For adventure seekers, South America is the ideal place for wonders. This diverse continent offers people countless opportunities for adventure, from trekking ancient Incan trails to boating or rafting through the Amazon. Whether you prefer exploring ruins, climbing mountains, or riding some of the world’s biggest waves, South America has something for every type of adventurer. Let’s dive deeper into some of the top destinations across the continent where you’re guaranteed to get your heart pumping!


Peru is a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. “I traveled all over Peru and was just blown away by the diversity of adventure activities,” says James K., a recent visitor. The options feel endless here. Test your nerves on the Rapel, a canyon swing that has you plunging face-first towards the river below. Go paragliding above the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu for a bird’s eye view. Or choose from countless hiking trails that wind through lush rainforests, past ancient sites, and up the region’s tallest peaks.

For beginners, scenic hikes through Colca Canyon and at Rainbow Mountain offer stunning views without too much difficulty. Meanwhile, hardy mountaineers summit towering peaks like Alpamayo, Huayna Potosí, and El Misti. “I’m an experienced climber and the mountains in Peru were some of the best and most challenging I’ve ever summited,” remarks Alicia T., an avid mountaineer.

Sea-kayaking, mountain biking, rafting—you name the activity, Peru’s got it covered. “I really appreciated how Peru catered to all adventure levels,” says James. “As a newbie kayaker, I enjoyed gentle paddles off the Paracas Peninsula while pros took on the raging rapids near Huaraz.” Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes in or a seasoned pro, Peru promises endless adrenaline


Stretching from the dry Atacama Desert down to icy Patagonia, Chile offers extremes. “I came to push my limits and Chile delivered big time!” says Brad J., a recent visitor.

In the north, sandboard down giant dunes under the blazing desert sun. Ollie, jump and carve your way across these iconic landscapes. If the desert sand isn’t your thing maybe snow is. Simply venture south to favorite destinations like Portillo and Valle Nevado for skiing and snowboarding.

In Patagonia, there’s nothing to look forward to except adventure. It’s a great spot to take in some incredible scenery by hiking in Torres Del Paine National Park and climb jagged peaks such as Osorno Volcano during the trek. It’s not uncommon to return home and remember how great the trails in Patagonia were. Adventurists have been heard saying “Every turn revealed new mountains, lakes and glaciers more stunning than the last.”

River rafting and kayaking also abound in Chile’s lake region around Futaleufú. “Rafting the Class V rapids here got my heart pounding! So crazy,” remarks Brad. Meanwhile, world-class rock climbing awaits in Cochamó Valley, and fly fishing is popular near Puyuhuapi. Add in Chile’s beautiful beaches perfect for surfing and clear waters ideal for diving, and it’s easy to see why this destination thrills adventure travelers.


From Tierra del Fuego up to the meandering mountains of Patagonia, Argentina offers diverse landscapes perfect for exploration.

In the south, trek through Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares and other national parks. Climb iconic jagged peaks like Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre that will challenge even the most seasoned mountaineers. Kayak across turquoise lakes and through narrow fjords to get up close to breathtaking glaciers.

Meanwhile, in the northwest region near Salta, canyon trails and rock climbing areas like Quebrada de Humahuaca will get your blood pumping. Rachel W., a recent visitor, says “Hiking through the technicolor rock formations felt like another planet!” Horseback riding, 4×4 excursions, and even paragliding are also popular here.

Lesser-known gems await off-the-beaten-path too. San Ignacio Miní offers opportunities for hiking, caving, kayaking and more. “It was incredible having San Ignacio’s ancient cave paintings all to ourselves,” says Rachel. “We felt like true explorers.”

And let’s not forget hitting the slopes and fresh powder around top ski areas like Las Leñas, Cerro Catedral and Chapelco. Whether you want to challenge yourself on an epic summit or simply relax at a posh ski resort, Argentina delivers. With continuous adventures throughout its diverse landscapes, it’s understandable to learn why Argentina is a favorite among adventure tourist travelers.


Ecuador is a great destination to experience an adventure. With landscapes ranging from the Amazon rainforest to the snow-capped Andes Mountains, this small South American country offers plenty of thrills across its diverse regions.

In the northern Amazon Jungle, you’ll have the chance to explore ancient ruins hidden beneath lush canopies, spot exotic wildlife on jungle hikes, and experience whitewater rafting and zip lining through the trees. Further west, the Galapagos Islands never cease to amaze with their abundance of unique marine life. You can enjoy countless hours there snorkeling with playful sea lions, diving with massive whale sharks, and observing the islands’ famed giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

Ecuador’s central Andean highlands also make for an unforgettable outdoor playground, with opportunities to hike on volcanic ridges, mountain bike down steep slopes, and paraglide over breathtaking valleys and snow-capped peaks. And while the major tourist centers are incredible, it’s not unusual to find some favorite adventures off the beaten path.

