This is one of our most attractive self drive itinerary through the country, where we encounter the absolute superlatives of Patagonia. The perfectly shaped volcano Lanín, Araucaria forests, endless extensions, the visitor captivating wildlife paradises, extending vertically into the sky mountain peaks of pure granite and windswept, vast lakes accompany us throughout the journey. Patagonia in all its ferocity, Infinity and breathtaking beauty.

Day 1
Bariloche - San Martín de los Andes

Arrival in Bariloche. Car reception at the airport and drive along the legendary Route 40 north to Junin de los Andes & San Martín de los Andes. You will pass the beautifull  “Valle Encantado” along Limay river with its bizarre rock formations.

Distance: 270 km paved road.

PHOTO BY: KONRAD BARTELSKI

PHOTO BY: KONRAD BARTELSKI

Day 2
San Martín de los Andes / Lanin Volcano

We reccommend a drive towards Mamuil Malal Pass, through the very colorful desert and the valley of Río Malleo to the foot of huge Lanin volcano (3747 m), passing ancient Araucaria forests. Distance: 195 km paved road the whole roundtrip.

Day 3
San Martín de los Andes - Bariloche

Today you can folllow South “the Road of 7 Lakes”, the Ruta de los 7 Lagos, through southern beech forests to the border town and ski resort Villa La Angostura, here at Nahuel Huapi lake to Bariloche in the other side.

Distance: 200 km paved.

PHOTO BY: KONRAD BARTELSKI

PHOTO BY: KONRAD BARTELSKI

Day 4
Bariloche

Short tour along the panoramic route “Circuito Chico” and short hikes on your own in the nature reserve around Llao Llao.

Distance: 35 km paved.

Day 5
Bariloche – Esquel

Today the journey begins along the true Route 40 southwards to Esquel, passing Los Alerces National park & the lakes Verde, Menéndez and Futalaufquén.

Distance: 220 km paved, 80 km gravel.

PHOTO BY: BERTHOLD HALVES, D-Konstanz

Day 6
Esquel

Day at free leysure. A short ride can be taken with the train “La Trochita” between Esquel and Nahuel Pan. It’s worth a trip to Gualjaina where the “Piedra Parada” is an impressive rock formation, as well as a 5 km long hike along a red canyon.

Distance: 80 km paved, 90 km gravel roundtrip.

Day 7
Esquel - Perito Moreno

Continue south following Ruta 40 until reaching the little village of Perito Moreno, located near the Buenos Aires-lake.

Distance: 540 km paved.

Day 8
Perito Moreno - Cave Paintings - Gobernador Gregores

FUEL ! First short drive South 30 km north from Bajo Caracoles, there detour of 35 km to the main cave paintings in South America, mainly hands and hunting scenes. A narrow path from the ranger’s house parallel to the river allows the access to the different shelters and caves. According to experts, the splendid cave paintings belong to at least three different periods of styles on this archeological site, from 7300 B.C. to 1000 A.C.

After this visit head on along Ruta 40 South to Gobernador Gregores (FUEL !).

Distance: 70 km gravel, 360 km paved.

Day 9
Gobernador Gregores - El Chaltén

Today the trip continues along Ruta 40 Southwards through lonely steppes. Only here, the visitor can see the meaning of infinity, the play of sunlight and shadow in this Table Mountain scenery in Patagonia. Choiques (of local ostrich), guanacos, wild horses and armadillos can be seen along the road. After 35 km passing Tres Lagos continue along Ruta 23 to El Chalten, starting point of all walks and expeditions on Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

3 nights at Hostería El Pilar, located a bit outside of the village, on the Río Blanco, with beautiful views of the Fitz Roy chain.

Distance: 260 km paved, 70 km gravel.

Day 10
El Chaltén / Fitz Roy

Options: Trekking on your own (well-trodden footpaths) to Laguna de los Tres, at the foot of Cerro Fitz Roy, the most famous mountain of the whole trek. For three hours we wander through wonderful forest and mountain landscapes to the base camp Rio Blanco, always the Cerro Fitz Roy and neighboring granite in sight. There now follows a steady and steep rise up to the, the Fitz Roy upstream, Laguna de los Tres, a grandiose observation point of the impressive Fitz Roy.

Walking time: 7-8 hours with an altitude difference of 800 m. Moderate hike.

Day 11
El Chaltén / Lago del Desierto

Drive (20 km) to the idyllic Lago del Desierto, a glacial lake on the border with Chile, where a short hike along the Eastern shore of the lake can be done; or a boat ride to the northern end of the lake, with a marvellous view over a series of hanging glaciers flowing down directly from the Southern Ice Field of Patagonia.

Or: Trekking on your own to Laguna Torre, at the foot of the legendary Cerro Torre, one of the most demanding mountaineering targets in the world. Its 1400m high steep walls of flat granite are proof of this, the air is the main factor why the climbers often for months to wait before the final assault. Stunningly beautiful here offers from a view of the Laguna Torre, on a series of windswept granite needles and huge glaciers.

Walking time: 5.6 hours easy walk with a height difference of 400 m walk. Overnight as night before.

Day 12
El Chaltén - El Calafate

The trip ontinues along Ruta 40 and along the beautiful Leona river to El Calafate, located on Lago Argentino.

Distance: 220 km paved.

Day 13
El Calafate

Full day excursion to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the highlights in Southern Patagonia.  Being the only glacier in the world, which is permanently advancing, it has been declared by UNESCO a world heritage. Overnight as before.

Day 14
El Calafate – departure

Car delivery at the airport and departure flight.

Included Services: 

  • All nights in middle class hotels double based with private bathroom and breakfast.
  • 13 days rental car Honda CRV 4×4 or similar with free kilometers, full insurance cover with a deductible in case of an accident and/or minor damages up to U$D 1000, if overturn happens U$D 2900. Drop off costs Calafate-Bariloche. Second driver & GPS incl.

Not included   

  • Meals: about U$D 30 per day / person (Pic Nic and dinner in the restaurant).
  • Tips.
  • Entrance fees to National parks: a total of about U$D 80 per person.
  • Fuel consumption: approx U$D 1,1 / liter.

PHOTO GALLERY

ROUTE MAP