Mountain and Volcano Climbing in South America

Reach for new heights as you climb snow-capped peaks, smouldering volcanoes and everything in between during your time in South America.

You don’t have to be the next Edmund Hillary to explore the dramatic mountain ranges of South America. With countless trails, varying in degrees of difficulty, and hundreds of volcanoes, a surprising amount of which are still active, choosing to do some mountain climbing during your trip to South America will afford you panoramic vistas that you won’t find anywhere else. From the tips of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to the challenges of the Villarrica volcano in Chile, climbing in South America will certainly satisfy the intrepid explorer in you.

If there is one thing you can’t escape noticing when visiting South America, it is the stunning backdrop that the mountain ranges provide. The Andes more than likely spring to mind first yet this impressive continent is not only home to Aconcagua, the world’s highest mountain outside Asia, but also many others of various heights, terrain and – in the case of some of the volcanoes – temperament. Cotopaxi in Ecuador’s Volcano Avenue is probably about as quintessential as you can get when it comes to volcanoes. Soaring up into the sky, nearly 6000m high, this active volcano is one of South America’s most well-known. While it is possible to reach the summit with a guide, it is also worth taking time to visit the national park that surrounds it.

If you are in Peru, be sure to add a trip to Arequipa to your itinerary. Here, a number of volcanoes dominate the skyline. Last erupting in the mid-1980s, El Misti is perhaps the most recognisable standing 5822m high; it can be climbed within a couple of days. For a slightly longer excursion, Cerro El Plomo in Chile will keep you occupied for anything between four and ten days or, for the ultimate challenge, Patagonia’s Cerro Torre will test even the most seasoned climber. If you are new to the sport you will not be short of places to try out your new-found skills; Huayna Potosí, roughly 90 minutes from Bolivia’s capital of La Paz, will take you two-three days to ascend and with sublime views of Lake Titicaca as you go, it is well worth making the journey.

Mountain and Volcano Climbing in South America Highlights:
  • Climb Cotopaxi in the Avenue of Volcanoes, Ecuador
  • Conquer Aconcagua in the Andes, Argentina
  • Discover Rano Kau in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Easter Island, Chile
  • Take on the Cerro Torre for one of the ultimate challenges in Patagonia, Chile
  • Hike up El Misti Volcano and peer down over Arequipa, Peru
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