Cross the Americas on an overland adventure from Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina

As far as ultimate American adventures go, this trip from Anchorage to Ushuaia ticks all the boxes. Spanning the length of the entire spine of the Americas, all the way from Alaska down to the tip of Argentina, this 207-day adventure is nothing short of epic. Starting in Anchorage, Alaska, the tour ventures down through Canada, then the USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and finally ends in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost city. Loaded with culture, history, architecture and bountiful nature, this incredible American adventure will leave you breathless. This exciting itinerary may be full of trekking up volcanoes, exploring vibrant cities, kayaking down emerald rivers, snorkelling over reefs and taking part in all manor of outdoor and cultural activities, but there is also a great balance of down time too, with beaches, forests and unspoilt nature to be enjoyed and relaxed in. So if you’re after a life-affirming, awe-inspiring and never-to-be-forgotten adventure, then this epic trip is it.

This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

Start
Anchorage, United States
Finish
Ushuaia, Argentina
Countries
Argentina,
Belize,
Bolivia,
Canada,
Chile,
Colombia,
Costa Rica,
Ecuador,
El Salvador,
Guatemala,
Honduras,
Mexico,
Nicaragua,
Norway,
Panama,
Peru,
United States
Themes
Overland
Code
SDOBC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22
Carbon offset
5 973kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Visit the Athabasca Falls, the most magnificent in the Canadian Rockies
  • Uncover geysers in the USA’s Yellowstone National Park
  • Tour of a tequila distillery in Mexico - ole!
  • Be taken on a guided tour of Guatemalan ancient ruins
  • Bask on Belize’s tropical island of Caye Caulker
  • Venture deep into El Salvador’s El Imposible National Park
  • Bathe in the Caribbean waters of Honduras’s Roatan Island
  • Encounter the volcano at Masaya, Nicaragua
  • Discover the Cloud Forest Reserve of Monteverde in Costa Rica
  • Get acquainted with Panama City
  • Feel the rhythm during a night of live Colombian music
  • Experience the beauty of the Ecuadorian rainforest
  • Spot condors at Peru’s Colca Canyon
  • Call shotgun in a jeep and set off across the salt flats of Bolivia
  • Explore and trek Chile’s rugged Torres del Paine National Park
  • Sip local wine and go whitewater rafting in Argentina

