Belen to Tinogasta

Belen – Londres – Cuesta de Zapata – Tinogasta

This is a nice day-ride on the deserted old Ruta 40 from Belen to Tinogasta. The road is often not in very good condition and is intransitable to normal cars, but it is just about all rideable on two wheels. Though we’ve cycled the road in both directions we took better notes when cycling from Belen to Tinogasta, so describe the road travelling in that direction. Going this way is ever so slightly easier as you have the worst sections of surface whilst descending. There is nowhere to get food or water between Londres and Tinogasta, so take all you need with you.

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Total dist. Stage dist. Description
0km Belen (1,250m). Town with an ok bike shop, ATM, accommodation, shops, restaurants.
19.5km Paved main road to Londres (14.4kms to main square). Go through town and 5.1kms from the main square turn off the paving at an unmarked junction.
19.5km Junction (GPS01). This is just after a long bridge and ‘Artesanias Adan’. The main road goes L on a bend, but carry on straight onto a ripio road.
31.2km After 4kms, go straight at a junction. Main track goes R. In another 4.1kms go straight at another junction. The last house (may be possible to get water) is just after this junction. In 9.8kms you get to the first high point on the road (1,710m). To here the road is mostly ok, From the high point the road descends to a low point at about 1,640m, before climbing to the Cuesta de Zapata.
50.7km Cuesta de Zapata (1,880m – GPS02).
31.6km Descend quite steeply for 5.5kms. Surface often bad. Then descent becomes more gentle for the rest of the road to Tinogasta. 29kms from the Cuesta de Zapata a road joins from the right (so if heading in the opposite direction to Londres/Belen go R here). This junction is in the middle of the filthy unofficial town rubbish dump. 2.6kms from the junction, get to the ‘Ruta 3 Intransitable’ sign where the tarmac begins near Tinogasta.
82.3km ’Ruta 3 Intransitable’ sign (GPS03) near Tinogasta.
Time taken and amount climbed 7 hours: Belen – Tinogasta (980m climb).
Traffic Ripio section: 2 vehicles the first time we cycled this, none the second.
When we cycled Mid May 2010, and late December 2010.
Difficulty 2
How much we had to push on this route Less than 0.2kms going Belen to Tinogasta. Slightly more going the other direction.

GPS Point Description Lat/Long/Altitude
GPS01 Junction 5kms after Londres 27.7368 S, 67.1720 W, 1,230m.
GPS02 Cuesta de Zapata 27.8879 S, 67.3535 W, 1,880m.
GPS03 Ruta 3 Intransitable sign 28.0485 S, 67.5685 W, 1,220m.

View Belen – Tinogasta in a larger map
Nearby routes:        Antofagasta de la Sierra                 Pasos San Francisco and Pircas Negras

3 Responses to “Belen to Tinogasta”

  1. Julian nando quintar 02/10/2014 at 07:53 # Reply

    Este es un buen día – paseo en el desierto vieja Ruta 40 desde Belén a Tinogasta . El camino a menudo no se encuentra en muy buenas condiciones y es intransitable para los coches normales , pero es casi todo lo que se puede montar sobre dos ruedas . Aunque hemos paseamos la carretera en ambas direcciones que tomamos mejores notas cuando ciclismo de Belen a Tinogasta , por lo que describe el camino que viaje en esa dirección. El ir de esta manera es muy ligeramente más fácil cuando usted tiene los peores tramos de superficie , mientras que desciende . No hay ningún lugar para conseguir comida o agua entre Londres y Tinogasta , así que tome todo lo que necesita con usted.

  2. Alberto and Lucy 06/01/2015 at 16:24 # Reply

    Rode this beautiful ripio in December 2014, just before the first rains appear in the area. A couple things we´d like to add.

    – Water available about 5 km from the turnoff of the 40, heading towards Tinogasta. There´s a house with a nice lady who will give you good and UNsalty water. Water in Tinogasta is pretty bad and salty.
    – The road is 100% cycleable, with a few more rocky sections, but overall ok for bikes. No other traffic uses it other than the odd motorbike these days.
    – It´s a really hot area and the going slow, so plan to take more water than on your usual day ride
    – Locals warned us about landslides and rocks falling onto the roads when it gets wet and stormy – and we believed them judging from the amount of debris on the road.

    Otherwise it´s a great alternative to the 40, and shortcuts quite a bit on the way to Fiambalá.

    Our report here


  1. Puna Dreams Pt.3: Rolling with the punches | Velo Freedom - Cycling South - 15/12/2014

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