Ruta 40

Bariloche Travel Blog

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I ended up staying for 4 nights in Bariloche. The first day I took a tour to see the National Park Nahuel Huapi, we spent a lot of time on the minibus hopping on and off but it was beautiful. We drove along the lakes with the snow capped mountains behind and into the National Park, where we stopped in several places to walk and take pictures. The road is one way, so you can only go in and out at certain times. The highlight was seeing the black glacier, we saw a couple of small avalanches too, it sounded like thunder and then the snow came down. I was glad that I saw this after the climb up the volcano, otherwise I would have been more scared of walking on the snow! Its very like Pucon here, but Pucon is smaller and a little more quaint. I met a woman who was doing the same tour with a different company, that I met several weeks ago in Chile. It was good to swap stories about where we´d been.

I spent a day wandering round Bariloche and booked a bus ticket for Ruta 40. I had to wait to leave on Saturday because the bus only goes on odd days. I figured that this was the best way to do the journey south because of the terrain and the distances are greater so the journeys a bit more complicated. Just by chance I met a couple in the agency that I was in a dorm with in Santiago and then in the evening I was just going out and met another girl that I knew from Ecuador. I´ve never bumped into so many people, it was really nice. I went with a British girl from the hostel and we all had dinner and swapped stories, sadly we are all going in different directions!

On my last day in Bariloche I went with Emma on a bus ride round the lake to Puerto Panuelo, it was a lovely crisp day but it was quite cool. We blagged our way into a golf course for Hot Chocolate because we discovered that there was actually nothing to do there and then we walked about 6km to get the bus back, stopping again on the way for a coffee at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. At least we think it was a hotel, although judging by the clientele it could have easily been a residential home! They told us that we could get a bus back at 6pm, the last one, it was a bit worrying because we seemed to be in the middle of no where, although it was very scenic, and we hadn´t seen much traffic. We walked another 2km with 4 dogs that decided to follow us the whole way. We found a bus shelter but it didn´t look hopeful. The dogs waited with us and more people started to appear but no one seemed quite sure what time or even if a bus would come! We waited for an hour and a half and finally it appeared, good job because I was so hungry that I was about to start chewing my fingers off! Relieved to make to back to Bariloche we celebrated with food and beer, several pints of Kilkenny, lovely.

On saturday morning, I caught the bus at 6.45am for the trip down Ruta 40. They party really late here and hoards of people passed the bus, some still drinking! We basically spent the whole day on the bus and stopped only for lunch. I had finished my book so had nothing to read and was a bit bored, when they eventually put a film on I fell asleep and missed it! We arrived in Perito Moreno at about 8pm, the town has nothing here. We managed to eat but that was it. I shared a room with a Swedish girl who is travelling on her own and we are spending the next couple of days travelling south. The following day we got up early again to leave for Cuevas de Manos, a 3 hour ride in a minibus along a gravel track to basically see some cave paintings in a Canyon. It was nice to actually do something but we were there for about an hour before going to meet the bus and the people that chose not to take this excursion. We were then back on a full bus until 10.30pm when we arrived in El Chalten, I was bored to tears. Although we saw various animals the scenery didn´t really change and after 2 days it was a bit much, we were all wondering why we didn´t fly. I can´t believe people actually live out here not to mention the nutters who actually cycle for days along the route, there really isn´t anything out here. Thankfully we survived the drivers terrible taste in music and the hair raising journey, I  now know why they use an old bus because the windscreen was cracked in several places.

After a short rest in El Chalten, I´m taking another bus, a luxury 4 hours, to El Calafate tonight. Tomorrow I am booked on a tour to see the Perito Moreno Glacier, I have seen pictures and it looks amazing, so I´m quite excited. The one thing that has been nice about this trip though, is to have everything booked and organized I haven´t had to think about where I´m staying and I have someone to share the long bus journeys with.
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photo by: Amandaamaral1