Literature of Travel and Exploration: An Encyclopedia. Ed. by Jennifer Speake. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003. (3 vols.)
"Leads readers to the individuals who wrote about their travels and lists editions of their writing--primarily, but not always, in English"--(Booklist Reviews, March 1, 2004). Bibliographies of travel writing are at the end of the geographic entries. Try major countries (Brazil, Mexico) and regions (Caribbean, Central America). Entries include people, places and topics related to travel, but some well-known travel writers lack individual entries in this encyclopedia.
Identify early accounts of the Americas with this index. Covers the history of European exploration as well as portrayals of native American peoples. A wide range of subject areas are covered; from natural disasters to disease outbreaks and slavery. Based on the authoritative bibliography European Americana: A Chronological Guide to Works Printed in Europe Relating to The Americas, 1493-1750. Does not provide the full-text of the sources.
A digital collection of Latin American travel accounts written in the 16th-19th centuries, created at Brown University.
Try these terms to locate first-hand accounts in MSU catalog:
Description and travel (combine terms with name of country or region)
Voyages and travels
Journeys (for individuals)
Travel (for individuals)
And these for studies about the writings of travelers:
Travel in literature