Get a close-up view of Latin America’s spectacular scenery by immersing yourself in outdoor pursuits amidst its jungles, mountains, glaciers, rivers and seas.
You don’t need to have technical expertise or equipment, as our expert local guides will provide everything necessary for your safety and comfort. Click on Our Active Holidays for a full list of our suggestions, country by country.
However, if you want something highly specialised or adventurous we can help too – simply get in touch.
There are countless options, so whether you’re fighting fit or just moderately energetic, and whether the activity you have in mind is the focus of the whole trip or just one component of a varied itinerary, read on for just a few of the possibilities.
Trekking and climbing
There can be few finer ways to enjoy the awe-inspiring landscapes of Latin America than under your own steam. This is a land seemingly designed for lovers of the great outdoors, where the staggering scale of nature’s attractions is often best appreciated, and best accessed, on foot. You’ll discover a well-organised network of national parks and a number of iconic, ‘bucket list’ treks such as the Inca Trail or the W in Chile.
Amongst the best countries for walkers is Peru, where aside from the afore-mentioned Inca Trail and its several alternatives, the cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash provide astonishing Andean panoramas to richly reward trekkers. Chile and Argentina are also popular choices, with the national parks of Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares both offering magnificent scenery and a sophisticated infrastructure.
A further, highly memorable option is to climb a volcano, such as Cotopaxi in Ecuador or Osorno or Villarrica in Chile, or a table mountain, such as Venezuela’s incomparable Mount Roraima. No matter which country you visit, there will be plenty of walks and climbs sure to enhance the experience.
With the wind in your hair as you gallop across the plains, you can enjoy many of Latin America’s most beautiful locations on horseback. Add to that the captivating culture of Latin America’s cowboys – for example the famous gauchos of Argentina – and you have a truly unique and memorable travel experience.
Argentina is indeed the best-regarded choice for riders, who usually opt to stay at rustic (or rather more luxurious) estancias and spend afternoons in the saddle and evenings enjoying a well-earned asado of succulent beef around the campfire.
However horse riding is widely available elsewhere in Latin America: particularly popular are Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador, as well as wilderness areas such as the Pantanal and the Llanos of Venezuela where even beginners can take part in several wildlife-spotting excursions on horseback.
In Chile, you have the opportunity to ride in both Torres del Paine in Patagonia and the Atacama Desert on the same riding holiday (staying in first class accommodation) or choose just one of these areas.
Rafting and kayaking
Synonymous with adventure sport, white-water rafting is exhilarating fun. A day’s rafting can add a real splash of adrenaline to holidays in Costa Rica, Peru and Chile, where infrastructure is excellent and safety assured. The main rafting rapids here are found in the rivers Pacuare (excursions depart from San Jose), Apurimac and Urubamba (both accessed via Cusco), and Trancura, near Pucón in Chile. For experienced rafters, Futaleufú in Chile offers a more turbulent ride.
Kayaking can be arranged locally in many places, but if you fancy it as the centrepiece of your holiday we highly recommend sea kayaking in the Sea of Cortés in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, or a kayaking adventure in the island paradise of San Blas, Panama.
Costa Rica is a small country well suited to adventure sports. They have a slick and very professional infrastructure with well trained Englsih speaking guides and the activities they offer are high quality. We've put together the ultimate multi-activity holiday there, of course you can add or delete activities as you wish, as it can be tailor-made.
Panama may not be the first country which springs to mind for an adventurous holiday but our sea kayaking holiday among the Kuna indians is an original choice.
Cycling and mountain biking
For the adventurous at heart, cycling offers an energetic way to immerse yourself in awe-inspiring landscapes while covering far greater distances than you could on foot. Experience dramatic routes and exotic terrain, stop wherever the mood takes you to drink in the views or spot wildlife, and enjoy excellent weather conditions: there are many attractions to exploring Latin America on two wheels.
Many hotels will happily lend you a bike for the day, but if you want something more intensive you could consider a day or two of adrenaline-pumping mountain biking, or a longer biking trip – for example in Peru’s Sacred Valley or the volcanic lands surrounding Quito, Ecuador.
If you just can’t get enough of skiing or snowboarding, we’ve got an idea to tide you through the summer snow drought! For a summer holiday packed with winter sports head to the south of Argentina or Chile for a range of sophisticated resorts. Where else could you combine skiing and desert – a surreal but satisfying choice.
South America’s abundant snow and ice holds other possibilities too – why not try ice trekking over a sprawling blue glacier? Perito Moreno glacier is the icy giant of Patagonia and the perfect place to try this thrilling outdoor pursuit.
Join shoals of hammerheads in the Galápagos, or spot turtles and parrotfish in crystal-clear Caribbean waters... there’s a whole world to be discovered beneath the waves. Latin American waters host colourful coral reefs; a theatre of sea life – even an underwater sculpture museum in Mexico.
Much of this vibrant scenery can be viewed with nothing more than a snorkel and mask, but if you are a keen diver you won’t want to miss the world-renowned Galápagos Islands. Some boats offer the opportunity of a day’s diving organised by a separate local operator, while there are a small number of boatswith their own diving license, offering diving-only itineraries for those with plenty of experience.
Belize is home to the second largest reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef, and its legendary Blue Hole is another dream destination for divers.
Unique adventure sports and activities
The ideas above are far from the only exciting activities possible in Central and South America. For a truly unique experience, you could try taking in the view over Rio’s incredible coastline, punctuated by stylish neighbourhoods, extraordinary rock mountains and rainforest from the bird’s eye vantage point of a hang glider. Alternatively you might like to zip wire through a jungle canopy alive with wildlife in the natural treasure trove of Costa Rica. Perhaps abseiling is more your thing, you love to play polo or you’re keen to try to learn a new skill such as surfing. Whatever you love to do, Latin America could be your perfect playground – the possibilities are endless!