Central & South America

Discussion of Bushwalking, Hiking, Trekking, Tramping, Rambling and Camping elsewhere around the world.

Re: Central & South America

Postby Taner » Tue 09 Oct, 2012 4:59 am

Awesome places, whatever you do, don't do the "Inca trail", quoted as there are thousands of Inka trails, many of which are spectacular and free to walk or token fees the equivalent of 1 or 2 dollars. I done a few for example, El Choro from La Cumbre to near Coroico in Bolivia is particularly nice and accessible.

Highlights on my trip (almost 4 months there, only Venezuela to Bolivia, and nowhere near enough time, so only a selection of what is available is listed):

Venezuela
- Parque Nacional Henri Pittier, nice hiking, can hop from beach to beach, secluded ones with no road connection
- Pico Humboldt/Bolivar, or just a nice hike from Mérida to Los Nevados which takes you near the summit

Ecuador
- The volcanoes and lots of other mountaineering options
- Baños, many hiking and biking opportunities, ride to Puno or even further if you want, it's a nice ride, lot of tourists at the start though where the waterfalls are

Peru
- Huaraz (anything around here seems to be amazing, Laguna 69, Pico Pisco, the lake is named so for being the 69th lake in the area)
- Colca Canyon (one of the expensive trips but the national park fee is not really avoidable if you want to see this region)
- Machu Picchu (several different multi day approaches, also saves the ridiculous train fares)

Bolivia
- Huayna Potosi (6088m, has an easy route for beginners, and great for acclimatisation)
- Nevado Illimani (6430m, also has an easy route for beginners)
- La Paz is a good base, also plenty of other mountains in the area and hiking routes, sport climbing, Murarata has skiing potential
- Salar de Uyuni -- surreal landscapes, also has its own hiking and mountaineering options
- I rarely recommend agents but Adolfo Andino in La Paz is great -- a local who has lived abroad, and is passionate about what he does, you quickly feel like a friend, could get invited to his personal trips for free (just share of transport, gear hire and your food, all very cheap), and a great source of info

I'm sure I've missed more, feel free to ask for more info!
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Re: Central & South America

Postby Hallu » Tue 09 Oct, 2012 3:57 pm

Have you guys found some books about National Parks and trails in South America ? Apart from this one which is good but 22 years old, I've found nothing. It's hard to plan anything that way. It seems like the only way is to select the national parks you want to visit, and wait until you're there to see the maps they give you and select the walks. No way to check those beforehand ? Not even in Spanish ? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby weetbix456 » Fri 19 Oct, 2012 4:55 am

i've taken ALOT of ideas from this fairly old, but detailed site http://www.besthike.com/southamerica/index.html they have hiked tracks all over the world and really give you a good glimpse at the must do's in all the countries theyve been to. also, ive flicked through some of the lonely planet hiking in the northern/central/patagonian andes guide books and they have many great long distance options and provide resonable maps & orientation info.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby weetbix456 » Wed 28 Nov, 2012 3:44 am

Some more South American hiking ideas?? Here are a few more cool things to check out if you're in this part of the world anytime soon!!!

Climbing the 6088m Huayna Potosi mountain outside of La Paz has to be up there with the best things I've done on this trip..3 days, all food, gear & guides included for the cheapest price you're ever possibly to find. I think it worked out a little over $100!!

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More Amazon can be checked out from La Paz by heading to the jungle town of Rurrenabaque, via a VERY interesting bus journey...we got stuck in the mud overnight and the trip took 30 hours all up. Apparently it's not unheard of to take up to 3 whole days!!!

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Sorata is worth the effort & would have some great trekking oppertunities if set up a bit better..the guides were asking a fortune & wouldn't sell me a map, so I printed a sketchy one off the net and asked my way out of town. I never made it, and got completely lost in the tangle of old Inca trails...plus the locals seemed to point me in the constant wrong direction..there were lots of llamas though!!

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Uyuni Salt Flats. Icreadible.

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There was a cool Canyon day hikle out of Cafayate in northern Argentina I did too. Follows the Rio Colorado friom memory, to a spectacular waterfall with many swimming holes en route.

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...AND finally the first hike I've managed in the Lake District of Patagonia, the realitivly quiet & seemingly unknown Conguillio National Park in Chile. Great base for a bunch of spectacular day hikes. Worth the effort. Peace out...

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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Mon 24 Dec, 2012 11:19 pm

For anyone going to Colombia Nevado Del Ruiz erupted on 30 June and is still spewing ash. PNN Los Nevados remains closed.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Tue 25 Dec, 2012 10:34 am

weetbix456 wrote:Sorata is worth the effort & would have some great trekking oppertunities if set up a bit better..the guides were asking a fortune & wouldn't sell me a map, so I printed a sketchy one off the net and asked my way out of town. I never made it, and got completely lost in the tangle of old Inca trails...plus the locals seemed to point me in the constant wrong direction..there were lots of llamas though!!


