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Top Hiking Holiday Spots in Latin America

HOME > JOURNALTop Hiking Holiday Spots in Latin America

For hiking enthusiasts, Latin America will not disappoint. A vast expanse of land, home to the Andes mountain range, the volcanoes of the Galapagos islands, the glaciers of Patagonia, rainforests of the Caribbean, high altitude lakes and rivers – there is so much to explore and what better way, then on foot? Whether you’re looking for multi-day hikes with camping and real wilderness or something a little more tame, there is something for everyone in terms of ability and taste. Take a read below of our top destinations for hiking in the region – some more well known than others!

1. The Base of the Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The Base of the Towers trek is an all-day hike in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s southern Patagonia region. This is a challenging, steep uphill hike on the way there, passing through woodland, creeks and rocky terrain with spectacular mountain views.

The aim is to reach the base of the three granite peaks (the ‘towers’ in the name) where there is a beautiful pristine glacial lake just in front of the peaks. This hike forms part of the longer, multi-day W trek but can equally be done in isolation.

Expert Insights

This is the most popular hike in Torres del Paine National Park, so it’s best visited outside the main peak season in Jan/Feb and you’ll also have a better chance of spotting puma! However, weather is always hit and miss in this part of the world, so my advice is to make sure you have plenty of days in the park, so that if one day the weather isn’t good enough to do the trek, you’ll still have another chance.

Our Classic Patagonia Itinerary perfectly incorporates Torres del Paine into a trip to experience everything the region has to offer.

2. Laguna Torre, El Chalten, Argentina

Laguna Torre starts in the tiny town of El Chalten in Argentina’s Patagonia region. The great thing about this trek is that you don’t need a guide as the route is easily marked from the town centre itself. The route is undulating and relatively easy but is about 18km long, so it is a good work-out! You will pass by beautiful forests, mountain views and if you’re lucky with the clouds, you’ll see the famous Fitz Roy Massif. You’ll arrive at a beautiful lagoon – a great place for a picnic with spectacular views, before heading back down. My favourite time of the year for this trek is autumn (March-May) because it is absolutely beautiful to see the leaves changing colours. 

Expert Insights

Keep an eye on the weather forecast to see what time will be best to head out. The weather is constantly changing, so even if it’s pouring when you wake up it could be beautiful and sunny by midday! 

Our Adventure Trekking in Patagonia itinerary has you experiencing the marvellous sights of Patagonia on foot.

3. Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil

Chapada Diamantina is a beautiful mountainous national park west of Salvador in northern Brazil, boasting some spectacular hikes with gorgeous remote waterfalls – both day-long and multi-day hikes are options here. Just to top off the experience, after some first-class hiking, we can organise a stop at a beautiful boutique Brazilian winery. Pati Valley is the best place for hardcore hikers where accommodation is quite basic along the way, however, for the intrepid traveller this is an excellent option that not many people know about.

Expert Insights

An excellent way to include Chapada Diamantina with other parts of the country is combining it with a few days in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador – two distinct but fantastic cities to include in your Brazil itinerary.

4. Mini Inca Trail, Peru

Many people when looking into hiking in Peru will have heard of the Inca trail – a 3 night / 4 day trek along the path that the Incas themselves used to take. For those looking for a lighter option – maybe you’re short on time, or just don’t fancy camping, the mini Inca trail is a great option. You’ll get off the train at Km104 and start the ascent here, passing by lesser known archaeological sites such as Wiñay Wayna until you arrive at Machu Picchu in the late afternoon. You’ll then spend the night in Aguas Calientes before visiting the site with a guided tour the following morning. 

Expert Insights

Remember that treks in the Sacred Valley, such as the mini Inca trail, are at high altitude so it is essential that you spend time acclimatising before you begin. We usually recommend a couple of nights in Cusco as a minimum.

Our Active Adventure in the Sacred Valley incorporates an array of activities that will keep you on your toes (or wheels!) exploring Peru.

