"Inca Trail" by Lisa Weichel via Flickr Creative Commons

Latin America is home to some of the best hiking anywhere in the world. Trails go through snowy tundra, the desert like altiplano, lush tropical…

Latin America is home to some of the best hiking anywhere in the world. Trails go through snowy tundra, the desert like altiplano, lush tropical jungle, bio-rich cloud forests, and much more. Hiring local guides tends to be cheaper than most other places and if you need a horse, donkey, llama, or alpaca you probably don’t need to search very hard. Facilities tend to either be great or non-existent. If you want remote or places where the western world rarely goes, this is it.

  1. Santa Cruz Trek, Peru Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca are one of the favorite hiking destinations in the Americas and the Santa Cruz trek is the favorite here. It’s a 4-day, 31 mile hike through wildflower filled meadows, turquoise lakes, and near the highest snow capped peaks outside the Himalayas.
  2. Torres del Paine, Chile Torres del Paine National Park in the far south of Chile is home to two legendary trails: the loop and the W. Each overlap with the other in bring you in touch with excellent facilities, picture perfect glaciers, groups of Guanacos, and the Andean Condor.
  3. Ciudad Perdida, Colombia The lost ruins of an ancient civilization deep within the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range in northeast Colombia is nothing less than extraordinary. You’ll hike some of the most wildlife rich, lush cloud forest anywhere on earth and come to a small set of ruins in a setting as incredible as Machu Picchu.
  4. Salkantay Trek, Peru The favorite alternative to the crowded Inca Trail, also leading to Machu Picchu, passes under the snow capped peak of Salkantay. A new luxury lodge system run by tour operators makes this trek even better.
  5. Parque Nacional Celanque, Honduras One of the favorite cloud forests in Central America is the setting for a variety of quetzal lined trails to waterfall hikes.
  6. Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica One of the most biodiverse places on earth has hiking that many would only dream of: empty Pacific beaches, lush coastal forests, flocks of scarlet macaws, jaguars, and a ranger station to camp out for the night.
  7. Inca Trail, Peru Crowded and expensive, yet the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is still the most desired trekking route in the world. Hike the stone steps to the legendary city via the 2-day or 4-day trails.
  8. Illampu Circuit, Bolivia This is a 66 mile, serious alpine hike with numerous side trips. You’ll pass under the Illampu and Ancohuma massifs and condors. Pack animals, a la the alpaca and llama, are a must if doing the whole circuit.
  9. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil Iguazu has thousands of acres of subtropical rainforest and bird life to rival an aviary.
  10. Chimborazo Circuit, Ecuador The southern end of the avenue of the volcanoes is home to several 16,400 feet peaks, vicuña reserves, glaciers, Andean villages, and high alpine vegetation.

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