Trans-Chaco Highway is one of the most iconic roads of South America

Trans-Chaco Highway, also referred to as Ruta Nacional 9, Ruta PY09, or Ruta Nacional Número 9 "Dr. Carlos Antonio López", stands out as one of South America's most renowned roads.

Trans-Chaco Highway

Where does Trans-Chaco Highway start and end?

This historic road connects José Falcón, in the Argentinian border near Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, to the Bolivian frontier at Fortín Sgto. Rodríguez. Covering the expanse of Central, Presidente Hayes, and Boquerón departments, this route, upon reaching Argentina, takes on the name National Route 11, and as National Route 6 at the Bolivian boundary.

Key Features of the Trans-Chaco Highway:

Length and History:

-Spanning 775 km (481 miles), the highway was inaugurated in 1961 and was notorious for decades as South America's most challenging road.

-Its reputation was primarily due to conditions where vehicles, especially during the rainy season, could remain stuck for prolonged durations.

Pavement Status:

-While 2007 marked the year when the entire road was paved, the effort didn't prove enduring. The asphalt layer applied was thin, leading to rapid deterioration within just a year. Presently, the highway is characterized by its dustiness, cracks, and recurring potholes.

-The route's subgrade struggles to support the weight of the many trucks traversing it, further exacerbated by the insufficient thickness of the surface layer.

Challenges on the Road:

-Driving on Trans-Chaco requires undivided attention. Motorists need to constantly anticipate and dodge deep potholes, making the journey an exercise in concentration.

-Although the road primarily stretches straight with only slight bends, the continual potholes present a significant challenge.

-Night-time drives, especially for first-timers, are discouraged due to the road's conditions.

-Given the harsh climate, sparse traffic, and minimal population along the route, it's recommended for travelers to equip themselves with additional provisions, notably food and water, in the event of vehicle breakdowns.

Trans-Chaco Highway is not just a road; it's a testament to the spirit of adventure and the challenges that come with it. Whether you're an avid motorist or a traveler, traversing this route offers a genuine taste of South America's rugged terrains and indomitable spirit.

Pic: By Cmasi [CC BY-SA 4.0  (], from Wikimedia Commons