Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 23 Aug, 2007
Although the Atuel river goes nearly dry downstream from the different dams (there are 4 or 5 in the canyon), there are beautiful pools with crystal clear water, and the flow of the river is important. There is a capture limit of 2 trout per…Read More
Although the Atuel river goes nearly dry downstream from the different dams (there are 4 or 5 in the canyon), there are beautiful pools with crystal clear water, and the flow of the river is important. There is a capture limit of 2 trout per day in the Atuel river. For perch fishing the established limit is five perch per day.I tried fishing once in the Atuel River inside the Canyon and was not successful, but have been told that there is good fishing in the river, and I believe this is true because there is good fishing in the Nihuil lake (28 miles further up the Atuel river) I have also fished in El Sosneado upstream from highway 40 bridge. My experience has been that you need clear water for fishing here, and since the fishing season starts on November 1 (and ends on May 1) the first two weeks of November or towards the end of April would be the best time for fishing. You are only allowed to fish with artificial lure (fly-fishing or spinning). I have fished 5-pound rainbow trout in this area quite frequently, although not in large quantities.The Grande river at Bardas Blancas, south of Malargue, is another favorite place of fishermen. However, since an 18 pound rainbow trout was fished in the river many years ago, it has been overfished and trout here are generally smaller than in the Atuel river.Another option in southern Mendoza is the Arroyo Grande at El Manzano histórico, west of Tunyan. There water is generally clear all the year round and you can catch two pound rainbow trout. The fishing limit here is five trout per day, the same as in all the province of Mendoza, EXCEPT the areas of San Rafael, Malague and Las Leñas/Valle Hermoso. Do not go too far upstream, because you the trout will be smaller as the stream carries less water.The Laguna del Sosneado is another nice place for fishing, but there is no public transportation for getting there, so unless if you are driving a rented car... On the other hand, there are many reeds in the lagoon and that makes fishing more difficult. Once I fished a lovely 5 pound trout in that lagoon casting from the coast, but 4 of every 5 casts came back with weeds on the lure. Fortunately I did not loose any spinners. I had to go hiking, and had to come back on the top of a truck with sulfur, so by the time I got off the truck, you would have thought that I was Chinese... yellow everywhere... Of course, at that time I was 30 years old...I trust I have given you a fair picture of fishing in Southern Mendoza. But remember, the fashionable place for fishing now, quite near Mendoza city is the new Potrerillos lake, where good trout fishing is being reported, and where you are allowed to catch 5 trout per day.Finally, fishing in any of the artificial lakes formed by dams in the mountainside (there are quite a few in Mendoza) like Potrerillos, El Nihuil, Galileo Vitale, Los Reyunos, etc. could be quite rewarding, especially if you do some trolling.For spinning: In the Grande and Atuel rivers you can use number 4 Meps spinners (and in some cases even 18 gram Abu Droppen) while in the Arroyo Grande you might want to use very light spinners, such as Meps numbers 1 or 2. And if you go fly-fishing (I am not an expert in this area) you need to watch what the fish are eating before you choose your fly. Generally speaking, emerald green fluorescent and yellow flies give good results.Andesmar buses take you from San Rafael to both El Sosneado and Bardas Blancas. They also take you to Tunuyan, but from there you need to take a taxi to El Manzano histórico. If you are not renting a car, you might as well ignore this last option. This is the web page of Andesmar, one of the best bus companies in Argentina: www.andesmar.com.ar To see my photos of this charming area, please click here. I have been unable to upload any photos during the past week or so: http://groups.msn.com/ElGustodeViajar/surdemendoza.msnw?Page=1Enjoy your stay in southern Mendoza. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 30 May, 2007
This area has one of the highest peaks of the Andes in South America, the Tupungato volcano. I should say at this point that there are no active volcanoes in Argentina. I know that there are active volcanoes in Chile, like the Villarica Volcano in…Read More
This area has one of the highest peaks of the Andes in South America, the Tupungato volcano. I should say at this point that there are no active volcanoes in Argentina. I know that there are active volcanoes in Chile, like the Villarica Volcano in Pucón, but although Mendoza is a Grade 6 risk Seismic area, the probability of a strong earthquake is one in one hundred years, earthquake-proof constructions would resist it, and there are no active volcanoes. After the San Juan and Caucete earthquakes in the Province of San Juan 60 and 40 years ago, a Seismic construction code was enforced, and the possibility of damages to constructions is minimal. Having said this, let’s have a look at the different towns and villages in the area we are considering.
Tupungato is mostly a Red Delicious Apple producing area, although there are vineyards in the area. It has a beautiful scenic view towards the Andes and is an irrigated area. Tunuyan is probably the most important city between Mendoza and San Rafael. It is on the main highway, is a vineyard and winery area and offers also a very beautiful landscape. Every year they have the Festival de la Tonada (The Ballad Festival), a festival of Argentine folkloric music that gathers multitudes of people, although not as many as the Fiesta de la Vendimia (Vintage Festival) that is held in Mendoza city. Finding a hotel room that week in Tunuyan is mission impossible. Campo Los Andes is smaller, and its main activity is the military base in its area of influence, plus agricultural activities. El Manzano Histórico is the most popular area from the tourist point of view. To the best of my knowledge there is no hotel here (you will find them at the three above-mentioned towns that are at a distance of some 15 miles from this tourist area. This is an historical place, where General San Martin rested under the shade of an apple tree during the war of Independence from Spain, but is also a very pleasant place for camping and for rainbow trout fishing. I went there twice while I lived in Mendoza, and both times came back with nice rainbow trout, not as large as those of the Atuel River, but weighing an average of two pounds. This is a relatively small stream, that you can wade easily, but always keep in mind that the volume of water carried by the stream increases during the daytime, while the sun is melting more snow… I once overlooked this fact in the Chubut river at El Maitén, and the swollen river nearly threw me over.
Also, if it has been raining in the mountainside, keep an eye on the stream, because in mountainous areas floods come down at a rate of some 3 miles per hour, and even a small stream can increase its flow ten times. If you have to cross a stream with a car, you might have to wait a couple of hours until it returns to its normal flow, or you could run into trouble… Like the rest of the Andes in Mendoza, there is little or no vegetation in the mountainside, but in the irrigated parts of the Uco Valley the vegetation is beautiful. It would not be my first priority in a visit to Mendoza, but it is worthwhile visiting if you have extra time. My priorities would be: 1) Aconcagua (Alta Montaña), 2) Las Leñas and 3) Valle Grande and the Atuel river canyon. And if you are fond of trout fishing, I would place this area after the Atuel river at El Sosneado, after the Río Grande at Bardas Blancas, and even after the Potrerillos lake on the Mendoza River. Nearer San Rafael, there are a number of dams with their artificial lakes in the mountainside, like the Galileo Vitale dam, where you can also fish rainbow trout. All this area is served by Andesmar and Expreso Uspallata; both companies offer and excellent service. These are their web pages for checking timetables: www.andesmar.com.ar www.eusa.com.ar. For checking hotel availability in the area, check the links I have already given in the Overview of this area. For the cities of Mendoza and San Rafael (both two hours away on the bus, in opposite direction) have a look at this page: www.welcomeargentina.com/mendoza/lodging.html www.welcomeargentina.com/sanrafael/lodging.html
There are not many hotels at Tunuyan. Here are some 2 and 3 star hotels: Tunuyán (3) Dirección: Av. San Martín 1248, Telphone: 42-5223; Turismo Tupungato (2) Belgrano 1066, Telphone: 48-8007; Posta de San Carlos (2) RN 40, km 104, Telphone: 45-1212. At El Manzano Histórico there are apparently five campgrounds, but no hotels. This link is in Spanish, but has a couple of photos: www.intertournet.com.ar/mendoza/tunuyan/default.htm. Some 40 miles to the west of Tunuyan there soon will be (maybe it already exists) the fourth ski center of the Province: Manantiales. It seems that it is still a project: www.diariodecuyo.com.ar/home/new_noticia.php?noticia_id=222456 I believe I have given you quite a complete picture of this beautiful area. Enjoy your stay in Southern Mendoza.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 29 May, 2007
The Atuel Canyon is far shallower than the Great Canyon, than Copper Canyon in Mexico and than Colca in Perú, but it is beautiful, and is one of the classical destinations in Mendoza. It has a depth of some one thousand feet, carved by the…Read More
The Atuel Canyon is far shallower than the Great Canyon, than Copper Canyon in Mexico and than Colca in Perú, but it is beautiful, and is one of the classical destinations in Mendoza. It has a depth of some one thousand feet, carved by the Atuel river along a geological fault. The tour from Mendoza city is very long, it leaves at 7 in the morning and arrives back about 9 in the evening. Along the first stretch from Mendoza to Tunuyan and then to San Rafael we go through a succession of irrigated areas, mostly dedicated to vineyards and apple and peach plantations (Mendoza produces the best peaches in Argentina) and areas of desert brush where there is no water. Occasionally we may see some oilfield, but most of the oil production is towards the west of the province and south of Malargue. The distance from Mendoza to San Rafael is 185 miles, and the tour takes normally three hours or more to get there. There will be a stop for breakfast at Pareditas, where the irrigated area finishes; then we will start crossing the desert. San Rafael is another irrigated area, we will visit the city later, on the way back. It is another important vineyard and winery area.
