Drive for TEN DAYS around Northern Patagonia, cruising through National Parks, fly fishing paradise and Patagonian ranches, all onboard your Bike. A once in a lifetime budget motorcycle road trip.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||San Carlos de Bariloche Airport/San Martin de los Andes Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.|
|PRICING||This rates are based on a minimum amount of 2 bikers. Prices shown for one double room/PER PERSON. If you are a larger group or need something different please send us your enquiry. MOTORCYCLES DO NOT HAVE THE WIDE AVAILABILITY OF DATES, SO PLEASE CHECK AVAILABILITY WITH OUR TEAM BEFORE BOOKING FLIGHTS.|
This Patagonia road trip itinerary begins at the city of Bariloche, like the locals like to call it. This 140 thousand inhabitants big town, is perfectly located for those planning to start a road trip around Patagonia or just looking for a destination to spend a few days in a mountain landscape destination as many Argentinians do and that is why you shall find summer residences, hotels with swimming pools or even apartments for rent with fully equipped kitchens.
Our set itinerary is meant to give you a deep cultural immersion in a linear itinerary so you don’t drive twice thru the same town, road or even airport. Of course, picking up and dropping off any vehicle in different places has its value but at ASD we are true believers that overall the quality of the experience is the most important.
You will drive alongside the Andes for two weeks from Northern Lakes and Mountains region towards the flat, country side, Patagonian Steppe. A true expedition.
Upon arrival to Bariloche you will be collect your rented motorcycle, have a technical briefing with our motorcycle expert, get geared up and check into your accommodation so you can prepare and get go over any needs that might come up during the next two weeks. Extra gear such as water containers, electrical adaptors for chargers or even extra layers are usually purchased here by our clients.
Bariloche although a large town for Patagonia is a small city with regards to the rest of Argentina with a cozy downtown with many small shops already displaying much of the souvenirs and cuisine you shall find for the next few days, Patagonian Lamb, trout, wild boar and with regards to handicrafts, those made of sheep, wool and local woods. Some local artisans also specialize in pottery and work with semi-precious stones.
The European influence that arrived specially from Central Europe after the Great War brought with them the architecture, the customs and some recipes that make up for the feel of this city. Chocolate, small breweries, german, Austrian and Swiss dishes complete the already plentiful menu of options to dine out.
Taking a german immigration walking tour of the city or going off to the further Colonia Suiza to try your motorcycle skills may be one way to pass on the first afternoon. Hiking in the vicinity Nahuel Huapi National Park or Llao Llao Municipal Park are excellent outdoor activities as well as taking a boat tour on the magnificent Lake where the city was established.
Although you probably haven’t noticed, you have earned some altitude since you left Buenos Aires. We are now around 790 m (2,590 ft). Although no physical consequence will come from this still low altitude, the nights are cooler and the sun is strong during the day.
Spread out along the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the middle of the national park of the same name, Bariloche (formally named San Carlos de Bariloche) has one of the most gorgeous settings imaginable. Surrounded by mountains, in front of a magnificent huge lake and with a cozy yet modern feel, this former mountain village, turned into the gateway of Patagonia in the recent 30 years, due to the volume of tourism, the enlargement of its airport and the geographical positioning of the city.
From here you can expedition yourself over the Andes to Chile, hiking, boating, driving or flying. You can also drive the famous Ruta 40 south to reach the southernmost places of Patagonia or drive north all the way to Alaska, or at least Mendoza or northwestern Argentina if you are not that ambitious.
Bariloche is the largest city in the Region for which it is a great starting point for any trip, a variety of banks and money exchange places, stores and companies that can fix almost anything will get you cleared for your two week road trip in northern Patagonia.
If you want to get off town for a day trip, getting closer to Tronador Mountain may be a plan for you. Cerro Tronador is the highest mountain in the lake region of Argentina. At the foot of the mountain visitors can see glaciers, which can be heard creaking – especially when huge chunks of ice drop off (which gives the name to the Mountain). It is an extinct volcano, and the surrounding area is full of small lakes and green forests to be explored. The Manso River, which visitors will pass when traveling to Cerro Tronador from Bariloche, is a popular spot for white-water rafting. There are serious hikes to get closer to the top as well, so go suited for what you might be wanting to do!
Villa La Angostura is just across the lake from Bariloche but no bridge or fast ferry means we will drive around the lake until reaching this small, gentile mountain villa.
There is also a longer way though… which we will recommend to all of our adventurous clients. If you take the paved way you will have unique views of the Lake from different perspectives and after two hours driving alongside this huge water body you will make it to your chosen accommodation. But, if you wish to take a detour, take a longer way, get off the beaten path, we recommend getting off RN40, off pavement and a after 6 hours driving reaching Villa La Angostura. Remember, tomorrow we rest, so today we can invest in getting the best views and a bit of adventure! Total km is 170 and about 50 are of gravel.
If you have taken our recommendation, once Correntoso Lake has left our eastern side of the road and we start to see Nahuel Huapi Lake again to our right, we have arrived at Villa La Angostura. This cozy little town is an upscale mountain village on the north shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Small, yet fancy, with multiple opportunities for short hikes, like Inacayal Waterfall, Camino viejo from Correntoso to Lake Espejo, or longer trails (12km each way) like the one connecting to the Arrayanes National Park (trip that can also be done on a boat tour).
Nice restaurants, local hidden breweries, chocolate shops at a town that goes to sleep early and mostly is occupied by residents of big summer houses or nice boutique hotels. With a population of 20.000 inhabitants during the summer this can be doubled due to visitors.
