The Pan-American Highway is a series of routes that passes through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama in North America, and Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina in South America. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest motorable road in the world. While the Pan-American Highway doesn't have a route through the U.S. and Canada, some people start in Alaska and drive/bike to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost tip of South America. It is necessary to bypass the Darién Gap between Panama and Colombia by ferry, however.
The Pan-American Highway is about 19,000 miles (30,000 km) long depending on the route you take. There are many options in the United States, Canada, and Mexico because of the large area and number of roads. Central America has only a few roads going north to south, with most of them - especially the Pan-American highway running along the Western (Pacific) shore.
- See also: Travel in developing countries
The Pan-American Highway passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles, to arid deserts, some of which are passable only during the dry season, and in many regions driving is occasionally hazardous.
Most of the route passes through Spanish-speaking countries and thus you should definitely make an effort to learn some Spanish. Not only will it be invaluable in case of any problems (and there will be problems on a long trip), but you will be much more able to get to know the locals and experience the culture of places you pass through and stay at.
There are several modes of travel that are used on the Pan-American Highway.
It is possible to use buses down all the way to Argentina from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, except for the Darien Gap and along the Alaska Highway between Fort Nelson, British Columbia and Tok, Alaska. Buses are less frequent with limited availability in remote areas especially those in the far northern parts of Canada and Alaska; and in the far south such as the Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. They are more possible and frequent, connecting the more populated areas between Canada and Argentina. See By bus under Get around in a country or state/province article and under Get in in a city or town article for a list of available bus companies. It will require multiple transfers to travel the entire western hemisphere between north and south by bus. Except in the United States and Canada there are no trains to travel north and south along the entire western hemisphere.
If you drive by personal vehicle, it is important to know that your vehicle must be shipped from Central to South America (or vice versa) in order to travel around the Darien Gap. While your vehicle is shipped, you can transport yourself by plane or boat. Driving the Pan-American Highway is certainly possible, and many travelers complete the overland journey from North America to South America (or vice versa) each year.
While most of the territory the highway passes through cannot be considered "bike-friendly" by any stretch of the imagination, every year countless people do successfully travel all or part of the route by bike. Knowing how to fix minor defects is essential if you want to attempt the whole route on your own as help is often not forthcoming on rural stretches of the highway. A firm grasp of local languages (particularly Spanish) is another thing to consider.
Because the route of the Pan-American Highway essentially consists of a number of other famous driving routes (such as the Alaska Highway and the Inter-American Highway) in succession, more detailed planning should be done by researching each of those sections. Furthermore there are numerous alternative routes possible. Here we can only give a summary with links to more details about various subsection of the route where it's named or defined as the "Pan-American Highway" or "Inter-American Highway" from north to south.
The original Inter-American (Pan-American) Highway begins in Yaviza, Panama and goes up north through Central America and Mexico and ends at the US border in Laredo, Texas. From the north it begins from Purdhoe Bay on the Arctic Coast and follows the Dalton Highway, south to Fairbanks, AK and southeast to Dawson Creek, BC on the Alaska Highway. Between the end of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek and Mexico City (where the Interamerican Highway splits into multiple branches) there are multiple routes one can take to reach northern Mexico, through the United States and Canada, from one end to the other. The Pan-American Highway is loosely defined with multiple interstate highways as the "Pan-American Highway" in the United States and undefined in Canada. The below are the most direct and popular routes between Dawson Creek and Mexico City:
- Historically the Dalton Highway has been the northernmost highway with its northern terminus in Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Coast from its southern terminus in Fairbanks, Alaska.
- & The Alaska Highway connects Alaska to the rest of North America; from Fairbanks, Alaska to Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
- See also: Driving in Canada
- & The Dempster Highway is a highway through the sub-Arctic wilderness of northern Yukon Territory and extreme northwestern Northwest Territories (NWT) in Canada. The highway runs 671 km (417 mi) from the Klondike Highway near Dawson City to the Indigenous settlement of Inuvik. Since 2017, the 137-km (85-mi) extension to Tuktoyaktuk opened as the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway and is one of two roads leading north of the Arctic Circle from North America.
- & The Alaska Highway continues through Canada from Alaska through Haines Junction (turn off towards Haines, AK on YT-Hwy 3); Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Fort Nelson and ends in Dawson Creek.
