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Ruta 40 Road Trip: Patagonia


Zay Harding continues his journey down Argentina’s legendary Route 40, one of the longest roads in the world.  He starts by climbing Volcan Lanin which, at 3,776m, is the highest peak in the area. Overnighting at a camp halfway up, he continues with crampons and an ice axe, attempting to reach the snow-capped summit.

Continuing down the Seven Lakes Drive, Zay passes through the Argentinian Lake District to San Carlos de Bariloche. Here he enjoys the town’s famous chocolate which was introduced by European immigrants but discovers the town also has a dark history. After World War II, a colony was established here by the Nazis and, in 1994, a notorious war criminal was discovered still living in town!

Zay drives on to El Bolson, a former hippy colony. Staying at an eco-retreat in the forests around town, he shops at the famous market, visits the carved forest and takes in the spectacular scenery on a para-glider.

Welsh-gaucho-3Making the short drive to El Maiten, Zay takes a ride on La Trochita, one of the best examples of a narrow gauge steam train in the world. He then seeks out the Patagonian hideout of Butch Cassidy at Cholila, exploring the very hut where he lived for five years with the Sundance Kid.

Next, Zay drives on to Trevelin, a town with a remarkable history. Established in 1885 by Welsh immigrants who were seeking a freer life overseas, he discovers that Welsh culture is still alive and well. Many of their descendants are now successful farmers and Zay meets a Welsh gaucho who teaches him some of his skills.

Entering southern Patagonia, Zay makes the long drive to Cueva de las Manos (the cave of the hands) with its incredible rock art. Dating back over 9,000 years, it’s the earliest evidence of hunter-gatherers in the whole of Patagonia.

Continuing south, Zay reaches El Chalten where he makes a day trek to the spectacular Lago de los Tres with views of the iconic Mount Fitz Roy. 

For the final leg, Zay attempts to drive to the very end of Route 40 at Cabo Virgenes lighthouse, completing a 3,000 mile journey from north to south across the entire countr.



A huge thanks to the following individuals and companies:

Villa Huinid, Bariloche

Buena Vida Social Club, El Bolson

Restaurant y Caba Ruta 71, Trevelin

 Hotel Poincenot, El Chalten

 Albergue Patagonia, El Chalten

 La Confluencia, El Bolson

Pichi Rincon, Villa de la Angostura

Serac Expediciones, El Chalten

Andestrack Expediciones, San Martin de los Andes

Turismo el Bolson

Turismo el Maiten

Trevelin Tea House La Mutisia

Places Mentioned - Argentina

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