Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 12 Sep, 2007
Bariloche is my preferred tourist destination in all Argentina, even before the Glaciers down south and the Iguazu Falls. And that means that I really love this place.I have been there many times and hope to be able to get back this summer. Fishing is…Read More
Bariloche is my preferred tourist destination in all Argentina, even before the Glaciers down south and the Iguazu Falls. And that means that I really love this place.I have been there many times and hope to be able to get back this summer. Fishing is excellent if you go trolling (although this is expensive, I always give it a try, and come back with beautiful trout). Full day tours cost only some twenty dollars, and a motorboat tour costs less than thirty dollars.Any time of the year is good to visit this lost Paradise. Of course, in winter temperatures can be in the twenties, or even lower, but if the day is sunny you will enjoy it. And if there is snow, just put on some extra clothes and go out to enjoy the scenery. I have been all over most of the beautiful corners of this area, and enjoy each trip. And hotels are not expensive. Although they cost a little more than in Mar del Plata or Villa Carlos Paz, they are far cheaper than in Ushuaia, Calafate or Puerto Madryn. Just have a look at this link. www.hotelquillen.com.arJuly and August are always expensive, but the high season is over, and ski is still being enjoyed, because there is still a lot of snow. Rates have already dropped, and flowers will soon be everywhere.My first suggestion is to take the tour to Puerto Blest, where you will see nature in its primitive state. You can only get there boarding the catamaran, that travels twice in the day. There is only one hotel, the coast guard small offices, the park ranger's house and the camping. Nothing else. Get up at six in the morning in summer, walk along the trails in the forest, peep out at the lake, see trout jumping in the water and swan swimming next to the reeds. Walk for about one hour and you will reach the Los Cantaros waterfalls. Everything is so beautiful...Of course, to do some trekking you will need to stay overnight at the hotel. Otherwise, enjoy the tour, navigate the lake from Llao Llao to Puerto Blest, the other catamaran on Lake Frías to have some breathtaking views of mount Tronador, and then come back to board the first catamaran up to the Los Cantaros waterfalls. You will have to climb up some 420 steps, but it is worth the effort. You will take some beautiful photos. Of course, I prefer to get there walking, early in the morning, to take photos of nature without having to dodge any people to get the best view. You feel as if you were Robinson Crusoe (until you see the small pier on the Los Cantaros or Ortiz Basualdo lake).The second tour I highly recommend is the Seven Lake tour to San Martin de los Andes. The first hour or so you will have a general view of the lake, with nothing uncommon, but once you reach Villa La Angostura everything changes. There is a beautiful succession of inspiring views, some of which you can enjoy clicking on this link that belongs to the Tourist Bureau of Villa La Angostura: www.villalaangostura.gov.ar/galeria/default.asp Click on the images to enlarge them, but have a special view at photo 5.This tour visits seven lakes: Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Verde, Falkner, Hermoso, Machónico, Villarino, Falkner, and Lacar. As you see, there are more than seven lakes on the highway, but that is the name. Scroll down this link and you will find a map of the area: www.visitingargentina.com/esp/neuquen/ruta-de-los-siete-lagos.php. You will also visit a waterfall and the Pichi Traful river. San Martin de los Andes is delightful. Take a good memory card or many films because you are really going to need them. When they stop for lunch at San Martin de los Andes, eat as fast as you can and take a taxi to the Mirador Arrayan. It will only cost some five dollars, but you will take some of the most fantastic ph Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 13 Jul, 2007
I have been many times to Bariloche, while living in Mendoza, in Bahía Blanca and in General Roca (in the Rio Negro Valley). For me, it is the most charming place in all Argentina. When snowfalls have been heavy during the winter, you…Read More
