South America is arguably one of the best places in the world for adventure travel and outdoor excursions with its stunningly varied natural landscapes and rugged terrain. Here’s a look at Bold Travel’s greatest adventures in photos during our recent visit.
Ice Climbing Bolivia’s Huayna Potosi
If it is altitude and ice picks you are looking for Bolivia’s Cordillera Real is the destination for you. Bolivia boasts 12 peaks over 6,000 meters making it a real trekking paradise. With no ice climbing experience required, just a heck of a lot of determination and some acclimatization to the altitude, Huayna Potosi is an awesome introduction to the world’s best mountaineering. After you’ve successfully summited Huayna Potosi, try your hand at the even more challenging Illimani.
Trekking Salkantay to Machu Picchu
A visit to Peru’s great Inca citadel Machu Picchu is best prefaced by an epic multi-day trek putting you in the footsteps of the Inca people. While there are a handful of treks you can choose from of varying length and degree of difficulty (including the highly demanded Inca Trail), we highly recommend the five-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. Winding you through dramatically varied landscapes and micro-climates and affording you incredible views of the Vilcabamba valley, your visit at last to Machu Picchu will feel all the more triumphant.
Off-Roading Through the World’s Largest Salt Flat (Salar De Uyuni)
Nature is at its finest and most bizarre in this barren Salvador Dali-esque landscape in Bolivia’s southwestern altiplano. And what better way to explore than by off-roading for three days in a Land Cruiser with a six new friends? From blinding white salt and endless blue skies to gurgling geisers and everything in between, a trip through Salar de Uyuni and the Colored Lagoons is a true feast for the eyes.
Sandboarding in Huacachina
Huacachina sandboarding and dune buggies have taken over this strange desert oasis outside of Ica, Peru. Come for a night popover and enjoy cheap thrills and lots of laughs as you race around and down dunes at alarmingly fast speeds.
Snorkeling in the Galapagos
A snorkeling experience in the Galapagos is like snorkeling in an aquarium. Not only is the sea life not afraid of you, but it is like the fish and animals want to put on a show. As soon as you’ve finished swimming with the sea lions, the penguins, sea turtles, sharks and mantas appear. For a guaranteed awesome snorkel adventure check out the sharks of Kicker Rock (Isla Santa Cruz) or the penguins and turtles of Los Tuneles (Isla Isabela). Better yet, get dive certified and swim with schools of hammerheads!
Animal Spotting in Ecuador’s Amazon
Ecuador is a unique place to explore the Amazon rain forest due to the flooded forest for half of the year. Gliding around in a speed boat for hours each day you have the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife clinging to the trees along the shore.
Surfing Ecuador’s Ruta del Sol
Ecuador boasts a stunning coastline but it’s the waves – the point breaks, beach breaks and rock reef breaks – that are the real gem. And when you happen to find yourself on Ecuador’s Ruta del Sol, check out the super chill surf village of Ayampe, where catching the best breaks drive everything else. But beware, you may come for a night or two and end up staying a week.
Biking Colombia’s Chaotic Bogota Streets
Chaos ensues along Bogota’s bustling metropolis streets. Yet amongst the chaos is a calm. Biking Bogota is an awesome way to get a more insider glimpse at this fascinating and rapidly evolving former drug-lord city.
Climbing Volcanoes in the Galapagos
Isla Isabela’s Volcano Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico offer a unique break for any Galapagos traveler from cruises and animal spotting. Take a day to stretch your sea legs and hike this unusual other-worldly desolate landscape.
Trekking South America’s Deepest Canyon
No trip to Arequipa, Peru is complete without a few day trek into and back out of Colca Canyon. Start your adventure admiring the magnificent condors of Colca Canyon as they glide through the hot air currents and end with a triumphant victory hiking out of the canyon before sunrise. Despite your shaky legs you won’t regret it!
The Other South American Adventures
Three months sounds like an incredibly long amount of time to explore a continent. However we left South America feeling like we’d really only scratched the surface of adventure travel on offer here. We can’t wait to make our way back to South America so that we can trek the famed W in Patagonia, get lost in Colombia’s Cuidad Perdida, climb the dunes of Brazil’s desert oasis Lençóis Maranhenses, and 4×4 through Chile’s San Pedro de Atacama.
What adventures have you had in South America that we have to add to our must-do list?