The great adventure of
crossing the Somuncurá Plateau
from end to end from the Atlantic Coast of Río Negro to the Cordillera suggests letting oneself be carried away by one of the roads less traveled, where Patagonia adopts its renowned semblance of an infinite plateau, swept by the persistent wind that does not give respite.
But there is no longer so much uncertainty on this 605-kilometer journey, from the moment the paving of almost the entire journey (about 545 kilometers) was completed.
The state of the route
About 60 kilometers of the route are remaining sections of gravel in work (about 40 kilometers between Clemente Onelli and Comallo, plus another 20 kilometers from Pilcomayo to Dina Huapi, on Route 40, the end point of the journey), which require maximum caution. .
Route 23, in the middle of the Somuncurá Plateau, Río Negro.
Likewise, road works are also being completed at the access to Ingeniero Jacobacci, where vehicles are diverted by a gravel and dusty path of one kilometer.
From the start of the long initial straight, the proper marking of milestones and distance signs goes hand in hand with the impeccable condition of the asphalt strip, although this necessary company for travelers begins to be scarce beyond Maquinchao, in the direction of Bariloche.
It is also convenient not to fully step on the accelerator -even without other cars in sight-, to avoid the car being shaken by some inopportune gust of wind.
Where to load gasoline, diesel or CNG
On the other hand, drivers of
gasoline or diesel vehicles
should take into account that the first three service stations that appear from kilometer 0 of Route 23 are located in Valcheta.
To the west, other possibilities for loading are the Ministro Ramos Mexía, Sierra Colorada, Los Menucos, Maquinchao, Jacobacci, Comallo and Pilcaniyeu retail plants.
The hundred-year-old Valcheta station of the Patagonian Train, in Río Negro.
However, for cars that run on gas, the outlook is less encouraging.
do not work along the entire length of Route 23
, so it is advisable to fill the tank in Viedma or Bariloche, depending on where the itinerary starts from.
In any case, a full tank of gas with a capacity of 80 liters provides a range of about 200 kilometers, at a rate of 13 to 15 kilometers per cubic meter, for which it is key to foresee the conversion to the gasoline system in the middle of the road.
Beyond these observations to take into account, Route 23 fills the senses with its impressive framework of natural formations of the Somuncurá Plateau and the charm of a handful of towns and places, marked by fire by the legacy of the native cultures and the contribution of immigrants, arrived at this unique place, loaded with legends and mysteries in its excessive dimensions.
Here are some suggestions for making a stopover.
KM 43: Aguada Cecilio
A landscape of discolored aridity - a reflection of a lime deposit - prevails in this
town founded in 1910
, whose modest houses vibrate with the passage of the train that connects Viedma with Bariloche.
Under the ocher cone of Cerrito Amarillo -where remains of marine fossils emerge- the legendary stories told by the sheep and goat stallholders ignite.
It is more difficult to find the freshwater stream that gives the place its name and that, decades ago, the railway transported to San Antonio Oeste.
Petrified Forest of Valcheta, in Río Negro.
KM 77: Valcheta
The “Oasis of the South Line” surprises with the
thick grove of trees that accompanies the winding course of the stream
and cuts the town in half.
One of the places indicated for a picnic and family recreation is the shore at the height of the Lino de Roa square, where regional history is recreated through murals and wooden sculptures.
In the area of farms, the Petrified Forest Natural Monument, the fallen trunks of conifers up to 30 meters long attest to the existence of a forest 65 million years ago.
Photo Tourism Rio Negro
Pieces of Paleontology, Botany and Geology -as well as the history of the original Tehuelche settlers- can be seen in the
Finally, a visit to the
Sofía Huanca Artisan Workshop
allows you to admire the talent of a group of master weavers, dedicated to weaving tapestries and mantras on Mapuche looms and making wooden pieces.
The circuit through local history is completed at the train station and School No. 15, inaugurated in 1905.
Wood sculptures and murals, in Valcheta.
KM 119: Nahuel Niyeu
On rainy days and intense storms, in this spot, located on the edge of a stream, unverifiable rumors reappear about UFO and jaguar appearances.
Nahuel Niyeu also gained modest fame as the cradle of singers and guitarists.
"A stream awaits you as quenching thirst / with sleeping houses near Twenty-third / if people greet you when you pass through Nahuel / remember the tigers that came down to drink", the writer Jorge Castañeda dedicated to him in "Allá por
KM 181: Minister Ramos Mexía
Walks and horseback riding along the Treneta and Yaminué trails mark the pace of the
rural tourism proposal offered by two ranches
In addition, the Pichi Malal Corridor introduces the traditions of the Tehuelche culture.
Bajo de Ramos, at the foot of a fence, protects the five stops of an archaeological circuit.
KM 224: Sierra Colorada
The silhouettes of the hills become more and more imposing and trace strange shapes on both sides of Route 23 before reaching Sierra Colorada.
The plateau is charged with intense reddish tones in Sierra Colorada, Río Negro.
The wind seems to have scattered the flocks of sheep over the foothills reddened by the stones of the Cruz, Pirámide and Energizante hills, where peons scattered throughout the Patagonian immensity carry out their routine of marking, herding, shearing and genetic improvement.
Meanwhile, six women from the Gente de Somuncurá cooperative work the spun and dyed wool using artisanal techniques on a Mapuche loom.
KM 270: Menucos
The delicate pieces exhibited in the
and the horseback riding, trekking and photographic safari programs organized in rural establishments are Los Menucos' letter of introduction to its visitors.
Entrance portal to Los Menucos, at kilometer 270 of route 23, Río Negro.
