Carretera Austral and Ruta 40

This is probably the most spectacular and contrasting route in Patagonia, designed to be traveled in a dealquiler vehicle with the greatest possible variety of impressions, whether of nature, culture or even flora and fauna.

Quick Info


22 days


4952 USD

Rental vehicle





Patagonia Road

U$D 4985/

22 days


Travel on your own 2 emblematic routes of the region, La Carretera Austral in Chile and Ruta 40 in Argentina.

For nature and adventure lovers willing to drive more than 1,800 kilometers.


Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires

Arrival in Buenos Aires and transfer to the city center. 1 night at Hotel 474.

After check-in, there will be a 4-hour city tour of Buenos Aires.

We will go to the historical center of the city, Plaza de Mayo, and walk along Avenida 9 de Julio, from where you will get your first glimpse of the obelisk. In the quiet and popular San Telmo district you can relax from the noise of the city before continuing on to La Boca, the port district famous for its colorful houses. Along the street “El Caminito” you can stroll along the colorful facades and admire the works of street artists that you can find exhibited here.

In stark contrast are the trendy Puerto Madero neighborhood on the Rio de la Plata and the thriving Recoleta neighborhood, with its expensive stores and elegant cafes, which you will visit at the end of the tour.

In the afternoon you will have enough time to explore the city again on your own.

Day 2: Buenos Aires - Bariloche - San Martín de los Andes

Transfer to the domestic airport and flight to Bariloche. Reception and delivery of your rental car upon arrival.
Airport and drive along the beautiful “Valle Encantado” (the enchanted valley, so called because of its strange rock formations) of Limay and Collón Curá northwards via Junín to San Martín de los Andes.2 nights at Hostería La Raclette:

Distance: 285 km asphalt.

Day 03. San Martin de los Andes

We recommend driving to the Mamuil Malal pass, passing through vast forests of ancient araucaria trees to the foot of the mighty Lanin volcano (3776 m). Overnight stay as the previous day.

Distance: 200 km asphalt.

Day 04. San Martín de los Andes - Bariloche

Drive along the 7 Lakes Route via Villa La Angostura back to Bariloche, an ancient mountain town located on the huge Nahuel Huapi Lake in the national park of the same name. Drive along the southern shore of the lake to the San Pedro peninsula.

2 nights at the Peninsula Petit Hotel, with wonderful views of the lake:

Distance: 220 km asphalt.

Day 05. Nahuel Huapí NP

Free day to tour the scenic route of the “Circuito Chico”. Passing by the most beautiful viewpoints of the lakes region and allows short walks in the Llao-Llao nature reserve.

Day 06. Bariloche - Esquel

Take Route 40 south through the beautiful Los Alerces National Park to Esquel.

1 night at B&B La Canela:

Distance: 250 km asphalt, 70 km gravel road.

Day 07. Esquel - Futaleufú

Continue across the border from Futaleufú into Chile until you reach the Carretera Austral near Villa Santa Lucía, south through Queulat National Park until you arrive just before Puyuhuapi, where the residents are mainly children of immigrants of German descent, where you will stay.
2 Overnight stays at the Hosteria Alemana:

Day 08. Puyuhuapi

It is worth a trip to the hanging glacier 5 km south of Puyuhuapi with an easy 2 to 3 hour hike through the deeper rainforest to the viewpoint just in front of the glacier.

Note: Entrance fees to this and all of Chile’s parks and nature reserves must be booked online in advance (at a location with a good Internet connection):

Afterwards you can also go to the nearby thermal baths.Ventisquero vamos. Book in advance!

Day 09 Puyuhuapi - Coyhaique

Continue south through the lush jungle of Queulat National Park on the Carretera Austral to Coyhaique.

Lodging at Hotel El Reloj:

Distance: 30 km of dirt and finally 230 km of asphalt.

Day 10. Coyhaique - Puerto Guadal

We continue along the Carretera Austral, through beautiful pastures, up a pass and past the impressive Cerro Castillo for its shape. To the west is the Hudson volcano, which last covered large tracts of land in Chile and Argentina with ash in August 1991. Then we continue to Puerto Guadal, to the Mallín Colorado Lodge with a view of the imposing San Valentín (3910 m).

3 nights:

Distance: 280 km, of which 190 km are gravel roads.

Day 11. Baker River

The highlight here is the route between Puerto Guadal and Cochrane, along the Carretera Austral along the Baker River. The influence of the Nef River on the Baker, about 30 km south of Terra Luna, in La Confluencia, is particularly beautiful. Near Cochrane is the Tamango nature reserve, where you can encounter the local species of deer “Huemul” while walking. Also worth a short drive is the Chacabuco River valley (now owned by Mr. Tomkins, a nature reserve where hundreds of guanacos frolic along the road).

Distance: 150 km of gravel road round trip.

