A South American Adventure To Remember

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Trips From Patagonia to Peru

If you are looking for a unique outdoor adventure in South America, hiking the winding trails of the Andes Mountains should be on your bucket list! For those who like to explore new countries on foot, Argentina hiking trips offer a unique way to discover one of South America’s most popular tourist destinations while a guided trek on the Inca Trail reveals the wonders of Peru. Keep reading to learn more about the Peru and Argentina tours that will get you moving!

Patagonia landscape

Meandering Through The Foothills Of Mendoza

Mendoza may be known as Argentina’s premier wine region, but the unique geography makes it an ideal place to go trekking, too. Situated at the foot of the Andes Mountains, the region’s unique climate lends itself to the cultivation of Malbec grapes and the export of this iconic wine. But if you aren’t an oenophile (or wine enthusiast), the region’s trails offer up breathtaking vistas and stunning landscapes to explore. Here are the top five hiking routes that are popular near Mendoza during trips to Patagonia.

  • Cerro Arco – this well-worn path is located just seven miles from Mendoza City. It is popular with tourists because of its ease of ascent, its proximity to the city, and the majestic views that can be seen from the top of the hill. The route takes approximately three hours to complete and is ideal for families or those who may not be up to longer hikes.
  • Cerro Aspero – this trail is slightly more difficult than Cerro Arco and can be undertaken in three stages. The first stage takes an hour and a half and is the route’s initial climb. The second phase has you traverse rolling hills. The third, and final, phase is the most difficult and is a steep climb to the summit. The entire route takes approximately three hours but will reward you with a panoramic view of Mendoza City. Hiking poles are suggested for this route!
  • Santo Tomas – this route begins by following the trail that leads to Cerro Arco, but breaks off and heads toward Santo Tomas. The summit sits approximately 5,500 feet above sea level, so is better suited to those who are relatively experienced trekkers. Hikers along this path often report sightings of native guanacos and foxes.
  • El Gateado – if you continue on past Santo Tomas, you will reach El Gateado. At nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, this trail is moderately difficult and requires a good level of fitness. El Gateado is part of the Tres Quebradas route and can be hiked as an add-on to the Cerro Arco route to extend the hike further.
  • La Cadenita – this hike starts at the Vallecitos ski resort, which sits 9,600 feet above sea level. The trail takes you through a valley that cuts through the Mendocino mountains and then winds its way to a lookout point with an incredible view of the Cordon del Plata mountain range.

Argentina hiking trips are very popular with tourists because no guide is needed! The trails in all parts of the country are well-marked and lend themselves well to solo hiking. However, if you are interested in guided hiking trips to Patagonia, there are many guides available to show you the ropes of trekking through the country’s majestic mountains.

From Mendoza To Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu is another bucket list destination for those who dream of hiking their way across South America. This ancient Inca city is located in Peru, tucked away in the Andes Mountains, and accessible via the Inca Trail. This must-see site is popular with hiking enthusiasts, who are rewarded with incredible views of the ruins of the city once they conquer the trail. However, getting to Machu Picchu from Mendoza is difficult, even on organized Peru and Argentina tours.

  • The distance between the two locations is 1,391 miles as the crow flies – or 2,073 miles by road.
  • The easiest way to reach Machu Pichu from Mendoza is to fly from Mendoza Airport to Cuzco Airport. This takes almost 7 hours and has one layover.
  • From Cuzco, you will need to take a train to Machu Pichu, which takes another four hours. Needless to say, uncovering the ancient ruins is not for the faint of heart!

Top Things to Do in Machu Pichu

Embarking on an adventure to Machu Picchu offers a plethora of unforgettable experiences. Here's a list of the top things to do in this ancient Incan citadel:

    • Explore the Lost City: Wander through the intricate maze of ruins, marveling at the ingenuity of ancient Incan architecture.
    • Hike the Inca Trail: Embark on a journey along this iconic trail, soaking in breathtaking views of the Andean mountains and lush cloud forests.
    • Visit the Sun Gate: Trek to the Sun Gate for a panoramic view of Machu Picchu bathed in golden sunlight, especially enchanting during sunrise or sunset.
    • Climb Huayna Picchu: Challenge yourself with a hike up Huayna Picchu, the towering peak overlooking Machu Picchu, for a bird's-eye view of the entire site.
    • Explore the Inca Bridge: Venture to the mysterious Inca Bridge, an ancient stone structure suspended high above a sheer cliff, offering a thrilling glimpse into Incan engineering prowess.
    • Discover the Temple of the Sun: Marvel at the intricately crafted stonework of the Temple of the Sun, a sacred sanctuary dedicated to Inti, the Incan sun god.
    • Visit the Intihuatana Stone: Pay homage to the Intihuatana Stone, believed to be an ancient sundial used for astronomical observations and spiritual rituals.
    • Experience Machu Picchu Pueblo: Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Machu Picchu Pueblo, sampling local cuisine, browsing artisan markets, and soaking in hot springs for a well-deserved rest after your adventures

The Best Time To Visit Machu Picchu

The peak tourist season for Machu Pichu is during June, July, and August. The area is generally overcrowded during this time, so it is advisable to try to avoid a hike during those months. Just bear in mind that the trail is also closed for the entire month of February each year – for maintenance! That means the best time to visit Machu Pichu is either during the months of April, May, September, or October.

large waterfalls called Iguazu Falls in Argentina

Hiking The Inca Trail

One of the most important things to know before you plan your trip to Machu Pichu is that hiking the Inca Trail requires a permit and a guide. The only way to hike the trail or enter Machu Picchu is on a guided tour. However, if you make a reservation with a reputable tour company, your hike will include the trail permit! But because this trail is so popular, it’s a good idea to book your spot with a guide at least four months in advance.

The hike itself will take you along narrow paths high into the Andes Mountains until you reach Machu Pichu. Most tours take four days, with three nights roughing it at campsites along the trail. Each day, you will trek at least 8 hours to cover the 26 miles from start to finish in the allotted time. Elevation gains for the day range anywhere from 400 to 1,400 feet. It’s safe to say that hiking this trail will be more challenging than a saunter through the foothills of Mendoza.

Once you reach Machu Pichu, you will be rewarded with one of the most spectacular examples of ancient architecture still standing today. And after conquering the most difficult trails from Mendoza to Machu Pichu, you can sit back and enjoy the view. Your Peru and Argentina tour may be at its end, but the memories of your adventure will live forever!

Download a tour brochure for your Argentina tour dates and pricing.