John Muir said that “in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks,” and for hikers around the world nothing is sweeter than the journey through nature to a well-earned view.
From the peaks of Torres del Paine to the grottos of Chapada Diamantina, Latin America is overflowing with the world’s most captivating trails.
We invite beginners, experts, and everyone in between to follow us through valleys, deserts, jungles, and mountains, on our guide to Latin America’s best hikes. Get ready for a list that will leave you ready to find your perfect view!
♦ Glacier Mini-Trekking, El Calafate, Argentina
Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park is home to 47 astounding glaciers and one of Encounter Latin America’s favorite hiking excursions. Mini-trekking on the surface of Perito Moreno feels like walking across the surface of an icy moon.
Barren, daunting, and beautiful, your group will explore one of the world’s most treasured landmarks as if you’re finding it for the first time.
After a panoramic view of the glacier from the Magallanes Peninsula, a boat across Lake Rico gives passengers front row seats to the booms and splashes of ice crashing into the lake and brings them to Moreno’s shore. With the help of a guide, trekkers slip into crampons and mount the ice itself, stopping to stare at its jaw-dropping crevices.
♦ Las Torres Ascencio Path, Torres del Paine, Chile
The looming peaks and winding trails of Torres del Paine, sometimes called “the 8th wonder of the world,” are nothing short of a hiker’s dream. Though many skilled alpinists visit the park for the famous W-Circuit, our favorite Torres del Paine trail is the Las Torres Ascencio path.
Thick forests, steep ascents, and strong Patagonian winds challenge hikers on Ascencio’s course, making the breathtaking views at the base of the Towers, (and the lunch break) all the more worth it.
The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve has hikes for everyone from beginner to expert and is one of the most unforgettable places to appreciate Patagonia’s iconic spires.
♦ Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
The 586 sq. miles of inland beauty in Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina National Park are a departure from the icy towers of Argentina and Chile. Teeming with dramatic plateaus, colossal waterfalls, and mysterious caves, the park is a playground for hikers eager to venture above and below ground.
Trekkers can seek out the illusions of the Cachoeira da Fumaça waterfall or an impressive sunset over the tabletop mountains from the summit of Morro do Pai Inácio.
Regardless of your choice, a dip into Poço Encantado, a 120ft. deep pool of water so clear that rock roots are visible to the naked eye, is by far one of the most refreshing places in the world to cool off.
♦ Hiking through Cocora Valley, Colombia
Prized for its world-renowned coffee farms, Colombia’s Cocora Valley has magic in the heart of it’s jungle. We recommend starting your day with a steaming cup of coffee and hitting one of the valley’s many trails.
Snaking their way through the greenery, the paths of Cocora reveal endangered flora and fauna, whimsical wax palms waving at over 200 ft. in the air, and the calls of 1800 different species of birds.
The Valley sleepily welcomes hikers who want to revel in a verdurous jungle filled with unending vistas and the region’s aromatic coffee.
♦ Nocturnal Nature Hike in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Hugged by secluded beaches and unspoiled rainforest, the El Remanso Lodge in Costa Rica’s opulent Osa Peninsula is where hikers can uncover the world of the rainforest at night.
El Remanso’s seasoned guides focus the group’s attention on the forest floor, where vibrant amphibians, insects, and reptiles, often overlooked during the day, command the forest.
The hike is an intense and thrilling sensory experience where visitors will soak in the sounds and sights of the forest at night, and is by far one of the rarest ways to experience the whole of Costa Rica’s abundant wildlife.
♦ The Trails to Machu Picchu, Peru
Sewn in the seams of the Andes, the ancient Inca Citadel at Machu Picchu is so imperative to global heritage that it was chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of The World.
Luckily for travelers, the monumental landmark is within reach for those who are willing to do a little (okay, a lot) of hiking.
The Inca Trail is the most popular way to reach the ruins, but because the epic undertaking of four days has a worldwide reputation, it’s not uncommon for it to be booked up to six months in advance. If you can’t get a spot on the Trail or fancy a different route to the ruins, the Salkantay or Lares Trails, and paths to Huayna Picchu and Wayna Picchu mountains, are surefire ways to immerse yourself in the spirit of ancient culture and beauty.
Thanks for visiting our Central & South America Travel Blog! Feel free to contact one of our Travel Specialists via email, phone or chat to plan your perfect hiking trip to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru.