THE Route 40, or "La forty“, as it is also known, is the longest highway in Argentina. It crosses the country from one extreme to the other. Created in 1932, the number 40 in its name was chosen by the National Roads Directorate. The roads numbered 32 and 40 correspond to highways with a north-south direction, with the westernmost in the country being numbered 40.
The Route crosses 18 rivers, 13 lakes, a salt desert, sand deserts, volcanoes, 236 bridges, masses of compressed ice, 20 nature reserves and national parks – five of them considered World Heritage Sites and recognized by UNESCO. To start your adventure, you can leave the city of Gallegos River, capital of the province of Santa Cruz, in the extreme south. Or you can start from the province of Jujuy, in the far North. Thus, it is the longest highway in the country, with 5,200 km.
Many people have heard of the famous Route 66, us U.S. However, Route 40 is so popular as the North American “cousin”. Along the Argentine highway, you can find snow, adventure, different types of cultures, fishing, ecotourism, hot springs, gastronomy, wine and much more. In addition to a landscape that allows you to see many species of animals, visit archaeological sites with millions of years and learn more about the history of America southern.
Currently, Ruta 40 is considered the longest road in Argentina, with more than 5,000 km in length. she unites Gallegos River, in the south of the country, the La Quiaca, on the border with Bolivia. In addition, it is a trip suitable for all ages, with the family, in a group, or for those who prefer to go alone. An incredible experience, in which you don't need a lot of luggage, but a lot of organization.
Road Trip along Route 40
For those starting in the South, the starting point is the province of Santa Cruz, which has the second largest colony of penguins in South America. After approximately 126 km, you will arrive at Gallegos River. From there, after another 260 km you will see the Andes Mountains. Once you get there, she becomes a companion until the end of the 4,700 km of the trip.
In El Calafate, a city very visited because of the Perito Moreno glacier, the Ruta starts to be accompanied by some restaurants, museums and many people on horseback. Despite the exuberant landscape of the Cordillera ahead, care must be taken in the region, because there are records of cars stuck waiting for hours for a larger vehicle to pass to help them.
Ruta 40 reaches its first major city only in black river, many kilometers after you start your journey in southern Argentina. In Villa La Angostura, the road begins to pass through the woods of the Arrayanes National Park, where the start of Ruta de los Siete Lagos.
Then you arrive in the province of Mendoza, which houses the reserve La Payunia with more than 800 volcanic cones and the Payún Liso, mountain of 3.7 thousand meters. It is also there that the Mendoza Wine Route begins, which crosses 100 km of territory full of wineries and bars.
In Mendoza The San Juan are over 170 km whose detours can lead to El Leoncito National Park, and other lush places. passing by Villa Union, another beautiful stretch begins: the Miranda's Cost, which climbs 1,500 meters in just 12 km. After going down to the city of nonogasta, Ruta 40 becomes a highway to the historic municipality of chilecito.
North of Route 40
From then on, the Argentine North begins: hot, desert, historic, isolated and full of oases and cities that seem to be lost. In Pune, already in catamarca, the volcano is Ojos del Salado — the tallest in the world. The road still takes you to cities like: London, Belen, Santa Maria until entering tucuman, where it will arrive at Quilmes Ruins, the remains of the largest pre-Columbian settlement in the country.
Ahead, at 23 km, you will cross the border of Salta, with the Los Cardones National Park. Where the road climbs up the mountain to its highest point – 4,800 meters of altitude. It is the highest stretch in the world for a national highway and the highest road on the planet outside of Asia.
Further on, after 40 km, if you reach the Viaduct La Polvorilla, an engineering work in the country where a train passes at a height equivalent to a 20-story building. No wonder the place is called Train a las Nubes. There you are already on the border of jujuy, where the Salinas Grandes are located.
Now that you know a little about Ruta 40, you can prepare your trip, your car or your motorcycle, because you are ready to start your adventure through Argentina!
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