10 Best Hikes in South America

By: Anja Mutic

Anja M. is a professional writer who loves to share stories about the world's best travel destinations.

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December 31, 2023 | Adventure Experts

Discovering the South American continent on foot is a journey of a lifetime. From the Peruvian Andes where ancient Inca trails lead to some of the most mystical monuments in the world, to the remote corners of Patagonia with its hidden fjords, floating glaciers, and golden pampas, this is adventurers’ dreamland.

Enjoy our curated choice of top ten hikes in South America, handcrafted for active travelers of different aptitudes and aspirations, visiting the continent for the first or the fifteenth time!

Top 10 Hikes in South America


1. Argentina Classic Patagonia

2. Chile & Argentina Patagonia to the Sea

3. Chile & Argentina Ultimate Patagonia 

4. Chile Lake District

5. Chile Patagonia National Park 

6. Chile Patagonia W-Route 

7. Peru Cordillera Blanca

8. Peru Cusco & Machu Picchu

9. Peru Inca Trail

10. Peru Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

1. Argentina Classic Patagonia

Discover roaring glaciers, imposing peaks, and serene lakes as you traverse the majestic Argentinian Patagonia on this classic one-week hiking adventure. Marvel at the spectacular landmarks of nature’s power at the Perito Moreno Glacier.

walking with family in Patagonia, Argentina facing beautiful landscape mountains

Hike under ice-capped peaks like the Fitz Roy Massif and the magical Cerro Torre over Laguna Torre. Relax in picturesque villages like El Chalten and encounter local wildlife at Los Huemules Reserve, home of the endangered huemul deer. 

2. Chile & Argentina Patagonia to the Sea Hiking & Cruise Tour

From the Pampas grasslands to the fabled Cape Horn, journey by sea and land to discover Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia in one go.

hiking in the beautiful outdoors in the mountains in Argentina and Chile

Experience the stunning beauty of Patagonia on a 13-day adventure from the Pampas grasslands to Cape Horn!

This unique tour allows you to experience the best of both Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia, combining exhilarating hikes in two national parks with a mesmerizing cruise through remote islets and fjords.

Begin your journey in the charming village of El Chalten, nestled amidst picturesque landscapes. Relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the area, and maybe even see huemul deer at Los Huemules Reserve. These endangered creatures are a true testament to the region’s rich biodiversity!

As you venture further, you’ll find yourself in awe of the majestic Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Explore the park’s rugged trails, where towering granite peaks, pristine lakes, and cascading waterfalls await! The sheer beauty of this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve will leave you speechless!

On this tour, you will also discover Los Glaciares National Park. See the immense power of nature at Perito Moreno Glacier, with its icy blue hues contrasting against the surrounding mountains. Feel the chill in the air as you witness chunks of ice calving off into the turquoise waters below.

The adventure doesn’t end there! Board a cruise and set sail through the labyrinth of fjords and islets, where nature reigns supreme. Marvel at the rugged coastline and keep your eyes peeled for playful Magellanic penguins, as they frolic in the waters where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans converge.

3. Chile & Argentina Ultimate Patagonia Hiking Tour

solo female hiker hiking near Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy in Argentina

Patagonia’s staggering beauty shines through in this 14-day itinerary that winds across two famous national parks in the region’s opposite corners. In Chile’s Torres del Paine, conquer the iconic 40-mile W circuit by hiking beneath gray granite peaks and blue-tinted glaciers.

In Argentina’s Los Glaciares, come close to the sky-high Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy mountains, and face the grand Perito Moreno Glacier. Wrap it up with some city buzz and tango moves in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s bustling capital.

4. Chile Lake District Trekking Tour

Explore Chile’s stunning La Araucania region, known for its volcanoes, forests, and lakes, away from the usual tourist spots. On this 9-day journey, hike in the national parks of Villarrica and Huerquehue, and the private nature reserve of El Cañi, home to dinosaur-era araucaria (monkey-puzzle) forests.

solo male hiker taking nature photography in La Araucania region on a hiking trail

Across volcanic landscapes, admire imposing volcanoes like Quetrupillan and Lanin, cross lava flows, find pristine lagoons and dip in hot springs. Staying in MTS camps along the way, enjoy full immersion in the beauty of Chile’s Lake District. 

