The longer you travel around the world, the more you realize how many different types of travelers are out there. Some people prefer to spend all day on the beach while others would wake up early to hike a mountain nearby. If you feel like you aren’t exactly any of them and you find yourself somewhere in the middle – seeking for adventure but also treating yourself well, I think this post will help you a lot!
When I was heading to backpack South America with my friend, I knew I wouldn’t hike all the possible mountains and challenge myself with extreme sports. However, I had a list of things I wouldn’t possibly do at home but really wanted to try during our trip. South America is a real paradise for adventure lovers and I think the list below is suitable for everyone, including not experienced people like me. Check these 7 incredible adventures and let me know what you think 🙂
Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is without a doubt the most visited destination in South America. It’s the best preserved and the most significant Incan remain. It’s not easy to get there, especially if you are planning do trek the Inca Trail instead of taking the train. Machu Picchu is hidden in the mountains and the only way to get there is to trek along the railway lines. The classic Inca Trail takes 4 days and it will definitely be one of the most incredible experiences of your life.
Sleep in a salt shelter in Uyuni
Spending 2 nights on Salar de Uyuni was the most outstanding moment of my trip and I recommend it to absolutely everyone. It’s not only about seeing the beautiful salt flats, it’s a unique experience of spending 3 days without electricity and hot water, sleeping on a salt rock which is supposed to be your bed. It was freaking cold all time, I was eating rice fo ever meal and I couldn’t send a simple „Mom I’m fine” message, but I wouldn’t change that experience for anything else in this world. I chose the 72 hours trip with 4×4 shared with other people, but there are also shorter and longer options so take a look in different agencies in Uyuni before you decide.
Try Sandboarding in Huacachina
No, it’s not a grammatical error and I did mean sandboarding, not skateboarding. This experience is included for free in every boogie ride in Huacachina and only some of the tourists decide to take the risk. I was scared to death but I knew I couldn’t leave Peru without sandboarding on the desert! The trip starts with taking a ride throw the rolling dunes and I guess every driver is different but mine acted like a Fast and Furious protagonist, speeding up all the time. When the ride was done, he gave us sand boards and the real adventure started!
Dive and snorkel in the Galapagos
It’s not a secret that Galapagos Islands stand out with one of the most astounding bio-diversity in the world. If you are dreaming about meeting giant turtles and swimming with sea lions, you have to include Galapagos on your list! Snorkeling in the crystal clear water and discovering the variety of marine life is something truly amazing. If you’re like me and you have never tried snorkeling before, I assure you that Galapagos is the perfect place to do it! I was really terrified because of my fear of water, but thanks to my guide I experienced one of the most beautiful things in my entire life.
Climb The Pichincha volcano in Quito
I imagine that you climbed at least one mountain in your life. But have you ever tried the same but with a volcano? Ecuador is a very mountainous country with the Andes crossing it from the north to the south and 47 volcanoes in total! 8 of the 10 highest peaks in Andes are located in Ecuador, so there are many volcanoes to choose from. Most of them require good preparation, gear and experience, for example Chimborazo, the highest point in Ecuador. For less experienced climbers I would recommend Pichincha in Quito. The hike will take you all day and the scenery will reward all the effort. Just remember to not climb it right after landing in Ecuador. You need at least few days to get used to the height. Quito is located at an altitude of about 2700-2850 meters above the sea level and it’s the second highest state capital in the world!
Trek to the Rainbow Mountain
If you are in Cusco, a trek to the Rainbow Mountain is a must. All travel agencies around the town offer a one-day trip to Vinicunca. You will have to wake up around 4 am as it takes around 2-3 hours to get to the starting point. I also suggest you to close your eyes in the bus. There are moments when the road goes very close to the gulf and the driver seems like he doesn’t care 😀 The hike takes around 2 hours to get up and one hour to get down, but you should add some extra time for breaks and pictures. Once you reach the highest point and you see the game of colors created by the minerals, you will forget about how hard it was to climb more than 5000 meters above sea level!
Take a boat ride into the Amazon Jungle
You cannot say that you were in South America without visiting the largest rainforest on Earth first. It’s the most bio-diverse place on the planet with hundreds of species of birds, plants, mammals and reptiles. If you want to experience the real power of the jungle, there are options for absolutely everyone – from canoeing and kayaking to piranha fishing and bird watching. I did canoeing, hiked through the rainforest and took a bath in the waterfall. At the end of the day I also had an opportunity to meet indigenous habitants of Amazon Jungle and I can honestly say that this kind of experience makes you realize how important it is to protect their heritage. It doesn’t matter if you visit the jungle in Brazil, Ecuador or Venezuela – it will be simply unforgettable.
Whether you are looking for an exciting hike in Peru, thrilling kayaking in Amazon Jungle or enjoyable snorkeling in Galapagos, you will find every single of your adventures in South America entertaining and remarkable. I am sure there are plenty of other activities to recommend in this beautiful continent, but I decided to include just the ones I experienced. Would you dare to try them? 🙂
Enjoy your adventures!