We love hiking and South America has a lot to offer when it comes to hiking. The nature is beautiful and the landscapes are so divers! Are you thinking about hiking in South America? Here are our top 5 recommendations.
Torres del paine, Chile
Situated in the beautiful national park of Patagonia, Torres del Paine NP offers a lot of incredible hikes. The W-trek is the most popular trek, while the O-trek is the longest trek, keeping you entertained for 6 to 10 days. It’s also an option to drive around the park and do shorter walks along the way. A variety of choice, all with magnificent views.
Best time to go: December to early March
How to get there: Take a domestic flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales. From Punta Arenas you can take a bus to Puerto Natales, which will be your base to explore Torres del Paine National Park. If you have time, try to explore more of Patagonia. You can easily cross the border by bus to the Argentinian side. It might be even easier to fly out from here and take a domestic flight from El Calafate to Buenos Aires.
- Hire your tent & camping equipment in Punta Arenas at the Erratic rock.
- Make camping reservations for your treks here, some of them are even free!
- Don’t hike up to Torres del paine peak at the end of the day, the light won’t be great… it looks more magestic in the morning
Huaraz is the hiking capital of Peru, located between the stunning mountain chains of the Cordillera Blanca and Negra. A lot of hikes start from this little town, ranging from one day to 10 day hikes and organised or self guided tours. It is said that the Santa Cruz trek, is in the top 10 of the world! I wish I was able to do that hike, but and injury and bad weather prevented me from going… but it’s a reason to go back! The day trip hikes were a good alternatief and perfect for those that have limited time in Peru.
Best time to go: You’ll find a warm and dry climate from May to September.
How to get there: Huaraz is situated in the north of Peru. The easiest way to get there is by flying to Lima, from there you can take the night bus to Huaraz.
Tip: Travel with the bus company Cruz del sur through Peru. They have newer and better busses.
The Inca trail, Peru
The best way to get to Machu Picchu is in my opinion by taking the classic Inca Trail route. It’s a bit expensive, around 650 euros, but that includes food, accommodation and porters (aka people carrying all your stuff; tent, food, …) and is well worth your money. There are other options such as the Salkantay trek, which I’m sure is evenly breathtaking. But when you take the Classic Inca Trail, on your last day you will arrive at the sun gate of Machu Picchu, which has an amazing view of the lost city. As long as you don’t “just” take the train to see Machu Picchu, the experience is a lot better when you had to suffer a few days for it 😉 .
Best time to go: From April to October, closed in February
How to get there: All tours and hikes leave from Cusco. Be sure to book at least 6 months in advance if you would like to do the Classic Inca trail.
Tip: Go with SAM travel Peru as your tour guide, we were very happy with their services.
Quilotoa loop, Ecuador
One of the off the beaten track hikes in South America. This trek is easily done on your own. In a boy-scouts kind of way, you will receive the “route” from your hostel. The directions are for example ‘ at the next T go left, pas a farm and then turn right…’. Along the way there are also some markings, so you won’t easily get lost. You’ll hardly meet many people on the trek, although the hostels can be pretty full. It’s up to you how long you want to make this trek… It’s a perfect trek for beginner hikers, since you walk from village to village and sleep in hostels each night.
Best time to go: April to November
How to get there: You’ll start in Latacunga, where you will leave your big bag (you only need a small bag for this track). From there you can take the bus to either Sigchos or Isinlivi, where you start your track.
Tip: stay at LLullu Lama hostel in Isinlivi, it’s a great hostel (also have private rooms) and their guidelines for the trek are easy!
Pasochoa summit, Ecuador
Take your time to get acclimatised before you start this trek! The hike up the 4220m volcano offers amazing views of the Cotopaxi Volcano. And if you are hiking via the Secret garden hostel, you’ll have some cute four footed friends joining you.
Best time to go: April to November
How to get there: The tour is offered by the secret garden hostel. They offer a free ride from their hostel in Quito.
Tip: Stay at the Secret garden hostel and you’ll have some pup’s joining you on the hike!