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8 Highest Mountains in South America You Should Explore

South America is a continent of natural beauty and home to some of the world’s highest mountains. These peaks offer an irresistible allure for adventurers and nature lovers. These eight highest mountains in South America should be on your bucket list in 2024 because each mountain presents a unique challenge and a chance to immerse yourself in various cultures. So, gear up for an unforgettable journey as here are all the details of the 8 highest mountains in South America. Remember to learn all precautionary measures before planning your visit. 

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Top 8 Highest Mountains in South America 

  • Aconcagua, Argentina
  • Ojos Del Salado, Argentina/Chile
  • Monte Pissis, Argentina
  • Huascaran, Peru
  • Cerro Bonete/Bonete Chico, Argentina
  • Nevado Tres Cruces, Argentina/Chile
  • Mercedario, Argentina
  • Yerupaja, Peru

1- Aconcagua, Argentina

Aconcagua, located in Argentina, is the highest mountain in South America. Its height is 6,961 meters (22,841 feet) above sea level. Of all the mountains in South America, Aconcagua has the highest death rate. It is also known as the “Mountain of Death”. 

Aconcagua’s snow-capped summit is visible from miles away. The mountain’s slopes are also dotted with glaciers and rocky outcroppings. Despite its formidable reputation, Aconcagua has become a popular tourist attraction among adventurers.

One of the most famous tourist spots in the area is the Horcones Lagoon, a serene body of water that reflects the majestic form of Aconcagua. The lagoon is a popular spot for photography.

If you are looking to indulge in the history of Aconcagua, you must visit the Aconcagua Museum in the town of Uspallata. The museum showcases the history, culture, and ecology of the region.

2- Ojos Del Salado, Argentina/Chile

Ojos del Salado is situated on the border between Argentina and Chile. Standing an incredible 6,893 meters (22,615 feet) above sea level, it is the second-highest mountain in South America.

The name “Ojos del Salado” translates to “Eyes of the Salty One,” which is derived from the salt flats and lagoons found on the slopes of the mountain. The mountain’s unique geological features include a large crater lake, known as Laguna del Negro Francisco. This lake is the highest permanent body of water in the world. 

Ojos del Salado is a popular destination for adventure seekers and mountaineers due to its accessible and relatively easy climb, except for the final stretch to the summit, which requires rock climbing skills and endurance. 

Ojos del Salado also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the Andes mountain range and the Atacama Desert. The nearby town of Copiapó in Chile offers a variety of accommodations, including mountain huts and camping sites. 

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3- Monte Pissis, Argentina

Monte Pissis is an extinct volcano located in the La Rioja and Catamarca provinces of Argentina. It is the third-highest mountain in South America, with an elevation of 6,792 meters (22,283 feet). The Monte Pissis was named after French geologist Pedro José Amadeo Pissis

Its remote location, approximately 550 km north of the famous Aconcagua, offers a unique experience. The Atacama Desert’s severe and arid conditions define the mountain’s surroundings, but it also has a large glacier on its northern slope, a rarity in the region.

While the summit of Monte Pissis may be the primary draw for mountaineers, the area surrounding the mountain is home to several natural attractions that are well worth exploring. For example, Laguna Verde and Laguna del Diamante. These two stunning lakes, which are close to the mountain’s foot, provide a peaceful contrast to the rough landscape.

4- Huascaran, Peru

Huascarán, the mountain in Peru, is the fourth highest mountain in the South American region. Its impressive height of 6,768 meters (22,205 feet) above sea level makes it the highest point in Peru. Located in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, this natural wonder is a must-visit destination. 

In 1932, a joint German-Austrian expedition became the first to reach the summit of the peak, which is now an internationally renowned climbing destination. Although the climb is regarded as quite difficult, the spectacular views at the summit make the effort rewarding.

The Huascarán National Park, which surrounds the mountain, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. The park is home to the iconic Andean condor, spectacled bear, and vicuña. In recent years, Huascarán has gained huge international recognition by hosting the Downhill Skateboarding World Circuit.

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5- Cerro Bonete/Bonete Chico, Argentina

Cerro Bonete, also known as Bonete Chico, is located in the Argentine province of La Rioja. It is the fifth-highest mountain in South America, with a height of 6,759 meters (22,175 feet).

The mountain’s peak is situated in the Parque Nacional Talampaya, an area known for its unique rock formations and diverse wildlife. The nearby Laguna Brava is a popular spot for birdwatching, with flamingos and other species calling the lake home.

This region offers rich traditions and customs. From delicious local cuisine to folklore music and festivals, there is always something new to discover. The annual La Chaya party in February is a highlight of the region’s cultural calendar, with its lively music and dancing captivating visitors from all over the world.

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6- Nevado Tres Cruces, Argentina/Chile

Nevado Tres Cruces is situated on the border of Argentina and Chile, with an elevation of 6,748 meters (22,175 feet) above sea level. This volcanic giant is part of the Andes mountain range and is known for its glaciers. 

The mountain has a history of volcanic activity, with the last recorded eruption dating back around 22,000 years ago. It has been an important landmark for indigenous communities for centuries, and its name is derived from the Spanish phrase “Tres Cruces,” meaning “Three Crosses.”

Climbing Nevado Tres Cruces requires technical mountaineering skills and a good understanding of the terrain. The climb typically involves traversing glaciers and navigating steep ridges. 

On the other hand, Nevado Tres Cruces National Park, situated near the mountain, was established in 1994 to protect and preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region. 

7- Mercedario, Argentina

Mercedario is one of the highest mountains in the South American Region, with an impressive height of 6,720 meters (22,050 feet) above sea level. 

On January 18, 1934, Adam Karpiński and Wiktor Ostrowski, who were part of a Polish expedition under the leadership of Konstanty Jodko-Narkiewicz, made the first summit of Mercedario. In 1983, an expedition from Gorizia was able to explore the southwest ridge, which is the most difficult trail on the mountain. 

One of the most popular tourist spots in the area is the nearby town of San Juan, which serves as a base for many mountaineering expeditions and offers a range of accommodation options and amenities for visitors.

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8- Yerupaja, Peru

Yerupaja is located in the beautiful country of Peru. It is the eighth-highest mountain in South America. It stands tall at an impressive height of 6,635 meters (21,768 feet), making it the second-highest peak in Peru. 

The mountain is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, including crystal-clear lakes, lush meadows, and wildflowers. It’s a paradise for travelers. 

The summit, which is the highest point in the watershed of the Amazon River, was first climbed by Jim Maxwell and Dave Harrah in 1950. On the other hand, Wellington Roger Bates and Graeme Dingle reached the summit’s northern peak, Yerupajá Norte, in 1968.

The most popular route to the summit is the southwest face, and the approach typically begins from Huaraz, moving southward through Chiquián and Jahuacocha.

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10 Steps You Must Follow Before You Plan Your Adventure 

Visiting the highest mountains in South America can be a thrilling experience, but it requires careful preparation to ensure safety and enjoyment. Here are ten preventive measures to consider.

  • Research the mountain’s weather patterns and potential hazards such as avalanches, rockfalls, and extreme winds.
  • Plan your trip during the best climbing season.
  • Ensure you have the necessary physical conditioning and climbing skills for the mountain you plan to climb.
  • Consult with a doctor about altitude sickness and any necessary medication, such as Acetazolamide (Diamox).
  • Acclimatize to the high altitude by spending a few days at lower elevations before ascending.
  • Bring necessary gear, including crampons, ropes, and appropriate clothing for extreme weather conditions.
  • Plan for emergencies by bringing a first aid kit, a satellite phone, and a personal locator beacon.
  • Inform your family and friends of your itinerary and expected return time.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions by packing layers and waterproof gear.
  • Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them effectively in case of a navigation emergency.

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The top 8 tallest mountains in South America serve as an example of the continent’s spectacular geology. From the towering Aconcagua to the active volcano Ojos del Salado, each peak offers a unique experience for climbers and nature enthusiasts. Monte Pissis, Huascaran, Cerro Bonete/Bonete Chico, Nevado Tres Cruces, and Mercedario are also famous for adventure and climbing.

These mountains are not only incredible in their height but also rich in history and cultural significance. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or simply looking for a thrilling adventure, the highest mountains in South America offer unforgettable experiences. 


1- Which South American Country has the Highest Mountains?

Argentina has the highest mountains in South America, with Aconcagua being the highest peak.

2- Which is the Highest Mountain in South America?

Aconcagua, located in Argentina, is the highest mountain in South America. Its height is 6,961 meters (22,841 feet) above sea level.

3- Why is Aconcagua Famous?

Aconcagua is famous for its highest death rate. It is also known as the “Mountain of Death”. 

4- What is the Best Time to Visit Mountains in South America? 

Mid-to late-April is the ideal time to view the mountains because it’s after the rainy season and the greenery is at its peak.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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