In Canada, no particular roads have been designated as the Pan-American Highway. The National Highway System, which includes but is not limited to the Trans-Canada Highway, is the country's only designated inter-provincial highway system. However, several Canadian highways are a natural extension of several key American highways that reach the Canada–US border:
- Through British Columbia
Traveling along the Alaska Highway you can go south on BC 37 to Trans-Canada Hwy 16 from Watson Lake and go east towards Prince George on Trans-Canada Hwy 16 or continue on the Alaska Highway (BC-Hwy 97) through Dawson Creek to Prince George. The Pan-American Highway would continue east into Alberta along BC-Hwy 2 from Dawson Creek. But, some travelers may continue south on BC-Hwy 97 towards Vancouver or Osoyoos Lake, through Prince George and Cache Creek, as a more direct route into the "Lower 48" from the Alaska Highway:
- The Stewart-Cassiar Highway goes from Watson Lake to at Kitwanga, then Trans-Canada Hwy 16 to Prince George.
- & Connects Dawson Creek to the US border in Osoyoos by Osoyoos Lake via Prince George (Jct Trans Canada Hwy 16); Cache Creek, Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna. The highway continues into the United States through Oroville, WA as US Hwy 97.
- Through Alberta
The routes through Alberta have been designated as part of the CANAMEX Corridor established under the North American Free Trade Agreement as a series of improvements to the transportation infrastructure, including highways to link Canada to Mexico through the United States as follows:
- & From Dawson Creek to Grande Prairie, Alberta. From Grand Prairie continue east into Edmonton on Trans-Canada Hwy 16.
- & . AB 2 goes from Edmonton to Fort Macleod via Calgary. From Fort Macleaod go east to Lethbridge on AB 3.
- & Lethbridge to San Diego, California where it merges into I-5 to continue south towards the Mexican border in San Ysidro. The highway crosses into the United States in the towns of Coutts, AB and Sweetgrass, MT where it becomes Interstate 15 in the United States.
- Through Manitoba
- The Yellowhead Highway starts in Prince Rupert and goes across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba towards Winnipeg. It passes through Kitwanga, BC (Jct BC-37); Prince George (Jct BC-97); Jasper National Park, Edmonton (Jct AB 2 & 43); Saskatoon and ends at Trans-Canada Hwy 1 in Protage la Prairie, 80-85 km west of Winnipeg.
- The Trans-Canada Highway starts in Vancouver and winds its way northward to Cache Creek (Jct BC Hwy 97 & 99). It goes across towards Winnipeg through Kamloops, BC (Jct 97); Banff National Park, Calgary (Jct AB 2); Regina and other places in between.
- & Winnipeg to Kansas City, Missouri where it connects into I-35 and continue south towards the Mexican border in Laredo. The highway crosses into the United States through the towns of Emerson, MB and Pembina, ND where it becomes Interstate 29 in the United States.
- Through Ontario
- Variant via Saskatchewan
The CanAm Highway is a defined (and sign posted) variant of the Pan-American Highway that connects (La Ronge) Canada to Mexico through the United States. CanAm follows a series of provincial highways through Saskatchewan, from La Ronge to the US Border as follows:
- & SK-Hwy 2 begins in La Ronge and goes 240 km south to its intersection with Hwy 3 in Prince Albert. Follow SK-Hwy 3 94.5 km east to SK-Hwy 6 in Melfort.
- & SK-Hwy 6 is the longest stretch of the CANAM in Canada. It goes 400 km from its intersection with SK-Hwy 3 in Melfort to Corrine where the road curves southeasterly towards Weyburn as SK Hwy 39. It intersects the Yellowhead Highway in Dafoe (168 km east of Saskatoon) and the Trans-Canada Highway in Regina.
- & Connects Weyburn to the United States through a border crossing between Ounngre, SK and Fortuna, ND.