I have been many times to Bariloche, while living in Mendoza, in Bahía Blanca and in General Roca (in the Rio Negro Valley). For me, it is the most charming place in all Argentina. When snowfalls have been heavy during the winter, you can still find a lot of snow in the Andes. And even if it has been a dry winter, you will always find snow in abundance on the higher mountains. But probably the best time to go is spring. Prices are low, because it is the low season, trees are already green, there is still a lot of snow (and sometimes skiing continues during these months), and the fishing season starts in November. The scenery is really fantastic, as you will see by the photos I took three years ago during the month of September. International airfares are also very low, you can bargain hotel rates, and most tours are carried out normally, with the possible exception of Mount Tronador (where the road up to the black glacier is generally open, but not the full tour to the bottom of the mountain), and the Seven Lake road to San Martin de los Andes through Villa La Angostura, that is normally blocked by the snow during the winter months.I went three years ago in September, two days after a strong snowfall, and the snow started fifty miles before Bariloche bordering the Alicura lake, a prime fishing area, where allowed capture limits are far higher than inside the Nahuel Huapi National Park.The tour to Puerto Blest during this time of the year is frankly unbeatable. And you can go to the Llao Llao hotel, with its golf course covered by snow, Puerto Pañuelo and its fascinating scenery. Everything is so beautiful.You may be afraid of low temperatures (Bariloche can be very cold) but when the sun shines, you can even dare to go to the deck of the motorboat without using a sweater. That time I took a heavy jacket, and did not use it during all my stay. Of course, if weather is cloudy you will need warm clothes, and during the evening cold weather can be really severe.If weather is not unusually severe, you will be able to take the Seven Lake tour to San Martín de los Andes, that is my second choice in all Patagonia. If not, you will be able to go along the road through Confluencia Traful and Lake Meliquina, and if this road is also blocked by the snow (quite unusual) you still have a third option through Rinconada Aluminé, that may not have the same sceneries but that you will also enjoy. Here is a description of the Seven Lake tour to San Martín de los Andes. Remember that if you stay over here, you can return directly from San Martin de los Andes to Neuquen using the services of Via Bariloche, one of the three best bus companies in Argentina.The Seven Lake tour is a delightful full-day tour, that covers a wide variety of landscapes. Obviously, the jewel of the tour is the small city of San Martin de los Andes. I have done this tour a number of times, but the last times I went I only took my camcorder, and have very few photos to share, except from the Limay River area. In any case, here you have some links with beautiful photos of the town. You will agree with me that it is a beautiful place to visit: www.sanmartinandes.com/galeria/index.htm; www.welcomeargentina.com/sanmartindelosandes/fotografias.html.If you want to read the information, click on English version. Here are some photos of Villa La Angostura, about half way between Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes: www.villalaangostura.gov.ar/galeria/default.asp. The first part of the tour may not capture your attention. Nahuel Huapi Lake is wide and the mountains are far away. But as soon as we cross the Limay river, some 15 miles away, the scenery will start to change. After about one hour it will become beautiful. We will border a number of lakes: Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Verde, Falker, Villarino, and Lacar, will go through Villa La Angostura, a high-class city with beautiful residences and gardens, will visit a couple of ports on the lake, will stop at a waterfall, then at Pichi Traful, where Word of Life has a nice hostel, until we will finally arrive at San Martin de los Andes, a beautiful Alpine style small city. All the places you will see along the road are beautiful. I once camped at Lake Correntoso overnight, and set up my tent under the moonlight. Of course, I was not aware that you cannot camp anywhere in the National Parks, but since I got up early I had no problem. The Correntoso river is a very short river (probably the shortest river in Argentina, about a thousand feet long, that connects Correntoso lake with the Nahuel Huapi. It is famous for the size of the trout fished there, but is reserved only for fly fishing. You need to be an expert to fish there. Wading could be dangerous, because the river seems far shallower than it really is, and trout can easily see you, because the river is crystal-clear. Probably in the evening you will stand a better chance. Buses that go from Bariloche to Villa La Angostura can leave you there. Remember you need a fishing license. There is a beautiful four-star hotel there. I had breakfast at the hotel. It was expensive but delicious, so I