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  • The best hikes in South America

    Top of Mount Roraima, photo by Adalbertop on Flickr

    With about three hundred national parks of South America, the continent is bound to be a hiker’s paradise. Dramatic mountain landscapes, barren deserts, some of the coldest and the hottest places on earth, and mysterious forests that haven’t been entirely explored yet make the South American continent ripe for all manner of adventures in nature.

    Hardened hikers as well as travelers tackling a trek for the first time will find a corner to explore. Whether you prefer to brave the hurdles of weather and land, or if you like to walk at a leisurely place admiring the scenery without overexerting yourself, the best hikes in South America will not disappoint you.

    Inca Trail, Peru

    The trails that have survived since the times of the Inca civilization are some of the most walked routes for hikers in Peru who want to experience the best of both worlds: the beauty of nature, and the fascinating culture of Peru of the past and present.

    Machu Picchu is one of the greatest ancient citadels on the planet, and in the case of Peru, it can be said that all (and if not all, many) hiking trails lead to it. You can choose from the classic five day trail, the less explored Mollepata trail, or the shortest one, the Camino Real de los Inkas.

    Torres del Paine Circuit, Torres del Paine, Chile

    Torres del Paine, photo by Phillie Casablanca on Flickr

    One of the best ways to experience the Patagonian Andes is the Paine Circuit, taking you through the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park, home to one of the wildest mountain landscapes on the planet.

    Punta Natales is the gateway to park visits, and this is where the ten day hike starts as well, circling around the park. The spiky glacier peaks, granite spires, lakes and wildlife will guarantee that you’ll see some of the best sights you’ve ever seen.

    Fitz Roy Hike, Argentina

    At about 3,360 meters, Monte Fitz Roy is not the tallest mountain you can climb, but it is definitely one of the most dramatic sights in Patagonia. However, even experienced hikers will have their hands full, as this mountain seems to have more impossible cliff faces than any other mountain in Argentina. Although close to Torres del Paine, the landscape has unique features that make it special – just beware of the notoriously bad weather.

    Isla del Sol Trek, Bolivia

    Isla del Sol, photo by ydnammmm on Flickr

    The Inca believed that Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca was the cradle of humankind, and a harsh cradle it would have been: rocky, hilly and rather desolate. It might not be the most welcoming place to built a home, but as far as hiking opportunities go, Isla del Sol is unmatched.

    Few people live on the island, and there are no paved roads, and if ever there was a gigantic playground for hikers, Isla del Sol is definitely it.

    Roraima Trek, Venezuela

    It’s easy to see why Mount Roraima is one of the best hikes of South America; like all tepui plateaus, it is home to all sorts of species of animals and plants that you can’t see anywhere else on the planet. Hiking up Roraima is like exploring a lost world, and if you’re lucky, when you get to the top and look down, you’ll see nothing but the clouds.

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