Weetbix,

We trekked from Sorata to Kotea. Bought the trek in La Paz. Expensive but with two it doesn't seem so bad. The scenery isn't as spectacular as Peru but is still very good. Another good part is the lack of other trekkers. We were there in the dry season and only saw one other party of two who had a guide from Sorata. They had caught a taxi from Sorata up 1200m to the last village before the 1st pass - probably an easy way not to need a guide. I guess this is all a bit late for you.

sm50 snowy peaks.jpg


The scenery down through the Uyuni salt flats and down to near Chilli is completely different. Apart from the salt flats I was particularly taken with Lago Colorado.

sm27 Lago Colorado.jpg
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Re: Central & South America

Postby weetbix456 » Mon 31 Dec, 2012 2:53 am

hey goanna!! great pics...good job on the sorata walk. i actually passed a couple in a taxi on the way down from the mountains and it hit me then that that would have been the best way obviously to find the start of the trails..errr!! Ah well...it's all there waiting still, and can not complain!! Just topped off the Andes mish recently!! This will be quick because internet is expensive!!

More great hikes!!!!

Nahuel Huapi traverse out of Bariloche in Argentina, VERY cool. We had some tempermental weather on the first day, but apart from that it's been practically clear ever since

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One we hadn't heard of prior out of El Bolson also turned out to be one of the best. It's a three day hike around Cerro Hielo Azul. Climb up to the summit of Barda Negra if you have the time and guts, it's well worth it. Frozen glacier lake, and uninterupted vistas of the Andes in all directions. Plus on the final day..the best (but coldest) rock jumping/swimming hole I've ever been to!!

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Then of course Mt Fitzroy and Cerro Torre out of El Chalten..it's a classic for a reason!!

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The hype is worth it. Go to Perito Moreno Glacier!! You won't be disapointed. We sat in the same spot for hours watching monsterous chucks flaking off into the lake!!

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Then we spent a week hiking in Torres del Paine over x-mas!! Bliss. The circuit is well worth it for the views over Grey Glacier, but the best bits in my opinion are part of the W (bar all the herds of people). Do as many side trips as you can!!

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Now I'm about as far south as you can go, stuck in Ushuaia for New Years!! Ohhh baby!! Hope this helps some one at some point!!

Peace out. Nicko.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Sat 05 Jan, 2013 9:05 am

G'day Weetbix,

Some really great photos from the south. You have had some excellent weather.

More on Bolivia:

weetbix456 wrote:More Amazon can be checked out from La Paz by heading to the jungle town of Rurrenabaque, via a VERY interesting bus journey...we got stuck in the mud overnight and the trip took 30 hours all up. Apparently it's not unheard of to take up to 3 whole days!!!


We didn't want to fly to Rurrenabaque and the bus sounded a pain so we did a six day tour. 1st day over to Sorata then 2 days of steep rough downhill biking (but no single track) to the Rio Mapiri and then 3 days in dugout motorboats down the Rio Mapiri to Rurrenabaque camping in the Beni Nat Park with some side trips in the jungle and swimming.

sm57camp on side creek.jpg


The tour into the grasslands at Rio Yacuma near Rurrenabaque was spectacular especially all the wildlife and the sunsets.

sm60 Hoatzin.jpg


040 sunset (1280x960).jpg


We didn't miss out on the bogged bus experience either. Went from Rurrenabaque to Trinidad. Was supposed to be 15 hours of corrugated roads but we got bogged and the bus broke down trying to get out. Waited for a passing motorist to bring the spare parts, driver fixed the bus, 3 hours to get out of the bog and then on to Trinidad all in only 24 hrs.

sm62 the passengers walking.jpg


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Re: Central & South America

Postby weetbix456 » Wed 09 Jan, 2013 2:00 am

hahahahaha!! ahhhh the roads of bolivia hey...you have to expect it!! looks like fun :) i'd heard about that bike & boat trip to rurrue!! sounds like a real adventure. I loved the jungle, spectaular biodiversity. I kinda wish i spent more time there now...are you guys still on the road?? would love to hear more about your travels, south america deffinetly has it all
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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Wed 16 Jan, 2013 8:17 am

Gday Weetbix,

Still in Sth America. We have been on the Carribean coast of Colombia since just before Xmas but fly home shortly. A few more of our Bolivian walks:

We did Aplobamba. Even the bus trip to the start was 10 hours of spectacular scenery.

001 sthrn Apolobambas (1280x721).jpg
View from the bus


Aplobamba has excellent scenery, better than Cordillera Real, and we didnt see any other trekkers.

sm53 mtn and lake.jpg


We also spent a couple of days wandering around Isla de Sol. Pleasant walking but the highlight was the evening sunset viewed from the hostel verandah with beer in hand.

sm20 sunset from balcony at Isla de Sol Bolivia.jpg


Im not sure that dinosaur walking should be on a bushwalking forum but it is worth mentioning Torro Torro. There were lots of tracks and some of them were huge.

sm68 Torro Torro dino tracks.jpg


Are you still in Sth America or heading home? Did you do any treks in Tierra del Fuego?