From here we will continue towards El Nihuil, probably still the most important hydroelectric project in Mendoza. The distance will be 41 miles on paved road, and after sightseeing the dam and the lake, we will take a gravel road downstream along the Atuel Canyon. The distance will be some 3 miles longer and we will enjoy beautiful sceneries. There are some four or five viewpoints from where you can take beautiful photos. The Atuel river runs in the bottom of the canyon, but most of the road goes along the riverside. Water here is completely clear, with the reflection of the sky it seems pale blue to navy blue, and if you are a fisherman, when you look at the pools you will be thinking in the delicious rainbow trout that are waiting for your lure... I once walked about ten miles downstream, I did part of the road hiking and reached the upper part of the Valle Grande lake. I may tell you that I really enjoyed that walk; that was some forty years ago. Ir had snowed the previous night and there was still some snow downstream from the dam. I have gone back twice since then, and more times to the rafting area (that was not a rafting area at that time, since it still was not "fashionable").
The canyon had less trees than now, and reminded me of the typical scenes of the Far West movies. The whole area was -and still is- really beautiful. After stopping two or three times to see some hydroelectric plants (there are five along the river) and the steep banks with all sorts of forms and colors, we finally arrive at the Valle Grande area. It is really beautiful, and there is a formation called the submarine, because it disappears under the water when the dam is full. Although there are some degree 4 rafting areas in this part of the river, the rafting tours take place downstream from the dam, where you can practice degree 2 to 3 rafting, at very moderate prices, some 5 dollars for one hour down the river. The tour will stop for lunch at the Valle Grande Hotel and Resort, a very nice 3-star hotel. This meal is normally included in the price of the tour that a year ago was costing 22 dollars per passenger and that now could be costing 30 dollars per passenger. Drinks and deserts are extra, if you want them, but the meal is good. On the way back the tour will make another stop at Rama Caída, where we will visit a winery and vineyard. The stop is shorter than I would like, but remember that the whole tour covers some 450 miles.
The tour is well worth the price, but if you tend to get tired travelling 14 hours on a traffic van, you might want to go to San Rafael, stay overnight and take a local tour from there. That is your choice. But don't miss this tour. If you stay in this area, you can either stay at San Rafael (3 and 4-star hotels), a city with 50,000 inhabitants, or at Valle Grande itself. I had lunch at the Valle Grande hotel and resort and liked the place. It is not expensive, although it has a 3-star rating. The stay at the hotel includes some activities, like a catamaran tour in the lake. Trout fishing is possible in the Atuel river, although I did not fish any trout the only time I tried to in this area. Further up the river, at El Sosneado, I have fished beautiful 5-pound trout. Welcome to southern Mendoza. I know you will enjoy it.
Las Leñas is undoubtedly the largest ski complex in Mendoza, very probably in Argentina, and quite likely in all South America. It has over twenty tracks for skiing and snowboard, a number of ski lefts (even rope lift for snowboard, where it is interesting to…Read More
Las Leñas is undoubtedly the largest ski complex in Mendoza, very probably in Argentina, and quite likely in all South America. It has over twenty tracks for skiing and snowboard, a number of ski lefts (even rope lift for snowboard, where it is interesting to see the youngsters hanging on to the rope while they go up the mountainside on their snowboards), and a unique combination of three ski tracks allows the skiers to come down 12 kilometers (seven miles and a half) at a time. Although it is very expensive (hotel rooms cost over 270 dollars for a single room in July), before and after the prime ski season it has very interesting low season packages for a week, including the chairlift that here is very expensive. Check this page for more information: www.laslenas.com.
