Chile — Torres del Paine National Park
When travelling to Chile, you won’t want to miss out on the breathtaking natural wonders of Torres del Paine National Park. Among those wonders, the famous Towers of Paine are a must see.
A perfect day hiking/trekking to sight these massive sculpted granite peaks starts with a hike along dirt trails that carry you through this region’s gorgeously rugged wilderness. As you head towards the valley, you’ll pass dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers. While the first bit of the hike is meandering and relaxed, the last two miles is a slightly more challenging scramble on foot, along steep and rugged terrain, to arrive at the base of the incredible Towers of Paine. The Towers will suddenly come into full view, rising majestically before you, the sparkling glacial lake visible below. This is certainly one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. The Torres del Paine granite monoliths, at 2,900 m/9,400 ft, have been carved away by the forces of glacial ice. Sitting beneath the spires is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch as you marvel at the intense power of the natural world.
BikeHike Adventures’ “On the Trail of Chile’s Patagonia” trip includes hiking Torres del Paine National Park
The highlights of travelling to Vietnam include not only the landscapes, but also the culture. Both of these highlights can be combined in an epic hike through the Sapa Valley.
The lush mountain range in Northern Vietnam is where you’ll find the Sapa Valley, an area rich with rice terraces and Vietnam’s most remote hill-tribes, including the colorful Dzao hill tribe. Trekking through the Sapa Valley with a local guide will allow you the opportunity to learn about these families and gain insights into their daily lives in this valley. The hike is somewhat challenging at times, as lo you may need to balance your weight on the ledges of the terraced rice paddies and a trail that traverses the steep mountainside. If you are lucky, you may be able to have lunch with locals. If not, dining on a packed lunch along the side of a stream or rice field is equally spectacular.
Ecuador – Mount Fuya Fuya
Fuya Fuya is located 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) south of the town of Otavalo. Hiking up this mountain will lead you to a spectacular view over one of Ecuador’s hidden gems, the Lagunas de Mojanda– three pristine crater lakes located at the base of the mountain. Mojanda, an inactive volcano of the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes in northern Ecuador, was last active 200,000 year ago.
A great hike to do starts from around 3,900m/14000ft and ascends to the summit of Fuya Fuya at 4,300m/14190ft. A typical area hike takes 2-4 hours and a typical hike is around 4km/2mi, making Fuya Fuya a very reasonable mountain hike, and a great introduction to the Andes before attempting even higher mountain peaks. When you reach the top though, the view of the collapsed crater of Mojanda is stunning and arguably one of the best views in Ecuador.
BikeHike Adventures’ “Andes to the Amazon” trip includes hiking Mount Fuya Fuya.
Panama – Amistad National Park
When most people think of Panama, they think about the Panama Canal, the massive manmade wonder of a canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. However, Panama boasts so much more than just this amazing canal. And a hike through Amistad National Park, Central America’s largest nature reserve, is an absolute must during a visit to Panama. Amistad National Park was carved out by Quaternary glaciers and tropical rainforests now cover most of the park. In this very special rainforest, you’ll discover more than 100 species of mammals, including many primates like the howler monkey and black handed spider monkeys, tapir, olingo and shrew. During a hike through the park, you may also witness extraordinary cultural diversity. Four distinct indigenous tribes continue to occupy the area, and archaeological sites suggest that this area has also been occupied by many millennia.
With the guidance of a local, a perfect hike lasts about three hours, taking you just deep enough into this wild paradise to experience its splendor. Wander across rustic bridges, past secondary forests and through extraordinary bamboo groves. Waterfalls and natural swimming holes provide refreshment from the heat and provide a perfect stop along the way.
BikeHike Adventures’ “Rumble in the Jungle” includes hiking in Amistad National Park.
Galapagos – Sierra Negro Volcano, Isabela Island
It’s nearly impossible to think about the Galapagos Islands without thinking about Charles Darwin’s legendary research and discoveries there.
Isabela island is the perfect place to hike around while marvelling at the land that inspired Darwin’s research, Isabela’s rich biodiversity being unparalleled. The island is home to more wild tortoises than any of the other Galapagos islands because these extremely slow moving turtles were unable to cross lava flows to the expand their territory.
Wild tortoises roam roam free across the island and can best be spotting when hiking through the calderas In fact, spotting these tortoises is often a highlight on any Galapagos trip. However, you’ll also have the opportunity to many other incredible forms of wildlife, including huge land iguanas, Darwin’s finches and many more. Along the west of the island, you’ll find the best place in all of the Galapagos for spotting whales and dolphins.
BikeHike Adventures’ land-based trip, “Galapagos Multi-sport,” includes hiking on Isabela Island.