A road trip along Argentina's legendary Route 40 in a Porsche
Five thousand kilometres of pure adventure
Road sign for Route 40 through Argentina
Route 40 is to Argentina what Route 66 is to the USA. Often no more than a dirt track, it meanders across deserts, mountains and lowlands, ending at sea level in Patagonia. We explore it on a road trip with a Porsche Cayenne
North to south through a country of extremesOn this road trip through Argentina you’ll experience dirt tracks, see llamas, drive over mountains and glacier formations – and enjoy the feeling of infinite freedom. Back in the 1950s, Che Guevara travelled on National Route 40 during his legendary motorcycle road trips. The legend of this road persists to this day, although a Porsche Cayenne is a more comfortable way to experience it. Route 40 is one of the most exciting roads in the world, thanks to the incredible landscapes it passes through, its length of more than 5,000 kilometres, its extreme altitudes of up to 5,000 metres at the Abra del Acay pass and the diversity of the regions and climate zones it traverses. Along the way, this road trip will go through twenty national parks, across rivers and offer breathtaking panoramas that will keep you coming back for more.
Highway through the other-worldly rock formations of Quebrada de las Fletchas
In many places, Route 40 is still a dirt track. Like here in Quebrada de las Fletchas
First and foremost, this exceptional road is intimately linked to the history of Argentina. Along the route there is cave art dating back thousands of years, old Incan paths and sites of key battles for independence. The Porsche Cayenne adventure starts in the north of the country, in the sparsely populated upland desert of Puna, a colourful, dry landscape dotted with small, colonial settlements. Candelabra cacti greet us along the edge of the road. Flamingos inhabit turquoise-coloured lagoons. One explosion of colour followed by another. The red and orange-coloured rocks in the Valle de la Luna look as if they are aflame. The altitude, the cold and the icy wind are a challenge. The unrelenting Route 40 has 27 mountain passes. On the narrow and winding dirt track of the Abra el Acay, we reach the 5,000 metre mark, the highest point of the route.
Two llamas on the high plateau of the Andes
Llamas live at an altitude of over 3,000 metres on the lonely and inhospitable Altiplano
There is always the exhilarating feeling of not knowing exactly what is around the next corner. Because the next section will always be the most impressive. So it continues through Argentina's famous high-altitude vineyards, to the west of its central plain, past vineyards in every shade of green and red as we travel south to the next highlight: Lago Nahuel Huapi. A fascinating national park, famous for its many lakes and expansive cypress and myrtle forests, with the Andes, always majestic, in the background. At any point on this road trip, we are rarely more than a 100 kilometres from the imposing mountain chain.
Lakeland on National Route 40 in Argentina
Around every bend, a new and impressive landscape opens up
An epic road trip in PatagoniaPatagonia is the region bucket lists were created for. It’s a unique landscape at the southern tip of South America with broad steppes as far as the eye can see ringed by breathtaking views of America’s highest peak, always snow capped. The journey is worth it for what is surely the most important detour on this section of Route 40. Deeper into the Andes we go, to the border with Chile and an incredible place: Torres del Paine with its iconic "towers", the striking Fitz Roy massif and the Los Glaciares National Park, another landmark of Patagonia thanks to the spectacular icefalls from the Perito Moreno Glacier.
Road leading towards the Fitz Roy granite mountain
An incredible detour: the snow-capped Fitz Roy massif in El Chaltén
The gigantic ice mass of the Perito Moreno covers nearly two hundred square kilometres and, unlike most of earth's other glaciers, is still growing in size. A sparkling white with ice-blue tones, it towers over the turquoise-coloured glacial water of the National Park as we continue our journey. Those with patience may get to witness huge chunks of ice breaking off and crashing into the water, accompanied by a deafeningly and resounding crash.
Ice masses from the Perito Moreno Glacier float in turquoise-coloured lagoons
A breathtaking view of a magnificent natural spectacle
After 5,000 incredible kilometres, Route 40 finally brings us and our Porsche Cayenne down to sea level, to the breezy tip of the continent. The end-of-the-line for this road trip is the lighthouse of Cabo Vírgenes at Rio Gallegos on the Atlantic coast. One thing is for sure: Route 40 ticks off several South American must-sees on our list!This story is part of the 25 Years of Porsche Travel Experience anniversary series. We take you on a virtual world tour around the globe – with a new, fascinating episode each week. Click here to read all stories.
Continue reading
Bend at the Nürburgring on misty morning
Driving on Grand Prix circuits with the Porsche Track Experience Experience the thrill of the world’s greatest tracks with the Porsche Track Experience from behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS or 718 Cayman GT4 RS – painted Grand Prix White, of course. Read more
Porsche 963 on racetrack at 24 Hours of Le Mans
A beginner’s guide to the 24 Hours of Le Mans The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the biggest dates in the motorsport calendar. Ahead of its 101st edition, discover its history and what makes it so special for Porsche Read more
Namibian desert scene with sand dunes in background
Offroad desert driving in Africa on the Porsche Travel Experience Namibia A land of spectacular wildlife and unforgettable desert scenery, lit by a desert sun that inspired the Porsche colour African Queen Metallic. The Colourful Experience heads to the vast sands of Namibia Read more