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 many 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. One year later, we are in Panamá getting ready to ship our Jeep Gladiator to Colombia on Nov. 5, 2022.
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!
DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
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 completed the Alaska portion of the Pan-American Highway and just crossed into the Lower 48 United States.
See @nextmeridian.expedition on Instagram
Eva is a solo female overlander (now traveling with a dog named Vilk!) who has built a huge following on Instagram. Her captions are touching and thoughtful, as she reflects on the importance of travel and its impact on her growth as a person. She recently started traveling the Pan-American Highway from Alaska moving south. She’s also in a Defender, but with an Alu-Cab roof conversion.
Graeme Bell and his wife Luisa are no doubt the most experienced international overlanders on this list. Originally from South Africa, they first drove through the Americas many years ago with their two children (who are now adults). Those adventures along the Pan-American Highway have been chronicled in two books by Graeme, We Will Be Free (2015) and La Lucha (2017).
Now the Bells are back in Central America, this time with a completely different overland vehicle. I don’t think they are sure of their travel plans yet, but their posts are always half insight, half humor.
Norah and Susie recently shipped their Ford Transit motorhome from Singapore to begin their Pan-American journey. They are driving north to Alaska, then returning south to Argentina. These two are already experienced overlanders (Asia and Europe), so they never shy away from a challenge and take everything in stride.
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 two or three 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.
Like us, our friends and their cat Binkie are in Panamá, actively preparing to ship their vehicle down to South America. Their ship date is a little before ours. Kilian and Marcia are from the Netherlands, traveling in a Mitsubishi L300 4×4 van.
Richie, Abigail, and little Zoe have become dear friends because our paths have crossed in several countries. They are currently in Colombia, waiting for their truck camper to arrive by ship. They will be driving through South America for the next year, 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 recently started an informative account called @roadschoolaroundtheworld.
Celebrating three years on the road this year, Jason and Kara shipped to Colombia this past May. As far as I know, they’re still exploring Colombia. They originally started the Pan-American Highway in Alaska, and you can see it all on YouTube.
Anouk and Raphi are an adventurous Swiss couple overlanding the Pan-American Highway in a Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ 78. We got to meet them in Guatemala and now they’re in Guyana, a South American country most people skip! We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from their posts.
Willow and Lee travel in a Volkswagen Kombi van with two cats. Their Pan-American travels have taken them through Mexico and Central America, and now into South America.
Birgit and Klemens are the only ones on this list traveling south to north on the Pan-American, other than @2travellingaunties. 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’ve achieved.
Belgian couple Wouter and Ine are currently in Peru. You may have guessed from their Instagram handle that they’re traveling in a Land Cruiser Troopy! We met in Guatemala back in April and have watched their travels with interest ever since then. Their South American photos have been incredible.
Snow and Curt are also traveling in a van, but they are farther south in Brazil! Like us, they also have a global trip planned, with Africa coming up in 2023 if all goes as planned.
Lara and Jimi are originally from the Netherlands, and they have been traveling from the U.S. to Argentina in their truck camper. They are wrapping up their travels and plan to return home to Europe by Christmas.
You may recognize these friends from our article on full-time international overlanding families. Most recently, they shipped their big blue truck to eastern Canada and started driving west. They’ve been plagued by mechanical difficulties since rolling off the boat, but they’ve managed to confront their challenges with characteristic resolve. I’m not exactly sure where they are right now, but my gut says they are close to starting the Pan-Am if they haven’t already.
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.