The Gringo Trail, a coast-to-coast journey across South America from the Pacific to the Atlantic, remains one of the most perennially popular journeys in world travel. The trail a remarkable diversity of spectacular natural scenery - from the Andes mountains in the west to the Amazon Rainforest and wildlife paradise of the Pantanal to the incomparable sights of Iguazu Falls and Salar de Uyuni. There is just as much cultural diversity as you travel from the Andean countries with their strong indigenous influence to the vibrant cities of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro on the east coast, pulsating to the beat of their tango and samba rhythms. The journey will also bring to life centuries of South American history - from the spectacular pre-Hispanic Inca ruins at Machu Picchu to the colonial towns, silver mines and Jesuit settlements that characterised Spanish and Portuguese rule. The routes of this journey travel from the Andean capitals (Quito, Lima or La Paz) to the east coast metropolises (Buenos Aires or Rio), or vice versa, via two main paths - south via Santiago and Buenos Aires or the central route across Bolivia and the Pantanal in Brazil.

Frontiers of Travel Articles

Y Dale! Y Dale! Y Dale BOCA Dale!

Quebrada de Humahuaca Buenos Aires Iguazu FallsMap for Gringo Trail

Countries Visited


Interested in exploring more of South America? Then check out the Along the Andes, Northern Trail or Across the Southern Cone journeys.

Routes for Gringo Trail

Quito - Rio (southern route)

This extensive coast-to-coast route across South America takes in all the highlights of the Andes region before heading down to the Southern Cone and the cities and colonial towns of central Chile and Argentina. It then continues north to Rio via the spectacular Iguazu Falls.

Tours: 5 available View highlights of this route

Quito - Rio (central route)

The most direct route from Quito to Rio incorporates all the major highlights in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia before crossing the border into Brazil to explore the Pantanal, Iguazu Falls and travelling along the coast to finish in the magnificent city of Rio de Janeiro.

Tours: 0 available View highlights of this route

Quito - Buenos Aires

Travelling south from Quito to Buenos Aires, this route takes in the Andes region characterised by dramatic pre-Hispanic ruins and a strong indigenous culture before travelling to the great cities of northern and central Chile and Argentina.

Tours: 1 available View highlights of this route

Lima - Rio (southern route)

The route connecting Lima to Rio via Bolivia, Santiago and Buenos Aires packs in many of South America's most popular attractions including Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Salar de Uyuni and Iguazu Falls.

Tours: 6 available View highlights of this route

Lima - Rio (central route)

Cutting directly across the continent from west to east, the central route from Lima to Rio incorporates many of the great destinations in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, including the historic ruins at Machu Picchu, the wildlife of the Pantanal, the natural wonder of Iguazu Falls and the party city of Rio de Janeiro.

Tours: 2 available View highlights of this route

Lima - Buenos Aires

The Lima - Buenos Aires route travels through the popular traveller destinations in southern Peru and Bolivia before heading south to the thriving Argentine cities of Cordoba, Mendoza and Buenos Aires.

Tours: 4 available View highlights of this route

La Paz - Rio (southern route)

This route travels from La Paz to Rio via a southern loop taking in the highlights of Bolivia and northern and central Chile and Argentina. After stopping in Buenos Aires, you head north along Brazil's coast to Rio via the world's most spectacular waterfalls at Iguazu.

Tours: 0 available View highlights of this route

La Paz - Rio (central route)

The shortest coast-to-coast route on the Gringo Trail takes in just two countries but includes many highlights such as Lake Titicaca, the silver mines at Potosi, the wildlife and wetlands of the Pantanal, Iguazu Falls and the stunning and vibrant city of Rio.

Tours: 2 available View highlights of this route

La Paz - Buenos Aires

From La Paz high in the Andes, this route heads south through Bolivia and the Salar de Uyuni to the beautiful landscapes and fascinating cities of Chile and Argentina before crossing to the Atlantic coast and the great city of Buenos Aires.

Tours: 2 available View highlights of this route

Guidebooks for Gringo Trail

Guidebooks for this journey from all the major travel publishers are listed below. Links to Amazon (UK, US and Canadian stores), Waterstones (UK) and selected publisher websites allow you to purchase the guidebooks online at best value with one simple click (individual chapter downloads are also available for selected Lonely Planet titles).

Amazon Store: | |
Footprint South American


South American

Sep 2013 (90th ed.)
1684 pages

Author(s): Ben Box

Lonely_Planet South America on a Shoestring

Shoestring Guides

South America on a Shoestring

Aug 2013 (12th ed.)
1112 pages

Author(s): Regis St. Louis, Greg Benchwick et al.

Download Individual Chapter PDFs (2.99) - Click here to view chapters.
Frommer's South America

Complete Guides

South America

Jun 2010 (5th ed.)
832 pages

Author(s): Nicholas Gill, Eliot Greenspan, Charlie O'Malley

Insight South America

Insight Guides

South America

May 2013 (6th ed.)
440 pages