Driving in Patagonia in the Winter (Route 40)

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Driving in Patagonia in the Winter (Route 40)

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1. Posted by byrdman (Budding Member 4 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Does anyone have any experience / knowlwedge about driving in Patagonia ? Route 40 in the winter.. How bad do the roads get, are the cleared at all or passable...

Going at the End of August beginnin of september.........

Thanks so much for your help

2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi Al,

For all I know, but this may be outdated knowledge: your plan is not recommendable. Ruta 40's state of overall maintenance was dreadful when I was there in summer of 2003, even though there were plans to improve it. In winter, it snows along the southern-most part of it, so you're quite likely to get stuck, and you're really in the middle of nowhere there, with no place to go and nothing to do but wait if something happens. No phone coverage, either... So the very least you should do is bring plenty food, blankets and a gas heater in case your vehicle breaks down. And go with a 4wd; anything lighter will not take you very far, if the surface is still any bit what it was three years ago.

The good news is that the authorities will almost certainly clear it; it's a major aorta for fuel trucks going to and from southern Chile and Tierra del Fuego, so it will be kind-of passable most of the time I guess. For me however, the heavy traffic would be a second reason not to recommend 'la cuarenta'; they drive like madmen.

have fun,
Niels (Amsterdam)

3. Posted by byrdman (Budding Member 4 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for that.. There doesn't seem to be too much info out there.. I guess its open but how bad it gets isn't clear.

We're thinkin of doing the Bariloche to El Calafate Section Late August / Early September this year.

Is it open, is a 4x4 essential, how bad do conditions get, how long might it take??

Any information would be great..

Thank you all very much