have no complaints. Villa La Angostura is a beautiful and luxurious Alpine style village, and the road to Villa La Angostura is open all-year round, since it is on the international road to Chile through Paso Puyehue. You cannot buy a small piece of land there for less than $50,000. It is a town of the rich. Every detail is carefully taken care of, even the trash cans are concealed in beautiful miniature wooden huts. There are flowers everywhere, beautiful residences and lovely gardens. The tour will stop there for breakfast, but check the prices before you make your order. You can taste delicious cakes here, if you can afford the price. But having foreign currency, the price may seem normal to you. We will stop at a couple of ports, where you will see motorboats, and a panoramic view of the lake with some nice residences. Further along we will stop at the Vulignanco waterfall, quite nice, but not comparable to the Los Cántaros falls in Puerto Blest. There will also be a stop at Laguna Verde, a small emerald-green lagoon. Finally, we will arrive at San Martin de los Andes. This Alpine-style village has expanded rapidly, is in a narrow valley between mountains, and faces beautiful lake Lacar. You will stop here some three hours for lunch and sightseeing. Eat as fast as you can and take a taxi to the Mirador Arrayan. You will have a fantastic view of the town and lake, like the one you saw in the first link. The drive should not cost more than $5 and is really worth the price. The other alternative you have is taking photos in the port, or climbing up the (low) Bandurria hill, from where you can also take nice photos. I am sure you will want to stay at San Martin de los Andes. From there you can visit the Chapelco ski center, lakes Lacar, Lolog, Currhue Chico, Currhue Grande, Huechulaufquen, and Epulaufquen, and even climb the Lanin volcano. Now we return to Bariloche along a different road, stop at lake Meliquina (beautiful) where the tour will stop for a snack. If you are a fisherman, walk back to the bridge where river Meliquina leaves the lake. I cannot guarantee that you will fish anything, but it is worthwhile giving it a try. We will then go through the Enchanted valley, where you will see all sorts of forms in the rock, and some 40 miles before arriving at Bariloche, we will start bordering the Limay river. The Limay river has a continuation of the Enchanted Valley, including forms like God’s finger. It is an excellent place for fishing fairly large trout, mostly in the evening. If you get off the tour at Confluencia Traful, you can continue on regular bus services to Bariloche. The buses that come from Neuquén and from San Martin de los Andes come through here. Check the timetables, because they run about every two hours, and try fishing either at Confluencia Traful (only fly fishing is allowed in the Traful river, but you can do spinning in the Limay, or walk about a mile towards Neuquén and fish in the Alicura lake). Some 25 miles before Bariloche, we will visit the Anfiateatro (Amphitheater), a beautiful spot on the Limay River for taking photos. As you may notice, this is a beautiful tour with a large variety of places that you will really enjoy. Enjoy your stay in Bariloche. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 06 Jul, 2007
Bariloche and Iguazu Falls are my first two choices for vacationing in Argentina. The glaciers down south are impressive but Bariloche is far more colorful. Two or three days are enough for watching the glaciers; three days are enough to tour Ushuaia, but two weeks are…Read More
Bariloche and Iguazu Falls are my first two choices for vacationing in Argentina. The glaciers down south are impressive but Bariloche is far more colorful. Two or three days are enough for watching the glaciers; three days are enough to tour Ushuaia, but two weeks are not enough to see everything Bariloche has to offer you: Puerto Blest, Cerro Tronador, Villa La Angostura, San Martin de los Andes, Villa Traful, Pichi Traful, Él Bolsón, Circuito Chico, Bahía López, Colonia Suiza, Puyehue and Osorno on the Chilean side, fishing in the Limay river, trolling at Puerto Blest or Lago Puelo, Cascada Los Alerces...and the list continues.
Bariloche is not expensive. To give you an idea, have a look at the rates of the Hotel Quillen, that is a budget hotel, but not the cheapest one in town... www.hotelquillen.com.ar. Prices are in pesos so divided them by 3 to have the value in pesos, or by 4 to have the price in euros. I notice that no prices are posted just now, probably because July and August are the high season and prices nearly double during these months. But from August to December you should be able to get a double room including breakfast for some 30 dollars per night.
