Midway between Las Horquetas and the town of Perito Moreno, barren Bajo Caracoles is an oasis for automobiles and motorcycles, with the only gas station in nearly 500 kilometers of RN 40. Southbound travelers should fill the tank here; others should buy enough to reach Perito Moreno, 128 kilometers north.
Bajo Caracoles is also the southern gateway to the rock-art site of Cueva de las Manos, 41 kilometers northeast via RP 57, but there are alternative access points farther north. RP 39 leads east to the hamlet of Hipólito Yrigoyen and Lago Posadas, near the Chilean border, while RP 41, a short distance north of Bajo Caracoles, goes directly to the border crossing at Paso Roballos.
Better than expected in this remote outpost, with recently modernized bathrooms, the legendary Hotel Bajo Caracoles (tel. 02963/49-0100, US$48 s or d) fills up early despite its cantankerous operator. It also has groceries and surprisingly good meals.
The hotel now has shoestring competition in the nearby Hostel Ruta 40 (US$10 pp dorm), and there’s also cheap camping across the highway.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition