The Best Camping in South America

Part 7 Of The Series: The Best Camping Around The World

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The Best Camping in South America is the final part in our series covering the best camping around the world.

Like the previous articles, we have rounded up the top travel experts to give us their take on the best outdoor adventures.

Below is a sampling of their experiences and their writing chops.

From the Peruvian Andes to a dormant Ecudadoran volcano, these are the best campsites in South America.

Choquequirao Archaeological Park

by Megan Anderson from Packing Up the Pieces

Pikiwasi Choquequirao Archaeological Park Megan Anderson from Packing Up the Pieces copy
Photo credit: Megan Anderson from Packing Up The Pieces

One of the best camping spots in the world can be found at the little visited Choquequirao Archaeological Park. This large site is considered to be the “Other Lost Inca City” and sees less than 20 visitors a day. 

What makes it so isolated and special is the challenging two day trek to reach the ruins. Pass by stunning viewpoints through a deep valley that follows a scenic river. There are a few tiny villages along the route, but the path is mostly deserted and peaceful.

This simple, yet epic campsite sits at the entrance of the Archaeological Park. There are basic cold, showers, toilets, changing rooms, and running water that needs to be filtered. 

Make sure to pack enough food because there won’t be any restaurants here. The campsite is included in the admission ticket to the park at S / 60 ($15 USD).

Set-up your tent on one of the many green spaces along the terraces and then go explore the fascinating Choquequirao ruins. This site is massive and it’s easy to spend at least two days here. 

Highlights include Pikiwasi, Unsu viewpoint, the Principle Plaza, Llama Terraces, and the House of the Waterfall terraces.

Adventure hikers can trek uphill to the Choquequirao pass, which continues all the way to Machu Picchu. The 9 day trek from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu has many wild campsites and untouched hamlets along the route. 

This trail is one of the most intrepid ways to reach the most famous landmark in all of Peru.


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Inca Trail, Peru

by Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

Photo credit: Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

The Inca Trail (or Camino Inca) is an ancient stone path through the Peruvian Andes – a road of steps that joined the citadel of Machu Picchu with the rest of the Inca Empire.  

Hiking the Inca Trail takes between 3 and 5 days (most people do it in 4), so you must camp along the trail.  

Your tour provider will arrange the tents and porters to carry food and cooking equipment (it is not possible to hike the trail independently, you must do it with a licences operator). As everything is carried up by foot, camping is pretty minimal.

Whilst the most spectacular Inca ruins and mountain viewpoints are typically in between campsites, the scenery surrounding the campsites is still wonderful.  

The first campsite most hikers stay at, Wayllabamba Camp, is surrounded by vertiginous mountains – quite a sight to wake up to!  

And the Pacaymayo Valley campsite sits in a valley that often fills with swirling clouds – again, a phenomenal sight to see first thing in the morning. 

Be warned, though: even at the campsites, the toilets along the Inca trail are pretty bad!  This is just one of the things you should know if you are preparing to hike the Inca Trail!


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Quilotoa, Ecuador

by Carley Rojas Avila from Home to Havana

Photo credit: Carley Rojas Avila from Home to Havana

Known as being the start of the famous Quilotoa Loop trek, one of South America’s most spectacular multi-day treks, the volcanic crater lake at Quilotoa, Ecuador is also a spectacular camping destination. 

Formed when the volcano imploded and left a bright blue and green crater lake behind, Quilotoa is one of the most jaw dropping, beautiful destinations in Ecuador.

Trek down into the volcanic crater, a relatively easy downward trek of around 45 minutes, and set up your tent and supplies at the edge of the lake. 

At the bottom of the crater you’ll find very basic services like a snack bar, but not much else, so make sure when hiking in you bring all that you’ll need for an evening stay. 

Come prepared for the cold – given the high altitude at Quilotoa, even with the crater walls blocking the wind, you’re in for a chilly evening.

Camping alongside the crater lake is a fantastic way to kick off or wrap up the multi-day trek through the surrounding mountains and countryside. Even for travelers looking for a quicker visit, camping at the bottom of the crater is a fantastic way to experience Quilotoa, and all of the beautiful perspectives on this natural wonder. 


Wrap Up

If these writers don’t get you inspired to explore the natural wonders of South America, I don’t know what would.

Hiking high into the Andes to bring you these posts takes a determination that could only be brought on by an unquenchable thirst for adventure.

We would like to thank these expert travel writers for allowing us a glimpse into their wanderlust and their writing prowess.

Be sure to explore more of their explorations by following the links to their websites. You will be amazed and inspired by their revelations around the world.

More Camping Guides

However, you don’t have to go just yet. You are in the perfect place to explore more great camping ideas.

This article merely wraps up the series: The Best Camping Around the World. Come on a trip around the world exploring the best each region has to offer in the camping world.

Part 1 started off with a bang with the ultimate bucket list camping. These are some of the most epic camping spots in the world and had to be categorized all by themselves: Antarctica, Bali, Nepal? Yemen?!

Then Part 2 went to the best camping in Canada. That was no small task since Canada goes from the Pacific to the Atlantic with a little mountain range called the Rockies in between.

We followed up with Part 3 covering the best camping in the United States. We had to do a lot of paring down to find the best of the best. And you’ll see these travel writers don’t disappoint.

Part 4 took us to the best camping in Europe. You can imagine how many spectacular campsites there is in Europe. From the Mediterranean to Iceland and from the beaches to the Alps, Europe has a lot to offer the adventurer in all of us.

And don’t miss our camping in Iceland article. We can’t seem to get enough of Iceland. If you love solitude in the outdoors, you will love camping in Iceland. We will show you the best spots to do just that.

And if you want to see how we pack whenever we plan a camping trip around the world, check out our post describing our Wild Packing Check List. (I wanted to title it: COFFEE – Plus 17 Other Things You Might Want To Take Camping If You Still Have Room; But Lillian vetoed that title)

Our wild camping checklist isn’t just for backpacking. But the simplicity of the list helps us to reduce what we pack so that we can fit it all on a plane and take our outdoor adventures around the world.

In fact, we have made our checklist into a downloadable PDF.

You can get your copy by signing up for our Wild Camping Checklist below!

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