
It may be only 23 miles long but expect 5 days of the most changeable weather you can expect; pleasant warmth, gusting winds, and freezing snowfall all appear along your isolated adventure, but an adventure it undoubtedly is.
The views are staggeringly beautiful, among landscapes you may never have experienced. And on the clearest days, if you’re lucky then you may even spot Cape Horn, the most southern point on the planet before Antarctica.
Huayna Picchu, Peru
Hiking devotees in their thousands may already have completed the trek to Machu Picchu, but it’s only the truly zealous hiker who pushes on to the sister trail above, known as the “Hike of Death.”
And with good reason: the trail claims several casualties annually, thanks to its steep and slippery climb where in some sections the only things between you and a fall are some steel cables to grab onto.
But to be able to reach the summit within just a few hours and to then look down on Machu Picchu is a magnificent achievement with views that more than reward you for the effort.
We might think of the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro or the country’s long, hot beaches, but Brazil has so many beautiful, scenic hikes to keep you walking for years.
Described as “a natural park of epic proportions”, Chapada Diamantina can be overwhelming at first simply because you won’t know where to begin. But these trails, some of them lasting up to four days, will be sure to compensate you for your trouble.
Be prepared to cut yourself off from the outside of the world as some parts of the trails have zero cell service, and don’t go without a guide, even if your Portuguese is decent. The hikes of Chapada Diamantina are so remote in places that getting lost is almost a certainty if you go alone.
But along the way, you’ll stand on the edge of cliffs, explore a myriad of secret caves, dive into turquoise blue lagoons and trek through valleys of forest. And the best part is that once you’ve finished, you’ll want to do it all over again, this time taking a different route and exploring even more.
Which Hike Do You Like?
There’s a whole continent of stunning, untouched scenery in which to hike in South America. With a little research, you’re sure to be rewarded if an amazing hiking adventure is what you’re looking for!