Whether you’re looking to see hammerhead sharks up close, climb an active volcano with crampons and ice axe in-hand or relax in hot springs after a long hike, you can find whatever type of adventure you’re looking for in Latin America.
These 10 crazy adventures are some of the best the region has to offer, but there are many more. Let this list serve as inspiration to visit and discover other amazing adventures along the way.
With water surging from glacier-fed lakes in the high Andes, the Futaleufú River has thrilling rapids to satisfy even the most adventurous paddler, but it also has routes for everyone else. Unless you’re an extreme expert, stay away from the 14-mile stretch of Class V rapids that is the Upper Futaleufú and find thrills on the easier rapids. Known for its stunning aqua-colored water, Patagonia’s Futaleufú features incredible mountain views, comfortable river camps and plenty of out-of-water adventure.
Take a trip to Cocos Island, a national park set 342 miles from the shoreline of Costa Rica and experience marine wildlife and an underwater eco-system you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The waters surrounding the island offer several dive spots famous for an abundance of exotic wildlife; the highlight is the unbelievable number of large marine animals like rays, dolphins and sharks. Visit to see hammerhead sharks, but be prepared for a journey—it takes between 30 and 36 hours to reach the site by boat.
Widely called the most dangerous road in the world and informally named “El Camino de la Muerte” (the Death Road), by locals, Bolivia's North Yungus Road has been attracting fearless mountain bikers for years. The 40-mile stretch descends more than 11,000 feet over unpaved, tight roads, which overlook sheer drops, often without guardrails. The route has taken many lives, if you plan to go find a quality outfitter with a solid track record.
The Yucatan region in Mexico is teeming with dive opportunities in underwater caves and cenotes. With dozens of entrances and miles upon miles of underwater passages, this area offers some of the best cave diving in the world. Exploring underwater caves can be an incredible experience, but you should be properly trained and it’s best to travel with a guide.
Home to one of the largest and most complex ecosystems in the world, the Amazon Rainforest is a marvel that has captivated scientists, travelers and movie audiences for decades. The forest still full of mystery and stunning scenery is far from easy to traverse, but the best way to see it is from the inside a kayak or canoe. Outfitters offer a variety of trip options, but in general, most tours include hikes, wildlife viewing and camping in the rainforest.
Peru may be best known for the ruins of Machu Picchu but those seeking adventure should take a detour from the beaten path and head to Colca Canyon. The second deepest canyon in the world—almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon—Colca boasts mind-blowing views, a profound history and seemingly endless trails that allow you to take it all in. For an extra dose of adventure, zip-line across the canyon alongside the native Andean condor and when it’s time to wind down, make your way up to the warm waters and scenic views of the Calera hot springs.
Only for the most extreme paddlers, a trip to Patagonia will have you cruising past gigantic glaciers and some of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes on the planet. Home to some of the best races in the sport, Patagonia is proof that SUP is not just a tropical sport. For rentals, tips and guided tours, local outfitters are available.
Popular amongs backpackers and adventurous travelers, Torres del Paine National Park attracts roughly 150,000 visitors to its remote wilderness each year. Visitors come for the breathtaking landscapes and some of the best hikes in all of Chile.
On the Argentina-Brazil border, you’ll find one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world. Iguazu Falls, which translates to “big water,” is among the widest in the world and the best way to experience the grandeur is up close. Take a boat ride to the base of the falls and take it all in—just be prepared to get soaked.