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All-American Road Trip: 18 Stops on the Pan-American Highway

July 5, 2014

Covering almost 30,000 miles, the Pan-American highway offers the most diverse scenery on the planet — and plenty of pit stops.

1. Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

Although the permanent population in the nearby town of Deadhorse hovers around 25, finding a place to stay is a cinch: The Aurora Hotel has 400 beds.

(Picture: Robin Esrock)

2. The Sour Toe Cocktail, Yukon

Stop at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City and slam back a special champagne cocktail garnished with a salted human toe. (Nearly a dozen digits have been swallowed!)

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(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

3. Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon

This expansive park on the edge of the Arctic Circle gets its macabre name from the black granite peaks that are thought to resemble grave markers.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

4. West Edmonton Mall, Alberta

The largest shopping mall in North America swallows 48 city blocks. (While you’re in the neighborhood, take a side trip to see the world’s largest sausage in Mundare.)

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

5. Hole-in-the-Wall Hideout, Wyoming

Outlaws like Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid hid from the law in this Bighorn Mountain Pass.

6. Very Large Array, New Mexico 

Where 27 of the world’s most powerful radio antennae observe black holes and star formations in distant galaxies.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

7. Chapultepec Castle, Mexico

The estate housed Mexico’s only monarch, Maximilian I, making it the only true castle in North America.

Related: Pacific Coast Highway: The Ultimate California Road Trip

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

8. Uxmal, Mexico

There are many legends about how this Mayan step pyramid, the tallest structure in Uxmal, came to be, one of which says that it was built in a single night by a dwarf who hatched from an iguana egg.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

9. Joya de Ceren, El Salvador

Central America’s version of Pompeii, this ancient village was preserved under layers of volcanic ash.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

10. Heladeria Coromoto, Venezuela

This ice cream shop in Merida boasts the largest flavor selection in the world—860! Try the trout, chili, hot dog, and Viagra Hope.

11. Avenue of the Volcanoes, Ecuador

This stretch of highway E35 winds around eight of the country’s 10 most explosive peaks, including Cotopaxi.

12. Swing at the End of the World, Ecuador

This simple swing is the real attraction at the seismic monitoring station known as Casa del Arbol or “The Treehouse”, which is used for observing Mt. Tungurahua.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

13. Fortress of Kuelap, Peru

The largest stone ruin site in the Western Hemisphere, the towering walls of bulky stone blocks make Machu Pichu look like a preschool project.

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14. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

With 4,086 square miles of the stuff making up the world’s largest salt flat, there’s enough to build an entire luxury hotel made of salt.

15. Whale Graveyard, Chile

Scientists have discovered more than 40 fossilized whale skeletons here, including some extinct “bizarre aquatic sloths.”

(Picture: TripAdvisor)

16. Lujan Zoo, Argentina

You can literally hug lions, tigers, and bears here in Buenos Aires.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

17. Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

The glacier is one of 48 fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water.

(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

18. Ushuaia, Argentina

Tierra del Fuego’s capital is as far south as you can drive! If you want to keep going, take the ferry to the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.

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