Guinness World Records calls the Pan-American Highway the longest “motorable road” in the world. It runs 19,000 miles between Alaska in the north and Argentina in the south. (Only seven expeditions have successfully navigated the Darién Gap swampland that links North and South America. Everyone else sends their vehicle by ship or air around the 100-mile Darién Gap.)
It’s no wonder this highway beckons so many overland travelers. At any given time, there are hundreds of people following its course.
Having said that, no one actually sticks to the highway. The Pan-American is more of a guide, with overlanders taking detours along the way to the places that interest them personally.
Some people drive north to south, while others go in the opposite direction. For some, it’s important to cover the full Alaska stretch starting in Prudhoe Bay. But others are content to drive from Mexico south to Argentina. Everyone has their own budget and timeline. While one traveler may take years, another may only have 9-12 months to complete the journey.
We are overlanding the Pan-American Highway now. We skipped the Alaska portion for the time being, crossing the U.S. border to Mexico in October 2021. Nearly two years later, we have made it to the mountains of Peru.
It has been wonderful getting to know other Pan-American travelers. Some we have met in person, while others are in a completely different section of the highway. We can only watch their adventures via Instagram, but even that is great fun.
If you hope to meet fellow overlanders on the Pan-American, are preparing to begin the trip yourself, or just want great travel content, then you will love this list of Instagram accounts!
It was hard to decide how to organize this list. In the end, I decided to start with the overlanders on the north end of the Pan-American and work south. This organizational structure is loose, since it’s hard to keep track of exactly where everyone is all the time. In the end, it doesn’t really matter!
This article was originally published October 17, 2022.
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Jana is currently in Alaska, starting the trip to Argentina. Originally from Germany, she is an experienced traveler who plans to spend three years on the Pan-American. Her vehicle is a Fiat Ducato van she shipped over from Europe.
Birgit and Klemens are among the few on this list traveling south to north on the Pan-American. They hail from Austria and travel in what they call a Puch G (others of us know the vehicle as a G-Wagen). Their photos are full of stunning vistas, courtesy of the hardcore mountain climbing they’re always undertaking.
Norah and Susie came from Singapore to begin their Pan-American journey, purchasing their Ford Transit motorhome in Panamá. They drove north to Alaska and are beginning their return south to Argentina. These two were experienced overlanders before they arrived in the Americas (Asia and Europe), so they never shy away from a challenge and take everything in stride.
I’m fairly confident saying these five are the most experienced travelers on this list. Like us, they began as a full-time RV family in the United States…all the way back in 2008! That’s right, they’ve been traveling full-time for 15 years now. Amazing.
Their travels have taken them through 43 countries and the Pan-American Highway is their current adventure.
Canadians Susan and Hugh Northey started in Alaska and are currently in Guatemala with their Land Rover Defender, outfitted with a Four Wheel Camper. The trip began in June 2022 and is scheduled to continue until 2025.
Matthew and Stacey have the distinction of owning “the world’s first Land Cruiser Chinook” and it sure is a good-looking rig. They are currently somewhere in the vicinity of Honduras and regularly post cool photos of their truck in far-flung locations, off-road and on.
Canadian brothers Phil and Mike are currently in Central America with their Maltec Truck. Their sense of humor and low-key nature is always refreshing.
Andrew and Courtney Tsavo are currently in Colombia. Originally from the U.S., there are a lot of similarities between us! Their son is Caspian’s age and they also chose a Jeep Gladiator with an Alu-Cab Canopy Camper. Their landscape photography on Instagram is beautiful and inspiring.
Argentinian Pablo Imhoff is traveling south to north on the Pan-American on a small motorbike. He has been sharing videos on YouTube for more than a decade and just hit one million subscribers. Don’t be put off by the Spanish text on Instagram. That’s what the translate button is for! He is currently in Colombia heading for Alaska.
Sebastian Villanueva is also from Argentina and traveling on a motorcycle. He intends to drive around the world. I have really appreciated his posts lately because he is visiting Venezuela, a country most overlanders do not go to because of the political situation there. There is nothing like seeing the truth about a country’s people from someone who is actually there.