Whichever route you made to arrive to the Villa, you can try the other one as a sightseeing in the afternoon. Also choose a place to sip into your favorite drink and watch the Sunset over the Andes with a lake-view… what else could we ask for?
Today we will embark on one of the best road trips in the world, the Seven Lakes Route. Running the length of Argentina (for about 5000 km) in South America is the (already mentioned) famous Ruta 40 (national road number 40), one of the longest and most famous roads in the world.
Ruta 40 starts in the very south of Argentina, passing right through Argentine Patagonia, crossing the wine region, the Central Andes, before continuing on north to the border with Bolivia. This day trip is a 108-kilometre section of Ruta 40 in the west of the country, referred to as the Route of the Seven Lakes for obvious geographical reasons. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in Argentina, this winding paved lake-and-mountain road between the pretty lakeside towns of Villa La Angostura and San Martín de los Andes is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, where trails, lake shores, and picnic areas will tempt you to stop in every one of the lake sides.
Among the hikes on the way, Nvinco Waterfall trail may be among the most attractive but also most popular on the road. It’s a 2 hour (both ways) easy trail, with the opportunity to get deeper into the cold jungle known as the Valdivian Temperate Forest, with native bamboo, colorful flowers and huge epiphyte hanging plants.
Besides touring around town, a visit to Lanin National Park to see as close as possible, the perfectly cone shaped Volcano that separates Chile from Argentina might be among the best things to do out of town. There are a few trails to be done at the park if you wish to stretch your legs, but also fantastic viewpoints and picnic areas that can be accessed by bike. You can visit the northern side of the Mountain from Huechulafquen Lake, at 80km away from town or the south face, at the Tromen border pass, about 100km away.
Also, around San Martin you can explore Lolog Lake, only 12km from town with stunning views of the Andes, go take a hike at Chapelco Ski Resort area or even get on a rented kayak or book a boat tour on the Lacar Lake, right on the shore of town.
We have started to understand the essence of Patagonia, going from comfortable, relatively modern infrastructure Patagonia to this, rough, further away lonely and spectacular Patagonia. We have a couple of hours drive until reaching Aluminé, a rural town of 5 thousand inhabitants, where the local economy is based mainly in livestock breeding. This is a great picnic stop, a visit to the local, Aluminé River to relax, and get back on the road.
From here we have one more hour until reaching Villa Pehuenia. This area is called “Pehuenia” due to the many forests of Araucaria or Pehuenes it holds, whose fruit is the “piñón” (the base of the Mapuche food pyramid). Villa Pehuenia with a population of 1500 inhabitants, has become a unique place for those who love peace and nature in a mountain environment.
At Villa Pehuenia you can follow the well known Pehuenia circuit, where you can admire nature at its best with Andean forests of Pehuenes and Antartic Beeches form a dense vegetation among mountain ranges, lakes and brooks, turning this trip into an earthly paradise. You will pass by Lago Moquehue, Lago Ñorquinco, Lago Pulmarí and back around Lago Aluminé. Like to picnic? Like to take scenic pictures, you will love this day!
You can also get closer to the amazing Bella Durmiente Hill (Sleeping beauty) or the incredible petroglyphs from the Piedra Pintada scenic overlook, just 9km away from the the border with Chile, the rough surrounding landscape of volcanoes can’t get better. You can even drive your motorcycle up to Bate Mahuida Volcano and walk around the crater.
Thermalism is one of the activities that stands out in Copahue-Caviahue region (in native mapudungun, Copahue refers to sulphur), which lies a few kilometers away from Caviahue (native language place of festivals or parties). The development of these thermal springs started with the history of Copahue volcano, which the indigenous ancestors of the area thought had wealth and powers for the spirit. It is located at 1600 meters above sea level, near the Argentine – Chilean international border crossing, at the foot of Copahue volcano and on the banks of the Caviahue lake.
About 200 km away from Pehuenia, Caviahue is also a small town with lodging that only opens to public from November to April, due to the strong snow fall that occurs during winter and makes transiting the area an extra unnecessary adventure.
Technically we are reaching the northern frontier of Patagonia, where the Andean Forest gives place to the higher, drier and windier Central Andes of Argentina. As the altitude starts to climb towards the North, the Wine region welcomes you to explore it all alongside the Andes.
It’s time to start heading back towards Bariloche, and as we drive South, we will get back on National Road 40 to reach Junin de los Andes (380km). Junín de los Andes is the oldest town in the province, and its creation goes back to 15th February 1883, when a small improvised fort was built on the right bank of Chimehuín River. Years later, once the fighting against the native Mapuche ended and Salesian schools were built, a group of people settled there permanently. Native and inmigrants managed to let their cultures coexist, after fighting with each other in the past to get to live in the same territory as brothers. With about 15000 inhabitants, this warm, simple town is a great place to reconnect with everything experienced in the past ten days before heading back home.
We have done of the most interesting, less popular self driving tours one could imagine. We have taking a motorcycle tour alongside the mythical Road 40, across the Seven Lakes Circuit, into Pehuenia Circuit and even taken a thermal volcanic bath. Definitely one of the best self driving tours in South America.
Today we head back to the urbanized Patagonia, we still have 200 km before reaching our departure airport. Upon arrival, we will return our motorcycle and get ready for our afternoon flight back to Buenos Aires, or if we chose to, we will stay an extra few days in the area or fly somewhere else in Argentina or South America to continue our journey.