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Infamous Ruta 40 & Carretera Austral

The epic Ruta 40 and Carretera Austral run alongside the spectacular Patagonian Andes. Your road trip takes in the highlights of this stunning region by expedition truck, with a small group of travellers and your driver/guide. Get truly off the beaten track, on this reversible itinerary from Bariloche to El Chaltén, passing through some of the most remote landscapes on Earth.

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Infamous Ruta 40 & Carretera Austral

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Trip type

Group Tour

Trip length

7 Days





Infamous Ruta 40 & Carretera Austral - 7 - $1,967

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Note: This trip also runs in the reverse direction (El Chaltén to Bariloche)

Day 1: Bariloche to Futaleufu 

Day 2: Futaleufu to Queulat National Park 

Day 3: Queulat National Park 

Day 4: Queulat National Park to Coyhaique

Day 5: Coyhaique to the Ruta 40

Day 6: Ruta 40 to Cueva de las Manos

Day 7: Ruta 40 to El Chaltén

Start from Bariloche and end at El Chaltén

Landmarks visited on Infamous Ruta 40 & Carretera Austral

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Bariloche to Futaleufu

Departing from Bariloche, located in the heart of Argentina's Lakes District, pass through the town of Esquel where the 'Old Patagonian Express' still runs. We'll stop briefly in Trevelin – a small town with links to Welsh immigrants – before crossing into Chile in the late afternoon. Here the scenery changes as we arrive in the quaint town of Futaleufu.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Accommodation: Hotel El Barranco

Day 2: Futaleufu to Queulat National Park

Today we join the Carretera Austral (Southern Road) in a remote and unspoilt area of natural beauty. This is one of South America's best road trips. There is plenty of time to stop along the route for photos of the stunning views of lakes, forests and waterfalls.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Posada Queulat Eco Lodge

Day 3: Queulat National Park

Today there is the chance to hike to a waterfall, visit a private island or try sea kayaking in the fjords if the weather permits.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Posada Queulat Eco Lodge

Day 4: Queulat National Park to Coyhaique

The drive today starts with navigating 33 curves winding up to 500m. From here we pass through two more valleys and several small country towns.

We follow the course of the Simpson River, passing mirror lakes and snow-capped mountains until we reach the Coyhaique Reserve where we'll hike 8km to Green Lake.

It's only a short drive from there to our destination for the day – Coyhaique.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Raices Bed & Breakfast

Day 5: Coyhaique to Ruta 40

Enjoy a spectacular drive through the Cerro Castillo Reserve with a chance to see the rare Huemul deer before crossing into Argentina after lunch. Here we pick up the Ruta 40 and travel south across the vast Patagonian plains. Keep a look out for armadillos, rheas and guanacos.

We'll stop for the night in a remote Patagonian town.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Cueva de Las Manos

Day 6: Ruta 40 to the Cueva de las Manos

Today we visit the Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands). This is one of the most important archaeological sites in South America. These caves feature paintings that were made by the first settlers of these lands, ancestors of the Tehuelche people (or Patagones) and date back to between 9,300 and 3,300 years ago. It was declared a UNESCO World heritage site in 1999.

From here we continue on to Gobernador Gregores, a small town with links to the old caravan trail, where we'll spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Hosteria Ruta 40

Day 7: Ruta 40 to El Chaltén

Enjoy the landscapes of the Patagonian Steppe as we head south this morning. Further on we will arrive in El Chaltén and the Los Glaciares National Park. The ice field here is the world's third largest reserve of fresh water. Our hotel is situated under the imposing peaks of Mount Fitz Roy, named after the captain of the Beagle, who navigated Darwin's Expedition of the area in 1834.

In the afternoon, you can hike up to the eagle and condor viewpoints, or walk along the river to the beautiful Chorillo waterfall.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

This trip will not be running in the 2022-23 season. Please get in touch to explore some amazing alternatives.

Additional Notes

Joining and departure instructions – We recommend staying in Bariloche the night before the trip starts as a pre-tour meeting will be held at our joining hotel at 6:30pm. The tour finishes in El Chaltén where we recommend a minimum of one night stay. If you would like help booking this accommodation, please just let us know

Trip extension – This trip joins with our South America Southern Explorer tour. Please enquire for more information.

Group size – Small group tour; maximum 16 passengers

Single supplement – A 25% supplement applies to solo travellers who do not wish to share with another person of the same sex.


  • Meals: 7 Breakfasts, 7 picnic lunches, 6 dinners
  • Accommodation: 3 nights in standard hotels and guesthouses, 3 nights in cabins
  • Transport in a custom built all-terrain expedition vehicle
  • Experienced bilingual tour leader, driver and local guides
  • All national park entrance fees
  • Entrance to Cueva de las Manos
  • Queulat National Park and Queulat Hanging Glacier – Carretera Austral
  • Overnight at a Patagonian estancia on Route 40


  • Meals not included in itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch and dinner
  • Any extra/optional activities
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?