You know that scene in The Motorcycle Diaries where Che Guevara’s friend sticks his arms out like an aeroplane and hoots to the sky, giddy with the freedom of life on the road? That’s how you’ll feel on an Overland adventure through the Americas (minus the whole revolutionary vibe). These trips are operated by our sister company, Dragoman, from the northwestern tip of Canada right down to the southern wilds of Patagonia.
Twisting mountain roads, pampas dotted with guachos, cactus-spiked saltpans, iconic rock valleys…it’s not a bad setting for a roadtrip, right? Especially when you’re camping in national parks, heading off-road into tiny Bolivian towns and travelling in an expedition truck (or converted American school bus) with an overland expert at the wheel. Ready for full-speed adventure? Vamanos, amigos.
Our Overland tours in the Americas
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52 Days From €5,922
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34 Days From €3,602
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55 Days From €7,095
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Americas Overland FAQs
On an Overland tour in The Americas you’ll be accompanied by two Western leaders, who are responsible for the group and overall organisation of the trip. It’s important to know that they’ll also spend time driving and maintaining the truck. While not being guides in the traditional sense, they have a broad knowledge of the places you visit and can offer suggestions for things to see and do.
Dragoman trips often use local guides along the way. They might stay with us for a few hours or jump on board for the rest of the journey. In this situation, they become a third crew member, and are able to offer local knowledge and insight into the lives of local people.
You’ll be part of a group of maximum 22 people of all ages and nationalities, from all walks of life. That’s what overland travel is all about: sharing experiences with like-minded adventurers from around the world. Be prepared to make life-long friends, because it happens a lot.
Dragoman’s Mercedes-Benz trucks are custom-built for overlanding. They’re the toughest things on the road (and off it). All vehicles are equipped with comfortable coach-style seating and seatbelts, and are designed to be self-sufficient. Everything you need for your adventure is included, right down to the folding chairs for your campsite. Just to keep thing interesting, on the North and Central America Overland trips we use a converted yellow school bus instead!
Overlanding is not your typical touring experience; the best thing is to treat it all as part of the adventure. Sometimes conditions can be tough on vehicles, and while Dragoman fastidiously service their trucks, the occasional breakdown may happen (don’t worry, your leader is well trained to deal with these situations). Also, in wet weather, there may be times when we have to take alternative routes, which can mean longer travel times.
Overland tours involve a lot of time on the road, and many early morning starts. Some days are mostly spent driving, for five, six, even ten hours at a time, although we take regular breaks, and these days are often interspersed with a day or two of rest.
Most vehicles have roof seats and opening windows for fresh air and to keep you in touch with the outside world, but as these are expedition vehicles. That means there is no air-conditioning, no curtains and limited heating. The steps to get into the truck are fairly high and the ride can be pretty bumpy at times. All comes with the territory. It wouldn’t be a real adventure if it was easy all the time.
The style of accommodation depends on the adventure you choose. Sometimes you’ll stay in hotels, hostels or the occasional homestay, but a lot of the time you’ll be camping. That can mean staying at well-equipped campsites or pitching your tent in the middle of the bush (or Argentinian pampas!) The tents are spacious (slightly larger than the average two-person tent) and come with built-in mosquito screens.
Facilities at campsites differ. Sometimes you’ll be able to cool off in a pool or chill out at the bar, while other times facilities are basic or non-existent, so you’ll need to be ready to rough it. But it’s worth it: one of the highlights of overlanding is wild camping in beautiful, secluded areas, far away from the tourist crowds.
Accommodation is multi-share on Overland tours in The Americas, whether camping or staying in hotels, so there’s no single supplement option. Those travelling solo will share with someone of the same gender. Upgrades are sometimes available at certain campsites and in towns. For a detailed breakdown of accommodation, check the Essential Trip Information of the tour you’re interested in.
On an overland tour, you’re more than just a passenger – you’re part of a team. Your crew will organise the group into smaller groups of 2-4 (bonding experience!). You’ll then take it in turns to do the daily shopping and cooking, clean the vehicle and dispose of rubbish. Other jobs like collecting water and firewood, loading luggage and supervising the kitty and food stores may be assigned to particular people on a rota system, depending on group size and make-up. You’ll also be required to pitch your own tent. Please come prepared to roll up your sleeves and pull your weight – it’s all part of the fun.
There’s nothing like eating around the campfire under a star-filled sky. Meals while camping are tasty yet simple, and we make sure to throw in some local specialties. Breakfasts often involve bread, butter, jam and tea/coffee. In most cases, dietary restrictions can be catered for, but please let us know of any requirements at the time of booking so we can get organised in advance.
When camping, you’ll be divided into smaller groups and take it in turns to plan a meal, shop for ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and cook for the whole group. Cooking crews are responsible for cleaning communal equipment, but you’re in charge of washing your own utensils. When staying in hotels and guesthouses, you’ll be dining on locally prepared food.
While we stick to the planned itineraries where we can, overland travel – especially in remote parts of the world – is unpredictable. Closed borders, strikes, extreme weather or mechanical issues can affect the running of your trip. In those cases, there are plenty of other tried-and-true routes we can take. We also often spontaneously throw in a visit to a local festival or additional time at a beach. An open mind and sense of flexibility are key to enjoying your adventure.
Optional activities are dispersed throughout the itinerary. Please note that these are subject to availability, and that the prices listed are merely an indication. Ask your leader for more information.
The kitty is a collective group fund and forms part of the total cost of your trip. You can either pay your contribution 3-4 weeks before your depart, or during the welcome meeting at the start of the tour. The kitty is monitored by the Dragoman crew but is visible to all travellers throughout the journey. It covers the cost of accommodation, all meals while camping, and everything the group does as a whole (activities listed as ‘included’ in the itinerary, entrance to national parks, local guide fees etc).
The kitty price is constantly updated throughout the year due to fluctuations in exchange rates and variation in local costs. Make sure you check the most recent estimate on the website before departure. Any money left over after the trip is redistributed among the group. You’ll also need your own financial supply for personal spending, optional activities, tips, and meals while staying in hotels and hostels. See the Essential Trip Information for more info.
Many of the countries visited on our Americas Overland tours require visas for entry. Some are best obtained before you leave home, and others can be obtained en-route. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller, although we’re happy to help with any questions. Entry requirements can change at any time, so check out the relevant consular websites for up-to-date information specific to your nationality. If you’re flying to South America via Canada or the USA, you may have to arrange an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) or ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). Visas can take several weeks to process, so it’s best to apply as soon as you’ve booked your trip.
Once on the ground, your leader will walk and talk you through border crossings as a group, so there’s no need to feel nervous.
To fully participate in an Overland tour in The Americas, you’ll need to have at least a basic level of fitness. Long travel days, dusty conditions – overland travel can be challenging. You’ll need to be physically able to help with camp chores and to climb up and down the steps of the truck 8-10 times a day. To choose a trip that suits your fitness level, please look carefully at the physical rating on our website.
It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor to see if any pre-existing medical conditions will affect your ability to participate in the trip, as we won’t have access to doctors or medical facilities in some remote regions. Many Overland tours in The Americas travel through regions of high altitude, so some travellers may suffer from altitude sickness. You can read more about this in the Essential Trip Information.
When overlanding, it’s best to pack as lightly as possible. Although you won’t have to carry your bag over long distances, you’ll need to help load and unload it from the truck, so we highly recommend a backpack or soft bag over a suitcase. Your main luggage will be stored in a locker at the back of the vehicle, so you’ll also need a daypack to store your water bottle, camera and other personal items.
The clothing and equipment required will depend on your destination and the time of year. Even in summer it can get cold at night, especially in deserts and national parks, so layers are always a good idea. Bring comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. All camping gear is supplied by Dragoman, except for a sleeping bag, ground mat and pillow – you’ll need to bring these yourself. For more information about what to bring, check the Essential Trip Information.
Meet some of the crew
Given we cover so much ground, Dragoman leaders hail from many parts of the world, but they’ve all got one thing in common: a passion for travel and adventure. All crew undergo an intensive eight-week training programme, followed by up to six months on the road as a trainee. In other words, they’re ready for anything. Want to meet a few?
Anchorage to Mexico City, July 2017
Really great trip with non stop activities, Sometimes it was good to relax and do nothing. Everything was organised really well by Jodie. A wealth of knowledge that everyone could benefit from. Paul drove safely sometimes long days and everyone on the bus was asleep. The school bus is not ideal for baggage and equipment for 20 people. A bit thight. The wildlife and scenery were so much more then I expected and I can recommend to everyone feeling adventurous
Review submitted 04 Oct 2017
Lima to La Paz, May 2017
Great adventure. Excellent crew. Good company.
Review submitted 27 Jul 2017
Santiago to Buenos Aires via Ushuaia, February 2017
Rob Dunn was an excellent trip leader and the best we have experienced. We would certainly like to travel with Rob again.
Review submitted 09 Apr 2017
Ushuaia to Santiago, February 2017
Lulette Ann Africa
The Ushuaia to Santiago trip is one of the most beautiful trip I had! The scenery is incredible - it's beyond words to describe! I will do this trip with the same group and tour leaders again in a heartbeat!
Review submitted 11 Mar 2017
Ushuaia to Santiago, December 2016
Great trip, but most uncomfortable! I don't think I'd ever choose another overland trip despite its low price-tag.. Too much camping and "communal duties", and the food while camping and route was pretty poor.
Review submitted 16 Jan 2017
La Paz to Santiago, December 2016
the trip was run by dragoman, it has a varied content and never a dull moment,
Review submitted 12 Jan 2017
Santiago to Ushuaia, November 2016
You cant go wrong going a Dragoman trip
Review submitted 25 Dec 2016
Lima to Cuzco, November 2016
An excellent and rewarding experience, giving an insight into local culture and lifestyle while providing an opportunity to experience and visit some of the worlds most famous sights, don't underestimate how hard going the classic inca trail is!
Review submitted 16 Dec 2016
Cuzco to La Paz, November 2016
This Cuszo to La Paz trip has many high points, literally and figuratively. High Altitude trekking is hard but so rewarding--many folks of all ages and fitness levels on our trip suffered from altitude sickness hiking near 16,000 feet (4700 meters). Don't underestimate how much work it is to hike at 50% less oxygen than sea level. But if you're up for the high country, it's extraordinary.
Review submitted 10 Dec 2016
Lima to Cuzco, July 2016
Perfect way of interacting and knowing Peru, the Peruvians, their culture, the city and the mountains
Review submitted 06 Nov 2016
Santiago to Ushuaia, October 2016
An amazing journey through Patagonia - highly recommended
Review submitted 06 Nov 2016
Buenos Aires to Rio, September 2016
Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, will definitely do Dragoman tours again.
Review submitted 19 Oct 2016
La Paz to Buenos Aires, September 2016
Optional mine tour was disappointing. Johnny the tour guide did not take us to see any miners and he took all the gifts we purchased for the miners home for himself, without our permission. Please note he told us to purchase the gifts at the start of the tour.
Review submitted 19 Oct 2016
Lima to La Paz, July 2016
great service and experience. amazing crew and lovely people along the way. thanks intrepid and dragoman
Review submitted 29 Sep 2016
Lima to La Paz, July 2016
It's a great trip that covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. It may not always be comfortable (some dorm accomodations, and early wake ups), but you get so much for your time and money. Recommended!
Review submitted 29 Aug 2016
Cuzco to Lima, June 2016
Would definitely recommend an Intrepid trip to anyone looking for a holiday a bit 'off the beaten track'. Awesome guides and a focus on gaining local knowledge and exposure to new cultures.
Review submitted 29 Jun 2016
Cuzco to Lima, May 2016
The community trek to Machu Picchu was excellent. No other tourists were on the track. Great campsites
Review submitted 04 Jun 2016
Quito to Cartagena, July 2015
Sheanad and Lindsey were excellent tour leaders and a great asset to intrepid/draggoman.
Review submitted 13 Apr 2016
Ushuaia to Santiago, January 2016
I really enjoyed this trip....it went to all the places I wanted to go at a very reasonable price. My only gripe was that the lunch stops could have been much nicer....we stopped twice at service stations which stunk of diesel and often stopped at really windy locations which blew dust into our meals. With all the beautiful scenery, I'm at a loss as to why we stopped at Service Stations....I know the staff would say that it saved time because combining toilet stops with lunch but from my perspective, this was not a good option.
Review submitted 27 Feb 2016
Ushuaia to Santiago, January 2016
Excellent itinerary in the space of time we have. Come with an open mind and accept that you will have to share with over 20 people, including eating together camping, sharing tents, spending a lot of time with people you don't know. Make sure you can cope with spending time with people you don't know. Also,make sure you try to do all the extra activities on the itinerary as all are excellent and once in a life time. Be sure to bring US dollars, especially for Argentina. Some people in the group had their credit cards scammed in an Argentinian ATM. Otherwise, great fun and wonderful scenery.
Review submitted 18 Feb 2016
Santiago to Ushuaia, January 2016
Intrepid has numerous trips which explore the beauty, culture, people and the excitement of any country one wishes to explore.
Review submitted 17 Feb 2016
Quito to Lima, October 2015
Anyone who cannot tolerate cigarette smoke may want to limit the length of their trip. Also plan on spending more money on meals when camping may be upgraded to hotels, costs for optional activities will probably be higher, and transportation may not be included for activities.
Review submitted 14 Feb 2016
Buenos Aires to Rio, January 2016
This was a wonderful trip and the highlight was definitely the Iguazu Falls which was absolutely breath taking. I met a lot of amazing new people which made the journey even more enjoyable.
Review submitted 12 Feb 2016
Lima to Buenos Aires, November 2015
Very good overview of the Andes and Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina (with a bit of Chile). Appreciated the desert coast, especially Nazca and the Inca ruins. The highlight was the Andes, Machupicchu, Altaplano, and all the high altitude areas. Much fun.
Review submitted 21 Dec 2015
Lima to Buenos Aires, August 2015
From start to finish the whole experience was really well organised, relaxed and enjoyable. As soon as we met our tour leaders in Lima a camaraderie was developed amongst the group, which was well initiated by Andy and Tanya, our tour leaders. When it came to getting the most out of the places we were visiting I felt we were in good hands as the accommodation and local guides were top notch. And although some of the recommended restaurants we ended up going to weren't massively to my taste there was no obligation to go to them. There were a few switches in personal along the way, with Jez coming in for Andy at Cusco and then Ryan having to replace Jez in Bolivia. I felt these switches were dealt with smoothly and professionally. Both Jez and Ryan took on the baton well and, aside from being great guys we're always on hand to help. I would thoroughy recommend this tour and Dragoman as a tour operator. Highlights for me included, final days trek on the community trail in the andes, cycling down death Road in Bolivia and horseback riding on the Argentine Pampas.
Review submitted 26 Oct 2015
Lima to Cuzco, September 2015
Intrepid are a great company but I would consider in future the company used on behalf of Intrepid, group size, kitty amount and whether a single supplement is available.
Review submitted 05 Oct 2015
Cuzco to La Paz, July 2015
Make sure you read through ALL of the trip notes! They are very informative and helpful!
Review submitted 08 Aug 2015
Cuzco to Lima, May 2015
La Paz to Lima offers a great high-level insight into the cultures of Bolivia and Peru, both in the towns/cities, plus also the remote communities. There are some days of reasonable driving distance, so we preferred being in a group tour vehicle, compared to independent travel.
Review submitted 31 May 2015
Ushuaia to Santiago, March 2015
Definitely a fun and unique way to travel. Lots of time on the road in between destinations for our itinerary, so be prepared for that. Every traveler was on a team that took turns shopping/cooking for the group. Bring some ideas for cheap/easy meals. And be ready for rain. Then you'll have a great trip!
Review submitted 16 May 2015
Cuzco to Lima, February 2015
This was a fantastic trip, which covered all the major attractions or Peru, without being commercialised in the slightest. We were able to interact with the locals and fully embrace their culture. The trek, although difficult, was the most amazing experience and machu pichu as its reward was just breathtaking!!! This tour requires you to 'rough it' a bit, but it is totally worth it!!
Review submitted 02 Mar 2015
Santiago to Ushuaia, January 2015
I enjoyed the overlanding experience very much. There were lot's of opportunities to see places that public transport doesn't go or stop at if it does. Be prepared to work some over your Holiday, but it's totally worth the effort.
Review submitted 01 Mar 2015
Lima to Cuzco, January 2015
This is a wonderful trip. You'll encounter a wide variety of stunning landscapes and Peruvians are more then happy to explain things about their country or culture. Most Peruvians are very friendly towards tourists and their historical heritage is very impressive and goes far beyond the Inca's!
Review submitted 16 Feb 2015