ROAD TRIPS

Patagonia by Route 40

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LENGTH
10 days
SEASON
October to April
START
Bariloche
END
El Calafate

The mythical Route 40 goes along more than 5,000 kilometers covering all Argentina from north to south, from La Quiaca, on the Bolivian border, to Cabo Vírgenes, in Santa Cruz province. On this tour we will go from Bariloche to El Calafate, passing by amazing places like Cueva de las Manos, Lago Posadas, El Chaltén and the Perito Moreno Glacier. The tour includes a crossing to Chile to visit the spectacular Marble Caves. 10 days of pure Patagonia.

ITINERARY

DAY 1. BARILOCHE - LOS ALERCES NATIONAL PARK

From Bariloche we take Route 40 direction south, passing by lakes Gutierrez and Mascardi to reach El Bolsón, a small and relaxed town at the foot of Piltriquitron Peak. If it is open we will walk by its colorful handicrafts market, the best in Patagonia. After El Bolsón we will take the detour to Cholila, a rural village in a beautiful green valley to get to the north gate of Los Alerces National Park. We will do several stops as we cross the park north to south by Rivadavia, Menendez and Futalaufquen lakes. By lakes Menéndez and Verde we can do a 2-hour hike to admire the magnificent flora and the amazing blue and green colors of the lakes and rivers.

Menendez Lake and Torrecillas Glacier
Menendez Lake and Torrecillas Glacier

DAY 2. LOS ALERCES NATIONAL PARK - PERITO MORENO

We leave the national park and drive down to Esquel by the beautiful Percey River valley to take Route 40 again towards the huge empty spaces of the Patagonian Steppe. As Route 40 moves south it also turns to the centre of the Chubut province, and after passing by the town of Tecka and Gobernador Costa the steppe landscape of needle grasses turn into a desert-like terrain, with only a few hard and flat bushes. In the afternoon we will reach the town of Río Mayo, located on the Senger River department. This area in famous for its sheep-breeding estancias, that produce top-quality wools. From Río Mayo we will continue to the town of Perito Moreno, where we will spend the night.

DAY 3. PERITO MORENO - CUEVA DE LAS MANOS – LOS ANTIGUOS

From Perito Moreno we will continue by Route 40 and then take a detour to the formidable Pinturas River Canyon to visit Cueva de las Manos (“Cave of the Hands”). The canyon walls feature paintings of four different periods from 9,300 to 1,300 years ago, being one of the most ancient artistic expressions of the South American natives. It was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. After visiting the paintings we will go back to Perito Moreno and after a quick stop we will detour to the west, covering 65 Km to Los Antiguos, by the immense Buenos Aires Lake, where we will spend the night.

Cueva de las Manos
Cueva de las Manos
The canyon walls feature paintings of four different periods from 9,300 to 1,300 years ago, being one of the most ancient artistic expressions of the South American natives.

DAY 4. LOS ANTIGUOS – MARBLE CAVES – LOS ANTIGUOS

With a tour company based in Los Antiguos you will cross to Chile on a minivan and drive all the way by Lake General Carrera to Puerto Tranquilo, with amazing views over the lake and the mountains around the Northern Ice Filed. In Puerto Tranquilo you will take a boat excursion to the stunning “Marble Chapels”, rocky formations of amazing shapes resulting from the wind and water erosion. After that you will have a picnic by the lake and take your way back to Los Antiguos.

Chelenko Lake, shared by Argentina and Chile, is the second largest in South America . Is located at the foot of some of the highest peaks in Patagonia and the Northern Ice Field, displaying some of the best sceneries in Patagonia
Marble Caves
Marble Caves

DAY 5. LOS ANTIGUOS – LAGO POSADAS

From Los Antiguos we will take the Mount Zeballos Road, a scenic route of 160 km of dirt road covering 4 different environments: steppe, Andean forest, altitude grassland and high mountain. We will go up from 200 to 1.500 m. to reach a viewpoint with great sights of Mount Zeballos. Going down we will cross several estancias before reaching the small village of Lago Posadas. In the afternoon we will explore the spectacular Posadas and Pueyrredón Lakes. Night in Lago Posadas.

Lago Posadas
Lago Posadas

DAY 6. LAGO POSADAS – ESTANCIA LA ANGOSTURA

From Lago Posadas we will cover 75 km of dirt road to take Route 40 again at Bajo Caracoles. Then we will continue south to Estancia La Angostura, and authentic Patagonia Ranch owned by the Kusanovic family, pioneers in the area since 1878. In the estancia we can do horse riding, go birdwatching and enjoy the real Patagonian food.

DAY 7. ESTANCIA LA ANGOSTURA– EL CHALTÉN

Back again on Route 40 we will reach the Cardiel Lake, where we can see big herds of guanacos, the Patagonian camelid. Back on the paved road again we will reach Tres Lagos and head to El Chaltén, the Argentinean capital of trekking, with innumerable attractions for hikers and mountain climbers. The most iconic ones are Mount Fitz Roy (3,405 m) and Cerro Torre (3,102) which attract climbers from all over the world due to their extreme technical difficulty. If the weather conditions are good this part of the route offers majestic landscapes, with great views of the impressive Fitz Roy massif and the Viedma Glacier, both within the Los Glaciares National Park. Night in El Chaltén.

The most iconic peaks are Mount Fitz Roy (3,405 m) and Cerro Torre (3,102) which attract climbers from all over the world due to their extreme technical difficulty.

DAY 8. TREKKING DAY IN EL CHALTEN

Free day in El Chalten that you can use to hike on some of the most beautiful trails in Patagonia. There are plenty of options of different physical demand ranging from easy ones like the Condors Viewpoint (2 hours), moderate ones like the Torre Lagoon on the feet of Torre Glacier (7 hours), Los Tres Lagoon (9 hours) or the Pliege Tumbado Viewpoint (9 hours). More challenging ones, taking several days, are the trekking on Torre Glacier or to the Marconi pass, with indescribable views across the Southern Ice Field. Other options part from hiking are horse riding or taking a boat tour in Lago del Desierto.

DAY 9. EL CHALTÉN – EL CALAFATE – PERITO MORENO GLACIER

We leave El Chaltén early in the morning to cover 215 Km to El Calafate, the gateway to the most famous glacier in the world, Perito Moreno. Along the way we will have great views of the Viedma lake and glacier, La Leona and Santa Cruz rivers and the Argentino Lake. Once we are in El Calafate we check in at the hotel and then go straight to Los Glaciares National Park to visit Perito Moreno Glacier, spending there all the afternoon. Walking by the footbridges placed at different levels we will have wonderful views of the glacier, which is 5 Km wide and an average altitude of 74 m. Night in El Calafate.

Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier

DAY 10. EL CALAFATE

Full day in El Calafate to enjoy Los Glaciares National Park doing an activity of your choice. Our recommendations are: taking a boat trip in Argentino Lake to see Spegazzini y Upsala glaciers, doing a mini-trekking over Perito Moreno glacier, or visiting Estancia Cristina where you will go on a 4WD vehicle to the Upsala glacier viewpoint, with views over the South Patagonian Ice Field. Back to El Calafate and end of our services.



Or get in touch at info@patagonianwild.com for more details or to request a different start date.

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