Ruta 40 Guided Road Trip

This is a great way to turn the trip from Bariloche in the north to El Calafate in the south into a real adventure, stopping on the winding route among the lakes and mountains for day hikes, steam train rides, kayaking and visits to a Mapuche village, a traditional estancia and ancient cave paintings.

10 Days

$1,825

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • From Bariloche taking the Route 40 direction south to get to the north gate of Los Alerces National Park 
  • Walking down the formidable Pinturas River Canyon to reach the Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands)
  • Visit Lago Posadas, a small village nearby the amazing Posadas and Pueyrredon Lakes
  • A Stop at Perito Moreno National Park one of the most splendid locations in the Southern Andes.
  • A day in one of the most beautiful places in the world to trek, El Chalten
  • Walking by footbridges to have wonderful views of the Perito Moreno Glacier 

Start from Bariloche Airport and end at El Calafate

Landmarks visited on Ruta 40 Guided Road Trip

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Bariloche to Los Alerces National Park

Distance of drive: 315 km

From Bariloche we take Route 40 direction south, passing by lakes Gutierrez and Mascardi to reach El Bolson, a small and relaxed town at the foot of Piltriquitron Peak. If it is open we will walk by its colourful handcrafts market, the best in Patagonia.

After El Bolson 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 Menendez and Verde we can do a 2-hour hike to admire the magnificent flora and the amazing blue and green colours of the lakes and rivers .

In the evening we will arrive to Villa Futalaufquen, a small and green village inside the park. Night in Villa Futalaufquen, Hosteria Futalaufquen, an splendid historical building by the most famous Patagonian architect, Alejandro Bustillo. 

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle 

Accommodation: Villa Futalaufquen, Hosteria Futalaufquen 


Day 2: Drive to Estancia Cueva de las Manos

Distance of drive: 650 km

From Villa Futalaufquen 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 Rio Mayo, located on the Senger River department. This area is famous for its sheep-breeding estancias, that produce top-quality wools. From Rio Mayo we will continue to the town of Perito Moreno, where we will stop briefly and then continue to Estancia Cueva de las Manos, where we will spend the night. 

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle 

Accommodation: Estancia Cueva de las Manos


Day 3: Drive to Los Antiguos 

Distance of drive: 180 km

From the estancia we can reach the formidable Pinturas River Canyon. Walking for 45 minutes (each way) we can go down the canyon, cross the river and climb to the other side 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. If you prefer not to hike the cave can be reached by vehicle too (1 hour by unpaved road from Route 40).

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.  

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle 

Accommodation: Hosteria Antigua Patagonia 


Day 4: Drive to Lago Posadas 

Distance of drive: 240 km

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 1,500m 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 Pueyrredon Lakes.  

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Lago Posadas, La Posada del Posadas 


Day 5: Drive Perito Moreno National Park

Distance of drive: 275 km

From Lago Posadas we will go back to Route 40 and then cover 160 km to the exit to Route 37 that leads to the Perito Moreno National Park, one of the most splendid locations in the Southern Andes, and one with the fewer visitors, due to its isolation and harsh weather.

After 90 km of dirt road we will reach the park entrance and 10 Km further we will arrive to Estancia La Oriental, where we will spend 2 nights. In the afternoon we will take a first look in the park, going to the gorgeous Burmeister Lake. 

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Estancia La Oriental 


Day 6: Hiking in Perito Moreno National Park

We spend an entire day in the Perito Moreno National Park so we can go in a safari deep into it's wilderness. We will take a closer look to the beautiful Patagonian Steppe of needle grasslands, cushion shrubs and "Calafate" as well as Roble Beech forest areas. As far as the fauna is concerned we will see big groups of Guanacos, as well as Lesser Rhea, Red Fox, Armadillo, Andean Condor, Woodpeckers, Eagles, Geese, Black-necked Swans and Flamingos, among many other birds.

Other two emblematic species live in the park, although they are very difficult to see: Puma and Huemul, the Patagonian native Deer, highly endangered, who has in the park one of its last strongholds. We can go to different areas of the park: climbing cerro Volcano, walking through the Belgrano Peninsula or hiking to the Lacteo (Milky) River. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Estancia La Oriental


Day 7: Drive to El Chalten

Distance of drive: 515 km

Back again on Route 40 we will cross an immense plateau that leads to the town of Gobernador Gregores, where we will stop for a quick lunch. Soon the pavement comes to an end, more than 100km of unpaved road with spectacular views of Cardiel Lake along the way. Back on the paved road again we will reach Tres Lagos and head to El Chalten, 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.  

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle , Distance 515 km 

Accommodation: El Chalten, Nothofagus B&B


Day 8: Trekking Day in El Chalten

We spend a day in El Chalten trekking in one of the most beautiful places for it on Earth. 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. After our trekking day we will recover with a good dinner of Patagonian lamb or beef. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: El Chalten, Nothofagus B&B 


Day 9: Drive to El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier 

Distance of drive: 375 km

We leave El Chalten 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 all the afternoon there. 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 74m.  

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: El Calafate, Hosteria Cauquenes de Nimez 


Day 10: A Day to Enjoy Los Glaciares National Park

Distance of drive: 160 km

Night in El Calafate, Hosteria Cauquenes de Nimez. We spend another day in El Calafate to enjoy Los Glaciares National Park at it's best, 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 of visiting Estancia Cristina where we will go on a 4WD vehicle to the Upsala glacier viewpoint, with views over the South Patagonian Ice Field; then we will visit the estancia house, church and museum. Back to El Calafate and end of our services. 

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: El Calafate, Hosteria Cauquenes de Nimez 

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Price from USD $1,825 per person, based on a group of 4 people. For 2 people the price is $2,950 per person.

This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $1,825 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.

The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.

Please get in touch for information on departures.

Includes

  • Transportation and guidance from Bariloche to El Calafate during the entire tour in a modern and comfortable 4WD vehicle
  • Lodging and breakfast for 10 nights on double or triple rooms in the hotels and estancias mentioned on the itinerary. Those are subject to availability by the time of booking, if not available we will look for an alternative of similar quality

Excludes

  • Meals (lunch and dinner), drinks (around $40 per person and day, on average)
  • Entrance fees to National Parks and Cave of Hands
  • Trekking guide in El Chalten, if needed. (All regular routes are self-guided)
  • Cost of the activity of day 10 in El Calafate; this will be quoted separately once the activity in chosen
  • Any other activity not mentioned above that you might want to take part during the trip
  • Any other expense not specifically mentioned above
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal equipment
  • Gratuities
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses 

Questions about this Trip?