13 Extreme Adventures to Have in South America

Tungurahua Volcano
Robert Frerck/Getty Images

This beautiful continent is filled with spectacular natural scenes and some of the most peaceful areas that you can find anywhere in the world, but every now and again it is good to get the adrenaline flowing too!

There is certainly no shortage of adrenaline activities to enjoy in South America, and whether you prefer yours in the air, on the water or mainly on the ground, you will find plenty of options. To give you some inspiration, here are some of the most popular extreme sports in South America.

  • 01 of 13

    Kite Surfing on Coche Island

    Just off the coast of Venezuela, Coche Island is an amazing tourist destination and has many of the features that you would expect from a Caribbean paradise.

    However, for those beaches on the west of the island, the consistent breeze coming in from the ocean not only provides a respite from the hot temperatures but also provides amazing kitesurfing conditions.

    Regularly hosting international competitions, Coche is a great destination whether you are a novice or an expert, and has plenty of other facilities and pleasant resorts for a wonderful stay too.

  • 02 of 13

    Diving With Hammerhead Sharks in the Galapagos

    The distinctive face of the hammerhead shark is one of the great wonders of nature, and in the waters around the Galapagos Islands, there are some of the best diving spots for encounters with these majestic marine animals anywhere in the world.

    Being surrounded by hundreds of these sharks is perfectly possible in the Galapagos, with the waters off Darwin Island and Wolf Island particularly good. The highest population of hammerhead sharks is found in the area in the summer months, with June often seeing large schools present, although this is an experience not for the faint-hearted.

  • 03 of 13

    Mountain Biking on a Volcano In Banos

    Tungurahua Volcano
    Robert Frerck/Getty Images

    Tungurahua is the volcano that overlooks the town of Banos in the Ecuadorean highlands, and it is a destination that has developed a reputation as the adventure sports capital of the country.

    Organized tours will usually take you up the slopes of the mountain by minibus, allowing you to enjoy the downhill descent on the slopes, which offers some great chances to build up some speed.

    There are several routes down, so speak to the local guides, and choose an adventure that suits your level of experience on a mountain bike.

  • 04 of 13

    Paragliding Over the City of Lima

    The Miraflores Cliffs in Lima are right at the heart of the city, and on most days you will see quite a few people taking off from these cliffs and soaring above the city as they ride the wind currents and enjoy spectacular views.

    For novices, you can take a paragliding course in tandem with an instructor, and the feeling as you rise on the winds up above even the skyscrapers of the city is pretty spectacular. This is one of the few chances you will get to enjoy such a stunning aerial view of a major city such as Lima.

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  • 05 of 13

    Go Skydiving Over Sao Paulo

    The good weather that is common in the Sao Paulo area means that it is a good skydiving location as the weather doesn't affect as many jumps as it can do elsewhere in South America. While most skydives are from around 15,000 feet to give the maximum amount of free fall, Clear skies mean that as you are plummeting towards the ground, you may get the chance to enjoy the view over the region. One thing is certain: you will appreciate it once the parachute is deployed. This is a fantastic experience and one that will live with you for a lifetime.

  • 06 of 13

    Bungee Jump in Action Valley, Peru

    Plunging over a hundred and twenty meters through the air is an amazing experience, but seeing the ground rushing towards you only adds to the adrenaline rush that taking a bungee jump will give you.

    The scenery in this steep-sided valley that is just a short distance from Cusco is beautiful, not that you will get the chance to pay too much attention as you plunge through the air here, although stepping out of the cabin does take a fair amount of bravery.

  • 07 of 13

    Walk Through the Jungle to Ciudad Perdida

    This lost city is one of the most remote tourist destinations in Colombia, and when it comes to extreme adventures in the region, then this four-day hike through the Colombian jungle does provide plenty of challenges.

    As you venture farther away from the beaten track, you will enjoy the wildlife and the surroundings, while the final ascent up hundreds of stairs to the hilltop city will test your fitness.

    However, as you gaze out over the surrounding mountains from the cleared platforms of the city built by the Tairona people, the true beauty of the region can be appreciated.

  • 08 of 13

    Go Ice Climbing on Alpamayo in Peru

    When it comes to ice climbing, Alpamayo is one of the most attractive prospects in the world with a steep sheet of ice that rises beautifully up towards the sky in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.

    The climb is challenging, so this is one for the experts, but the rewarding scenery and experience are almost unrivaled.

    The views of the steep white ice faces are truly lovely, but if you don't have the experience to climb Alpamayo, there is also a beautiful hiking circuit that takes you around the mountain.

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  • 09 of 13

    Ride the Infamous Death Road of Bolivia

    Death Road in Bolivia
    Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    One of the most surprising attractions in Bolivia is also one of its most notorious, with the cliff side road once being hailed as the most dangerous road in the world.

    Since an alternative route was built the traffic on the 'Death Road' has reduced, and it is now one of the most exciting mountain biking routes in the region.

    There are no barriers on the side of the road, with a steep drop off to the side and it is still used by some vehicles, so it is worth being cautious as you circle the twisting bends along this spectacular cycling route.

  • 10 of 13

    Hike to the Highest Point Outside of Asia on Aconcagua

    Aconcagua is a mountain in the Mendoza province of Argentina and is the highest mountain outside Asia. One of the most attractive factors here is that Aconcagua is not a technically difficult mountain to climb. The most challenging factor is that it stands at 6,961 meters above sea level, meaning you need to acclimate to the height if you don't want altitude sickness.

    Fitness and determination make this a realistic prospect, but it is worth joining an organized group to help ensure you can enjoy a great hiking experience.

  • 11 of 13

    White Water Rafting on Chile's Rio Futaleufu

    Believed to be one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world, the Rio Futaleufu is a stunning river flowing through the Andes, and featuring some dramatic Grade III, IV and V rapids that will challenge even experienced rafters.

    The length of the river means that you can enjoy trips of three or four days of rafting along the river, while the region also has some lovely eco-camps and lodges along the route where you can stay in comfort.

  • 12 of 13

    Enjoy the Windsurfing in Jericoacoara, Brazil

    In the northeast of the country on a beautiful stretch of coastline, Jericoacoara is a stunning destination whether you enjoy windsurfing or not. If you do the reliable wind that comes in from the Atlantic is ideal for windsurfing.

    You can enjoy warm waters that are perfect for getting your thrills windsurfing, while those who travel with you can also enjoy the stunning surroundings on the beach and the excellent social life in the town too.

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  • 13 of 13

    Snowboarding Down the Steep Slopes of Portillo

    A two-hour journey from the capital Santiago, Portillo is the best winter sports resort in Chile. The dramatic yellow hotel at the base of the valley is one of the most iconic places to stay in South America, with a lovely open-air hot tub to enjoy after a day on the slopes.

    The terrain here is challenging and steep, meaning it is best suited for intermediate and experienced boarders, with some particularly rewarding routes for the best boarders. The steep slopes also mean that there are plenty of high-speed thrills to be enjoyed here too.