5. Chile Patagonia National Park Trek Tour

An ultimate adventure for seasoned trekkers, this 12-day itinerary ventures deep into the wilderness of northern Patagonia. Hike by dreamy plains, impressive glaciers, and turquoise lakes in Patagonia National Park, then circle the base of the region’s second highest peak, San Lorenzo.

night foggy sky looking down at group of weary travelers in Patagonia

En route, take in the local way of life while passing abandoned gaucho huts and then joining in for a barbecue. With adventures like thrilling river crossings that include rope systems and harnesses, this is a unique program. 

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6. Chile Patagonia W-Route Trek Private Adventure Tour

On this week-long escapade, conquer the 40 miles of the famous W circuit and learn why National Geographic dubbed Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park as one of the most spectacular places in the world.

fall foliage in fall season in Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park

Prepare to be mesmerized by the sight of three majestic granite peaks that dominate the park’s skyline. These towering giants, known as the Torres del Paine, are a sight to behold and will leave you speechless. As you hike through French valley, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Paine horns, creating a truly surreal experience.

On this tour, hop aboard a boat and venture closer to the awe-inspiring Grey Glacier, located in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. Witness the sheer magnitude of this striking glacier as it glistens under the sunlight. The ice formations and shades of blue will leave you captivated!

7. Peru Cordillera Blanca Trek Tour

Soar to incredible heights in South America’s Himalayan counterpart. With 27 peaks over 19,000 feet, Peru’s Cordillera Blanca (the White Mountain Range) graces many a bucket list.

group of trekkers sitting gazing at the beauty of the majestic Cordillera Blanca in Peru, South America

On this challenging 13-day trek, you’ll embark on a journey that will test your physical endurance and reward you with unforgettable vistas! Following ancient trails onced used by the Incas, you’ll trace the footsteps of history while being surrounded by awesome landscapes. Each step brings you closer to the heart of this majestic mountain range.

Prepare to conquer seven mountain passes, each one offering a new perspective on the rugged beauty tha surrounds you. As you reach the summit of each pass, a sense of accomplishment washes over you, fueling your determination to push forward. The air becomes thinner, but the views become more breathtaking with every step!

Camping at over 14,000 feet, you’ll experience the true essence of the Cordillera Blanca. The crisp mountain air fills your lungs as you gaze up at the star-filled sky, feeling a profound connection to the natural world. Surrounded by towering peaks like the pyramidal Alpamayo and the 22,204′ Mount Huascarán, you’ll understand why this region is a hiker’s paradise!

8. Peru Cusco & Machu Picchu Trek Tour

Trek in the footsteps of the Incas on this 10-day adventure that loops to and from the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Cusco. Marvel at the Peruvian Andes as you take the less traveled Salkantay Trail, an ancient footpath that abounds with dreamy vistas of snowcapped mountains and tropical rainforests.

aerial view of Machu Picchu and ancient Incan trail paths and the Peruvian Andes

Enjoy insights into local living, from a traditional Pachamanca-style lunch to visiting a coffee plantation. Crowning the journey is the mystical Machu Picchu. We will have a full day to explore this numinous lost city. Staying in luxurious lodges along the way warrants a good night’s rest between experiences. 

9. Peru Inca Trail Trek Tour

One of the world’s most famous and rewarding treks is the iconic Inca Trail experience in the Peruvian Andes. Through otherworldly landscapes of mountains and lush jungles, on mythical Inca footpaths, you reach one of the world’s most intriguing archaeological sites, the sung-about Machu Picchu.

female solo hiker walking along iconic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes

With daily hikes ranging from seven to nine hours and altitudes over 12,000′, this challenging 9-day experience – carefully crafted to avoid crowds and deliver the most remarkable views – rewards every ounce of effort lavishly. 

10. Peru Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu Hiking Tour

Delve deep into the ancient wonders and cultural highlights of Peru on this 8-day journey. Ponder the fascinating era of the Incas in the ancient capital of Cusco and at sites like the terraced Moray, the monumental fortress at Ollantaytambo, and the famous citadel of Machu Picchu.

female hiker with a blue hat stroking a sacred llama near Machu Picchu

Enjoy a range of immersive experiences, from tasting uchucuta hot sauce, visiting the Maras salt pans, and dining at haciendas to staying in atmospheric hotels and lodges. 

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In Conclusion

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