As someone who is constantly searching for adventure it may come as no surprise that I like to look for activities that get the adrenaline pumping. I scuba dived, bungee jumped and white water rafted in Australia so when it came to South America I was looking for some new activities to get excited about. And boy did I find them! If you’re looking to get your dose of adrenaline, check out these best adventure activities in South America
Ziplining at Cola de Mono in Peru
On the fourth day of our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu we opted for a bit of a zip line thrill. Cola de Mono is 2km away from the town of Santa Teresa and 15km away from Aguas Calientes.
It’s Peru’s first zip line, and one of South America’s highest. The highest point being some 150m high! With 2500m worth of cables, divided into 7 sections and speeds reaching 60km/h you’re sure to feel the adrenaline on this adventure activity in South America!
Upon arriving at Cola de Mono, a picturesque campsite surrounded by jungle, you’re kitted out with all the safety equipment (helment, harness, gloves), and given very basic instructions on how to zip line. I was scared I’d forget them all as soon as we got started. Fortunately I didn’t, but do try and remember the rule about putting your hand BEHIND you to slow down. Don’t, whatever you do, put it in front!
The beginning of the two hour tour sees you hike up a pretty steep hill. From there work your way down the seven wires with your group. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can try zip lining upside down or in “superman position” (your belly to the ground).
Oh and check out the toilets while you’re there. Sounds weird I know, but they have the BEST view you’ll find.
Mountain biking Death Road in Bolivia
I wrote about this in some detail here. I wasn’t much of a fan of this activity to start with, but by the end I actually found myself enjoying cycling along a road that’s seen thousands of deaths.
If you have some experience mountain biking then you’ll no doubt love this. It’s even better if you can forget about the steep drops just a few metres away!
But, if you’re a bit more scared by the idea (understandably), then give it a go anyway. You can go as slow as you like, use the brakes (I know I did), and take your time. You’ll get to grips with it in no time and if you don’t do it you’ll probably be wishing you had.
Sandboarding & dune bashing in Huacachina in Peru
Sand boarding was probably one of my favourite adventure activities in South America. In fact you get two activities for the price of one when you go sand boarding. First you’ll be picked up from the tiny desert oasis town of Huacachina and then hold on for your live as you head into the dunes.
The drivers are all crazy and they speed up and down the dunes like they’re nothing. You’ll feel like you’ve got whiplash by the end of it, but it is so. much. fun.
The sand boarding itself is just as fun. However, if you’re struggling to stay standing upright on the board don’t waste time trying to master the art of boarding. If I could give you one tip it would be to go down on your stomach, head first. Scary? Maybe. Fun? Hell yes.
The dunes get longer, steeper and faster as your trip progresses (the dunes here are the biggest in South America!). One guy even lost his shorts he was going so fast (and no, I’m not exaggerating).
Huacachina is becoming a bit of a backpackers paradise, with sand boarding being the main attraction. Definitely don’t miss out!
“Natuical Adventure” at Iguassu Falls in Argentina
On our trip to Iguassu Falls we decided to really get up close to the waterfall. The best way to experience the falls is to visit from the Argentinian side and take the “Nautical Adventure” package. With this deal you’re driven right up close to the falls, getting soaking wet, and have a great time in doing so.
Slightly less adrenaline fuelled than the above, but don’t underestimate the boat driver, he’ll twist and turn the boat in all sorts of ways, and you’ll find yourself sat at some very odd angles, making you wonder when you’ll fall in.