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5 Hiking Trips for the Non-Avid-Hiker

About a year ago I wrote a blog post called, “To hike or not to hike.” In that blog post, I talked about how I did not enjoy hiking and didn’t understand the appeal of it at all and just couldn’t really get into it. Well here I am a year later writing about some hiking trips…. okay they are hiking trips for the maybe less than avid hiker but, they are hiking trips nonetheless.

 Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile

I have come such a long way in the last year and I don’t just mean geographically. After buying a pair of hiking shoes when I was 16, I never ever wore them, I ended up selling them or giving them away completely unused.

The Proper Shoes

Well when I decided to go to South America, hiking shoes were non-negotiable. I knew I would need them and so I set off to my local REI to find a pair I didn’t absolutely hate. I actually found a pair of Keens that were so comfortable and would be good walking shoes as well. They felt weird on my feet at first, like my feet were wrapped in some sort of hard armor, stiff, strong, heavy. I felt like I was walking like a clown, whose feet were too big for his body.

It took me a while to get used to them and essentially break them in but once I did that was pretty much all I wanted to wear while traveling around South America. They are super comfortable and great for hiking or even walking for hours around a city! Needless to say, I now love my hiking shoes and will keep them till they basically fall off my feet.

Growth!

While I still wouldn’t call myself a hiker per se, I can definitely say I have much more experience now than I did 8-9 months ago. I also would like to point out that whenever I looked up the different things to do in South America the hiking trips that would come up were all overwhelming big and terrifying.

What About the Rest of Us?

I had a hard time finding information on hiking trips for beginners. Everything I found seemed like it was for the die-hard hiker and backpacker and that is simply not me. I can confidently say now that I do enjoy a nice hike but maybe shorter less difficult ones. Who knows, maybe in another year I will be writing about the more advanced trails I will do. lol

In struggling to find the information I so longed to read about pre-trip, I decided to write about it post-trip. I collected my top 5 less difficult hiking trails or trips that can be done around South America. You don’t need to be a pro to do go to these trails or paths!

 Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
 Overlooking the big Volcano on Isabela Island
Overlooking the big Volcano on Isabela Island
1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – Trails & Volcanoes

In the Galapagos Islands, you can do a couple of different things. First, on San Cristobal Island there are some trails that start at the interpretation Center. It took me to the top of a lookout point, it was a stunning view and the difficulty wasn’t too bad at all. I think it was around 2 hours long total, there and back. Just be sure to have plenty of water and lots of sunscreen.

The other option if you want something slightly more challenging but still not the worst thing ever, on Isabella Island there are Volcano hikes. You have to go with a guided tour and the walk can take anywhere from 5-6 hours depending on the speed.

The landscape was otherworldly and there was never a lack of things to observe. The tour provides lunch and a snack but take extra water. This hike was hard for me I would say simply because I was unprepared for a longer hike but the altitude was low and it wasn’t unbearably hot when we went, mostly because it was pouring rain but still better than the heat. lol

 Cocora Valley Wax Palms, Colombia
Cocora Valley Wax Palms, Colombia
2. Cocora Valley, Colombia – Wax Palms

I debated adding this one to the list due to the fact that this walk is part of a larger hiking trail that I did find to be extremely difficult in part due to the altitude. However, if you aren’t looking to do the whole trail, you can start the trail from the left and hike up through the wax palms and then hike back down the same way.

If you keep taking the loop, this trail quickly becomes an all-day event that was a high level of difficulty, for me anyway. But trekking to the Wax palms was really cool and honestly, it was my favorite part of the whole trail anyway. Definitely worth checking out!

 The top of Waynapicchu and Machu Picchu, Peru
The top of Waynapicchu and Machu Picchu, Peru
3. Hiking around Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is exquisite and regardless of the crowds there I found it easy to see why this place is a wonder of the world. The mystical mountains it is surrounded by can convert almost anyone into a hiker as all I could think about was what other secrets or hidden treasures did they hold and could I find them, ya know… Indiana Jones style!

Well, you don’t have to do the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trail in order to appreciate this beauty. Walking around Machu Picchu is a really low level of difficulty so if you want to spice it up a bit, you can purchase your tickets in advance to hike up Waynapichhu. That’s the mountain you see standing guard over Machu Picchu in all the photos.

This is a steep hike consisting mostly of stairs. I stopped many many times going up to catch my breath and try to cool down as I was completely drenched in sweat. I climbed all the way to the top straight through a layer of clouds but this trek was not for the faint-hearted as there are many places along the way that give you a view straight down and the stairs were a bit slippery in places.

It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the top and about 45 minutes to come back down. It was a bit more difficult but for a newb like myself, It was a satisfying accomplishment despite the fact that we couldn’t see anything but clouds at the top. lol

 Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
4. Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile – Shorter Trails

Patagonia! Patagonia seems to be like the mecca for hikers and outdoorsy people alike! I knew I wanted to visit but I also knew I am not a hiker in the sense that I would probably never do a 4-8 hiking/camping trail. Since that is the case I had a really hard time finding information on Torres del Paine and what the options were apart from doing to O or W circuit.

We went during their autumn and off-season so we rented a car as the buses don’t really run that often. There were a couple of places to stay in the park but we didn’t really know what to expect so we booked the cheapest one just hoping we would be able to see something while we were there. We were in for such a treat.

Torres del Paine actually had great roads around a good portion of the park. We drove in just in time to see the sunset and I don’t know if I have ever seen something so holy in my life. There are no words to describe the beauty of those painted skies and majestic mountains!

We spent one night and got up the next day to do some shorter hikes. There are between 4-5 that can easily be done on your own and in a timely manner. The difficulty levels change based on how steep they are but none are too long and each presenting you with breathtaking views of the surrounding areas.

I would give myself 2-3 days here if I were to do it again just to bask in the glory of Mother Nature. Yeah, I said it.

 Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
5. Perito Moreno Glacier, Calafate, Argentina – Glacier Boardwalks

The Perito Moreno Glacier is another location that I was surprised about how easy it was to see and there wasn’t a lot of hiking involved, mostly easy walking and all on what is essentially a boardwalk through part of the woods opening up into a sea of blue ice!

There are several different paths you can take that will range in length and difficulty level due to the stairs as well but none are absurdly difficult. Perito Moreno is actually outside the town of Calafate, Argentina and you can take a bus to get there or drive and park which is what we did. There is even a little coffee shop on-site that you can stop at to warm up and re-fuel.

I had no idea when I start researching it that it would be this easy to walk to the Glacier and see different angles of it. (of course, if you want an up-close look, you can take a boat ride or do a much more difficult trek on the glacier itself with a guided company.)

All in all, I was completely shocked at how there were plenty of options for hiking trips and seeing the sites without having to be a pro. Some of these may even exhaust you and stretch you beyond your comfort zone, I know they did for me but they are definitely worth it.

 Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina

Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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