We left Bariloche at 6AM towards Esquel. During our research for the trip we came across these amazing “marble caves” and I really wanted to go to them, but we weren’t sure if they would be open on Christmas so we decided to stop in Esquel for the train museum and some information and then continued onwards to gain some extra time. From Bariloche to Esquel took about 3 hours and the roads were paved and good. The terrain also changed from tall mountains with lakes to smaller mountains/hills that were very green. We also filled up gas right after leaving the city of Bariloche because it was much cheaper (~AR$7/L).
After we left Esquel, we crossed the border to Chile at Futaleufú. It was more stringent than Argentina but not so bad. First we stopped at the Argentina office to get our exit slips and documents checked. Then we drove about 1 km to the Chilean border where we had to stop at 3 “stations.” The first was just IDs so it took 5 minutes. The second station was car documents and registering our car in Chile (which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes but our guy was really slow). The third post was the customs desk where you had to declare if you were bringing stuff in and also throw out any fruits, meats, and artisan gifts because of food/bacteria control in Chile. We had no problems and were out in about 30 minutes and didn’t have to pay any fees.
After all that, plus lunch, we left this very tiny town at around 2PM. After Futaleufú there is literally nothing until La Junta, about 150 km away. We decide to go off Ruta 40 and go to Chile because we wanted to go to see the Ventisquero Colgante, the hanging glacier, in Parque Nacional Queulat. However, the roads were so incredibly bad. Not only were they not paved but the “gravel” was composed of very large rocks. It was very stressful to drive here with a low car and it took about 4 hours to get to La Junta. One very important fact to know is that there are no places to exchange money from Futaleufú until Coyhaique. We paid for gas with my American credit card but going to the park was very difficult.
We found an awesome campground that was eco-friendly called Eco-Camping Playa Arrayanes and the owner, Marcelo, was so incredibly nice! He spoke English and was a very calm and relaxed guy who was willing to accept our Argentinian pesos. It costs CLP$4000 per person to camp and they had a few activities you could pay for so we did a paddle boat ride on the lake for CLP$4000. This campsite was absolutely gorgeous! We were right on Lago Rosselot and the views of the mountains were stunning. The facilities, all built by Marcelo, were very clean and had hot water. You could choose to stay in a regular campsite (grass, table, fire pit) or a gazebo (which cost CLP$20,000) but since it wasn’t windy we chose the cheaper option. We had a site right on the lake and we enjoyed the view so much!
After our relaxing and romantic paddle boat ride on the lake, we made some dinner and then we were invited over to the campsite next to us (the only other people there) to enjoy their campfire as the night grew older. They were from Punta Arenas, Chile and gave us great tips about the roads, Patagonia, tourist information and just general small talk. We had such a great time talking to them and Marcelo by the campfire and we were so happy the found this campground by chance!
Obs: this map is wrong, as we drove from Esquel to Futaleufú, then going down to Puyuhuapi.
- Left Bariloche @ 6AM
- AR$352 = Hostel
- AR$143 = Gas [AR$6.99/L]
- Arrived in Esquel @ 9AM
- Arrived in Futaleufú @ lunchtime
- Crossed border to Chile
- Left Futaleufú @ 2PM
- CLP$18000 = Gas [CLP$917/L]
- AR$150 = Eco-camping
- Total = AR$645