Ruta 40 - travelling the spine of the Andes

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
Trip End May 2010

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Sunday, February 1, 2009

Route 40 is a famous strip of pavement and dirt that stretches down the eastside of the Patagonian Andes. This stretch is often compared to the Alaskan highway, though significantly shorter in distance. It was my friend, Jon Jantz's photos of this landscape that first enchanted me. Years ater, I am realizing the dream of tasting this land myself.

The first strech of road that really makes up the Patagonian route 40 leaves the bustling tourist center of San Carlos de Bariloche (a mountain town similar to Banff or Jasper in the Canadian Rockies). El Bolson, a quaint town famous for its beers, chocolate and laid-back atmosphere. I can't help but draw the uncanny similarities between this area and the areas of the foothills to the Rockies in BC (Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges) - the numerous clear lakes, lush forests of fir and pine, broad valleys with roaring rivers. Even the wood framed and log cabins seem the same! Commonalities aside, the landscape delivers and inspires and this part of the journey keeps me glued to the window, eyeing up new views around the next corner!



Shortly after leaving El Bolson, the route heas slightly East to the dry steppe which makes up so much of the Argentine Patagonia. This huge area is known as La Pampa; these constantly angulating hills of small shrubbery is home to a host of fauna and flora that must endure the constant winds from the West that cross the relatively narrow strip of land that makes up Chile and Argentina and joins the two massive oceans of the Pacific and Atlantic.



The Andes are never far away.

The hours drag on as we make progress on rough dirt roads with small, but heartening stretch of pavement interspersed here and there.

New pavement in the middle of nowhere! We can finally break 50 km/h!

Guanacos make common appearances along Ruta 40

Our trusty bus that will make the two day journey from Bariloche to El Chalten

Argentina flags must often be replaced due to the constant, fierce winds. Looks half mast, but it actually isn't.
Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


davidkimber on

..monkeys abroad..
Reaaaaally beautiful stuff there kids. I never think of South America as having flat plains! Just endless jungles and monkeys (especially now that you two are there!). It's great to see sides of it like you have shown me.

All is good here; it's kinda' cold as hell still so enjoy that heat. Leah rolled her ankle really hard, but also got baby chickens to counteract the misery.

The weather actually is turning for the better, so the Sun and I have exchanged a few words as if between old friends not seen in a while.

Tengas suenaz buenas!

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: