During our first month in South America, we’ve spent a lot of time trekking. Yeah, we’ve hiked our fair share of California and Colorado trails, but the altitude and unpredictable weather here has really done a number on us. We’ve gotten lost in the clouds and earned the blisters on our feet and the sunburns on our foreheads. There have been times when we brought too much water, and other times when we we carried not enough. We’ve run out of snacks 5 hours too soon and carried around cans of tuna for weeks on end for lack of can opener. We’ve had to adapt to a whole different set of hiking rules here, and it’s been quite the adventure. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned so far, it’s that you should always over prepare for trekking in South America. Most trails have taken hours longer than we initially expected, and bringing the right hiking snacks and equipment to keep us going has been essential.
Adapting to hiking snacks that are cheap, healthy, and readily available in South America has been a whole lot harder than you might expect. Headed trekking in South America? Don’t make the same mistakes we did. Here are some tips for hiking snacks, staying hydrated, and keeping your energy up during long treks.
Hiking Snack Ideas
While protein bars and trail mix are readily accessible at home, you’ll have to get more creative for treks in South America. Our favorite hiking snacks in South America have been:
- Peanut Butter (jars or pouches)
- Canned Tuna (easy open)
- Toasted Corn
- Instant Noodles
- Chia Seeds
- Cheese Wedges
Cost: Many hotels will offer bagged lunches for $4-$6. By bringing our own hiking snacks from the grocery store or local market, we’ve been able to keep our lunch costs down to about $2 per day. For multi-day treks, many hotels will offer reasonable board (dinner and breakfast) as an add-on so you don’t have to worry about packing all your meals.
Health: We tend to focus more on fiber and protein rather than calories when it comes to hiking snacks. Bring along foods that offer sustained energy and that will leave you feeling full.
You’ll want to have about .5 liters of water / hour of trekking. The morning before a trek, we drink 1 liter of water (it’s lighter to carry inside of you!) and carry a minimum of 2 liters each. Many towns along popular trekking routes sell water and soda, while some will sell none at all. The exact amount water you’ll need for your trek varies depending on climate, altitude, and rigor, so be sure to ask how accessible water is before setting off.A Little Something Extra: Before beginning trek, we mix Emergen-C with 4-6 oz of water and whatever local fruits we can get our hands on for a little bump in vitamins and electrolytes. We picked up a whole box of it at Walgreens before coming to South America, and have since mixed it with everything from passion fruit, to pittaya, to local specialties like naranjilla. With B vitamins, antioxidants†, electrolytes, and tons of vitamin C, it’s a pretty awesome way to get a good energy boost* without caffeine.We make ours like a virgin sangria with 1 Packet of Emergen-C, 6-oz of water, 1/2 lime, 1/2 fruit, and 1/2 cup berries, but there are tons of creative ways to use Emergen-C if you’re looking.
going trekking in South America? Check out a few of our favorite posts:
- A Get Outside Guide: Hiking Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador
- A Get Outside Guide: Trekking Laguna de Cuicocha, Ecuador
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Thanks again to Emergen-C and Walgreens for sponsoring this post. We only represent brands we use ourselves, and were excited to get this opportunity from so far away. Got any questions on hiking snacks or trekking in South America? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking for Emergen-C, here’s where you can find it at Walgreens:
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. †Vitamin C, Zinc and Manganese