Can one do a huge driving loop of South America? Turns out you can’t. I was planning on doing it this february, but discovered it’s rather problematical. Here’s why…..
Driving an anti clockwise loop of South America, starting in, for example, Venezuela, and ending in North East Brazil is quite simple. The other way round is not - there’s the Amazon rainforest in the way. It’s still possible to do by car, but at some stage you’ll need to put the vehicle on a ferry.
One option is to make your way overland to either Iquitos in Peru, or Leticia in Colombia, from where you can catch a boat to Manaus, and onwards to Belem, from where you can start driving east along Brazil’s beaches.
Another option is to drive south through Venezuela and into Brazil, through Boa Vista, and onwards to Manaus. From Manaus, there’s no roads leading east, or south. Maps show that there are such roads, but apparently they have now been taken over by the rainforest and are impassable. From Manaus, you’ll have to put your car on a boat to Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon, from where you can continue driving along Brazil’s coastline.
The third available option for driving across the Amazon, is to travel along the coastal roads from Venezuela through Georgetown (in Guyana), Paramaibo (Suriname) and Cayenne (French Guiana) to Macapa in Northern Brazil. Macapa is on the northern side of the Amazon - to get to Belem it’s a whole day by boat.
See the map of South America for orientation purposes.