7 Most Dangerous Things to Do in South America

Death Road in Bolivia
(c)Matthew Straubmuller

One of the most interesting aspects of tourism over recent years is that increasing numbers of people actually want to enjoy an adventure during their vacations, rather than just the opportunity to relax for two weeks on an attractive beach.

Fortunately, there are plenty of South Americans who enjoy getting a thrill too, and there is a wealth of different adrenaline activities in the country that are worth trying.

If you are looking for something that has a little more risk to it than just sipping on a Caipirinha, then here are some ideas to inspire you to plan your next visit to South America.

Mountain Biking on Death Road in Bolivia

This road was made famous after being featured in the TV show Top Gear. Death Road, or the Yungas road is a fearsome sixty kilometer stretch between La Paz and Coroico. The majority of Death Road travels midway up a cliff face, with no fences on the side to protect anyone straying towards the edge.

With another route now in place, the vehicle traffic on the road has reduced significantly, but it has become a popular mountain biking route, which certainly shouldn't encourage people to ride too quickly down this scenic and interesting trip.

Go Canyoning in Aguas Chiquitas, Argentina

The Aguas Chiquitas Natural Reserve is one of the most attractive places in the Tucuman region of Argentina, and the canyon here is famous for its steep sides and dramatic cliff faces that have been carved from the rock by the river.

Canyoning involves abseiling down those steep rock faces, and is then a combination of scrambling across rocks, leaping into deep pools and swimming through the river in an epic journey through Argentine countryside.

Wildlife Trekking in the Amazon Rainforest

One of the biggest attractions of the Amazon rainforest is the huge diversity in terms of the wildlife of the region, and these can include animals that are either poisonous or dangerous to people, such as anacondas, jaguars and piranha.

Some of the treks into the rainforest will include an evening of wild camping, and while the guides will keep people safe, there is certainly an element of danger in terms of surviving in such a hostile landscape.

Sandboarding in Chile's Death Valley

In northern Chile the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places in the world, and in the desert near the small town of San Pedro is a sandy valley known as 'Death Valley'.

This has become a bit of an attraction for thrill seekers, and if you are bold enough to start the slide down the slopes of the valley, you can see how quickly you dare to go, and remember that if you fall, the sand is very hot, and if you are traveling at pace it can leave you with some nasty friction burns too.

Climb Ojos Del Salado, the World's Highest Volcano

On the border between Chile and Argentina, high in the Andes, Ojos Del Salado is a stratovolcano that last erupted in the 1990s.

Summiting here will have a hike up to the top and will involve some scrambling over rocky slopes and some routes will require ropes, and the physical and mental challenge that comes of dealing with altitude. On your way to the peak, you will also pass a small crater lake, which is believed to be the highest lake in the world.

Diving With Sharks in Atol Das Rocas, Brazil

Around 160 miles off the coast of Natal, the tiny Atol das Rocas is largely only used for scientific purposes. Around this small coral island is a large population of fish that live around the coral, which led lemon sharks becoming resident there too to feed on the fish.

This experience is certainly not for the faint of heart, as schools of up to thirty sharks at a time can be found, and provide for a thrilling diving experience.

Play a Game Of Tejo in Colombia

Tejo is a game that is unlike any other, and essentially involves throwing a metal disk, fortunately from a distance, at a series of targets that are set with a small amount of explosive gunpowder, which explode on contact and makes it quite a loud sport.

Despite being rare elsewhere, Tejo is a sport that is popular throughout Colombia, and it is often a game played while enjoying a drink, but be careful not to imbibe too much as you play!