From the peaks of the Andes to the steamy rainforest, hiking South America is unlike anything you have done before. If you are going to South America, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
While many young adults may dream about trekking across Europe, it's not the only continent available for this sort of adventure. North America can be just as rewarding, but if you're looking for a truly diverse and unique experience, South America is the way to go. With climates and terrain ranging from rainforests to mountains, and coastal beaches to the Amazon River – exploring while hoofing it around South America is a great way to get to know a continent.
One of the first things you'll have to decide on is how you're going to pack for this adventure. There are many recommendations that can be made for what to bring, but there are some basics that should always be included. Make sure to choose a pack that is large and sturdy enough to carry all of your needs. You'll need to pack clothing that can be easily washed and reworn – some examples are jeans, shorts, different styles of shirts, a jacket, a few pairs of shoes and plenty of under things. You'll also need to bring with you any toiletries or medicine that might not easily be found while in remote areas – things like water purification pills, antidiarrheals, and first aid preparations are all important. You'll also want to pack any maps or guidebooks you plan to use and a Spanish-English dictionary or phrasebook can be helpful if you don't speak Spanish.
Another good idea is deciding when to hike where. The South American climate is diverse and much different than where you live. For countries like Argentina, where it's subtropical in the north and subarctic in the south, it's especially necessary to note when it's a good time to visit (recommended times are between June and October). Chile, on the other hand, has better weather from October to May, so it's really important to choose the right time of year for the part of South America you want to hike.
South America is challenge, and few people can and will be able to hike all over an entire continent. If you pick and choose countries you really want to see, and terrain that you are going to have the stamina for, trekking in the tropical climate of South America can be a terrific, life changing experience. If you are looking more for a party trip, you need only focus on the country of Brazil.