Top 10 Famous Mountains In South America

The South American continent is dominated by the amazing mountains of the Andes mountain, the longest mountain range on any continent on the planet. It’s part of the so-called American Cordillera, a continuous chain of mountain ranges that runs from north to south across the Americas.

This also makes it less than surprising that just about all of the most famous mountains in South America are located in the western part of the continent, including the highest mountain outside of Asia.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most amazing mountains in this part of the world.

1. Aconcagua

Aconcagua is the mountain peak we referred to when we mentioned the highest mountain peak outside of Asia. This beast reaches an elevation of 6,960.8 meters (22,837 feet) above sea level which also makes it the highest mountain in both the Western Southern Hemispheres.

It’s located in the Principal Cordillera of the Andes Mountain range and in the province of Mendoza in the western central part of Argentina. This majestic mountain used to be sacred for the Inca culture and climbing is relatively easy when approaches from the north.

Most famous mountains in South America Aconcagua
Aconcagua / Beatriz Moisset /

2. Chimborazo

Chimborazo is an inactive volcano and one of the most famous mountains in South America for a very special reason. When measured from the earth’s center, it’s actually the highest point on the planet, even though it’s much shorter than Mount Everest in the Himalayas at an elevation of 6,263.47 meters (20,549.4 feet) above sea level.

The mountain is located in Ecuador and is the highest peak in the country as well, even though it’s only the 39th-highest mountain in the Andes. The proximity to the Equator explains why it’s the highest mountain in the world when measured from the earth’s center instead of from above sea level.

Chimborazo South America
Chimborazo / David Torres Costales /

3. El Panecillo

Even though most of the amazing mountains in South America in this list are incredible, often snow-covered peaks, El Panecillo is actually nothing more than a hill. The location of this small mountain is what makes it so special though because it’s located in the city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

This hill of volcanic origin reaches an altitude of 3,016 meters (9,895 feet) above sea level and provides some of the most amazing views of Quito imaginable. It’s also topped with a huge statue called the “Virgen de Quito,” something that definitely adds to the magic of this city hill.

El Panecillo in Quito
El Panecillo in Quito / Wiki Commons

4. Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi is a perfectly shaped and snow-covered active volcano in the Andes mountains. It’s located in the Cotopaxi Province of Ecuador, not too far from the city of Latacunga. This is in the northern central area of the country and about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Quito.

This amazing volcano reaches an elevation of 5,897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level which makes it the second-highest mountain in Ecuador after Chimborazo. It’s also one of the highest volcanoes in the world and quite an active one as well, having erupted over 50 times already since 1732 and the last one happening between August 2015 and January 2016.

Cotopaxi South America
Cotopaxi / Wiki Commons

5. Ojos del Salado

Ojos del Salado is officially the highest active volcano in the world as it reaches an elevation of 6,893 meters (22,615 feet) above sea level. This is only slightly shorter than Aconcagua as well which means it’s the second-highest mountain in the Western and Southern hemispheres.

Its located on the border of Argentina and Chile, not too far away from the Atacama Desert. This means that the mountain is located in a very arid region so it’s not always covered in snow, regardless of its extremely high altitude. The landscape around the mountain resembles that of Mars, which is why Mars expedition simulations have taken place here.

Ojos del Salado South America
Ojos del Salado / Sergejf /

6. Monte Fitz Roy

Monte Fitz Roy is one of the most distinctive mountains in South America. It’s situated in the Patagonia region, west of the Patagonia Desert and right on the border of Argentina and Chile. This particular region is referred to as the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the second-largest of its kind outside of the Polar regions.

The mountain is situated in a mesmerizing landscape, surrounded by glacial lakes. Monte Fitz Roy is therefore considered to be the ultimate symbol of the Sant Cruz Province of Argentina in which its located. The mountain was named after a British officer of the Royal Navy named Robert FitzRoy who explored the region in the 19th century.

Monte Fitz Roy
Monte Fitz Roy / Todor Bozhinov /

7. Huascarán

Huascarán is another one of the famous mountains in South America that reaches an extremely high altitude. It’s the highest point in Peru with a height of 6,768 meters (22,205 feet) above sea level and is located in the central part of the country. It’s the centerpiece of the Huascarán National Park which encircles the mountain.

Even though it’s not the highest mountain in South America, it does hold a remarkable record as it’s the highest mountain in the Tropics, the region around the world’s Equator. It’s also a remarkable mountain for featuring two extremely voluminous peaks, with the southern peak being the highest.

Huascarán / Wiki Commons

8. Monte Pissis

While Huascarán is the fourth-highest mountain in the Western and Southern hemispheres, Monte Pissis is slightly higher which makes it the third-highest. This is an extinct volcano located on the border of the La Rioja and Catamarca provinces in the northwestern part of Argentina.

The mountain reaches an elevation of 6,792 meters (22,283 feet) above sea level and features an amazing glacier, a unique feature in the region because it’s also located in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest areas on the planet. The mountain was named after Pedro José Amadeo Pissis, a French geologist who worked for the Chilean government in the 19th century.

Monte Pissis
Monte Pissis near the summit / Wiki Commons

9. Misti

Misti is a composite volcano in southern Peru and is locally known as “Putina” or “Guagua Putina.” It’s an active volcano that erupted for the last time in the year 1985 and is located in the vicinity of Arequipa, the second-most Populus city in Peru.

The volcano stands 5,822 meters (19,101 feet) above sea level and even though it’s active, it’s a popular mountain for climbers. It features multiple climbing routes and several camps are located on the flanks of the mountain as well. The crater of the volcano is quite remarkable as well as it features 3 separate, yet concentric craters.

El Misti Arequipa
El Misti from Arequipa / Ky /

10. Mount Corcovado

All of the mountains in our list with the most famous mountains in South America so far are located in the Andes in the western part of the continent. We couldn’t complete this list without including one situated in the eastern part, namely Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro.

This majestic peak overlooks the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro below at an elevation of 710 meters (2,330 feet). The mountain is world-famous for featuring one of the greatest monuments in the world, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the ultimate icon of the city.

Corcovado RIo de Janeiro
Mount Corcovado / Wiki Commons