- See also: Driving in the United States
In 1966, the US Federal Highway Administration designated the entire Interstate Highway System as part of the "Pan-American Highway System", but this has not been expressed in any of the interstate signage. Of the many freeways that make up this very comprehensive system, several are notable because of their mainly north-south orientation and their links to the main Mexican route and its spurs, as well as to key routes in Canada that link to the Alaska Highway:
- Interstate 35 is the northward continuation of the Interamerican Highway (MX-Hwy 85) into the United States from Mexico. Even the segment through San Antonio is named "Pan-Am Expressway" locally. I-35 begins in Laredo, Texas, at the Mexican border and continues north to Duluth, Minnesota where it ends. From Duluth the highway continues north towards Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada as MN-Hwy 61/ON-Hwy 61. Likewise the traveler can go more directly towards the Canadian border from the I-35 corridor in Kansas City along I-29. Alternatively one can reach the I-29 corridor from Minneapolis to Fargo on I-94 or from Duluth to Grand Forks, North Dakota via US Hwy 2. Interstate 35 comes closest to being THE "official" Pan-American through the U.S. as it is in close alignment with the official beginning and end point of the Interamerican Highway at the U.S./Mexican border.
There are additional spur routes from Mexico to the Canadian border, through the United States:
- & Continue north from the Mexican border in El Paso/Cd Juarez to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I-25 begins. It is locally named the "Pan American Freeway" in Albuquerque as an extension of MX-Hwy 45. I-25 goes north from Las Cruces to I-90 in Buffalo where it ends. To continue towards the Canadian border go west on I-90 to Butte, Montana and north towards Canada on I-15. Alternatively travelers can go on US Hwy 287 between Three Forks (50 mi (80 km) east of Butte along I-90) and Helena (68.5 mi (110.2 km) northeast of Butte on I-15) thus saving the extra 50 miles of travel between Butte and Three Forks.
- The CanAm Highway is a defined (and sign posted) variant of the Pan-American Highway that connects Mexico (Cd Juarez) to (La Ronge) Canada through the United States. It runs concurrent with the I-25/I-10 corridor from El Paso, Tx (at the Mexican border) to Cheyenne, WY where the two highways split. CanAm follows US Hwy 85 from north of Cheyenne, WY through western South Dakota and North Dakota to Weyburn, SK.
- have been designated as part of the CANAMEX Corridor established under the North American Free Trade Agreement as a series of improvements to the transportation infrastructure, including highways to link Canada to Mexico through the United States. Interstate 15 begins in Lethbridge, Alberta as AB-Hwy 4 which become Interstate 15 in the United States and ends in San Diego, California where it merges into I-5. From Interstate 15, the CANAMEX Corridor follows I-11/US Hwy 93 from Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada towards Phoenix through Wickensburg, Arizona where it merges with and becomes US Hwy 60. I-11 only goes from Henderson to Boulder City where it becomes only US Hwy 93 the rest of the way to Wickensburg. Going north from Leathbridge to Dawson City the CANAMEX Corridor follows a series of highways through Alberta to Dawson Creek, BC (as described in the above under 'Through Alberta').
- & are the continuation of the CANAMEX Corridor from Phoenix to the Mexican border in Nogales along I-10 to Tucson and I-19 to Nogales, AZ. The CANAMEX Corridor continues from Nogales to Mexico City as MX-Hwy 15/15D. Plans are underway to upgrade and integrate the route from Boulder city to Nogales to become Interstate 11.
- & I-5/BC-Hwy 99 is the closest and most direct route from the Alaska Highway to the Mexican border in San Ysidro, CA (15 mi (24 km) south of San Diego). Interstate 5 begins in Vancouver, BC as BC-Hwy 99 and becomes Interstate 5 in the United States through Blaine, WA.
- & US Highway 97 is the continuation of BC-Hwy 97 into the United States from the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek. It runs parallel with the I-5 corridor from Oroville, WA to Weed, CA where it ends at the I-5 corridor. It passes through Wenatchee, North Cascades National Park, Ellensburg and Yakima in Eastern Washington; and through The Dalles, Redmond, Bend, Crater Lake National Park and Klamath Falls in Central Oregon.
The following are east-west highways that connect the north-south spur routes to each other. Interstate 90/94 connect along the north while Interstate 80 serves as the middle tier and Interstate 10 along the southern tier. Interstate highways going north & south are odd numbered while the east & west highways are even numbered:
- & Interstate 90 connects Seattle (Jct I-5) to Billings, Montana where I-94 begins. I-94 continues east towards the I-35 corridor in Minneapolis through Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Fargo ND (Jct I-29). From Butte, Montana, I-90 goes south to Buffalo WY (Jct I-25) and turns east towards the I-35 corridor in Albert Lea MN (100 mi (160 km) south of Minneapolis) through Rapid City (north of Mt Rushmore National Park); Badlands National Park and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Jct I-29).
- & Interstate 80 supersedes the historic Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway across the U.S., connecting San Francisco to New York. The Pan-American Highway travelers can combine the historic Lincoln Highway in their plans for travel from I-5 in Sacramento or I-15 in Salt Lake City (nearest to the Alaska Highway) to I-29 in Omaha in the east where you can continue south on I-29 to merge with I-35 in Kansas City and towards Mexico on I-35.
- Interstate 10 goes east towards the I-35 corridor in San Antonio from the I-5 corridor in Los Angeles. It passes through San Bernardino (Jct-15); Joshua Tree National Park, Phoenix (Jct US Hwy 60, I-17); Saguaro National Park, Tucson (Jct I-19); Las Cruces (Jct I-25), and El Paso (Jct MX Hwy 45/US Hwy 54) in between.
The Pan-American Highway is also the "Inter-American" which is well defined and often also well signed in Mexico as it is through Central and South America. It runs from the US border in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas to the Guatemalan border in Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, Chiapas; through Mexico City which consists of:
- is the "Pan-American Highway" or the "Interamerican Highway" between Mexico City and the US border in Nuevo Laredo. It connects Laredo/Nuevo Laredo at the US/Mexican border to Mexico City through Monterrey, Ciudad Victoria, Ciudad de Valles, Jct Hwy 45 in Portezuelo, Ixmiquilpan, Pachuca and Tizaycua. Going north from the border the highway continues towards San Antonio from Laredo as Interstate 35.
- & are not part of the Pan-American Highway but they connect Mexico City to Oaxaca via Puebla on a more direct and faster route. Fed Highway 150D (La Carretera Mexico-Puebla-Veracruz) connects Mexico City to Puebla where travelers get on Fed Highway 135D towards Oaxaca.
- is officially the Pan-American Highway in southeastern Mexico leading from Puebla towards Oaxaca through Izucar de Matamoros, Acatlan de Osorio, Heroica de Ciudad Huajuapan de Leon and merges into Highway 135D in Asunción Nochixtlán, 89 km NW of Oaxaca City. From Oaxaca City it becomes the main highway towards the Guatemalan border in Ciudad Cuauhtemoc/La Mesilla through Zaragoza de Juchitlan, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de las Casas and Comitan.
Additional branches of the Pan-American Highway from Mexico City, through Northern Mexico, to the US border as follows:
- is the undefined southbound continuation of the CanAm Highway into Mexico from El Paso. Going north the CanAm Hwy begins at US-Hwy 62 at its intersection with I-110/MX-45D. US Hwy 62 becomes US Hwy 85 through downtown El Paso and merges into I-10 (10 mi (16 km)) north of El Paso. Going south, Hwy 45 begins in Ciudad de Juarez, CHIH and continues towards Mexico City through Chihuahua, Durango, Fresnillo, Zacatecas, San Francisco de los Romo, Aguascalientes, León, Silao, Irapuato, Celaya, Salamanca, Queretaro, and ends at Fed Hwy 85 in Portezuelo.
- is the continuation of the CANAMEX Corridor to Mexico City from Nogales, SON. It passes through Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregón, Los Mochis, Cualican, Mazatlan, Tepic and Guadalajara along the west coast of mainland Mexico to Tepic. From Tepic Fed Hwy 200 continues the rest of the way along the west coast of Mexico to the Guatemalan border.
- Is the continuation of the Interstate 5 corridor from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas through the Baja California Peninsula. To continue on the Pan-American Highway travelers can go east on Fed Hwy 2 from Tijuana to the Hwy 15 corridor at 185 km south of Nogales; cross the Sea of Cortes by ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan; or go east from San Diego to the I-10 corridor in Casa Grande, AZ on I-8.
The Pan-American Highway is well defined through Central America and runs continuously from the Mexican border at La Mesilla, Guatemala to Yaviza, Panama in the Darien Gap as a singular route. In most countries it is numbered as "CA-1" or "Hwy 1" which passes through the major cities in the heavily populated areas of the Central American isthmus. Like the roads in North America (see above) there are numerous other highways not defined as the "Pan-American Highway" (Carretera Panamericana) one can travel on to get across the Central American isthmus from the Mexican border to the Darien Gap.
& La Carretera Panamericana (CA-1) passes through Guatemala from its border with Mexico in La Mesilla to its border with El Salvador in San Cristobal. The segment of the highway between Cuatro Caminos (Jct RN-1), 16 km NE of Quetzaltenango, and Aldea Molino (Jct CA-8, 77 km southeast of Guatemala City, is four lanes wide with two in each direction while the rest of the highway in the Western Highlands and Eastern Guatemala are two lanes wide with one lane in each direction:
- Huehuetenango is the largest city and capital of the department of the same name. It serves as a major city and trading center for the Western Highlands and as the first stop if entering from Mexico.
- Cuatro Caminos is a busy intersection with RN-1 which leads into Quetzaltenango (Xela) in one direction and up the hill to Santa Cruz de Quiche in the other. This intersection is 16 km NE of Quetzaltenango.
- Los Encuentros is where the road to Chichicastenango (RN-15) intersects the Pan-American Highway. The turn-off towards Solola and Panajachel (RN-1) is another 3.3 km west of Los Encuentros.
- Chimaltenango is a town 50 km west of Guatemala City. It is also where the main highway (Hwy 14) to Antigua Guatemala begins for traffic from the Western Highlands.
- Jct CA-10 to Antigua is 20 km west of Guatemala City, east of town of San Bartalome Milpas Altas.
- Guatemala City is in the department (territorial division) of Guatemala, and it's the capital of the country. All the main highways start at Kilómetro 0, inside Palacio Nacional de la Cultura (National Palace), in Centro Histórico (Historic Center).
- San José de Barberena
and The Pan-American Highway passes through El Salvador from its border with Guatemala near the town of San Vicente to its border with Honduras in Amatillo near Golfo Fonesca. The highways becomes a dual carriageway near the urban areas, four lanes wide with two lanes to each direction while it remains a two lane road with one lane to each direction in rural areas. It passes through:
- Candelaria de la Frontera/San Cristobal
- Santa Ana is the second largest city of El Salvador and a very important one in terms of agriculture and coffee production (coffee plantations - called fincas - cover much of the land outside town and up the hills) in Western El Salvador.
- Santa Tecla
- San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador, approximately in the center of the country in a valley near the base of the San Salvador volcano. The city has a long history, with origins dating back to the Spanish conquest of the Pipil tribes.
- San Vicente
- San Miguel is the third largest city in El Salvador and center of agriculture and production of Eastern El Salvador. It is less cosmopolitan than the capital San Salvador in the West but the surrounding areas of San Miguel are very beautiful with many beaches around the city.
RN-1 passes through the south/southeastern part of Honduras from its border with El Salvador in El Amatillo, through Choluteca, and into Nicaragua at El Espino. The highway goes through:
- El Amatillo
- Jicaro Galan a town 40 km east of El Amatillo border crossing and 12 km north of San Lorenzo at the junction with RN-5. From here travelers can go north towards Tegucigalpa on RN-5.
- San Lorenzo
- San Marcos de Colon
The Pan-American Highway is called "La Carretera Interamericana" or "Inter-American Highway" and is divided north and south, depending on if you go north or south from San Jose. Except for certain sections (such as the immediate areas of San Jose), most of the highway has only one lane for each direction.
This is the location of the Panama Canal (which is spanned by a bridge) and the Darien Gap, so there's a gap in the Pan-American highway here. From the Costa Rican border in Paso Canoas the highway passes through:
- David serves as a major city, transport hub and trading center for the Pacific West Region such as Boquete, Boca Chica, Volcano, hot springs and many other places. It is the first major city from the Costa Rican border at Paso Canoas.
- Santiago de Veraguas
- Goes over the entrance into the Panama Canal from the Pacific on the Puente Centenario
- Balboa is separated from Panama City by the Cerro Ancon (Ancon Hill), one of Panama City's skyline landmarks.
