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Where We’ve Been: April 2017 Road Trip Driving Route in Chile & Peru

We started the month of April 2017 in the coastal city of Iquique in Northern Chile. From there we headed north through the Andes and the Atacama desert before crossing into Peru where we ended the month in Ica. In total, our road trip traveled 2,203 miles (3,545 km) in April and you can see the same spectacular scenery that we saw through the windshield of our truck via the drive-lapse video at the end of this post.

Sabancaya Volcano erupting Arequipa Colca Canyon Peru

Where we’ve been in April 2017 in Chile & Peru

From the coastal city of Iquique, Chile we headed inland into the Atacama desert and the Andes mountains where we visited some historic saltpeter mining towns, lakes with flamingos, salars (salt flats), hot springs, canyons, and geoglyphs including the Gigante de Atacama (Atacama Giant). It represents a deity that was important for the local inhabitants between 1000 and 1400 AD and, according to Wikipedia, it is the largest prehistoric anthropomorphic figure in the world with a height of 390 feet (119 meters).  Check it out at 8:35 in our drive-lapse video at the bottom of this post.

Mars Valley Putre Chile

We continued to Putre, a tiny town high in the Andes in the northeast corner of Chile near the Peru and Bolivian borders. From there we explored Lauca National Park and drove to nearly 16,000 feet (4,876 meters) on the flanks of a volcano.Check out the unique scenery of  “Mars Valley” in Lauca National Park (pictured above) at 12:15 in our drive-lapse video at the bottom of this post.

Next up was Arica, a city on the Pacific in Chile near the Peruvian border. From there we crossed back into Peru and headed to the country’s second largest city, Arequipa. From Arequipa we visited the spectacular Colca Canyon, along the way reaching the highest point we’ve hit so far on a paved highway: 16,109 feet (4,910 meters). We also got an eye-full of the erupting Sabancaya Volcano. Check out its ash plume at 22:08 in our drive-lapse video at the bottom of this post.

After returning to Arequipa we continued north to Ica, the heart of Peru’s wine and pisco region where we ended the month.

Our complete road trip driving route map for March 2017 is below.

And don’t miss the chance to see what we saw out there on the road in Chile and Peru in April of 2017 via our drive-lapse video, below. It was, as always, shot by our Brinno camera.

 

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Where We’ve Been: March 2017 Road Trip Driving Route in Argentina & Chile

We started the month of March 2017 in the small village of Iruya in the very northern tip of Argentina. From there we crossed into Chile where we ended the month in San Pedro de Atacama. In between, our road trip traveled 1,420 miles (2,285 km) and you can see the same spectacular scenery that we saw through the windshield of our truck via the drive-lapse video at the end of this post.

Jama Pass - Argentina Chile border

Where we’ve been in March 2017 in Argentina & Chile

From Iruya, Argentina we drove south through the Humahuaca Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Purmamarca which is a town known for its Mountain of Seven Colors (which, honestly, was not as spectacular as southern Peru’s Mountain of Seven Colors).

Purmamarca was our last stop in Argentina, for now. From there we headed west, crossing the border into Chile over the Jama Pass (pictured above). At 14,173 feet (4,320 meters), we thought the Jama Pass would be the high-point on the drive into San Pedro de Atacama, but we were wrong. Very wrong. After the Jama Pass the highway continued to climb, reaching 15,916 feet (4,851 meters) before finally dropping into San Pedro de Atacama via a spectacularly steep and straight road with many runaway truck ramps.

After a week in San Pedro de Atacama, a small town at the foot of the Andes which is the base camp for adventures in the Atacama desert, we headed to the coastal city of Antofagasta to have some work done on our truck at the Salfa Chevrolet dealership there. While in Antofagasta we made a side trip to the Paranal Observatory which offers free weekend tours of its amazing sky watching installation. We also made a stop at the Mano del Desierto sculpture (pictured below).

Mano del desierto - Atacama Desert, Chile

After our truck had been properly pampered, we returned to San Pedro de Atacama to celebrate the 10th road-a-versary of our Trans-Americas Journey in style at explora Atacama. At the end of the month we left San Pedro de Atacama and headed further north up the Pan-American Highway on the Pacific coast to the city of Iquique.

Our complete road trip driving route map for March 2017 is below.

And don’t miss the chance to see what we saw out there on the road in Argentina and Chile in March of 2017 via our drive-lapse video, below. It was, as always, shot by our Brinno camera which is attached to our dashboard.

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Where We’ve Been: January 2017 Road Trip Driving Route in Argentina

We spent much of January 2017 house-sitting in Salta, Argentina, however, we still managed to get in some miles. About 320 of them, to be precise, and they were all epic. If you like stunning landscapes you won’t want to miss our South American road trip driving route for January 2017, including drive-lapse video at the end of the post which lets you see what we saw through the windshield of our truck as we traveled.

Quebrada de las Conchas - Salta, Argentina

Where we’ve been in January 2017 in Argentina

We left Salta and did a little loop through the Andes to the wine region of Cafayate, up Argentina’s famous Route 40 (one of the longest national highways on earth) and back to Salta. See our complete short but sweet road trip driving route on the map below.

From Salta we drove to the wine region of Cafayate through the red rock landscapes of the Quebrada de las Conchas. After consuming a fair amount of delicious wine and visiting the wineries of El Esteco Winery and Vineyards and Piattelli Vineyards we continued north on Argentina’s famous RN-40 through the Calchaquí Valley.

