Route 40: The Emblematic “Road Trip” of Argentina
Are you thinking of touring Argentina doing adventure tourism? This is the “Road Trip” that you should not give up under any circumstances. National Route No. 40, known simply as Route 40, travels 5194 km of road, crossing the country from South to North. It leaves from Cabo Vírgenes, in Santa Cruz and extends to La Quiaca, in Jujuy (border with Bolivia).
Route 40 crosses several National Parks and several tourist attractions, such as the Argentina Wine area, the fossil sites of prehistoric animals, in San Juan; the famous Train to the Clouds, among many others.
In addition, it is the highest route in America and also in the world, outside the Himalayas. We invite you to get to know this fascinating tour better. Are you ready?
Everything you need to know to board on your trip through Route 40
Before telling you what are these wonderful adventures that you can make in the spectacular Route 40, you need to know some details that will be very useful to organize your travel itinerary. Yes, the idea is that you do not overlook the smallest detail, so that your vacation is perfect. Check out:
Which provinces of Argentina that crosses Route 40
National Route 40 crosses a total of 11 provinces, all of them with multiple accommodations and lots of really fascinating places to visit.
As we mentioned before, this is where your tour on Route 40 begins. The tour starts, specifically, from a lighthouse located in the coastal area, in Cabo Vírgenes. Said lighthouse marks the boundaries of the eastern border of the Strait of Magellan. In addition, it also delimits the bioceanic term between the Atlantic and the Pacific.
At kilometer 350, you will approach El Calafate, at the entrance of Los Glaciares National Park, where the famous Perito Moreno Glacier is located. A little further on, the road borders the Viedma lake and reach El Chalten, Argentina Trekking Capital, with its amazing trails inside lengas and ñires forest. Here Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre are a challenge for climbers around the world, consequently, mountains are the predominant figures in the landscape of El Chalten. Then the route continues to Cardiel lake to reach the renowned Cueva de Manos (Hands Cave), an amazing site of rock paintings over 10,000 years old.
Upon arriving in this province, you will pass by the outskirts of the city of Esquel; a tourist region through which the Los Alerces National Park is accessed with beautiful trekking trails and excellent fishing from spring to autumn.
Rio Negro & Neuquen
Be welcome to the famous Lake District, a wonderful region full lakes, rivers, snowy peaks and forest of lush vegetation ideal to do some hiking and other outdoors activities in summer season or going ski in winter and also you can taste best chocolates in South America. The Andes Mountains will always be visible. You will also cross Nahuel Huapi and Lannin National Parks, and the cities of El Bolsón, San Carlos de Bariloche, Villa La Angostura and San Martin de Los Andes, picturesque mountain villages with typical wood and stone constructions similar to alpine villages.
Do you love wine? If the answer is positive you will love this stretch. This land is recognized worldwide for the production of the highest quality wines in thee world. So, explore wineries, vineyards and taste exquisite wines is a must for those who travel the Route 40. You can also combine Argentina Wine with adventure activities.
San Juan & La Rioja
San Juan is an interesting section of the entire Route 40. The road runs east of the mountainous system of the same name. First, it crosses the city of Media Agua, which contains nothing less than a great national relic: San Antonio de Padua. Continuing along the highway, you will see huge vine, olive and fruit crops. Finally, the road is integrated into the famous “Wine Route”, where you can taste all kinds of wines in their prestigious wineries.
Saying goodbye to the province, you will arrive at the town of Huaco, where you can admire the presence of flour mills belonging to the 19th century, which were declared a National Monument in the year 2000. And before leaving take the opportunity to visit Ichigualasto Provincial Park in the north of San Juan province and Talampaya National Park in the south of La Rioja. Both parks are part of the same geological formation shared by both provinces, those who visit them will see incredible rock formations that create dazzling landscapes.
Continue traveling La Rioja to the Miranda slope, in the Sañogasta mountain range, which also serves as access to Nonogasta and Chilecito.
Welcome to Catamarca and the incredible region of the Puna Argentina, a desert area full of salt flats, volcanos and indigenous ruins dotted with small towns of Inca and colonial origin that will make you feel that you have traveled to the past. Take a detour to get to know Antofagasta de la Sierra and its surroundings. Then come back to the Route 40 and say goodbye to Catamarca.
The Route 40 crosses a small part of Tucuman Province. Have you heard about the Quilmes Ruins Archaeological Complex? Well it is located in this section. This ruin are the remains of the most extensive pre-Columbian settlement in Argentina.
Arrive to the famous Calchaqui Valleys. At this point in the route, you will be in the highest area of Route 40 (Abra del Acay, 5,061 meters above sea level). You can also see several vineyards, in Cafayate, one of the most renowed destinations of the Argentina Northwest, especially because of the star product of the region: Torrontes Wine, of course you have to taste a cup! This region is also characterized by the presence of several mountain formations and gorges such as Los Castillos, El Sapo and El Fraile in Quebrada de Conchas. The route also crosses the Quebrada de las Flechas while you arrive to Angastaco. Then the route continues to Molinos, another recognized area of high-quality wine production. And also, you have to visit Cachi, a small town in of Spanish and native traditions forms the most beautiful architecture.
Say goodbye to the Calchaqui Valleys to reach at the train station of the Clouds, San Antonio de los Cobres (3,775 masl). Deviate to know The Salinas Grandes, a vast saline of 212 km2 in full Puna at 3,450 meters high, is the second largest salt flat in South America and the world. Continue the journey through The Puna and its small mountain villages
Finally, arrive at the last province of the route and say goodbye to Route 40. It is a very little traveled area, located more than 3,000 meters above sea level, which ends at the intersection with National Route 9, in La Quiaca.
And since you are here, of course you have to take advantage to know the Quebrada de Humahuaca and the impressive colorful mountain range during all the way included the picturesque Purmamarca and the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Seven Colours Hill). And of course you have to visit Salta La Linda.
Any questions? Contact us to star planning your trip today!