Here is a list of seven different hotels, although all belong to the same complex: www.laslenas.com/Default.aspx?template=category_doble&Id=80 The place has an impressive beauty, but you are not allowed on the chairlift unless if you go up with skis. Seniors (over 65 years of age in Argentina) can request a free pass at the Public Relations office; otherwise they will have to pay like any other human being. Las Leñas, although small is very complete. It has a small shopping center, where you can buy crackers and other articles at affordable prices. There are cafeterias facing the snow. There are also ski schools for small children, teenagers, and adults. Everything is expensive here. A bottle of wine at the restaurant La Cima costs anything between twenty and far more than one hundred dollars. However, you can look for specials. When I was there a year ago I paid twenty pesos (7 dollars) for a plate of chicken and french fries and a Coca Cola. The price did not include any dessert, but there was nothing cheaper than that. Breakfast (of course, in front of the ski tracks) cost nearly six dollars for a cup of coffee with toast, preserves, and a glass of orange juice. There is a regular bus service from Mendoza to Las Leñas (I understood there were none, but check this page where Expreso Uspallata says that they have a service that runs on Friday night from Mendoza to Las Leñas, www.eusa.com.ar.
I may add that Expreso Uspallata is a company with very nice comfortable buses, as far as I know they only feature semi-bed and bed services, but not the Suite Class (or premium bed service). I traveled on an organized tour of Andesmar (a comfortable semi-bed service, but with no meals on board, only self-service coffee) that leaves from the offices of Andesmar Turismo on Espejo street (NOT from the bus station) Friday nights at 11pm, arrives at Las Leñas at 6am, when it is still dark and you can see the lights of the village and their reflection on the snow); cafeterias open about 7am. The climate here is not as freezing cold as at Penitentes or Las Cuevas, and during the afternoon you can see people drinking coffee in the open air in front of the ski tracks. The tour departs from Las Leñas at 5pm and arrives back at Mendoza city slightly after midnight. On the way back they stop at a cafeteria for a snack, not included in the price of the tour. While the bus is at Las Leñas it remains open all day round to that you may go back for a rest at any time. Last year this tour was costing some 27 dollars, and it could be costing some 35 to 40 dollars now. There is also a regular bus service from the nearby city of Malargue (one hour and a half away) that runs twice in the day. Of course, there are also other tours that come from Mendoza city, but that leave about 3am in the morning, and stay less time at Las Leñas. I prefer to leave before midnight, since Mendoza is not a completely safe city, and also because leaving earlier I have more time for walking around.
To stay at a hotel in Las Leñas is out of the question for me, but the prices may be OK for you. As I already said, you cannot go onto the chairlift if you do not go up with skis, but do not worry. There are a few scenic roads from where you can take unforgettable photos. I went walking up to the La Cima restaurant, about half a mile away, and took photos from under the chairlift, and photos of people skiing in the mountain. So the eight hours the tour stops there are more than enough to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Last year the snow accumulation had been so important that they extended the ski season during the summer months. And this year it is snowing as never in Argentina. Where I live in Córdoba it snows at the most once in the year. Winter has not started yet, and we have had already three snowfalls.
