Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


Our Awards


Top 5 Road Trips

Top 5 Road Trips in Latin America

1. Salta to Humahuaca, Argentina
Argentina is the perfect setting for a freewheeling, awe-inspiring driving holiday. Not only do the landscapes make for an eye-popping backdrop, prompting you to stop the car every few minutes to take photographs (or just pinch yourself), but there is also an excellent network of roads and plenty of great hotel options to make sure it's a smooth ride all the way.

The relentlessly scenic surroundings make it tough to choose just one route, but if you twisted our arms we'd have to say the country's best drive is between Salta and the red-hued foothills and gorges of the Humahuaca region. As Group Tours Consultant Nicola says, it's a "truly amazing lunar landscape that changes from Andean plateau to cactus-riddled wilderness and multicoloured mountainside as you drive along mesmerised." Product Manager David agrees: "Follow the Train to the Clouds railway line from Salta up into the province of Jujuy to see a superb cross section of the region's incredible scenery and rustic Andean culture. Once the road diverges from the rail tracks, you cross enormous salt flats and descend into gorges, passing adobe homesteads and roaming guanacos." If you have time, we also highly recommend continuing on to Chile, or looping through the glorious Calchaquíes Valley.

2. Chilean lakes and wine region
Driving around the Chilean lake district is an unforgettable road experience, according to Bespoke sales supervisor Mary. "In the northern part of the Lake District there are seven interlinked lakes, an area aptly named the Siete Lagos. The road winds in, around and between the lakes, with fabulous views of the temperate rainforest and the snow-capped volcanoes which dominate the skyline. Along the way little villages offer lakeside tables for a cup of coffee, and farmhouses along the route will sell you their local produce, ranging from homemade cheese, smoked salmon or jam to handicrafts. To take a break from the driving, there are plenty of walking opportunities and thermal baths to soothe stiff limbs. I recommend starting in the north in Temuco or Pucón and driving south towards Panguipulli and the vast private reserve of Huilo Huilo, where you can have a comfortable night’s stay in the unusually designed Montaña Magica or Baobab hotels." Either before or after your trip to the lakes, explore the Colchagua Valley and its marvellous vineyards by road from Santiago to complete the ultimate Chilean road trip. 

3. Yucatán self-drive, Mexico
Explore some of Mexico's most iconic highlights at your own pace by hiring a car in Cancún. As in Argentina and Chile, the infrastructure here is very good so it's an easy and enjoyable option as well as an affordable one. As you'll discover, away from the resorts there are enormous stretches of pristine Caribbean coast where having your own transport will allow you to find deserted beaches and hidden cenotes (sinkholes that were sacred to the Maya - perfect for a dip with a difference), before the colossal pyramids and temples of the ancient Maya finally tempt you back from the beach.

4. Cuenca to Guayaquil, Ecuador
The route down from the Ecuadorian highlands to the port of Guayaquil is one that many visitors must travel. With international flights arriving in the high-altitude capital of Quito and most Galápagos flights departing from lowland Guayaquil, it's very fortunate that the journey also happens to be one of South America's most scenic, passing through Cajas national park along the way. Group Tours Manager Jim describes it as "an amazing drop of 4000 metres which takes you from the cold high plateau right down into the tropics. All of a sudden you are surrounded  by palm trees and banana plantations, and you'll notice that the temperature has risen by twenty or thirty degrees in just a matter of hours."

5. Trujillo to Huaraz, Peru 
Tailormade specialist Mary also recommends the journey between Trujillo and Huaraz in relatively unexplored northern Peru, which takes you through the spectacular Cañon del Pato. "You travel through unspoiled scenery, vividly experiencing the transition from desert to the snow-capped Andes. I remember passing through more than 40 tunnels carved into the rock." And if you're a bit of a daredevil you could start the above road trip further north in remote but stunning Chachapoyas, as Ben suggests: "The journey between Chachapoyas and Cajamarca covers ten hours of nail-biting Peruvian road… It's not for the faint-hearted, but definitely one of the best road trips I’ve ever done!"

Articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

More inspiration

Tailor made holidays

Creating bespoke holidays that are as individual as you are

  • Your personalised itinerary
  • Crafted with our expertise and experience
  • The widest choice available
  • Carefully designed to meet your style & budget

Call 0203 582 8754 to enquire.

Journey with the UK's NO1 specialist in travel to latin america

We Love Latin America

  • A passion for the region runs through all we do
  • All our Consultants have lived or travelled extensively in Latin America
  • Up-to-the-minute knowledge underpinned by 35 years' experience

Full Financial Protection

  • Fully bonded and licensed
  • ATOL-protected
  • On your side when it matters
  • Book with confidence, knowing every penny is secure 


The Real Latin America

  • Our insider knowledge helps you go beyond the guidebooks
  • We hand-pick hotels with character and the most rewarding excursions
  • Let us show you the Latin America we know and love
Wanderlust

Wanderlust Reader's Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015

Latin American Travel Association – Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Specialist Tour Operator 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award2013

British Travel Awards – Best Small Tour Operator Central & South America 2011, 2012

Condé Nast Traveller – Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator: 2010, 2011, 2012

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards– Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2009, 2010, 2012

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/holiday-styles/self-drive-holidays/Our-guide-to/Top-5-Road-Trips

Page ID: {A1AF250C-48F6-40BA-8FB1-8C39E71AA825}

Page Name: Top-5-Road-Trips

Page Display Name: Top 5 Road Trips

Page Template Name: T026-Content

Page Template ID: {8E489C8B-B09B-43AB-B8CA-40AD727FA73F}

Parent ID: {C000F04B-D1B3-444E-80C5-4E6B69E60586}

Parent Name: Our-guide-to

Parent Display Name: Our Guide To

Parent Template Name: T000-BasePageTemplate

Parent Template ID: {BA16D899-5733-4E87-8C6B-5B81E04F066C}