Tours in Bariloche are not expensive. You will find most prices on this page (in pesos); www.turisur.com.ar. Navigation is always more expensive. The tour to Puerto Blest and Los Cántaros should be costing some 35 dollars per person, while most of the full-day tours (Tronador, San Martín de los Andes, El Bolsón and Lago Puelo) should be costing some 20 dollars per person (maybe a little more in July and August). Let me give you a brief description of each one of these full-day tours:
1) PUERTO BLEST / LOS CÁNTAROS WATERFALL / LAKE FRÍAS. First you leave on a tour company bus from Bariloche to Puerto Pañuelo, the port of Llao Llao, from where you have a breathtaking view of lake Nahuel Huapi, the Llao Llao hotel with its golf course, mount López and the surrounding area. You board a very comfortable catamaran, and navigate nearly an hour and a half along the Nahuel Huapí lake, enjoying its natural sceneries, until you arrive at Puerto Blest. Puerto Blest is nearly an untouched area. If you stay at the hotel and go out walking you will have to go along trails in the forest, and will sometimes have to go under or above a fallen tree. In the early morning you will see trout jumping in the lake, seagulls, some black neck swan... until you reach the Los Cantaros falls after crossing a suspension bridge over the roaring waters of the small river. Of course, if you take the full day tour, they will take you there on the motorboat, although you will have to climb seven hundred and sixty steps if you want to go right up to the charming lagoon that lies above the waterfalls. Don't worry, I am 67 years old and have had no problem in going up to the top, the stairs are not steep, just watch your step. Los Cántaros has 3 lovely waterfalls, of which the lowest one is the highest one. At some times of the year snow blocks the road and you will only be able to reach the first waterfall. In any case, you will enjoy it thoroughly. The motorboat will come here in the afternoon after lunch, but before that they will take you on a bus to Port Frias to board another catamaran. During the short navigation (maybe half an hour each way) you will see majestic mount Tronador (the thundring mountain) with its glaciers, and the emerald green water of lake Frias. I always stay one or two nights at Puerto Blest when I go there, it is just fascinating. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere, facing lake Nahuel Huapi and the Three Sisters mount (Tres Hermanas), on one side of the Frías River and in front on the forest. The only other constructions in the area are the Park Ranger's home, the coast guard and the camping. The hotel has only 14 rooms. So if you want to relax and unwind, I could not think of many better alternatives... Puerto Blest is defiitely my first choice for tours in the Bariloche area.
2) SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES. This is another beautiful one day tour that goes along lakes Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Verde, Escondido, Falkner, Villarino and Lacar. You also see a waterfall on the way. San Martin de los Andes is one of the most beautiful Alpine style villages in the Andes, closed in between the foothill, facing the navy blue waters of Lake Lacar. The tour will also go through Villa La Angostura, another high-class Alpine city. During the stop at San Martin de los Andes I recommend taking a taxi to Mirador Arrayan. It will not cost more than five dollars at the most, and you will have a fantastic view of lake Lacar and of the city. The tour will come back along another road, along lake Meliquina and the Enchanted Valley of the Limay River. This tour is my second choice and could be the first choice for many tourits.
3) MONTE TRONADOR (THE THUNDERING MOUNTAIN). This tour borders lake Gutierrez, lake Mascardi on both sides, stops at Pampa Linda for lunch, and contiues up towards the black glacier of Mount Tronador and then to the base of the mountain. It is a really enjoyable tour. I regret that it no longer turns off to the Los Alerces waterfall, the most beautiful fall in the whole National Park. If you have the chance of having the fall included, even if you have to pay some extra money, try to visit it also. Highly recommended. As the other tours, it should be costing some 20 to 25 dollars per person.
