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Ruta 40

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Ruta 40, also called National Route 40 or RN40, is a route in western Argentina, stretching over 5000km from Punta Loyola near Rio Gallegos in Santa Cruz Province in the south to La Quiaca in Jujuy Province in the north.


Ruta 40, also called National Route 40 or RN40, is a route in western Argentina, stretching from Punta Loyola near Rio Gallegos in Santa Cruz Province in the south to La Quiaca in Jujuy Province in the north. It runs parallel to the Andes mountains. The southern part of the route, a partly unpaved road through sparsely populated territory, has become a well-known adventure tourism journey.

Route 40 is the longest route in Argentina and one of the longest in the world (along with the U.S. Route 66, Canada's Trans-Canada Highway and the Stuart Highway in Australia without counting the unofficial Panamerican Highway), more than 5,000 km (3,107 mi) long. At its traditional southern end near the city of Río Gallegos it starts at sea level, crosses 11 provinces, 20 national parks, 18 major rivers, 27 passes on the Andes and goes up to 5,000 m (16,404 ft) above sea level in Abra del Acay in Salta.


  • Nice website of the Ruta 40 is [[6]]
  • A good source of information for Patagonia is the website [[7]]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The northernmost international airports:

  • Jujuy Airport (Gobernador Horacio Guzman International Airport), [1]. Airport Code – JUJ. Airline(s): Aerolineas Argentinas, Andes Líneas, Austral, Flybondi. Nearby cities are Ciudad Perico (5 km), Jujuy (32 km), San Pedro de Jujuy (33 km).  edit
  • Salta Airport (El Aybal Airport), [2]. IATA Code – SLA. It is located around 9 km southwest of the city. Andes Airlines, LATAM Argentina and national carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas have regular flights to the airport. Airport offers shuttle buses and public buses for transport. Note, that public bus doesn’t stop directly at the airport. SLA airport is a common choice for travelers to cities of Purmamarca, Jujuy and Tilcara.  edit

On the south route :

  • Rio Gallegos Airport (Piloto Civil Norberto Fernandez International Airport), [3]. IATA Code – RGL. Airline(s): Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, LADE, LATAM  edit

The most popular air gate of the country among the tourists is the airport in Buenos Aires. There are 2 airports: Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery Airport and Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini Airport.

  • Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (Jorge Newbery Airfield), Avenida Rafael Obligado S/N, C 1425 DAA Buenos Aires, +54 114 778 6525, [4]. IATA Code – AEP. It is located in Palermo neighborhood, along Río de la Plata, just 2 km (1 mile) northeast from Buenos Aires. (34° 33' 32'' S,58° 24' 56'' W) edit
  • Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini Airport (Ezeiza International Airport), +54 114 480 2500, [5]. IATA Code – EZE. It is located 22 km south-southwest of downtown Buenos Aires Autonomous City. (34° 49' 12'' S,58° 32' 2'' W) edit
  • For the intermediate point of destination visit the list of airports[8].

By train[edit]

Major towns and cities are connected by rail services.

By bus[edit]

Argentina bus routes: [9], [10] or [11]. The most imaginative search is on [12].

By car[edit]

Usually car rent offices work in the airport area. Without the famous car rental companies such as Alamo, Avis or Hertz [13] there are a lot of local companies with this type of service [14]. Make sophisticated car choice because of some areas of unpaved roads.

Regions, from south to north[edit]

  • Santa Cruz – the second-largest province of Argentina and is located in Patagonia
  • Chubut – province's name derives from the word "chupat", meaning "transparent"
  • Rio Negro – province with the favorite Andean travelling area
  • Neuquen – home to the many National parks
  • Mendoza – one of the best cultural, gastronomic and tourist offers in Argentina
  • San Juan – important by number of paleontological sites
  • La Rioja – boasts by dry red-soil canyon in Talampaya National Park
  • Catamarca – about 80% of region is covered by mountains
  • Tucumán – one of the smallest provinces in Argentina
  • Salta – gorgeous landscapes of small villages
  • Jujuy – tourists are attracted by the strong aboriginal roots in the culture of Jujuy

Cities and towns, from south to north[edit]

Argentinian Patagonia
  • Rio Gallegos – the southernmost city, where Ruta 40 starts or ends
  • El Calafate – hub to visit different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park
  • El Chalten – small mountain village popular among climbers and hikers
  • Esquel – famous by Esquel meteorite
  • El Bolsón – town is developing the nature tourism and activities
  • San Carlos de Bariloche – is situated on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and surrounded by mountains and forests
  • Mendoza – metropolitan city
  • San Juan – modern city with wide streets and spacious areas
  • San José de Jáchal – quiet city full of history, traditions and typical Sanjuanine architecture from the 18th century
  • Santa Maria area with amazing landscapes, winding paths and colorful hills
  • Cafayate – town is an important tourist centre for exploring the Calchaquíes valleys with the vineyards
  • La Quiaca – the northernmost city, where Ruta 40 starts or ends.

Other places of interest[edit]


Gravel road sections cover around of one tenth of the route. It can be met between La Quiaca to San Antonio de los Cobres; Cachi and Cafayate; Bardas Blancas and Ranquil del Ntc; Cabo Virgenes and at the Ruta 40 junction with national road N3; in Rio Turbio area; Tres lagos and Gobernador Gregores. These sections of unpaved gravel highway are called "ripio". Parts of the paved road also can be worn out. So before the travelling, study carefully the type of road to have less troubles on the way. Also the road goes through the some hills sometimes with hairpin bends, which are very windy and offers few/no spots to protect from the wind. Especially due to the rain and snow, a 2WD car struggles to pass some sections of this road and some cyclists were really miserable.

The best travel time for the Ruta 40 is from September to February during Argentina spring and summer. It's more interesting to start the Ruta 40 from the north to south, because of the experience of spring in the desert-like north and summer in the icy south. Please note that many walking tours in Patagonia are possible in summer months from December to February. Take for the travel at least two or three months to experience the pleasure of it. It is no need to follow all route extension, when is possible to take part of it especially for cyclers or hikers even for car drivers, if there is a shortage of time.

Stay safe[edit]

  • The wind is very strong at any time of the year. Ensure you have a strong tent before camping along the Ruta 40, especially in the pampa. When camping, try to find a spot protected from the wind.
  • Parts of the road, especially in the south, are very remote and sparsely populated. Get enough gas, food etc. in towns.

Go next[edit]

In many places along the way you can easily enter into Chile

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