By Allison Carlton, VIVA Editorial Intern
The Latin region is as vibrant as its culture. Vast plains and highlands, rugged mountains, active volcanoes, amazon rainforest and arid deserts have created a geography unique to each individual country that makes up Latin America. For the adventurous, hiking and trekking the rocky mountainsides at high altitudes is a favorite trip moment because of the vistas and panoramic views that greet them at the top. Here is a list of some of the best hikes in Latin America:
National Geographic rated Cerro Campanario as having one of the “Top 10 views in the World” and for good reason. Once you’ve hiked the short trail to the top, head to one of the lookouts for a panoramic view of the mountains and shimmering blue lakes beneath the sun before you. You should be well-rested after your hike up the mountain, which can get very steep, after spending a good amount of time taking in the view, but if not, head inside the cafe for a refreshment.
Serious and experienced hikers only for the challenging Illampu Circuit. This multi-day hike is a tedious 66 miles long and it is recommended that you be acclimatized and assisted by an alpaca or llama to carry your equipment and packs. Magnificent views treat you along the way as you make many ascensions at roughly 1,000 feet per day.
You may get to see some wildlife during this trail through the rainforest. It is a short walk, roughly 10 minutes in and 20 minutse out, but gets pretty steep, giving your legs a good work out. However, the sound of the rushing Rio Fortuna waterfall in your ears will signal the end of this hike. The white water flows into a turquoise pool surrounded by rocks and boulders, which makes it a bit dangerous to swim in but there is calmer waters within the area.
Pack your warm clothes for this day hike from Quilotoa to Chugchilan that leads you by a volcanic crater, down a valley, through a town and up a canyon. The wind blows and the altitude makes for a much cooler temperature, so breathing may become difficult. It should take 5 hours to complete the 7.5 mile hike, more or less, depending on how often you stop to look at the beautiful sites along the way.
The Cordillera Blanca is a mountain range in the Andes where the country’s highest mountain is located, as well as the world’s most beautiful mountain. With more than 30 peaks over 18,000 ft in altitude and more than 110 miles long, the Cordillera Blanca sits behind Asia for having the world’s highest mountain range. The Santa Cruz hike is a favorite, and probably most popular, among many in the area because of the terrain you get to see during the 31 miles you hike over four days, such as wildflower meadows, lakes, glaciers, trees, views of snow-capped peaks and a statue of Jesus at the end. Acclimatization is recommended before attempting this hike.