Leah and Travis recently shipped across the Darién Gap with their Tacoma truck and Alu-Cab tent. Per normal with this community, we’ve started conversing more as we get geographically closer to each other and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them better. They are dedicated to ethical travel, respecting the locals they meet and humbly seeking to understand. I love this ethos.
Sebastian and Diamond began their Pan-American trip in California and have traveled all the way to Ecuador so far. Their moving home is a Mercedes G-Wagen (my dream vehicle, but that’s another story). They plan to spend 2002-2024 completing the trek to Argentina.
With the largest rig on this list, Judith and Arthur are tremendously accomplished travelers. Since 2021 alone, they’ve been to 30 countries! They are currently in Peru and heading south.
Hey, it’s us! We’re a U.S. family that has been traveling full-time by vehicle since 2014. Our son Caspian was born to the road and doesn’t know any other life besides one of travel. In 2018, we discovered overlanding and crossed our first international border a few months later. We are traveling in a Jeep Gladiator with an Alu-Cab Canopy Camper. We expect to take three or so years to explore South America before shipping to Africa next. All told, we expect our drive around the world to last 10-15 years–the rest of our son’s childhood.
Tom (South African) and Ev (Canadian) are traveling in a Ford Ranger with a camper. They just returned to Lima after their first visit home in a year-and-a-half, eager to continue their journey south. We met in Panamá City where we were loading our trucks into containers on the same day at Overland Embassy.
These two always have thoughtful observations on culture and history, and generously share their experiences with fellow travelers.
Smriti and Kartik from India travel in an eye-catching 1977 Dodge campervan with their two pups. I’m still holding out hope that our paths will cross in South America. It’s always fun to see what shenanigans they’re up to.
Nick and Mathilde left their home in Europe in summer 2022 to begin a three-year drive around the world. They are traveling in an impressively-equipped Defender, creating beautiful photos along the way. They have driven from Alaska to Peru so far, with plans to visit Antartica at the end of the Pan-American. They caught up with us in Ecuador and it was so much fun to finally meet in person.
Cody and Olivia travel with their dog Roan in a 1985 HJ75 Landcruiser Troopy. They are currently in Peru and we were fortunate to meet them in Ecuador on their way south. They always have interesting and insightful observations to share about how travel is changing them (as it does us all).
Josh and Vanessa are driving from Canada to Argentina in their 1994 Toyota FJ80 Land Cruiser. They are currently in Uruguay, a country off the Pan-American Highway that many overlanders don’t visit.
Ferenc and Evelin are touring South America in a 4×4 Iveco Turbo Daily van. They are a joy to follow, with stories that always ring positive and transparent. We will miss them when they conclude their trip in a few months (even though we never met in person).
Their van will be for sale at the beginning of December 2023 in Uruguay, Argentina, or Chile–the location is flexible. Fly in, grab a home on wheels, and begin the adventure of a lifetime!
Richie, Abigail, and little Zoe have become dear friends because our paths have crossed in several countries. We even spent Christmas 2022 together in Bogotá! They are currently in Bolivia, planning to arrive in Patagonia around January 2024. This family has a gift for getting to know local cultures and people. It’s inspiring and beautiful to witness.
And if you’re interested in seeing what education looks like for international overlanders, Abigail runs an informative account called @roadschoolaroundtheworld.
Kilian and Marcia are from the Netherlands, traveling in a Mitsubishi L300 4×4 van. Along with their adventurous cat, Binkie, they have traveled south all the way to Bolivia. We met several times in Central America and shipped to South America around the same time.
Willow and Lee travel in a handsome Volkswagen Kombi van with two cats. Their Pan-American travels have taken them south to Bolivia.
Tom Marriott travels in a right-hand-drive Defender named Jerry. Originally from New Zealand, Tom’s trusty stead has carried him down to Bolivia so far.
Coen and Saskia from the Netherlands travel with their dog, Coby. They are in a VW Crafter van. They have two more months of traveling Chile and Argentina before they conclude their Pan-American journey. We’ve enjoyed all their photos and stories as we’ve trailed them down two continents.
Honorable mention: @overlandembassy
The Overland Embassy is a company in Panamá City that facilitates Darién Gap shipping for overlanders. Its Instagram account is a great way to discover who is overlanding the Pan-American Highway at the present moment. Plus, you’ll love the smiles of the travelers who are anticipating travel on a new continent. It’s a rush.