This page is home to all of the South American countries. If you are looking for Central American countries such as Panama, or Carribean Islands such as Aruba or Bonaire, these are located under the North America Page.
South America is a vast continent with astonishingly varied climates & terrain. This land is home to the largest river & jungle in the world, but also home to some of the most extreme alpine conditions.
South America has long been a destination for adventure-seeking alpinists. The dramatically steep peaks of the Andes are reknowned for their beauty & feared for their unstable cornices & snow flutings. The granite spires & rime coated summits of Patagonia & Torres del Paine are the source of countless legends. Those in search of extreme altitude will enjoy the relatively simple volcanos of Ecaudor or the nearly 7000 meter-high Aconcagua in Argentina.
Lowland rock climbers have also recently begun to explore South America's vast potential. Argentina & Brazil are known to have excellent sport climbing on marble & limestone cliffs. The continent is also littered with high quality granite, and numerous Yosemite-esque valleys such as Valle Cochamó provide limitless possibilities.
While it is technically possible to drive, bike, or walk, most folks will want to fly to South America. Once in country, most travel is by public transport.
- A valid US passport is required for all trips to South America. Details on how to obtain a passport can be found here.
- Visa requirements vary from country to country. No visa is required for Argentina, Ecuador, French Guiana or Peru for stays up to 90 days, or for Columbia for stays up to 60 days. Chile, Guyana, & Venezuala require Visas that are issued at the airport upon arrival. Bolivia, Brazil, Suriname & Paraguay require a Visa that must be obtained in advance. To ensure your trip goes smoothly, visit the US State Department's Country Specific Page at the early planning stage, for precise info regarding visas, vaccinations, or any other requirements. Not all South American countries are considered "safe" by the standards of the typical tourist. The State Department provides detailed information & travel advisaries on the Country Specific Page. Gather as much data as possible, and use your own judgement.
- Immunizations are a key consideration for any travel to South America. Talk to your doctor about specific immunizations required for your destination, or better yet, visit a Travel Clinic that specializes in pre-travel vaccinations & consultation. Most such clinics do not require medical insurance, and offer reasonably priced walk-in services that even dirt-bag climbers can afford. This website can help locate a Travel Clinic near you. When seeking medical advice, its always a good idea to do some research yourself before you trust everything the doctor tells you on his/her way to the golf course. The Center for Disease Control has a great website to help you decide which vaccinations are a good idea. Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis, & Malaria may be of concern depending on your destination in South America.
- Some trips require special permits, particularly mountaineering expeditions in the Andes. These requirements are complicated & different for every country.
- Refer to each countries page for details on the local currency. Current exchange rates can be found here.
Browse More Classics in South America
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for South America:
Featured Route For South America