The epic 3,000 mile road trip through three countries to the edge of the word

The US may boast the world-famous Route 66 but to the south along the southern tip of Argentina is a classic road trip route that rivals any in the world.

Ruta Nacional 40, also known as the Patagonian Highway, begins just south of the Bolivian border and extends all the way to Tierra del Fuego.

Given the challenging conditions on the long stretches of road, where strong crosswinds can whip up gravel storms, it is not recommended for inexperienced drivers. 

That said the near-mythical journey offers thrill seekers and nature lovers a huge natural playground to explore.

The horizon can be so vast in some places that your view encompasses a full 180 degrees of sky. Leaving the path briefly leads to encounters with deep canyons with forests, volcanic craters and breathtaking cliffs.

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Exploration of the extensive Cueva de las Manos with its beautifully preserved handprints, the cultural artefacts at the Centro de Interpretación Histórica in El Calafate are among the top archaeological wonders.

The route, which spans the majority of Argentina, is also home to a remarkable diversity of birdlife and wildlife, including sightings of hairy armadillos, foxes, pumas and the Chilean condor.

Despite its low population density, the region is home to a vibrant indigenous culture, as evidenced by enduring traditions and abundant evidence of early pioneers engaged in farming and estancias.

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The Welsh heritage is especially noticeable in Esquel and Trevelin, where pioneering settlers from Wales emigrated to and built settlements. 

Alternatively take a side trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, which is about 100 kilometres from El Calafate.

This natural ice formation captivates with its brilliant white appearance contrasting against the turquoise waters that surround it, stretching 3,000 metres in length and 5,000 metres in width, standing 74 metres high and having a depth of 700 metres.

Those looking for a more active experience can explore it on foot, by kayak, or by horseback.

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