Argentina 9: Ruta 40 to Bariloche and then to Paso Futaleufú


Before we proceeded from San Martin, a number of housekeeping issues had to be performed including a vehicle service. On a stroll in Caro’s suburb, we witnessed the damage the 3m snow had inflicted on houses and trees in the area during the past winter season – we were quite happy to not have arrived too early in the season. Caro’s friend Valeria, a freelance guide, provided us with some extra tips what to see where in Patagonia.

In preparation for the cold and inclement weather in Patagonia Karin and I tested our emergency sleeping arrangements inside the vehicle (sleeping without opening the roof tent). It could work –but only under extreme conditions would we make use of it.

Well prepared we left Monday 20th November along Ruta 40 – the Siete Lagunas Ruta which we had enjoyed so much previously.

The route was lined with spring flowers in red, yellow, violet, white and pink, especially the lupines impressed. The snow on the mountains completed this picture perfect route.

In the well-known ski resort Bariloche we drove up the Cerro Otto, a mountain peak with summer trails and winter ski pistas.

The lunch in the revolving restaurant with a surround view of the Andes perfected our day when a Condor passed close by.

Bariloche had a bit of European flair and we ended our day camping at Colonia Suiza with Anna, the host. Visitors here need to note that lunch is the main mealtime –we found all restaurants in walking distance closed in the evening. Next morning we made our way to Villa Cathedral – a picturesque ski resort with many lifts, however rather dead in summer.

When we left Bariloche we had to drive past the poorer communities of the town and understood, why break-ins into vehicles happen frequently (Anna had warned us never to leave our vehicle unattended in town when shopping – sad, for the town was beautiful).

Driving along Lago Nahuel Huapi, along many clear rivers and streams we passed El Bolsón ( spoiled ourselves with an ice-cream for lunch) and finally stopped at Lago Puelo and watched kite surfers enjoying the strong breeze before retiring on Camping Delta Azul which offered a very sheltered spot for the night.

Which one is the egg?

In the morning we photographed the Cerro Tres Picos(2492m) across the lake Puelo and then proceeded along the RP71 with many lakes and rivers.

We passed  leisurely through P.N.Alerces (huge trees, cypress-like that reach ages older than 3600years, Fitzroya cupressoides, height >70m,diameter 5m).

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Finally we turned off at Trevelín (a Welsh community) and camped at Eco-camping Viñas Nant y Fall, where Sergio, a wine farmer, established a beautiful campsite for overlanders. He proudly gave us a tour of his immaculate cellar where he produced approx. 8000 bottles of exclusive Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This is the southernmost farm producing wines. In the evening Sergio changed into his role of chef in the restaurant where he cooked up a storm for us.

It should be noted that Sergio allows overlanding vehicles to park if travelers need a break to fly home. Next morning we had to eat all we could as we would pass back into Chile and no fresh produce may be taken across – so we prepared a huge breakfast with fruits, honey, eggs, yoghurt etc.

The Ruta RN 259 through Paso Futaleufú to the border and Ruta 231CH along Rio Futaleufú was gravel but very scenic and one of the most beautiful. We passed both border post rather quickly, but as expected, on the Chilean side a thorough check for uncooked foodstuffs was performed.

This blog cover 17th to 23rd November 2017