Mendoza to Ushuaia

After giving you a view of Ushuaia and its surroundings, I will now tell you about the trip from start to finish, as well as illustrate that with a few photos.

We left Mendoza and headed south along the famous “Ruta 40”. We had decided not to spend time in the south of the province of Mendoza since we can always visit it later. So we headed straight to the province of Neuquen, particularly the north-western part. Its main feature is the volcano Domuyo. Access to these remote areas is always via un-paved roads. They are regularly maintained but can have at times very rough sections. Anyway the base town to explore that area is Chos Malal, which is nothing outstanding, just a typical remote small town but nevertheless with its own charm. The downtown is pleasant and offers the visitor the opportunity to replenish both the fuel tank and the fridge. There are a few grocery stores and two or three small gas stations. One thing that always strikes the visitor is the long lineups at the gas stations. Cars line up on the street and a 1/2-hour wait isn’t all that uncommon. There was only one pump attendant in Chos Malal’ s YPF our preferred gas stations, no self-serve pumps, and the same attendant also receives your payment. If you pay by credit card you need to move and go park your vehicle, come back to pay, and wait a fairly long time for the credit card payment to go through because of slow internet connections. While all this is happening the pump attendant is there waiting with you, hence the lineup outside! The municipal campground is small and basic but has power so we could charge up the truck’s home battery. We drove all the way to Aguas Calientes, a very small settlement close to the volcano. It attracts people because of the free hot stream that flows in the area. We drove some more dirt tracks above Aguas Calientes in search of more hot springs but poor or no signage is a constant problem when traveling in Argentina and we never found what we were looking for. Regardless we found solitude in some amazing landscapes. Surprisingly, in the village of Varvarco we found a nice and quiet municipal campground where we could rest and wash off some of the dust we collected along the road.

After retracing our steps we continued south on our journey, and while remaining in the province of Neuquen, we went to Caviahue-Copahue at the limit between Argentina and Chile. There the volcano Copahue looms over the region and the two small towns that have life only during the summer season, when the tourist come to benefit from the hot springs. In the winter the roads are not cleared and not drivable. The river Ágrio waters the area and carries colourful volcanic sediments that are deposited in some places. The waterfall called “Salto Del Ágrio” is stunning in the early morning light, the colours so saturated that the landscape really looks out of this world.