Itinerary

Enjoy free time to explore the delights of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.
Marvel at the sights and sounds of Kenai Fjords National Park, and witness the remarkable Portage Glacier.
Go grizzly-bear spotting on a guided tour of Denali National Park. Perhaps go on a scenic flight over Mount McKinley.
Contrast time spent in a traditional lodge with camping in among the wilds of the remote Alaskan wilderness.
Explore the walking trails, tranquil lakes, open grasslands and untamed beauty of Wrangell-St Elias National Park – the largest national park in the USA.
Wander through the small Alaskan town of Tok; a major centre for dogsledding. Don’t pass up the opportunity to view the renowned dog-sleigh exhibition.
Travel amid stunning scenery 300 kms along the ‘Top of the World Highway’ before entering Dawson City, Canada, which was once a hub of activity for gold prospectors.
The capital of the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse is a lovely town to explore and relax in, especially at the hot springs located just near camp.
Drive through the incredible British Columbian countryside before perhaps visiting the Signpost Forest near Watson Lake.
Take a day trip back into Alaska and try to spot Alaskan brown grizzly bears and black bears eating salmon.
Head into the famed Rocky Mountains, stopping for an awesome cultural experience at the Ksan Indian Village in Hazelton.
Arrive in Jasper amid amazing scenery. Choose to wander along some of the area's magnificent hiking trails or take the tramway in Whistler for awe-inspiring views over the mountains.
Located in the heart of the Rockies, Banff has excellent bars and restaurants, excellent hiking and heaps of exciting activities to discover.
Return to the USA, and stop off at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump to learn the history of America’s buffaloes en route to Glacier National Park, where amazing glaciers and world-class trekking await.
Make tracks to the famed Yellowstone National Park and its famous geysers while keeping eyes peeled for moose, bison, elk and grizzly or black bears.
Stopover at Grand Teton National Park, with its spectacular mountain scenery and range of exciting outdoor activities to be had. Then it’s off to Jackson Hole, the home of the rodeo!
The most populated city in Utah and the home of Mormon culture, Salt Lake City has some fascinating history and the beautiful Great Salt Lake to discover.
Visit the rocky scenery, countless canyons and meandering rivers of the Arches and Canyonlands national parks, both having perfect for mini-adventures and off-the-beaten-track exploring.
Arrive in the iconic Monument valley – the film set for countless Western movies. Spend the night in a traditional Navajo hogan.
Witness the Navajo National Monument before heading into Arizona to stay beside the impressive Lake Powell.
End a full day of driving by camping in beautiful Kodachrome Basin State Park.
Appreciate the dramatic-looking hoodoos at Bryce Canyon and discover the electrifying Zion National Park. Take to the trails for unsurpassed hiking or perhaps see its beautiful waterways by kayak or tube.
It’s off to Vegas for bright city lights, casino hopping and non-stop entertainment.
The awesomeness of the Grand Canyon can’t be described in words – it just has to be seen to be realised. Discover its magnitude on optional treks, walks or even from the skies.
Continue south through Arizona and set up camp near Phoenix.
Spend a final night in the USA camping at the border town of Nogales.
Say ‘hola’ to Mexico as the trip drives down the Pacific coast.
Hang ten in the surfing town of Sayulita, where beach camping offers the ideal opportunity to soak up Mexico's sun, surf and sand - and perhaps testing out any surfing prowess.
Taste the local tipple at Tequila, which has the smell of blue agave – from which tequila is distilled – hanging thickly in the air. Bottoms up!
As the gateway to the Paricutin Volcano, Angahuan is the perfect place from which to trek around – or up - this epic Mexican volcano.
With the world’s largest metropolitan area and home to some 20 million people – there’s plenty of action in Mexico City, whether it's making the most of the local heritage, indulging in culinary masterpieces, watching life go by in the Alameda Central or jumping into the nightlife.
Enjoy staying at a traditional posada. Take a look around the resplendent colonial city of Oaxaca before taking a guided tour around the Zapotec Ruins.
Stay in a family run hotel and enjoy a boat trip down the Sumidero Canyon during a stay in the lovely San Cristobel de las Casas.
An early start and full day's drive take us to Frontera Corozal.
Encounter the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan en route to Palenque, where the sight of this incredible, ruined city rising from the jungle is truly something to behold.
As the state capital of Yucatan, Merida boasts thriving markets and a bustling nightlife.
Reach the Caribbean Coast for some blissful camping on a remote beach near Xpu Ha. Then, venture to the alluring clifftop ruins of Maya-Toltec.
Wave goodbye to Mexico as a boat trip moves on to Caye Caulker in Belize. Relaxing to the max is compulsory on this idyllic Caribbean island.
