Outside of the Himalayas, the Andes hold the world’s highest mountains. There’s Alpamayo, considered the world’s most beautiful, or Aconcagua, the region’s tallest. The mountains are not limited to South America though. Central America, with Honduras and Costa Rica leading the way, is home to several high summits that make you forget you ever stepped foot in the tropics. Prices tend to be cheaper here than anywhere and the number of climbers on most mountains are few.
- Alpamayo, Peru
Often considered the most beautiful mountain in the world and the inspiration for the North Face logo. The steep and highly technical climb on this pyramid of rock and ice is for experienced climbers only.
- Aconcagua, Argentina/Chile
The highest peak in the Americas, standing at 22,841 feet, attracts thousands of climbers every year, although only about half reach the summit.
- Huascaran, Peru
Peru’s highest peak and the highest mountain in the tropics at 22,205 feet is found in Peru’s legendary Cordillera Blanca. The climb is not overly technical, but many have trouble because of the altitude.
- Illimani, Bolivia
Majestically rising over Bolivia’s capital city of La Paz, the 21,122 foot mountain is the country’s second highest after Sajama.
- Volcán Villarica, Chile
This easy one day ascent to the summit of this active volcano is one of the most spectacular in the summer hemisphere.
- Chimborazo, Ecuador
Ecuador’s Chimborazo Mountain, a favorite ascent in this tiny Andean nation, stands at 20,702 feet. The climb is only mildly technical, so only basic mountaineering skills are needed.
- El Misti, Peru
Towering over the white city of Arequipa, El Misti is a classical snow capped cone volcano that can be climbed in a relatively easy 1-2 day ascent.
- Volcán Tajumulco, Guatemala
The summit of this 16,815 foot volcano is the highest point in Central America. The two day ascent is non-technical and straightforward.
- Mount Celaque, Honduras
It’s not the altitude that makes climbing the lush cloud forest of Celanque difficult, but rather the steep ridges and wet conditions.
- Mount Ausangate, Peru
Home of the largest gathering of indigenous tribes each year for the Snow Star festival, Mount Ausangate is the tallest mountain in the Cusco department.