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Argentina: RN40, Cafayate, Cachi, Utopia

January 2023

RN40 Cafayate Cachi

Ruta 40: Cafayate-Molinos-Cachi in the Valle Calchaquíe

Corrugated road, 360 km. With the right tire pressure it's not really a problem. We had already driven this scenic route 15 years ago several times with the much wider Robusto. What we did not consider enough was the strong increase in traffic in the meantime. The track has long, very narrow passages with tight curves heavy corrugated. This requires a compromise between speed and caution. Despite loud honking, oncoming traffic often comes in or after the curve. Partially crossing is not possible, or only with appropriate caution.

RN40 Cafayate Cachi1

During the 360 KM on the outward and return journey, everything actually went well, with one happy exception. Before Molinos, on a very narrow road section, a truck approached at much too high speed after a confusing left turn. Braking or crossing impossible. I pulled the Sprinter to the right over the 30-centimeter-high sand wall formed by the shredding machine, and we whizzed past each other without making contact. At first I wanted to turn around and go after the driver, but then let it go.

RN40 Cafayate Cachi2

We set up at the campground in Molinos for an overnight stay. And who drives the truck with several construction workers on the square in the evening to spend the night in the cabanas. That's right, our rally driver. He had to listen to a few things from us. In his defense, he said that we still had 20 clearance when we crossing. He deliberately overlooked the fact that we were more than half off the track with the Sprinter!
Once again we have become aware of how quickly something can happen that could radically change the future of travel.



We had fond memories of Cachi from earlier and were looking forward to it. However, when we arrived, the joy gave way to frustration.
The place was totally flooded with Argentine vacation tourists. Tragically, a multi-day festival also started the day we arrived. We decided to return the same day to Molinos, which we really enjoyed.
However, we would not like to miss the trip to Cachi in this magnificent landscape!

Hacienda de Molinos

Clever paper napkin holder

In the courtyard of the Hacienda de Molinos we enjoyed a very good meal in the shade of a pepper tree. Until the waitress from the restaurant appeared in the garden and served, it took some time.
With amazement we noticed when leaving our table that on the side of the napkin holder facing away from us had three red buttons integrated. One for calling staff, the second for ordering a bill and the third for cancellation.
So much functioning, modern technology in a restaurant that could only be reached on a dusty track amazed us very much.

supermercado argentinien

Supermercados in Argentina

Many of the Supermercados, mostly in or around bigger cities are comparable to shopping centers in Europe.
But it gets exciting when you enter a shop labeled Supermercado in a village in some valley. Suddenly you are standing in a small to medium sized grocery store with an extremely wide range of products. Vegetables, drinks, bread, meat, pasta, frozen food, cleaning products, dishes, charcoal, etc.
Depending on the day of the week, the fresh products and meat are as they should be, or not. Sometimes we have to visit two or three stores in the village until all that we want meets our requirements.
We have plenty of time, and we've already had some nice chats with the sales staff!

utopia overlander camping

Utopia Overland Camping near Seclantás

Outside of Seclantás, secluded between mountains and desert, lies a camping site. In the vineyard of Martina (D) and Johann (ZA) you can spend a quiet time. The two have met each other on their travels in China. So, they have many stories to tell.