Once the world opens up, and we start to plan our future travels in South America, there are many new things we will need to consider. Among new health protocols, one essential thing to think about is social distancing. Planning to spend much of your time outdoors is a great way to give your lungs the fresh air they need while maintaining a healthy distance from other travelers. Fortunately, South America is full of incredible outdoor activities that will satisfy your wanderlust while keeping your lungs healthy and happy!
Trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru
Machu Picchu is on many peoples’ bucket lists, and the most outdoorsy way to get there is definitely on foot along one of the many trails built by the Incas. There are many different options for treks as well. If you are a fan of archaeological sites and history, the classic Inca Trail is the perfect 4 or 5-day option! The main drawback to this hike is the fact that it sells out very quickly (so reserve early!!).
If you are more of a fan of landscapes and nature, you will love the 5 day Salkantay trek. If you’re interested in current Peruvian culture and anthropology, you can do the Lares trek, which takes you through villages as well as incredible Andean landscapes. And if you have two weeks to spare for a trek, and want to be about as isolated as you can get, you can look at the trek that takes you to Choquequirao as well as Machu Picchu. This trek takes about 9 or 10 days to complete. No matter which trek you choose, you will definitely love the chance to go hiking in the Andes.
Mountain Biking in Bolivia
There are many places to go mountain biking for those looking for adventures in South America – in the Sacred Valley in Peru, the Amazon, and more! The most breath-taking place is probably a 41-mile stretch of gravel road in the Bolivian Andes, connecting the capital city of La Paz with the town of Coroico. This route is estimated to claim approximately 200 lives every year, which is where it gets its title of the most dangerous road in the world. If you are a fan of tempting fate, this 12,000-foot descent with tight turns may interest you.
If you aren’t so keen on taking your life in your hands, but you are interested in mountain biking in Bolivia, you can bike through the surreal salt flats of Uyuni. In this case, the bike trail is flat, following along a salt track with feeling as if you are touching the horizon. Much safer than the Death Road, but just as magical of a biking experience.
Adventure Activities in Patagonia in Argentina and Chile
You will find the vast expanse of Patagonia’s rugged nature in the southern part of South America. Spanning both Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is home to rushing rivers, majestic snow-capped mountains, and gorgeous landscapes. This beautiful area is genuinely an adventure-lover’s playground. Whether you visit the Chilean side or Argentine side, you can go horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, and so much more! You can visit Glacier National Park, which is near El Calafate in Argentina, or visit the imposing Fitz Roy near El Chaltén, or visit Ushuaia, commonly called “the end of the world”. For anyone looking for adventures in South America, or just looking for outdoor activities, you really can’t beat Patagonia.
Trek to the Lost City in Colombia
If you are looking for a true adventure, far away from other people, you might want to consider one of the best hiking trails in America. The hike to the Ciudad Perdida, hidden deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, is an unforgettable adventure. This “Lost City” is actually older than Machu Picchu, dating back to the 9th century AD. It was built by the Tayrona Indians, once housing around 4,000 people. The nearly 170 terraces were foundations for houses, ritual sites, markets, and other living areas for the Tayrona.
Because of how remote the Lost City is, the journey is just as gratifying as the destination. It is a long, arduous trek – 46 kilometers round trip – though the landscapes of jungles, hills, and river valleys are worth it. The trail does cross rivers as well, and so you have the opportunity to take a refreshing dip after a long day of hiking.
These are just a few of the many incredible outdoor activities that await you in South America! Hiking, rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, and so much more, there is something for everyone to try, in every country you may want to visit. And even though we may still be in our homes, it’s never too early to start dreaming about the next great adventure!