International ski competitions take place at Las Leñas. I have seen people from all over the world over there, and that is probably why it is so expensive, and also the reason why prices drop to about half in August, and even further from September onwards. The one-week packages that are being offered just now are really very attractive, and include the ski-lift that is expensive. If you go in the summer, you have the additional attraction of large rainbow trout fishing at Valle Hermoso, only 15 miles away, and at low season rates. I have not checked the price of the local tours from Las Leñas (there are some), but assume that they will be more expensive than the tours that depart from Mendoza city or from San Rafael. I may add that the local bus service inside Las Leñas is completely free and you can use it to get around. However, distances are short, and you will enjoy far more taking photos if you walk around and select the nicest angles. You will see skiers passing just in front of you. I forgot to tell you that you can rent skis snowboards (prices are rather high, however so if you take your own skis, far better) and that you can also go up the mountain on a snow cat. Enjoy your stay at the most important ski center in Argentina.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 28 May, 2007
FISHING IN THE ATUEL RIVER:
I would dare to say that you can fish trout anywhere in the Atuel River, but I have only fished very nice four- to five-pound rainbow trout at El Sosneado, upstream from the bridge of National Highway 40 (Andesmar and Expreso…Read More
FISHING IN THE ATUEL RIVER:
I would dare to say that you can fish trout anywhere in the Atuel River, but I have only fished very nice four- to five-pound rainbow trout at El Sosneado, upstream from the bridge of National Highway 40 (Andesmar and Expreso Uspallata leave you here, at the side of the bridge, and you only need to walk half a mile upstream). The Atuel river is pretty wide, I have waded some branches of the river, but have not crossed it completely. There is a very nice fishing area on the first half mile upstream from the highway. There are some marshes and a small but deep irrigation channel. I have fished trout in all these places, but always at the beginning of the season, when the water has an emerald greenish color. Once the river swells towards the summer, you can only fish trout with bait—fresh water crabs are used by some fishermen, but I prefer to fish the trout with small spinners. Since there are no dams upstream from El Sosneado, the water can become fairly dark once the snow in the Andes starts to melt. The scenery is beautiful; I regret not having at this time photos of the river with the background of the Andes covered with snow.
Some 20 miles upstream there are thermal springs (Termas del Sosneado). Do not go fishing there in the river, because trout are generally small, but there is a beautiful lagoon (Laguna del Sosneado) where, if you can avoid the reeds while casting your lures, you can catch beautiful trout and/or salmon. When I was living in Mendoza (it is a six- to seven-hour bus ride) I once brought a 20-inch salmon back home. Nearly all my other casts ended in the reeds.
The reason why you can fish nice trout at El Sosneado is very simple: some 40 miles downstream this river feeds the Nihuil lake, where people have reported catches of eight-pound trout trolling in the lake. Towards the end of the fishing season (April) these nice trout come up the river, and come down again towards the end of October.
I tried to fish trout downstream from the Nihuil dam, in the Atuel Canyon, but was not successful. However, I have been told that there is good trout fishing in this area. Here you have the plus of the natural scenery, the advantage that water is clear all the year round, and that there are very nice pools in the river. Give it a try. Even if you do not fish anything, you will enjoy the scenery thoroughly.
A nice place for staying, if you want to try fishing in this area, is the Valle Grande Hotel and Resort. There are some good low season packages in this hotel, including sauna, one massage, and a full program of activities, including a free tour on a catamaran in the Valle Grande lake, trekking and more. You can also practice canoeing, horse riding, rappelling, Tyrolese, rafting; there are a number of options. Rafting an hour down the river costs $5, and difficulty is two to three on the maximum 6-class scale. You can also do class 4 rafting upstream from the Valle Grande lake. The scenery of the Valle Grande area reminds me some movies filmed in the American Far West. In case you are interested, here is the link.
The published rates are in pesos; divide them by four to have the value in euros, or by three to have the value in US dollars. The distance from San Rafael to Valle Grande is nearly 16 miles, and the road is completely paved.
There are other good places for fishing trout in the San Rafael like the Los Reyunos lake on the Diamante River, quite near to the city of San Rafael.
FISHING IN THE RÍO GRANDE (MENDOZA)
The Río Grande in Mendoza is famous for its trout fishing, but once I went after hearing about an 18-pound trout fished there, and saw about fifteen fishermen per mile along the river. I have the impression that it is sometimes overfished. I have fished trout here, but none over 16 inches long.
Near Valle Hermoso (that is only 15 miles away from Las Leñas) trout are larger. Have a look at the second page of this link before you switch over to the English version.
The buses that go from San Rafael to Talca (Chile) through Paso del Pehuenche go along the Grande river (do not get confused with the Río Grande of Tierra del Fuego; it is only a coincidence of names), and you can get off where you wish. There are some lagoons on the other side of the border that are overstocked with trout; the problem is that they are excessively thin. I do not recommend this option. If do you cross the international border, you will need a Chilean visa or visa waiver, and a Chilean fishing license.
Enjoy your stay in Southern Mendoza Close