- Panama City is the capital of Panama. Sitting on the Pacific end of the Panama canal it has long been a point of transit for travelers and freight and these days Tocumen Airport has become the busiest in Central America and one of Latin America's most important transfer hubs. This is where travelers make arrangements to ship their vehicle(s) to Guayaquil, Ecuador from Panama City via the Pacific or to Cartagena, Colombia from Colon via the Caribbean. After shipping the car (or traveling without a car) one can fly or sail to South America to continue the Pan-American journey. Therefore, Panama City would be the end of the road for many coming from North America or where the road picks up again for going north from South America.
- Yaviza in the Darien Gap is where the road itself from North America ends or begins in.
- Puerto Obaldía is not on the Pan-American Highway but it is a remote place where travelers go through to get across the Brazo Leon Rio Atrato Bay to Turbo, Colombia via Capurgana, Colombia. Travelers would still have to fly from Panama City to Puerto Obaldia as the village/town is not accessible by road.
- See also: Colombia to Patagonia overland
The Pan-American Highway officially begins in Turbo, Colombia (nearest to the Darien Gap) and winds its way down towards Santiago Chile through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Northern Chile. From approximately 80 km north of Santiago the highway continues east towards Buenos Aires where it officially ends. Unofficially the route continues south along AR-RN 3 to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego in the southern tip of South America. Alternatively the traveler can continue south on the unofficial route from Santiago to Puerto Montt where it splits again to Quellon on Chiloé Island or to Villa O'Higgins along the Carretera Austral. Going north the Pan-American Highway splits in Medellin. One branch goes towards Turbo (nearest to Darien Gap) while the other continues north towards Cartagena as the principal port where the majority of travelers sail to and/or ship vehicles to Panama for the continuation of the Pan-American Highway through Central and North America.
- The Pan-American Highway follows El Troncal de la Sierra through the Andean Highlands from the main border crossing with Colombia in Tulcán. It serves as the main highway through Ecuador and it passes through Rumichaca, Ibarra, Quito, Ambato, Riobamba, Cuenca and Loja before crossing into Peru through La Macara.
- El Troncal de Costa runs parallel to the Pan-American Highway through the Coastal Lowlands. It begins at its intersection with Vía Colectora Quito-La Independencia (E28) in San Miguel de los Bancos, 154 km west of Quito. From here it passes through Santo Domingo, Quevedo, Jct Troncal Austral (E40)(road to Guayaquil); and Machala. El Troncal de Costa crosses into Peru through El Alamor. Likewise travelers can exit off at Transversal Sur (E50) in Arenillas to get to Tumbes via the Huaquillas border crossing.
The Pan-American Highway is called "La Carretera Interamericana" and is divided north and south, depending on if you go north or south of KM-0 at the intersection of PE-1 and Autopista R. Priale a Chosica (PE-22) in Lima. Except for certain sections (such as the immediate areas of Lima), most of the highway has only one lane for each direction.
- La Panamericana Norte or Ruta nacional PE-1N connects the Ecuadorian border crossing in Macara from Lima along the northern coast. Going north from Piura the highways splits into two branches. The main branch continues to the Macara border crossing while the other branch continues to Sullana where it splits again with one branch crossing through El Alamor border crossing and another continues along the coastline to Tumbes and then crosses into Ecuador through Zarumilla / Huaquillas. Going south towards Lima from Piura it passes through:
- La Panamericana Sur or Ruta nacional PE-1S connects the Chilean border near Tacna to Lima through the southern coast cities of:
- Tacna is 37 km north of the Chilean border.
- The road (Carretera Interoceanica Sur PE-36A) to La Paz, Bolivia begins at its intersection with Carretera Panamericana Sur (PE-1S) south of Moquegua. Follow signs to Moquegua and then to Desaguadero (border town with Bolivia).
- Arequipa is a city in the Southern Coastal region of Peru just below the edge of the Altiplano, at 2,380 m (7,810 ft) above sea level and surrounded by three impressive volcanoes. It's Peru's second most important city (after Lima), and the second most popular among tourists (after Cusco).
- Nazca or Nasca is a town in Peru's Southern Coast region. It is most famous for the Nazca Lines, a collection of long lines, geometrical figures, and giant drawings in the desert sand that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The road (Carretera Interoceanica PE-30A) going towards Abancay and Cusco begins in Vista Alegre, the next town south of Nazca.