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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Fri 18 Jan, 2013 9:51 am

Thought I should add a bit about Colombia. We went to the PNN El Cocuy in mid December. This is during the dry(er) season. The weather pattern in the mtns was blue sky in the morning but by lunch time we were in cloud often with rain or snow. This suited our plans to stop walking at lunch time each day. Also there were a lot of wildflowers out in mid December. The views were stunning. The mtns are right in your face and an equivalent 28mm lens just wasn´t wide enough. This park deserves all the raps it gets.

sm198 north El Cocuy (2).jpg


We also did the Lost City trek. About half the walk was in quite good rainforest with plenty of swimming places to cool off in. Also the Lost City itself was much larger and more impressive than I had anticipated. However if you are expecting another Machu Pichu then you are going to be very disappointed.

77 view from Casa Sandillani (1280x960).jpg


We also camped in PN Tyrona and wandered along a short section of the coast. We were there in early January and it was very crowded but we could see why it is so popular. The surf is very rough along most of this coast and the beaches closed for swimming except at a couple of small beaches which makes the crowding even worse at the beaches than the camp sites.

sm205 Cabo with mirador .jpg


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Re: Central & South America

Postby weetbix456 » Sun 20 Jan, 2013 3:15 am

hahahha!! ok...you got MUCH better weather than me for Cocuy!! that photo is amazing!! i love colombia alot...AND i miss the caribbean!! no trekking in tierra del fuego...i chucked my boots out after Torres!! yay me. i'm in buenos aires at the moment studying some spanish, then heading back up the atlantic coast! looks like you are having an increadible trip!!
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Re: Central & South America

Postby stuey69 » Sun 20 Jan, 2013 9:11 pm

Man oh man, when I saw those photos of Cocuy in here it brought the memories flooding back from the times I was there in 2009 and 2010.
It prompted me to share a few photos as well.
What a park PNN Cocuy is, pristine.
Attachments
Cocuy Photo 16.jpg
Laguna de la Plaza
Cocuy Photo 11.jpg
Pan de Azucar
IMG_0485.JPG
Pulpito del Diablo
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Re: Central & South America

Postby eucalypt » Sun 11 Aug, 2013 3:08 am

This thread is getting me so excited, we are in el salvador at the moment did a couple treks in Guatemalan western highlands which were awesome. Looking forward to getting down to SA!

We get into colombia early september.
Have not got a tent or sleeping mats or stove. Was hoping to pick up some second hand gear in peru for treks there and chile argentina.

Is this a likely to be possible in hostels or second hand stores? Do not want to fork out for rentals in each area.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Sun 18 Aug, 2013 9:56 pm

Hi Eucalypt,

For trekking in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia most people are using trekking companies who provide a guide who cooks, horses or mules and a muleteer as well as a tent and closed cell sleeping mat. You only need to bring a sleeping bag, warm clothes and rain gear. The few independent trekkers don't seem to be trying to off load their gear. I have seen shops selling gear in Huaraz, Lima and Santiago - average quality gear at about Australian prices. There are a lot of gear shops in La Paz selling a large range of gear at probably a bit over half of what you would pay in Australia.

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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Sun 18 Aug, 2013 10:07 pm

And another thought - met a Polish woman who had good Spanish (and English) and had managed to hire a sleeping bag, tent and stove in Llamac for the Huayhuash Cct. Unfortunately the fly and inner were from different tents and she ended up wet on a couple of nights - but she finished the trip and enjoyed herself.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby weetbix456 » Tue 20 Aug, 2013 2:10 am

I picked up a really good sleeping bag & jet boil through an ad I put up on a hostel noticeboard within half a day...guess you can get very lucky if you're at the right place at the right time. as goanna mentioned, huaraz, la paz, Santiago, cusco, and a few other hubs will be your best chance at finding gear. I found it hard to get camping gas canisters in Ecuador. enjoy it!!! i'd give my left nut to be back there :D
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Re: Central & South America

Postby eucalypt » Sat 07 Sep, 2013 10:56 am

Heading up to PNN Cocuy this week, hard to find good information think we will stay in the cabanas and do day hikes from there.
Laguna de la Plaza looks beautiful, read on this website www.pnncocuy.com that it is possible on a long day trip. So thats one big goal. Really excited to get up into the mountains and hope we get some good weather.
Will pick up some gear somewhere along the way, Huarez is going to be incredible! Glad to hear you guys agree that the Santa Cruz trek can be done independently, will hopefully do that and then do a guided Huaywash circuit.
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Re: Central & South America

Postby goanna » Wed 23 Jul, 2014 4:21 am

There is some very unseasonal weather in Cordillera Real, Bolivia at the moment. We just walked from Kotia to Huayna Potosi. All went as normal up to lunchtime on the third day including the view of Condoriri from Cerro Austria.

080 Condoriri from Pico Austria (1280x960).jpg
Condoriri from Pico Austria


That afternoon it snowed.

102 our tent in snow (1280x960).jpg


The next day most of the snow had melted and we walked to Maria Lloco which had great views of Huayna Potosi.

131 Huayna Potosi (1280x853).jpg


It snowed over night and the next morning the whole area was covered in 3 or 4 inches of snow. Very scenic but a bit cold on the feet for the last days walking.

138 snowy Huayna Potosi (1280x853).jpg
Huayna Potosi


142 heading to the pass in snow (960x1280).jpg
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