Overland tours are a unique and adventurous way to explore South America. Overland travelers can visit cultural and historical sites including the Chauchilla Cemetery in Peru, shop for indigenous goods in Bolivia and Peru and even trek the Inca Trail.
This South American overland tour packing list contains a list of recommended items and travel gear to take on an overland tour across South America based on what I brought.
Overland tours tend to cover more rugged and untouched areas, so I would recommend bringing a backpack rather than a rolling suitcase. When choosing a travel backpack, you don’t need to spend a fortune, but make sure your choice is durable, comfortable to wear and lightweight.
- 1 Main Backpack: Kelty Redwing 50
- 1 Day Pack: REI Flash 18
*Note: Depending on your needs and activities, you may need to bring more or less clothes. These are the clothes I brought with me on our 46-day overland tour through Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.
- 1 Pair of Jeans
- 1 Pair of Convertible Pants
- 2 Pair of Athletic Shorts/Shorts
- 3 T-Shirts
- 1 Polo Shirt
- 2 Long Sleeve Shirts
- 1 Rain Jacket
- 1 Jacket
- 1 Swimwear
- 4 Pairs of Socks
- 1 Beanie or Warm Hat
Be sure to save space inside your backpack or suitcase, because South America has several great places for purchasing souvenirs such as at the Witches’ Market in La Paz.
- 1 Pair of Sneakers
- 1 Pair of Sandals or Flip-Flops
If you are planning on going on the Lares Trek or the Inca Trail, you may want to bring your own hiking boots or you can rent a pair in Cusco. I trekked in my trail running shoes and was fine. The tour guides recommend hikers to “wear shoes you are comfortable in”, whether that is a pair of hiking boots or normal sneakers.
Toiletries and Hygiene:
There are several places in South America to purchase toiletries, so it isn’t completely necessary to bring all of your toiletries from home.
- First Aid Items
- And other personal medical or hygiene that suit your needs
Before leaving home, load up your smartphone with some game apps and music, which will be useful during the days on the road. Our driver, Martin and tour guide, Alvaro recommended that we look out the window while on the truck, but eventually I spent most of my time playing board games with other travelers and sleeping while on our truck, named Frank.
I had downloaded several board game apps such as Monopoly and Risk on my iPad, which I played for hours with other travelers while on the yellow truck. You may also want to purchase a protective case for your smartphone.
- Smartphone and Smartphone Charger and Apps
- Headphones or Earbuds
- MacBook Air and Charger
- External Battery
- Flashlight or Headlamp
- Voltage Converter
- Hard Drive
- Credit cards
- Deck of Cards
- Books (optional if you have a Pad device)
- Travel Journal
- Pen or Pencil
- Money Belt
- Luggage Lock
Jonathan Looi travelled with his parents and sister on Tucan Travel#s Altiplano (LLR) 46-day overland tour from Rio de Janeiro to Lima. At 15, he was the youngest overlander on tour with Tucan Travel at the time. Find out more about Tucan Travel’s Altiplano Overland Tour here. http://www.tucantravel.com/tour/overview/altiplano/llr You can find Jonathan at www.thetravelgearreviews.com.