Head to the Belize mainland, where there’s time to have a nosey around Belize City before moving on to San Ignacio – a beautiful town with lots of outdoor activities to enjoy or a place to simply relax.
Drive across to Guatemala and be dumbstruck by the Mayan ruins of Tikal, with its temples hiding among the tropical jungle.
Get to know what local life is like in Guatemala while spending time on a working farm in Poptun.
Soak up the unique Caribbean feel of the town and enjoy a splash in the local hot pools.
Jump aboard another boat and travel along the Rio Dulce to arrive in San Andres Itzapa where we spend the night at a community project assisting victims of domestic violence.
Soak up the atmosphere of Panajachel, which is situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan. Perhaps embark on an optional boat trip around the lake that takes in the surrounding villages. The following day, visit Chichicastenango and its fantastic, multi-coloured market.
Appreciate the last couple of days in Guatemala by delving into the charms and wonder of Antigua.
Ease into El Salvadorian life with a stay in the fishing village of Los Cobanos.
Experience amazing views of surrounding volcanoes and countryside in Cerro Verde National Park.
Wander the colourful streets of Suchitoto, which are lined cobblestone roads that lead to beautiful whitewashed houses.
Get up close to the ancient ruins of Copan, one of Honduras’s most striking Mayan sites.
Relax in the blissful, crystal-clear waters of Roatan Island, home to gorgeous beaches, intriguing mangroves and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Visit Lake Yojoa, where an overnight lakeside camp is the ideal opportunity to take in the surroundings.
Enter Nicaragua and head to the university town of Leon, peppered with derelict buildings and walls adorned with political murals and graffiti.
Experience the wondrous crater and lava flows belonging to the active volcano in the heart of the Masaya National Park.
Cross Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest lake, to Isla Ometepe, where two volcanoes, lush vegetation and a wide range of wildlife await.
See Arenal Volcano and marvel at this beautiful area's majesty.
Stay within the rainforest at Costa Rica’s Monteverde, and perhaps witness some of the diverse local flora and fauna during a visit to the Cloud Forest Reserve.
Sleep in cabins set within the jungle in Manuel Antonio National Park, embarking on jungle walks, relaxing on palm-lined beaches or swimming in cerulean waters.
Panama’s ‘wonderland’, Boquete, offers activities like rafting, hiking and volcano walks, as well as lush tropical forests.
An ideal opportunity to relax, swim in the lovely Pacific Ocean and camp by the beach before heading to Panama City.
Visit the Panama Canal with enough time left to explore the city’s colourful neighbourhoods and soak up the last of the Central American atmosphere.
Wander Cartagena's Old Town expecting to get lost. After all, the city was designed to outwit marauding pirates. With a labyrinthine of cobblestone alleyways and gorgeous colonial dwellings draped in bougainvillea, never before has getting lost been so pleasant.
Take a ferry across the Rio Magdalena to the historic town of Mompos.
Travel back across Rio Magdalena to Sincelejo.
Travel to Medellin, a city on the upswing, and make yourself at home among the myriad museums and vibrant local nightlife on offer. Perhaps venture out to the charming markets and quaint plazas of provincial Santa Fe de Antioquia.
Surrounded by rolling hills and a winding river network, the town of Guatape makes for a peaceful and scenic waterside retreat. Browse the stalls on the board walk, or climb the granite monolith of El Penon de Guatape for commanding views across the countryside.
Journey into the heart of Colombia's coffee country for a three-night stay at a traditional hacienda. Learn about the coffee making process on a plantation tour before sampling the region's famous beans at a city cafe.
Welcome to Cali – Colombia's unabashed party capital. Salsa the night away on a bar-hopping adventure through the city's hippest clubs, or relax plaza-side at one of the cafes of the bohemian San Antonio neighbourhood. If you'd like to brush up on your salsa sass, this is the place for a lesson.
Discover the whitewashed buildings and cordial vibe of Popayan's Old Town. Perhaps head out on a day trip to the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Purace National Park.
Explore the town of Ipiales and its impressive Santuario de Las Lajas – an ornate cathedral snuggled into a tight river gorge. Upheld as the site of many miracles and apparitions, its a hidden highlight of this magical country.
Journey across the spectacular high plateaus and deep ravines that characterise Colombia's border country into Otavalo, Ecuador. Peruse the array of bright textiles and colourful crafts on display at the town's famous indigenous markets.
Enjoy some free time in Ecuador's enthralling capital, Quito. Pop into the ornate churches of the Old Town for a dose of history, and dine out at one of the local eateries lining the plaza.
Enjoy some time exploring the upper Amazon Basin, one of the world's foremost hot spots of biological diversity. Trek deep into the jungle, witness caiman lounging on the shores and fall asleep to the nocturnal stirrings of the forest.