A few hours north of Cafayate we were sidelined for three hours while we waited for a dangerously swollen river to subside enough to cross. We then drove through the spectacular Quebrada de Las Flechas to the town of Molinos. From there we got even more remote to reach the Bodega Colomé Winery

Next, we continued to the town of Cachi (where we finally saw pavement again) and crossed Cardones National Park nd its forests of cactus, eventually dropping down to Salta and the Valle de Lerma via the Cuesta del Obispo.

Quebrada de las Flechas - Salta, Argentina

See what we saw out there on the road in our drive-lapse video, below, which was shot by our Brinno camera attached to our dashboard.

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Where We’ve Been: October 2016 Road Trip Driving Route in Brazil

We spent October 2016 driving over 1,500 miles (2,414 km) in Central Brazil. We started off deep in the Northern Pantanal and ended in Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park north of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital. Here’s our road trip driving route for October 2016 in Brazil. Come along on our Brazil road trip and see what we saw through the windshield of our truck in the drive-lapse video at the end of this post.

October 2016 Road Trip Driving Route – Brazil


 

Our road trip driving route for the month of October began in Porto Jofre at the end of the wildlife-filled Transpantaneira Highway in Brazil’s vast Pantanal region in Mato Grosso state. In the Pantanal we visited Hotel Pantanal Norte, Araras Ecolodge and Pousada do Rio Mutum searching for (and finding) some of the Pantanal’s famed wildlife including jaguars. Following our time in the Pantanal, we drove north to Cuiabá, the state capital. From there we visited Bom Jardim in Nobres to snorkel in its crystal clear, spring-fed rivers followed by a visit to Chapada dos Guimarães National Park with landscapes that some compare to the US Southwest.

From there we headed west toward Brazil’s modernist capital, Brasilia, stopping in the beautiful colonial towns of Goiás and Pirenópolis along the way. In Brasilia, we drove along the city’s Monumental Axis road which is lined with examples of the distinct modernist architecture of famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (pictured below and see 12:38 in our drive-lapse video at the end of this post).

Oscar Niemeyer's modernist archtecture -Brazilia, Brazil

From Brasilia we headed north to Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park where we ended the month.

See what we saw out there on the road in the drive-lapse video, below, made by our Brinno camera which is attached to our dashboard.

 

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Where We’ve Been: February 2012 Road Trip Driving Route

Thanks to our SPOT Satellite Messenger you can see a map of our exact Trans-Americas Journey road trip driving route for the month of February 2012. And don’t miss the time-lapse video of our travels created using pictures taken every 10 seconds by the GoPro Hero HD camera mounted on our windshield.

We started the month of February outside of Turialba, Costa Rica where we visited the Guyabo archaeological site and the Irazu Volcano. From there we headed over to the Caribbean Coast, stopping at Rainforest Adventures just outside of Baraulio Carilo National Park. Then it was off to Tortuguero National Park, which is only accessible via boat.

Next we were drove down to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca area to explore Costa Rica’s beautiful Caribbean beaches – Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Cocoles, Punta Uva and Manzanillo. We ended the month with yet another border crossing (our 38th so far), this time heading into Panama (country 10 on our Journey) to explore the Bocas del Toro archipeligo.

We’ll blog about it all soon. In the meantime, see what we saw! Our entire driving route in Costa Rica and Panama in the month of February 2012 has been condensed into the short video, below.

And here’s our exact road trip driving route on a map generated using GPS data gathered by our Spot Satellite Messenger.

February 2012 Driving Route – Costa Rica and Panama

 

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Where We’ve Been: December 2011 Road Trip Driving Route

Thanks to our SPOT Satellite Messenger you can see a map of our exact Trans-Americas Journey road trip driving route. Our newest “Where We’ve Been” feature is time-lapse video created using pictures taken every 10 seconds by our GoPro Hero HD camera mounted on our windshield.

Since we had to get to Costa Rica before Christmas to meet visiting  family we covered more territory in December than we usually do. This unusual run also required three border crossings as we touched a record (for us) four countries in one month.

We began the month of December 2011 in Alegria, El Salvador where we visited its namesake volvano and crater lake. From there we drove down to the Pacific Coast to visit the beaches of El Cuco and Play Maculis before heading back into the mountains for our last stop in El Salvador, the town of Perquin which was a rebel stronghold during the civil war in El Salvador. The nearby town of Mozote (site of a gruesome masacre) provided poignant reminders of just how bloody that war was.

Then we headed back into Honduras where we explored the capital,Tegucigalpa and visited Yascaran and Danli where we toured one of the region’s famous cigar factories. With time running out, we crossed the border into Nicaragua where we spent just six days (we’ll return and do it right in the spring),  visiting Jalapa, Esteli, Masatepi and Rivas.

Then it was over yet another border and into Costa Rica where we headed to the capital, San Jose, to meet visiting family members. From there we headed off on a little family vacation to the beaches of Mal Pais at the bottom of the Nicoya Peninsula, the famous cloud forests of Monteverde and the hot springs town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano (which, by the way, is not erupting at the moment).

We’ll be putting up full posts about these destinations soon. For now, here’s the time lapse video of where our Trans-Americas Journey took us in December 2011 (complete with a soundtrack featuring the official Trans-Americas Journey theme song)…

December 2011 Driving Route – El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua & Costa Rica

 

2011 Year End Recap Map

We only drove 8,028 miles during the entire year, making 2011 the lowest mileage year of our Journey. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t get anywhere. We began the year in Guatemala, drove through practically every inch of road in Belize, Honduras and El Salvador then dipped a toe into Nicaragua (we’ll be back) before ending the year in Costa Rica where our explorations continue.

Here’s what a year on the road with the Trans-Americas Journey looked like in 2011.

Trans-Americas Journey 2011 Driving Route

 

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