The ABC’s of Hiking South America

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” – Anatoli Boukreev

While North America has the Rockies, South America is blessed with the spectacular Andes Mountain Range. The Andes are an incredible mountain range passing from north to south through seven countries making it the longest continental mountain range in the world. There is something about the Andes that is simply magical. The grandeur, scale and scope of the Andes is mind-boggling. Over 4,300 miles long (7,000 km) and at points up to 430 miles wide (700 km), the Andes are immense and are blessed with some of the highest volcanoes in the world and largest ice fields.

I have been lucky to have set foot on the Andes in Peru, Chile, Argentina and most recently, Bolivia. There is no way I can pick favorites as each place has been unique and special in its own way. Here are the A,B, C’s of the best hikes in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, some of my most favorite places on earth to hike.


Located at the end of the world, in the tiny Patagonian outpost El Chatlen lies Los Glaciares National Park, one of the finest in Argentina. The landscape is serene and the raw beauty of remote Patagonia is sure to inspire. There are several day hikes in the park and instead of camping, you can spend the nights at a local inn indulging in delicious local food and wine. You are also a bus ride away from the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, definitely worth a visit.


The Condoriri Valley lies within the 100 kilometer-long Cordillera Real mountain range northeast of La Paz, that separates the lowlands of the Amazon River basin to the east from the high plateaus of the Altiplano (highlands) to the west. The Cordillera Real is the most accessible and spectacular mountain range in the entire country with the highest peak known as Illimani at 6,438 metres (21,122 ft) and dozens more peaks coming in well over 15,000 feet. There are over 600 snow-capped peaks in just the Cordillera Real and we only hiked two of them. But any hikes in the Condoriri Valley is bound to be amazing.


Hidden at the far southern tip of Chile is home to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most insanely beautiful parks in the world.  In this remote, windswept region of nowhereland, you can experience four seasons in a day and winds so powerful that they knock you down.  It is one of the most spectacular settings possible for trekking yet extremely difficult to reach. You can do several multi-day hikes within the park yet the most famous is the “W” trek (5-7 days).

I have followed the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu, which was my first ever multi-day trek but I have much more to explore in the high Andes of Peru.


What is your favorite place to hike? 

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Alphabet. 




  1. Nothing I like more than a post full of gorgeous mountain shots. In this case of been to some of those places so it brings back memories. My two favourite places to hike are my native country of Scotland & my home country of New Zealand. Spoilt for choice in both places. But I’ve also had memorable hikes in Canada, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Greece & Australia.

  2. Reading your posts (and those of others) makes me realize that although I’ve traveled a lot, there many, many places I’ve never gone and probably never will. What a blessing to be able to see them via the internet and fellow bloggers, even though I confess to twinges of envy at times. Thanks for sharing more beautiful spots.


    • That is how I feel Janet when I read others blogs. There are even so many places in the US I have yet to see. I am thankful that my father has been so passionate about hiking in all these places as he has gone on all these trips with me. It has been really special!

  3. Such spectacular images. What a truly amazing world we live in. Reminds me that I have so much more still to see. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. I see you in front of the “Sendero al Fitz Roy” sign in El Chalten … did you do the Laguna de los Tres hike up to the Fitz Roy view? That trek will forever remain in my mind because it rained the entire 10 hours we were on it, and once at the “view”point, all we viewed was fog – no Fitz Roy for us! I adored El Chalten, though, and would go back just to get my Fitz Roy glimpse some day! Bolivia looks awesome (added to the ever-burgeoning list!).

    • Yes I did do that hike! We stayed there for four days so we did all there were. What a pity it rained the entire time! I loved it there but still in my book Torres del Paine is the best hike I’ve ever done in Patagonia. It was amazing! And I loved staying in the EcoCamps!

  5. I had my first hiking holiday in 2013 and again in late 2015 to Everest Base Camp. The first time we didn’t make it all the way so we tried again and made it last year. Now I’m addicted. I have been to Argentinian side of the glaciers but not hiking. Looks like much of one your photos in your gallery. They are great shots. Big landscapes are very inspiring. I am planning to load my big landscapes shots in the next week or so. Thanks for sharing.

    • That is fabulous! I did the Annapurna Circuit which inspired me so much I began this blog and got the name third eye mom. You would love Argentina trekking but I still think the very best in all of South America is Torres Del Paine in Chile. I would do it again!

      • Yes the EBC trek inspired my blog too. That and the fact that I had never touched my toes either until that year. Getting my head around wordpress has been as much a challenge as trekking to Base Camp! We might put Chile on our list. Thanks

      • I bet the EBC trek was amazing! I thought about doing that one someday as well as I’ve heard they are quite different. I will have to check out your posts on it!

  6. Pingback: Alphabet: Side Street 2 | Chris Breebaart Photography / What's (in) the picture?

  7. We’re fortunate to live in Colorado and get to do quite a bit of hiking, but we’re excited to visit Bolivia, both La Paz and Cochabamba in early May this year. Can’t wait to see the sights and hike in the Andes🙂

  8. Beautiful photos there from the other end of the globe! Thanks for the post, this is the kind of thing which makes you think of picking up your bags and getting out. My walks have been in the lower Himalayas, occasionally touching 5 kms in altitude. Another set of interesting walks are in the western ghats just outside of Mumbai: these have spectacular scenery and are dotted with old forts.

  9. Very interesting, and informative…I had no idea the Andes were so wide in places. It got me wondering just how they were formed…since they don’t seem to be colliding with another tectonic plate…but maybe that happened a million years ago? very nice photos, too

    • Thanks! I love mountains. The Andes are so jagged and pointed but there is nothing like the Himalayas either. Pretty spectacular. Yes, I too am curious how the Andes were formed. Time to look it up online!

      • I think it would be pretty amazing to live in Colorado. I would want to hike all the time! My brother lives in Denver and I love it there but the traffic on weekends to the mountains is terrible. Still…I love skiing and hiking so much!

  10. I’m literally drooling here. South America is definitely on my list.

    if you have time I’d love if you could check out my new blog – I’m on a 1000 trips to Everest challenge and would appreciate an experienced travellers eye;)

  11. We did the Inca Trail in 2014 and loved it, I love trekking in Nepal having been there twice now to hike both the Annapurna and Everest regions. One of my favourite places to hike though is New Zealand, the scenery is beautiful and its full of gorgeous hikes across so many different landscapes from Alpine, stunning beaches(Abel Tasman Track) and Volcanoes (Tongariro crossing/circuit) its also easy for us to get to with living in Australia. I also love the hill walking in England especially the Lake District. We are now planning our next hike in Patagonia next Feb when we do the W Trek and Fitzroy.

    • Oh you will love both places as I did both those hikes in Patagonia! If you have time meals a stop in San Carlos de Bariloche. It is a beautiful town in the lakes district with amazing restaurants! I still remember the names! That good!

      • I read your W Trek blog, OMG the weather can be horrendous!! I really hope we do get nice weather🙂 we will be staying in the refugios, I can’t see me wanting to camp down there! Yes we have plenty of time so will be visiting Bariloche🙂

      • Wonderful! Yes the weather can be quite tricky! The best thing is to bring tons of layers and my favorite thing was my waterproof jacket and pants! We stayed in the Refugio’s two nights and one night got snowed in! But it is so beautiful that there is nothing like it. When do you go? If you go to Bariloche be sure to hire a driver to drive you to dinner at Cassis. It is one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever been to and stunning! Our driver waited for us to have our meal. It was unforgettable!!!

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