Day 12. Marble Caves

Another attraction are the marble caves, which are located on the shores of the lake in Puerto Tranquilo and are a must to visit in the morning by boat, as the sun enters the caves from the east and illuminates them in a particularly beautiful way.

In the afternoon you can head west through the beautiful Valley of the Explorers, with a short hike after about 30 km to a hanging glacier at the foot of Mount Valentine.

Day 13. Puerto Guadal - Route 40 - La Posta de Los Toldos

Today we head east towards Argentina, always along the wonderful coastal road along the General Carreras or Buenos Aires Lake to the border town of Chile Chico and then continue to the city of Perito Moreno. FILL THE TANK!

Continue south for about 60 km to the Estancia La Posta de los Toldos, where you will find

2 nights with full board:

Distance: 120 km gravel road, 130 km asphalt.

Day 14: The cave of the hands (cave paintings)

First we recommend a short drive through the estancia grounds to the Río de Pinturas gorge. The car will remain parked there.

Then you will take a short but beautiful walk through the gorge, across a suspension bridge over the river and then briefly to the guardian’s house, where you will begin a tour of the most important cave paintings in South America, where you will see mainly hands and hunting scenes.

Approximately half a kilometer along the impressive rock walls to visit the various caves. The oldest dates back to 7,300 B.C., and the most recent paintings are about 1,000 years old.

Overnight stay as the previous day.

Day 15. Estancia La Posta de los Toldos - Gobernador Gregores - El Chaltén

Today we continue south along Route 40, through solitary Patagonian steppe landscapes. Only here will you realize what infinity means.. Very rarely do you see a remote house or ranch. FILL THE TANK again in Gobernador Gregores. 35 km to Tres Lagos (here possibly refuel) we take Route 23 to El Chaltén, the starting point for all treks and expeditions on Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.

2 nights at Hotel Senderos:

Distance: 510 km asphalt.

Day 16. Trekking to Mount Fitz Roy

Trekking on your own (well marked trails) to Laguna de los Tres, at the foot of Cerro Fitz Roy, the most famous mountain in the southern Patagonian Andes.

It takes three hours through beautiful forest and mountain scenery to Rio Blanco base camp, with Cerro Fitz Roy always in sight. Then you will have a steady and steep ascent to Laguna de los Tres, a magnificent viewpoint of the impressive Fitz Roy.

Hiking time: 6-8 hours with a difference in altitude of 800 m.

Day 17. El Chalten - Calafate

Trekking on your own (well marked trail) to Laguna Torre, at the foot of the legendary Cerro Torre. From Laguna Torre there is a breathtakingly beautiful view of a whole series of windswept granite spires and huge glaciers.

Hiking time: approximately 6 hours with a 400 m easy hike.

Today we recommend a short drive through the beautiful Rio de las Vueltas valley to Lago del Desierto. Once there, you can take a short or longer mountain hike along the eastern shore. This provides the opportunity to enjoy the lake and the surrounding glacier-covered mountains from a strategic point of view.

In the afternoon we continue to El Calafate, on Lake Argentino. 2 nights at Hotel Roble Sur, with wonderful lake and mountain views.

Distance: 220 km

Day 18. Calafate

One day excursion on your own to the Perito Moreno Glacier. This world famous glacier is one of the great attractions of southern Patagonia.

The glacier front, 4 km wide and 60 m high, is one of the most impressive in the southern Andes.

Day 19. Calafate - Torres del Paine (Chile)

First drive southwest on Route 40 to Esperanza, be sure to FILL THE TANK here! Then head southeast again to Estancia Tapi Aike, fill up again here if possible (there is no gas station in Paine)! We now cross the border at Cancha Carreras / Cerro Castillo.

Then continue to Torres del Paine National Park.

Beautiful mountain massifs, huge glaciers, countless glacial lakes of varied colors and a rich fauna will leave you with deep impressions.

2 nights lodging:

Distance: 280 km on asphalt, 90 km on gravel – approximately 6 hours.

Day 20. Torres del Paine

We recommend a trip to Grey Lake, where you can take a short walk along the peninsula in front of the bay, surrounded by numerous floating icebergs.

In good weather, Grey Glacier can be seen to the west.

Then you can take a tour of the national park.

Day 21. Torres del Paine - Calafate - Buenos Aires

It is the same route back to Calafate. Delivery of the rental car at the airport and flight to Buenos Aires in the late afternoon. Transfer to the city, where you will spend the last night at the hotel.

Day 22. Return

Transfer to the international airport, departure.

Travel Map

Services included in the price.

Roundtrip price per person U$D 4985

Services not included

Meals: approximately U$D 35 per person per day (picnic en route and dinner in restaurant) and beverages.

Entrance fees to national parks: total approximately U$D 90 per person.

Gasoline consumption: approximately U$D 0.9/L.

Other excursions and activities.