“Magnificent” (?!) Ruta 40
Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
96Trip End Apr 16, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The first part of this trip was 20 hours on the famous and much vaunted Ruta 40 road up through Patagonia into the Lake District. Supposedly this is a beautiful road, made famous by the Motorcycle Diaries of a certain Che Guevara. We couldn't tell you however as we got on the bus at night and then by the time we woke up in the morning (after a very bumpy and uncomfortable night) both sides of the bus were so completely plastered in mud and dirt that we couldn’t see out of either side for the entire day
We left the bus and the rest of the tourists in a town called Esquel where we spent the night before attempting to head over into Chile by bus and on to our destination, Futaleufu. We made it most of the way to the border and to a town called Trevelin which, bizarrely, has a big Welsh population with dragon flags and tea rooms everywhere before public transport failed us. It was Sunday (bloody Sundays!) and the buses only went three times a week and, unsurprisingly, never on Sundays so we had to grab a "taxi" to get the rest of the way. The “taxi” however turned out to merely be a guy with his car and there was a disturbing moment at the border crossing where the border police questioned our driver:
Border Police Man: “So, are these two with you then?”
Our Driver: “Yes, that’s right”
Border Police Man: “Do you have a license to carry fare paying passengers?”
Our Driver: “Er...no”
Border Police Man: “Do you have a license to take passengers across the border?”
Our Driver: “Er...no, but I take my wife and kids across the border all the time”
Border Police Man: “Yes well, thats a bit different though isn’t it. Hmmmmm. [Turns to his mate] Shall we let him through?”
Other Border Police Man: [shrug]
Border Police Man: “Alright, you can go through- but don’t do it again okay?”
Anyway, we eventually arrived in Futa (as it is known by the “paddlers” as people really into this stuff call themselves) and found ourselves an amazing room in a little hospedaje, complete with a wood fire (it was cold, even for Gordon). We spent the next day horse riding in the valleys around the village while a group was put together to go rafting. Although not traditionally a fan, Gordon is beginning to get the hang of horse riding now and survived the long ride up to a beautiful viewpoint on a truly massive horse and even getting it to gallop down the dirt road back to town in a race with Sarah’s horse.
The rafting on the Futaleufu river was absolutely awesome- up there with the Zambezi for the size of the river and the fun
All in all we were quite pleased with our detour off the beaten track as we boarded our next (and fortunately much more comfortable) bus to Bariloche to rejoin the usual gringo trail.