Camp in the lush Tungurahua Province and explore nearby Banos, famous for its hot springs and mountainous surrounds. In this stunning environment, optional activities abound - from horse riding to mountain biking and even whitewater rafting.
Witness spectacular views while driving along the winding Quilotoa Loop. Stretch the legs on a guided trek through stunning wilderness, before bunking down at the town of Chugchilan.
Travel to the beautifully preserved colonial city of Cuenca. Perhaps pick up an original version of the Panama hat on a visit to the local factory or just meander about the Old Town, admiring its quaint streets and shady plazas.
Nestled in a long bay on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Punta Sal is a haven of sun, surf and sand. Why not try your hand at some deep-sea fishing, saddle-up for a horse ride or book in for a salsa lesson.
Visit the Royal Tombs Museum to discover the amazing artefacts from the nearby archaeological site at Sipan. Pitch a tent at Huanchaco, home to the surfing fishermen, and watch these skilfull men bobbing among the waves while balancing on their narrow reed canoes. Spend a full day exploring the ruins of Chan Chan - the largest pre-Colombian city in South America - and stop by the temples of the Sun and the Moon.
Discover the colonial heart of downtown Lima or perhaps head to scenic Miraflores for a walk along the seafront boardwalks.
Leave the city behind and travel south along the coast of Peru. Pitch a tent in Paracas, which spans over 335,000 hectares and is one of the world's most important marine reserves. Take a walk along the coastline and spot the vibrant birdlife Paracas is famous for.
Spot penguins, sea lions and boobies during a boat tour through the Ballestas Islands. Learn about the mysterious sand images on a Nazca Lines tour and perhaps take an overhead flight to fully appreciate the scale of this puzzling creation.
The windswept graves at the Chauchilla Cemetery display the eerie skeletons and mummified bodies of the Nazca people, some of which date from 1,000 AD. Camp overnight near Puerto Inca.
Explore the scenic city of Arequipa and perhaps stop by the Museo Santury to view Juanita, the ice princess. The body of this frozen Inca maiden is thought to be more than 500 years old, and was found at a sacrificial site on the summit of Nevado Ampato.
Try to spot the mighty Andean condors as they silently take to the sky thousands of metres above the floor of the breathtaking Colca Canyon.
Get to know a local family as guests at a homestay in Raqchi. Spend the evening huddled around a crackling fire, sharing a meal, and discovering traditional Peruvian song and dance.
Arrive in the city set high city in the mountains of Peru, Cuzco. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with massive Inca stone walls and Spanish-colonial architecture. Perhaps enjoy a traditional dance performance or sign up for one of the many adventure activities on offer in Cuzco, including quad-biking and whitewater rafting.
Follow ancient footpaths through the Andes on a four-day alternative Inca trail trek that winds through traditional Quechua communities. Pass soaring mountain peaks, trek amid grazing herds of llamas and camp beside ancient forests. Meet the locals and discover lesser-known Inca pathways before descending into the Sacred Valley to explore the massive Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo.
Rise early to discover the ruins of Machu Picchu bathed in the golden morning light. Spend a memorable day in the 'lost Inca city', perhaps hiking to the Sun Gate for the breathtaking views. For those wishing to unwind post-trek, seek out bustling markets and cosmopolitan Cuzco cafes.
Spot the ancient funerary towers of Sillustani rising from the windswept antiplano. Spend the night in Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Sailing across the glassy surface of Lake Titicaca is a memorable experience. Hike around the car-free Island of the Sun and discover its scenic heart. This island is widely believed to be the birthplace of Inca culture - there are plenty of ancient ruins and traditional villages to explore here.
Arrive in La Paz and set off on foot to explore the myriad of winding streets. La Paz is a colourful, enigmatic city, packed full of markets, restaurants and cultural attractions.
Soak up the barren but impressive Andean landscapes en route to Bolivia's colonial mining town, Potosi. An optional tour of a working mine provides a fascinating, if somewhat hair-raising, insight into life in the region.
Gaze in awe at the seemingly endless expanse of Bolivia's largest salt flats before admiring the remarkable red waters of Laguna Colorada.
Journey towards the Argentine border, camping among scenery as spectacular as it is sparse.
Visit the extraordinary Moon Valley, home to stunning sunsets, other-worldly rock formations and awesome stargazing opportunities. Stay in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, where low-lying buildings hug narrow streets, surrounded on all sides by the huge dunes and salt-lake lagoons of the world's driest desert.
Settle in to the laidback atmosphere of Salta, Argentina's elegant colonial city. Relax in the main plaza, discover the pumping nightlife, or head out of town to Quebrada de Humahuaca – a narrow valley flanked by spectacularly colourful mountains and giant cacti clusters.
Learn about Argentina's wine production on a guided vineyard tour, perhaps taking the opportunity to sample some renowned regional blends.
Stop by the Quilmes ruins, ancient homes of a tribe that resisted the Incas, and even the Spanish, over the centuries. In its heyday, the city would have housed almost 5,000 people.
Experience Argentine hospitality while staying on a working cattle ranch. Perhaps explore the Pampas on horseback before savouring the mouth-watering aromas and succulent flavours of a traditional barbecue.
Traverse the steep peaks and winding passes of the Andes on the road to Mendoza. Visit the city's local art galleries, take to the rapids for some whitewater rafting and – come evening – steam it up in the buzzing local nightlife.
Arrive in Chile's cosmopolitan capital, Santiago, and perhaps get a bird's-eye view of the city on a cable car ride up Cerro San Cristobal.
Travel down the spine of the Andes, through the heart of Chilean wine country.
Opt to climb the nearby volcano of Villarrica or relax in the thermal springs around Pucon.
Perhaps explore the scenery around the resort town of Bariloche on horseback or mountain bike, or just stay in town and sample some of the region's delicious chocolate.
Visit Patagonia and camp in the wilds, amid the intense beauty and isolation of one of the world's final frontiers.
Arrive in Los Glaciares National Park. Trek over glaciers, admire stunning views of mountain ranges or take a boat trip on Viedma Lake.
Listen to the moan of the advancing glacial ice and watch as huge chunks break off Perito Moreno Glacier and collapse into the channel below.
Spend four days exploring the rugged Torres del Paine National Park, punctuated by granite cliffs and home to guanacos and flightless rhea birds.
Travel to the end of the world and enter the wilds of Tierra del Fuego.
End this epic South American adventure at the world's southernmost town, Ushuaia, set between the Beagle Channel and looming glacial peaks.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Boat, Ferry, Overland vehicle, Plane, Train
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (8 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with facilities) (102 nights), Guesthouse (9 nights), Hogan (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hostel (14 nights), Hotel (63 nights), Lodge (3 nights)
Included activities
  • 3 night/3 day Amazon Adventure
  • Alternative Inca Trail and Quechua Community trek
  • Ballestas Island tour
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Chan Chan Archaeological Site
  • Chauchilla cemetery
  • Chichicastenango Market
  • City tour
  • Coffee Plantation Tour, Manizales
  • Colca Canyon Tour
  • Colgante Glacier
  • El Penon de Guatape
  • Guided tour around Dawson City
  • Guided tour of Cartagena
  • Guided tour of Chichen Itza ruins
  • Guided tour of Denali National Park
  • Guided tour of Palenque ruins
  • Guided tour of ruins
  • Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump
  • Isla del Sol boat trip
  • Jeep tour of Uyuni Salt Flats
  • Kenai Fjords scenic cruise
  • 'Ksan Historical Village
  • Lord of Sipan Museum
  • Los Glaciaries National Park
  • Mitad del Mundo
  • Moreno Glacier
  • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins
  • Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
  • Panama City - Panama Canal (Miraflores Locks)
  • Paracas National Park
  • Pyramids of Sun and Moon
  • Quilmes Ruins
  • Raqchi Artisan Centre and ruins
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
  • Sillustani Ruins and Museum w/Guide
  • Tikal Ruins and National Park
  • Torres del Paine National Park
  • Tour of Misty Fjords National Park
  • Tour of the Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
  • Trek from Quilotoa to Chugchilan
  • Tulum - Entrance to ruins
  • Turtle watching, Playa La Flor
  • Uros Island boat trip on Lake Titicaca
  • Vineyard Tour
  • Visit to Banos
  • Visit to Lake Louise
  • Visit to Manos Amigas
  • Visit to Santuario la Lajas
  • Yaxchilan Ruins

Dates

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This trip requires an Inca Trail Permit. To view permit availability click here.

For information about altitude sickness click here


Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
3. You need to choose whether you wish to hike the Classic Inca Trail or the http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/Community_Trek_Peru.pdf">; Quechua Community Trek at the time of booking. If you do not indicate a preference, the http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/Community_Trek_Peru.pdf">; Quechua Community Trek will be confirmed automatically.

Classic Inca Trail permits are sold on a request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you. If Classic Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you will be booked on the http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/Community_Trek_Peru.pdf">; Quechua Community Trek instead.

The Classic Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/inca-advisory/Community_Trek_Peru.pdf">; Quechua Community Trek .

Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes