The dream of driving on traffic-free roads.
If you plan to be driving the roads between Bariloche, Esquel, Puerto Madryn and San Martín de los Andes in Argentine Patagonia between November 14 and December 2, you will probably come across a caravan of 40 magnates from Europe and the New World at the wheel of their classic Jaguars. They will be participating in the first edition of the Classic Jaguar Tour to be run outside Europe.
It is a non-competitive tour designed for the pleasure of the drivers, their navigators, and whoever happens to be present when they pass or display their mechanical jewels in the cities on their itinerary. Organized by the UK firm Classic Jaguar Touring Ltd., the tour allows collectors of classic XK and E-Type Jaguars manufactured between 1948 and 1975 to take their cars out of the garage and show them to the rest of the world amid beautiful landscapes.
The organizers chose Argentine Patagonia for its natural beauty, road and tourism infrastructure, cultural traditions and safety. And the participants signed up with the idea of living their own Patagonian experience. When some of them who were present at a press conference at the Expo Patagonia show were asked what pleasure they expected to get out of the tour, they were unanimous: “driving on roads without traffic in unending natural spaces.”
During the 3,500-km tour of the provinces of Chubut, Neuquén and Río Negro, they will enjoy spectacular landscapes, regional gastronomy accompanied by great Argentine wines, places and towns of great cultural and historic importance, and the hospitality of locals.
It is a classic itinerary that is very recommendable for drivers with the economic means and the time necessary to do it. It can take them 19 days, as in this case, or more than a month if one takes more time to enjoy each destination.
They will begin their tour in Bariloche with a round-trip detour to Villa La Angostura. Then they will head south on Route 40, passing El Bolsón and El Hoyo on their way to Esquel. From there, they will have a look at Trevelin and Los Alerces National Park. Then they will cross the arid central plateau to Puerto Madryn, with a stop in Gaiman. They will tour the penguin rookery of Punta Tombo and then continue on to the Valdés Peninsula. From there, they will go to the Río Negro beach resort of Las Grutas. Leaving the coast, they will drive to the city of Neuquén. They will rest up in San Martín de los Andes and finally return to Bariloche, where the Patagonia driving part of their tour will end. Before and after the tour, they will spend some time in Buenos Aires, the port of arrival and departure of the foreign contingent.
The accommodations that have been contracted for the tour are the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Hotel in Buenos Aires, the Llao-Llao in Bariloche, the Hostería Cumbres Blancas in Esquel, the Hotel Territorio in Puerto Madryn, the Faro de Punta Delgada on the Valdés Peninsula, the Hotel Portovenere in Las Grutas, the Casino Magic Hotel in the city of Neuquén, and the Hotel Loi Suites Chapelco in San Martín de los andes.
Each of the cities that figure in the itinerary is organizing a reception and preparing a suitable place to exhibit the cars so that the tour’s visit will also be a recreational event for locals and occasional tourists.
Part of the proceeds from the inscriptions and sponsorships will go to four non-profit organizations dedicated to health and human development: the Favaloro Foundation, the Argentine League against Cancer (LALCEC), the CHASE children’s hospice charity of the United Kingdom, and Plan International, a child-based community development NGO that works in more than 40 countries.
The Classic Jaguar Tour in Patagonia is expected to generate revenues of US$ 300,000 for the local tourist industry.
PHOTO CREDITS: A classic Jaguar on the road, and the tour itinerary, Classic Jaguar Touring Ltd. Lake Nahuel Huapi in Bariloche, Expo Patagonia.