5. Tayrona National Park, Colombia

This trek will get you sweating! Tayrona National Park is located on Colombia’s northern coast, nestled between the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Caribbean sea and home to the Kogi indigenous community. The trek has spectacular mountain and sea views with waterfalls and wildlife, and will have you hiking through thick jungle in the tropical heat. It’s not for everyone, but for those who love a bit of adventure, aren’t put off by the humidity and are wildlife fanatics, it’s a fabulous option – not to mention the delightfully refreshing dip in the sea!

Expert Insights

The Tayrona National Park is closed every year in February, at the request of the indigenous community who live there, so that they have time to themselves and so that nature can renew itself. There are also some other moments throughout the year when it closes for shorter periods of time – so make sure to check this before you travel there.

Our Active Adventure in Colombia will have you exploring some of the world’s most interesting natural landscapes of Colombia.

6. Bic Ice, El Calafate, Argentina

The Big Ice is as unique as it gets – a full day trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier itself! It is an early start for this excursion and you will need to wrap up and be prepared for all types of weather – wind, sun, rain and hail. You will start with a journey involving a bus, then a boat and then a short hike. You’ll then put on your safety equipment and crampons before you start trekking on the ice. The experience is really special and you’ll be guided to see some spectacular lagoons, crevasses and ice caves. The photo opportunities are endless! 

Expert Insights

For insurance related issues, the Big Ice is only available to those aged between 18-50. There is another option, called the Mini Ice, which is a similar experience but shorter, available for 10-65 year olds. If you are older than 65 or travelling with small children, let us know and we can put together an alternative private Perito Moreno tour which will be just as fun and more suitable for your group.

Our Adventure Trekking in Patagonia itinerary has you experiencing the marvellous sights of Patagonia on foot.

7. Sierra Negra Volcano Hike, Isabela Island, Galapagos

The Sierra Negra Volcano is located on Isabela Island, one of the 4 inhabited islands of the Galapagos. There is something really special about doing this 15km hike in such a wild and remote part of the world. The islands are so well protected that you won’t find yourself surrounded by groups of other tourists, which really makes a difference. Walking around the Sierra Negra volcano is often compared to walking on the moon – with craters and volcanic sand yet still extremely green and fertile. You’ll also have the chance to spot endemic species such as Darwin’s finch or the Galapagos Hawk! As it is an active volcano, you may see lava flowing or feel the hot air coming out of natural vents along the walk.

Expert Insights

As an active volcano, there’s always a chance that your plans may have to change if it’s not deemed safe to complete the hike, so this is always something to bear in mind!

Check out this Galapagos itinerary for inspiration on your journey through this tropical archipelago.

8. Duhatao Chepu, Chiloé Island, Chile

This is a much lesser known hike, which I discovered while staying at the fabulous Tierra property on Chiloé Island in Chile’s Lake District. Chiloé is a mysterious island, full of legends and mythical tales with colourful houses on stilts and attractive churches dotted all over the island. It’s also famous for its birdlife, marine life and excellent seafood. This hike takes you through fields, hills, and forests with beautiful coastal views, and ends on a wild beach, which, in the sun, could be mistaken for a Caribbean island! 

Expert Insights

You’re unlikely to find crowds on this route, but the busiest time will be in January and February, which are the Chilean school holidays. Usually, November, December and March are good times to visit, but beware it can rain quite a bit here, so it’s worth taking the ‘slow travel’ approach and staying a bit longer to ensure you have at least a couple of good weather days.

Latin America is full of incredible scenery, spectacular mountains, lakes, rainforests, ancient ruins, wildlife and the list goes on….all of which provide fantastic hiking opportunities. There are also excellent places for all types of outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, e-biking, water rafting, kayaking, ziplining, yoga, snorkelling and more. If you’re looking for a first class outdoor adventure holiday, True Travel will make it happen.

About the Author

About the Author

Evie has lived in Argentina and travelled countless times throughout Central and South America; acquiring a particular love for wildlife, epic scenery and endless outdoors adventures.

SENIOR LATIN AMERICA TRAVEL DESIGNER

Evie

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