Could you drive from North America to South America?

I’m wondering if it’d be possible to drive from where I am (Montreal, Canada) to South America.

I’m not actually planning to do it. I’m just curious.

There’s a gap in Panama over a very rugged canyon that can’t be crossed by auto. Otherwise, yes.

No, but you can walk it in theory. They left it as a roadless jungle between Panama and Colombia on purpose. People have hacked paths through it but it isn’t safe, easy, or fun. You can drive almost everywhere between North and South America however and you can have your vehicle ferried across the gap.

A friend of my cousin’s is in the middle of biking from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, for peace or something.

Did I mention that this is a female friend? And that, while she’ll be meeting up with other cyclers, she will be spending quite a lot of the trail alone, through some countries that are not necessarily friendly to random white hippie girls?

Yeah. We’re hoping she survives it. But theoretically, it’s possible.

What purpose?

  1. Environmental concerns
  2. Drug and human trafficking concerns
  3. Spread of disease concerns (foot and mouth disease in livestock for example).
  4. Engineering challenges
  5. Insufficient political will or economic justification

<Should have known I’d get ninja’ed on this…>

I haven’t read this book, but an earlier thread referenced The Darkest Jungle as a good resource about the Darien Gap.

Let’s not forget the biggest purpose… The US basically carved Panama from Columbia to control the land to build the canal. I doubt they wanted to make it easier for Columbia to get there if they wanted it back.

Make sure when she puts the videos of her bot fly infestation being extracted one by one on YouTube, and then let us know.m if she’s good looking, and she takes a bath before they extract the things, she could make some good money from YouTube viewership. (seems many central American trips, mostly to Belize, result in a video of someone getting a bot fly removed from their bodies. Search “bot fly” on YouTube. It’s a freakshow!

I read ‘Road Fever’ by Tim Cahill years ago. In it, he drives from South America to North America. I don’t recall it, but I guess he must have put the car on a boat for a short while.

Loren Upton and Patty Mercier made across the Darién Gap in a Jeep. It took them a couple of years, averaging less than 300 meters per day. But that was before FARC started taking tourists as hostages in that locale, which might delay your trip by a few more years.

Possible that the crossing can be made, or possible that your friend will survive?

Oh come on. It’s some of the roughest terrain on the planet, and if the wildlife and sudden drops don’t kill you the drug cartels, revolutionaries and all-around bad people present will.

They’d have to pay me an AWFUL LOT OF MONEY to be on that road construction crew, is all I’m saying.

Not everything’s a conspiracy.

I can guarantee you 100% that she is not riding a bicycle through the Darian Gap. Between the FARC rebels, insects, disease and impenetrable jungle, she will be stopped in her tracks less than a mile in.

There is a ferry service now that she can take. Let’s pray that she has the sense to take this ferry and not consider it “cheating”.

A great Locked Up Abroad episode shows what happened to 2 guys who tried to hike the GAP.

Interesting old ad/video touting the ability of a GM car to cross the Darien.

Part 2:

Someone who shared the same advisor I did in grad school decided, after he got his Master’s degree, to drive from the US to Tierra del Fuego in a car he bought for that puropose.

There were a couple of places he had to get the car transported because there was no road, but I thought he’d made it all the way down to South America before that happened. I could be wrong, though.

I started a thread a long time ago that I can’t find now for some reason. A determined person could theoretically walk from the tip of South America into North America, into Alaska, across the frozen Bering Strait, into Asia, then on to Africa and then on to Europe.

Look at a globe. Five of the seven continents are still mostly connected (and Antarctica doesn’t really count so you could hit all all but Australia) but there are gaps that make it impossible for the average person. One person is doing it however and has passed the major geographic challenges only to be held up by political obstacles in Russia and finances.

If the right roads were built to connect the gaps, you could theoretically drive a very capable all-terrain vehicle from Argentina to the U.S. to Canada to Russia to China to anywhere in Europe, the Middle East or all the way down to South Africa. You could do those trips in just a few sections even today but I have never heard of anyone taking a road trip from say France to China or India to South Africa. It is possible however.

Thanks for finding that!