- Pisco The road (Av Liberatador PE-28A) going towards Ayacucho and Cusco begins in San Clemente, the next town NE of Pisco.
- See also: Buenos Aires to Machu Picchu overland
- goes south from La Paz to Oruro and Potosi. The route branches follows Hwy 14 from Kucho Igenio 41 km south of Potosi. Going the other direction from La Paz this highway goes west towards the Interamerican Highway in Aqueagua, Peru through Disaguadero (at the border). In Disaguadero it also splits with one road going northwesterly towards Puno and Cusco and the other continues west towards Aqueagua.
- continues from Kucho Igenio to Villazon at the Argentine border. The road continues south as AR-Ruta 9 from the Argentine border town of La Quiaca.
- Ruta Carretera Panamericana or simply Ruta 5 goes from Arica (nearest the Peruvian border) in Region XV (Región de Arica y Parinacota) to Puerto Montt in Region X via Iquique, Antofagasta, Copiapo and Santiago de Chile.
- begins in Valparaiso and goes east towards the Christ Redeemer Tunnel (under some mountains) through the town of Los Andes. The Pan-American Highway splits with one branch of the highway going through the Christ Redeemer Tunnel where it crosses into Argentina and becomes AR-RN 7. The Pan-American Highway follows this route towards Buenos Aires from the intersection of Rutas 60 y 5 in Llay Llay, 80 km north of Santiago de Chile. The other branch continues south along Ruta 5 to Quellon on Chiloé Island via Santiago de Chile and Puerto Montt.
- La Carretera Austral is not defined to be part of the Pan-American Highway but it can be the continuation of the southern journey for those who do not wish to cross eastward towards Buenos Aires and then down towards the Tierra del Fuego on the Atlantic side. Instead this route continues south from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins in Region XI (Region Aysén). Construction is underway to extend La Carretera Austral further towards Punta Arenas.
- & begins in Chile at 80 km north of Santiago as Ruta 60 and crosses into Argentina through El Tunel de Cristo Redentor (Christ Redeemer Tunnel) where it becomes Hwy 7 or "Carretera Libertador General San Martín". It crosses through the Cuyo ( Mendoza & San Luis provinces); and the Pampas Regions (Santa Fe & Buenos Aires provinces) to Buenos Aires city, the capital and largest city of the country. This route forms an important "bi-oceanic" corridor between the Pacific (near Santiago) and the Atlantic (in Buenos Aires) and is defined as a part of the Pan-American Highway.
- & CL-RN-255 The Pan-American Highway continues south from Buenos Aires city to the Tierra del Fuego along the Atlantic coast. It crosses through the provinces of Buenos Aires, Rio Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz in the Argentine Patagonia. To continue from Rio Gallegos to Ushuaia and La Parque Nacional del Tierra del Fuego, RN-3 crosses into the Chilean Patagonia in San Gregorio and becomes CL-RN-255. It goes another 39 km to the intersection with CL-RN-257.
- RN-257 & continues another 16 km to the ferry terminal to cross the Magellenes Strait to Tierra Fuego. It then continues another 186 km through the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego to the border crossing at Paso Fronterizo San Sebastian to cross into the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego. The road rejoins AR RN-3 in San Sebastian Tierra del Fuego which ends 37 km west of Ushuaia in La Parque Naciona del Tierra del Fuego.
- & At a length of 5,224 km (3,246 mi), and stretching the whole mainland part of the country, the Ruta Nacional 40 is the longest national highway of Argentina and a popular travel itinerary. The southern end is at the South Atlantic coast and the road goes north following the Andes. The highway crosses remote and uninhabited parts of the country but also metropolitan areas like Mendoza and San Juan. The northern end is in La Quiaca at the border to Bolivia. Ruta Nacional 40 is not defined as part of the Pan-American Highway but travelers may follow this route from the Pan-American Highway in the city of Mendoza to Tierra del Fuego without having to go all the way across to the Atlantic coast to save some travel time.
Try to avoid areas where cartels operate, particularly in the Mexican states south of Texas. Follow the advice for the areas you are planning to travel through.