Hidden Gems Off the Tourist Trail:

  • Colonial Quito and nearby mountain towns with charming architecture, rich culture and nature walks to spot endemic bird species
  • Cotopaxi National Park’s rugged landscapes, perfect for trekking, biking, horseback riding and whitewater rafting
  • The charming city of Cuenca in the south, overflowing with colorful historical buildings and museums

With so much to offer across its diverse regions, Ecuador has become my top choice for an action-packed yet culturally immersive escape into the great outdoors. No matter your limits for thrills, there are so many adventures waiting to be had in this stunning part of South America.


From the shimmering Caribbean to the ascending Andes, Colombia’s variety of landscapes allows you to personalize your perfect thrills trip.

San Gil, labeled as the adventure capital, attracts many adventure travelers looking for a new and challenging experience. Brave Class V rapids while whitewater rafting on the Fonce and Suárez rivers. Soar over the tropical landscape paragliding. Or test your courage careening down narrow canyons on canyonering excursions.

“Colombia ended up being my favorite country in South America for adventure,” says Jacqueline., a longtime thrill-seeker. “It just has this energy and so manyf activities to choose from that you don’t find anywhere else.”

Another favorite close by the magical and colorful Cartagena is kitesurfing. “Kitesurfing off the coast here with the old city in the distance was a highlight,” remarks Jackie.

Let’s not forget hiking through jungles and deserts to discover sites like Ciudad Perdida (Lost City in English). “Hiking to Ciudad Perdida through all those river crossings was an awesome, tough adventure,” Jackie says. Or relax and soak yourself in the natural hot springs at the foot of tall mountains.

Of course, no trip to Colombia is fully complete without spending time in its vibrant cities such as Bogotá and Medellín. By doing both you get a good balance from the heart thumping adventures along with culture and nightlife.  With numerous options throughout its dynamic landscapes, Colombia truly offers something for every kind of traveler who seeks adventure.


From the Amazon to the Pantanal, Brazil is recognized for its wildlife and variety of ecological adventures.

The Amazon rainforest might just be Earth’s largest natural environment for thousands of species of animals, plant life and discovering your limits. You can choose to explore by boat, foot as well as the treetops on canopy walkways. “For the lucky ones who do visit this area, going to a city zoo become disappointing to say the least. The amount of exotic wildlife in their natural habitat is unfathomable and simply mind-blowing.

In addition, the Amazon offers opportunities to hike through the jungle to deeply concealed lagoons which are perfect for swimming and climbing waterfalls. Where there’s lagoons a river should be nearby to whitewater raft and kayak past ancient ruins and varied ecological systems.

Over in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, safari tours by jeep, boat or horseback offer chances to spot creatures like jaguars and capybaras. “Seeing wild jaguars up close was definitely a bucket list moment for me,” says Lily. Fishing for piranha or bathing with anacondas can also get your heart racing!

Brazil also boasts rugged mountains perfect for hiking, sand dunes for dune surfing at Lençóis Maranhenses, and world-class waves along its coasts. “I couldn’t get enough of hiking through Brazil’s diverse landscapes,” Lily remarks. “From jungle treks to scaling rocky peaks, the views were just breathtaking.”

With never-ending adventures across its regions, Brazil is a hotbed for adventure junkies and nature lovers alike. Just be sure to bring your wonderous personality.

Bonus: Bolivia

 Although it’s less famous than its neighbors, Bolivia features it share of adventures that will be sure to thrill.

At the top of the list is the infamous Death Road. With an elevation of more than 15,000 feet, this narrow single-lane highway appears as if it’s attached to steep cliffs. Daredevil mountain bikers have reached speeds over 40 mph while navigating sharp curves and drops without guardrails. If you have a need for speed, then going down Bolivia’s Death Road on a bike may very well be among the biggest rushes you’ve ever feel. It’s called Death Road for a reason and adventure seekers are some it’s victims.

The entire area surrounding the Yungas region has impressed mountain bikers with its blend of steep climbs and spectacular views. Hikers can journey through the Amazon rainforest to discover waterfalls or centuries old Incan trails. Climbers come from near and far to see Samaipata’s unique sandstone formations. And adventure-thrillists rave about ziplining near La Paz where you can reach speeds over 85 mph!

“Bolivia really surprised me with how many extreme adventures it offers,” says Dan. “I expected it to be more low key, but this country held its own against more popular destinations.” From biking down ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Road’ to ziplining at insane speeds, Bolivia makes it easy to get your adrenaline fix.

So forget relaxing beach vacations. Treat yourself to one of the many adventures from the Galapagos to Patagonia, South America attracts all those daring adventure-travel newbies or seasoned adventurists. Whether you prefer diving, biking, hiking, boating, or parachuting out of planes, this continent truly provides unlimited opportunities to satisfy your appetite for thrills.

Just don’t forget your professional Camera or high-end smart phone to capture those heart-stopping moments! With its varied landscapes and abundant activity options, South America will give you the travel experience of a lifetime no matter your threshold for thrills. The only thing left is to plan the adventure.

Jims pic

About Author

traveler, blogger, and experiencer of good things to eat and do.

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