We left Bariloche at 9pm with a most amazing red sunset. Our epic bus trip took us down Ruta 40 which runs down Argentina from the Lakes district in the north all the way down to Calafate in the far South. Though it is more direct, time-wise it is the longer of to routes, the other being Ruta 3, which arrives via Rio Gallegos. This is due to the fact that there are large sections of the road that are unsealed, requiring the bus to crawl along at what seemed to be about 30km/h. So, for one long night, one long day and then another long night we sat in our seats watching the endless plains go by.

It was a long trip, but there were some interesting sights to see along the way, including quite a few of what I think were guanacos grazing by the road (llama like things) and some mini-ostrich/emu type birds that I have not yet been able to put a name to. In addition there was some amazing mirages shimmering above the horizon, snow capped mountain ranges and tree covered hills that evaporated as we went by. Equally amazing were some of the real landscapes that we passed.

As is often the case when cooped up with a small group of people for extended periods, we made friends with a few interesting characters, including a guy from Perth, Mark Sheen, who is a professional mountain climber and was able to entertain us with stories like what its is like to watch the sunrise on the top of Mt. Everest. We were also able to get a tip or two about how to handle the cold.

So in the end, between chatting to passengers, watching the scenery and listening to our Spanish lessons, the trip didn’t drag on too long and before we knew it we were getting off the bus at 7am in El Chalten and preparing to walk into the mountains, still groggy from the bus trip.

Ruta 40, Argentina
Ruta 40, Argentina
The long bus trip from Bariloche to El Chalten.