Backpacking in South America is one of the most highly traveled continents on Earth with its vastly varied terrain and incredible natural wonders. From steep snow-covered mountains to dense tropical rainforests, it’s easy to see why adventure seekers enjoy traveling to South America.
Backpacking in South America is one of the best ways to experience all the sights, sounds, and culture of the country. With so many different regions, deciding where to take your backpacking trip can be a challenge. Below you will find a few of the most popular destinations for backpacking in South America:
Machu Picchu – Peru
Located on a mountainside overlooking the Urubamba Valley of Peru, Machu Picchu is one of the most traveled tourist destinations on Earth. Built around 1450 AD this iconic Incan estate was left abandoned less than 100 years later upon the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors to the region. It was largely unknown to the rest of the world until being discovered in 1911. It has been a highly traveled tourist destination ever since.
Backpacking to Machu Picchu will require a few different things, most importantly a permit if you plan to follow the Inca trail. Because of there sites popularity permits are limited to 500 per day for visits via the Inca trail. However, you may consider following the Lares Trek which doesn’t require permits and offers equally impressive sights along the way. No matter which path you plan to take, Machu Picchu is one place you don’t want to miss.
Igauzu Falls – Argentina & Brazil
Located on the border of Argentina and Brazil lies one of the most spectacular sights you will ever get the opportunity lay eyes on: IgauzuFalls. Considered a wonder of the natural world, Igauzu Falls is found in a perfectly preserved ecosystem protected by both the Argentine and Brazilian governments.
Backpacking through the surrounding jungle will allow you to catch many different viewpoints of the falls. Because the area around the falls is protected, it’s the perfect place to explore the unique landscape and wildlife of the region. Although pictures don’t do this place justice, bring your camera anyway as you’ll be sure to capture an array of spectacular photos.
Torres Del Paine – Chile
Offering some of the most varied terrain in the world, Torres del Paine contains steep mountains, beautiful lakes, bright green forests, and ancient glaciers. Everywhere you go in the park, one central feature will stand out: the Paine Massif. These intimidating granite spires stand out overlooking the region and dominating the landscape of Torres del Paine.
There are several different traditional routes for trekking and backpacking in the park with over 10 campsites located along the way. All of these routes will allow you to experience this awe-inspiring Chilean landscape. Choosing one just comes down to how long you’d like to stay in Torres del Paine. This is one of the most popular areas for backpacking in South America and it’s easy to see why.
Tierra Del Fuego – Argentina
Located at the southwestern tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego National Park is Argentina’s only national park on the coast. The park is a paradise for outdoor sports like climbing, fishing, kayaking, and of course backpacking. With its amazing scenery, including forests, mountains, and glaciers the region is very similar to the Torres del Paine.
The park is loaded with many unique adventures to choose from including the frightening ice caves of Alvear Glacier. A popular destination for people trekking in Argentina, the Ice Caves were carved by water flowing underneath the glacier. This is no doubt one of the most unique experiences you will ever find, and a trip into the caves will leave you with a story to tell for years to come. You definitely don’t want to miss this place while backpacking in South America.
These are just a few of the exciting places to visit while backpacking in South America. It will be hard to see all of these places in just one trip. However, no matter which one you choose, you’ll be left with a lasting memory and a story to tell for years to come.