Mining and Religious walking tours
can lead to encounters with sheep, guanacos, rheas, kaolin and flagstone deposits and cave paintings, where formerly pre-Hispanic settlement riding halls functioned.
KM 305: Aguada de Guerra
The plateau maintains its bright colors and outlines
behind the uniform urbanization of Aguada de Guerra.
But an unexpected piece is fleetingly incorporated into the landscape and requires quick reflexes to stop and prepare the camera: the Patagonian Train advances in the direction of Viedma and, in a matter of seconds, it will disappear again on the horizon.
KM 340: Maquinchao
Panoramic view of the Ñe Luan lagoon, near Maquinchao, Río Negro.
rest and some fishing next to the Ñe Luan lagoon
provide a necessary pause before embarking on the rural tourism proposal offered by four establishments in the El Caín area, rich in fossils, archaeological sites, cave paintings and caves drilled into rock formations. of basaltic origin.
The steppe at the height of Maquinchao.
Photo Tourism Rio Negro
KM 413: Engineer Jacobacci
To try to fully understand this key crossroads of routes and rails, it is advisable not to waste time or attention.
On the one hand, the legendary history of the La Trochita train is rewritten on Rio Negro soil after three decades of service interruption, promoted by the cooperative "Ayufín Mapu" ("Dear Land", in the Mapuche Mapudungún language).
Replica of a ruca (typical Mapuche house), in the Ingeniero Jacobacci Geopaleontological Park.
Saturdays at 11 am, the Old Patagonian Express
travels the 43 kilometers that separate Jacobacci from Ojos de Agua in two hours.
4 kilometers from the Jacobacci station, the Recreational Center and Geopaleontological Park offers a green shelter for camping or resting for a while, sheltered by the Cerro de la Cruz and a grove of trees.
Ojos de Agua Station, 43 kilometers from Ingeniero Jacobacci, the end point of the ride offered by the historic La Trochita train in Río Negro.
In the center of town, a few steps from the Café de la Estación, the railway workshops, a general store from the early 20th century and the Jorge Gerhold Museum, the Ñumican Artisan Museum, the weaver Malvina Escobar uses balls of spun wool sheep to shape a brightly colored poncho on a Mapuche loom.
"She didn't teach me, but it's in my blood," she clarifies with legitimate pride when she recalls the legacy of her grandmother, the artisan and healer -of Tehuelche and Mapuche roots- Prosperina Ñanfulen.
The weaver Malvina Escobar, in full swing on her Mapuche loom at the Ñumican Craft Museum, in Ingeniero Jacobacci.
KM 464: Clemente Onelli
On one side of a pronounced curve on Route 23 to the left, Onelli proposes a new trekking and hiking session, in ten circuits laid out in the steppe and the Anecón Grande and Tres Ganchos hills.
KM 505: Comallo
From the top of Cerro de la Cruz, the Comallo Valley Viewpoint delivers the first postcard of the foothills.
A dressage field, farm animals, organic orchards and a stream stand out among the hills and the horizon of the steppe begins to take on shades of green.
A postcard of the steppe on Route 23, Río Negro.
KM 557: Pilcaniyeu
Route 23 is preparing to end its journey in
, where Route 40 comes from the north to complete the remaining 17 kilometers to Bariloche.
Shortly before the end point, in Pilcaniyeu,
six rooms dedicated to rural tourism
and the collection of Archaeology, ancestral traditions, flora and fauna that the local museum brings together court travelers with the outline of a fitting farewell, a limited synthesis of the infinity of images that Route 23 leaves forever fixed on the retina.
Pilcaniyeu proposes rural tourism in six rooms.
Photo Tourism Rio Negro
How to get.
How to get.
From the city of Buenos Aires to kilometer 0 of route 23 (near Las Grutas) there are 1,050 kilometers by Riccheri, Autopista a Cañuelas and route 3;
Until the end of the route (Dina Huapi, 17 km from Bariloche) there are 1,553 kilometers through Riccheri, Autopista a Cañuelas, route 3 to Bahía Blanca and routes 22, 237 and 40.
Diverse cattle grazing at the foot of a fence on the Somuncurá Plateau, Río Negro.
Where to stay
Where to stay
In Valcheta, Iluhen apartments: for 4 people with kitchen, refrigerator, air conditioning, wi-fi, DirecTV and parking, $10,000;
studio apartment for 4, $8,000 (02940-15492569).
In Sierra Colorada, Peuma lodging: $3,000 per person, with wi-fi and DirecTV;
breakfast, $800 (02984- 15642833 / 02940- 495-205 / email@example.com / Facebook: Peuma).
In Los Menucos, Nevado hotel: double room with breakfast, wi-fi, cable TV and parking, $11,500;
quadruple, $14,400 (0298-465-730 / firstname.lastname@example.org / Facebook: Hotel Nevado).
In Ing. Jacobacci, Cumelcán hotel: double room with breakfast, wi-fi, DirecTV and garage, $7,000;
quadruple, $10,000 (02940-432-131 / 0294-4636688 / email@example.com / www.hotelcumelcan.com.ar / Facebook: Hotel Cumelcán).
Wooden sculptures on the banks of a stream, in Valcheta, the "Oasis of the South Line", in Río Negro.
Where to find out
Where to find out
(02920) 422-150/424-615 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.turismo.rionegro.gov.ar / Facebook: Río Negro Turismo.
In Bs. As., House of the Province of Río Negro: Tucumán 1916, tel.
4371-7273/7078 / email@example.com
Geopaleontological Park, in Ingeniero Jacobacci, Río Negro.
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