For stunning landscapes of the grandest scale, endless horizons and cobalt skies with racing white clouds, head south through Patagonia on Ruta 40. Cross the vast pampas and steppe staying at occasional welcoming and good value estancias serving succulent Patagonian lamb asado style, and corn free beef, washed down with fine local wine. In the north there are beautiful lakes rivers and forests, even hillsides covered in primeval monkey puzzles, whilst down south are huge creaking glaciers, and vast milky blue lakes. And always just to the west are the snowcapped peaks of the Andes cordillera and its huge icefields. Tread in the footprints of dinosaurs, spot flamingos and condors, hike, boat, ride, fish or climb, and keep heading south to the parks mountains and sea channels of the end of the world and the land of fires.
From Jujuy in the North to the Magellan Straits where it joins Ruta 3 to Ushuaia. El Chalten, and El Calafate in the centre are great bases to explore from, but its the open road thats best.
The most succulent Patagonian lamb grilled to perfection asada style, or huge tasty steaks. The pampas-reared animals taste a world away from northern hemisphere fattened stock. This is a stylish large modern restaurant with expert staff full of banter to guide you through the menu. You may need to book.
28 Coronel Rosales, by the river at east end of the main street, Ave del Liberador.
If you've got some time to spare between excursions in this trendy tourist boom town, and don't fancy the huge new casino, a walk down to the nature reserve on the shore of the immense milky blue Lago Argentino is well worthwhile.
There are hawks skimming the reed tops, flamingos, all sorts of ducks and waders, geese and other water fowl. It's run by a small volunteer group and welcomes visitors as it holds out against the enveloping town. On the way back have a delicious local 'calafate' berry ice cream on the main street for a perfect afternoon.
North of Ave del Liberador on 9 Julio, and over the river to the lakeside
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