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. View the UNESCO ancient caves and the world's most famous glacier, as well as hiking in the Argentinean capital of trekking. Private transfers mean you're free to fix your gaze on the scenery the whole time.

11 Days

$2,815

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Ruta 40 Guided Road Trip - 11 - $2,815

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Journey through Patagonia's steppe, Andean forest, altitude grassland and high mountains on the mythical Route 40
  • Spend full days of hiking however you choose in both Lanín National Park and El Chaltén
  • Experience the native South American artistic expression at Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands), the UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Draw closer and closer to the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier as you make your way up the series of viewing balconies
  • Stay in authentic estancias, sampling local food, crossing vast stretches by horseback, or enjoying the peace while birdwatching

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 San Martín de los Andes

Distance of drive: 210 km

We start our trip with the most classic tour on the Lake District: the Seven Lakes Route. After the reception in Bariloche we will take Route 40 up north, going around the immense Nahuel Huapi Lake to Villa La Angostura, a gorgeous alpine-style village by the Huemul arm of the lake, where we will stop for lunch.

From there we will continue to San Martín de los Andes passing by lakes Correntoso, Espejo, Villarino, Falkner, Hermoso, Machónico and Lácar along the way. We arrive at Hostería La Fontaine in the evening, where we will spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostería La Fontaine, San Martín de los Andes


Day 2: Lanín National Park

We will spend the day exploring the Lanin National Park. If you want to hike there are several great trekking options like Cerro Colorado (5 hours), Achen Niyeu Volcano (5 hours) or Cerro Mallo (8 hours). If you’d prefer to drive you can go to Huechulafquen Lake in the private vehicle, witnessing amazing views of the Lanín Volcano surrounded by Araucaria and Coihue trees. By the Paimún Lake you can take a short walk to the spectacular Saltillo waterfall, which flows directly from the melting of the Lanín volcano glacier.

Later, spend another night in San Martín de los Andes, at Hostería La Fontaine.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostería La Fontaine, San Martín de los Andes


Day 3: Drive through the Cordoba Pass to Bariloche

We go back to Bariloche, but instead of taking the 7 Lakes Route again we will detour to Meliquina and Filo Hua Hum lakes. From there we will go by the Cordoba Pass through the “Enchanted Valley”, the valley of Traful and Limay Rivers, surrounded by wonderful rock formations of volcanic origin. After passing by the confluence of these two rivers, we will continue to Bariloche following the course of Limay River, that starts in the the huge Nahuel Huapi Lake.

In the afternoon you will have free time to explore the city, staying at Hostería Güemes for the evening.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostería Güemes, Bariloche


Day 4: 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 reach Hostería Quime Quipan, where we will stay.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostería Quime Quipan


Day 5: Los Alerces National Park – Perito Moreno

Distance of drive: 615 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 Río Mayo, located on the Senger River department. This area is famous for its sheep-breeding estancias that produce luxurious wools. From Río Mayo we will continue to the town of Perito Moreno, where we will spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hotel Kelman


Day 6: Perito Moreno – Cueva De Las Manos – Los Antiguos

Distance of drive: 180 km

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 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

After visiting the paintings, we will go back to Perito Moreno and then detour to the west, covering 65 km to Los Antiguos, by the immense Buenos Aires Lake, where we will spend the night.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hostería Antigua Patagonia


Day 7: Los Antiguos – 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 walk from 200 to 1,500 m to reach a viewpoint with great sights of Mount Zeballos.

Descending, we will cross several estancias before reaching the small village of Lago Posadas. The afternoon will be spent exploring the spectacular Posadas and Pueyrredón Lakes, before a night in Lago Posadas, La Posada del Posadas.

* This road is subject to authorization due to climatic conditions. If the road is not open we will go to Lago Posadas by Routes 40 and 39 instead.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Lago Posadas, La Posada del Posadas


Day 8: 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 traditional Patagonian food.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Estancia La Angostura


Day 9: Estancia La Angostura – El Chaltén

Distance of drive: 280 km

Back again on Route 40 we will reach the Cardiel Lake, where we can see big herds of guanacos, the Patagonian camelid. Continuing on, we pass Tres Lagos as we head to El Chaltén, the Argentinean capital of trekking. It is host to innumerable attractions for hikers and mountain climbers; the most iconic ones being 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 you’ll be able to observe great views of the majestic landscapes and the impressive Fitz Roy Massif and the Viedma Glacier, both within the Los Glaciares National Park.

After a day surrounded by wondrous scenery, you’ll stay in Hostel Cóndor de los Andes in El Chaltén.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostel Cóndor de los Andes


Day 10: Trekking in El Chaltén

We spend a day in El Chaltén trekking in one of the most stunning places to hike on Earth. There are plenty of options of different physical demand. For a more relaxed hike you might do the Condors Viewpoint trek (2 hours), while more challenging walks include the Torre Lagoon on the feet of Torre Glacier (7 hours), Los Tres Lagoon (9 hours) or the Pliege Tumbado Viewpoint (9 hours).

Relax and recover with a hearty dinner of Patagonian lamb or beef, spending another night in Hostel Cóndor de los Andes.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostel Cóndor de los Andes


Day 11: El Chaltén – El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier

Distance of drive: 375 km

We leave El Chaltén early in the morning, driving 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 the whole afternoon there. Walking by the footbridges placed at different levels we will have wonderful views of the glacier, which is an impressive 5 km wide and an average altitude of 74 m. Your last night will be at Hostería Cauquenes de Nímez.

Meals: Breakfast

Transport: 4WD Vehicle

Accommodation: Hostería Cauquenes de Nímez

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Price from USD $2,815 per person, based on a group of 4 people.

This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $2,815 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

  • Meals: 11 breakfasts
  • Accommodation: 11 nights across hotels and estancias
  • Transportation and guidance from Bariloche to El Calafate during the entire tour in a modern 4WD vehicle

Excludes

  • Meals: Lunch, dinner or drinks each day (around $40 per person/day)
  • Entrance fees to National Parks and Cave of Hands
  • Trekking guide in El Chalten, if needed
  • Any other activity not mentioned that you might want to take part during the trip
  • Any other expense not specifically mentioned above
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details) 
  • Gratuities/Tips
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses 
  • International and domestic/in country flights

Questions about this Trip?