Panamericana roadtrip memories 7

| Sapa Pana Travel

The Panamericana road trip started in December 2011. A car trip through South America with 83 classic Volvo's. In 35 days and 16,000 kilometres, these Volvo enthusiasts drove from Buenos Aires in Argentina, via the south to Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. On our blog we will share memories of this memorable journey in the near future.

Day 23: La Paz - Puno

Team 68
As soon as we got outside all my senses woke up. The temperature is wonderful, the restored old city centre is stunning, but the difference with the suburbs is painful. I sauntered around a little looking for women in traditional dress. They were so enchanting. Dressed in every colour of the rainbow, such elegant ladies with their teeth. Around noon we left in a convoy with 3 others, the memories of the city still fresh in our minds.

We ended up in a traffic chaos that you had to smile your way through. We’d lost 2 cars within 5 minutes. The trick is to keep driving and hope that others stop. They usually do, about 5 centimetres from your bumper. After 20 minutes we’d lost everyone, but that was around the time that we’d pretty much left the city. We then had a wonderful day. We found ourselves at some sort of dancing festival on a rock at Lake Titicaca. Later, we had to cross the lake on a raft that I wouldn’t even dare put a Dinky Toy on. When there’s a bus on the raft, the passengers of the bus have to travel on a separate raft. One of those rafts – with a bus on it – was once tipped over by the wind. Our little tank made it safely across.

We drove through magnificent landscapes and enjoyed the drolly dressed up people. Today we went up to 4300 altitude metres again. Meanwhile quite a few people have become sick. Thankfully we have two bottles of oxygen on board, so every now and then we take a deep breath of oxygen and we feel better. Crossing the border to Peru was easy. We drove in the dark the last hour and because we don’t have any lights anymore (just the distance headlamps) that wasn’t too great. Oh yes, we narrowly escaped intensive care as well. On a gravel road there was a car coming towards us that was speeding, slipped and came spinning towards us. Mel quickly turned the wheel so we ended up in the shoulder. We felt the stream of air from the other car pass us. In a cloud of dust we waited breathlessly for impact. It had missed us by a hair’s breadth. 

Book Panamericana roadtrip

As a reminder of this memorable journey, the book 'Panamericana Roadtrip' has been published. The story is told with the stunning photographs from travel photographer Thijs Heslenfeld, supported by a selection of some of the many stories written by the heroes of this journey. For everyone that did not participate in this journey, it is a wonderful book to dream away with. The proceeds of this book go to the special projects of the HoPe Foundation. This organisation - founded by Walter Meekes - is involved in developing education in the remote mountain villages around the Peruvian city of Cuzco. 

More information

More about LatinAmeriCar

Would you like to join us on one of these exclusive car trips? Then take a look at our page of LatinAmeriCar. Do you have questions about a unique and round trip in Latin America, would you like a tailor-made travel proposal or would you like to make an appointment at our office? Feel free to contact us. Send an e-mail to or call us on +31 73 610 62 04

More about LatinAmeriCar