Across the Andes to Bariloche

When I planned my itinerary the CruceAndino was one of the things top of my list. But there was a problem, a single journey either has to start in Chile, and once there I would have to somehow return to Argentina. To fly to BA from Puerto Montt one has to fly via Santiago and there are very flew flights from Puerto Montt into other Argentine cities.  My solution was the irregular, and as it turned out, twin otter flight from Ushuaia to Puerto Montt and then re-enter Argentina at a crossing point, by road high in the Andes.

CruceAndino provides a bus, boat, bus, boat, bus, boat, bus service tha sets off from Purto Varas at 8.30am and supposedly arrives at Bariloche 12 hours later but in my case almost not until 10pm.

I was lucky. During the day I did not see a single cloud and the organisation of getting one on and off of vehicles, taking care of luggage through until the final destination and stopping en route on single track dirt roads for all for to take pictures

Because of the length of time, the change in scenery and the amount of imagery captured I will dedicate one blog per sector.




Ruta 40

After some sustenance in Cafayate and a tour of this small, attractive town, sitting at the foot of the Andes I decided to venture out a little further. On the road into Cafayate I had crossed a junction with the famous Ruta 40, ranked alongside the iconic Route 66 in the USA and a few others.

imageRuta 40 run over 5000kms from the southern border with Chile in Patagonia to the northern border with Chile. It runs parallel with the spine of South America, the Andes, and passes the Andes 27 times, at one point rising to over 5000 metres above sea level.

As I drive north along this road I am amongst the vineyards which produce such wonderful wine. I stop near the 4350kms  marker to take in the view and start to consider Ruta 40 as a future travel project!

I head back to the Ruta 68 junction and notice a sign to the Piatelli vineyard, open to the public. I turn off and drive for a dusty kilometre before reaching the entrance where a security guard takes my details and lets me drive on. Before me lies a modern estate complex more Napa than Loire Valley.

imageVenturing in, notice an inviting restaurant and luckily its lunchtime. It was a wonderful lunch of breaded langostinos and fresh fruit and sorbet, washed down with a remarkabke glass if gran reserve malbec from their vineyard.

Sated and not wanting to leave it too late for the return journey I left aand turned back into Ruta 68 where I picked up three Argentine student backpackers. It was their lucky day as they wanted to get to Salta. It was good company interpersed with their sucking of the mate drink.