4) EL BOLSÓN, THE HIPPIE ARTISAN FAIR AND LAKE PUELO. Although you can go here on a regular bus service for less money, it is highly recommeneded that you take the tour. You will border lakes Gutierrez, Mascardi (on the eastern side), Guillelmo (this lake seems a mirror on calm days), will cross rivers Villegas, Foyel, Los Repollos and Quemquemtreu, until you arrive at the city of El Bolsón. You will visit a strawbery plantation, a regional preserves factory, the hippie artisan fair, lake Puelo national park, with its turqoise waters and the Forest of the Shadows, will then visit an Artisan Beer factory, and a waterfall coming back along the same road. It you are interested in handcrafts you will be just fascinated. This tour leaves on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Highly recommended. I have given a full description of the following tours in my note entitled "Places to visit in Bariloche". I know you will enjoy reading it:
5) TERMAS DE PUYEHUE 6) CIRCUITO CHICO (HALF DAY TOUR) 7) CERRO CATEDRAL (HALF DAY TOUR) 8) BAHÍA LÓPEZ (HALF DAY TOUR) If you want a nice dinner in Bariloche, you will find all sorts of options. Of course, if you want to eat smoked trout, wild pig or smoked deer, you dinner could be rather expensive... Half-day tours (Cerro Otto, Cerro Catedral, Circuito Chico) cost less than ten dollars, excluding the cable car or chair lift, that can cost 5 to 8 dollars per person or more. There are many places where you can go on the local bus services for a dollar. Buses to Cerro Catedral should be costing some 3 dollars, and a taxi to Cerro Catedral (one way) could be costing some 5 or 6 dollars. At the top of Cerro Catedral (after the cable car and before the chair lift) eating is not expensive if you choose the special of the day (Goulash, or whatever special deal there is that day). Taxis are not expensive in Bariloche, but you must bargain the rate before you get onto the car. And if you go in the low season to Bariloche (March to June and September to December) bargain the hotel rate before you check in... Welcome to Bariloche the South American Switzerland.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 16 Apr, 2007
Cerro Otto Cable Car: there is a free bus service that leaves on the main street just in front of the Banco de la Nación. Of course, you will be expected to travel on the cable car, that has a cost of some 4 dollars.…Read More
Cerro Otto Cable Car: there is a free bus service that leaves on the main street just in front of the Banco de la Nación. Of course, you will be expected to travel on the cable car, that has a cost of some 4 dollars. Although it does not go very high (only some 3,000 feet) it has very nice panoramic views.
Bus to Llao Llao (sorry, I don't remember the number): you can get off the bus at Playa Bonita (for sunbathing in the Summer), some blocks away from the Teleférico Cerro Otto (the cable car mentioned above), at the Cerro Campanario chairlift (this chair lift has a cost of some 5 dollars, but I prefer it to the Cerro Otto Cable Car, since it has beautiful panoramic views), at Laguna El Trébol (a beautiful spot) at Península San Pedro, and go towards the Tunquelen hotel, at Puerto Pañuelo (the spot from where catamarans leave towards Puerto Blestand other destinations) and at the Llao Llao hotel. Tours are not allowed inside the Llao Llao hotel, but you can just walk in. If they ask you where you are going, say cafeteria in English and they will probably let you pass. If not, take some photos from the parking lot towards Cerro López, and towards lake Moreno, and then to walking down the road towards Puerto Pañuelo and take nice photos of the golf course. You will enjoy this short walk.
Bus to Colonia Suiza: this is the best place in all Bariloche for enjoying delicious Swiss/German cakes. There are a number of tearooms in the area, and the scenery is beautiful. There are also buses to Cerro Catedral (the ski center), to Cerro López and Bahìa López, to lake Moreno, but they do not run frequently, so check the timetables.
Suburban Buses: Villa La Angostura. This is a one hour ride, that could cost some 5 dollars. Walk around the town, it is beautiful, walk down to one of ports, walk or take a taxi to the Bosque de Arrayanes; I am not sure how far away it is, because I have visited it on a Catamaran tour. You can also visit a beach on the Correntoso Lake, some 3 miles away from the downtown, go to the Cerro Bayo ski center (there should be local buses from Villa La Angostura during the ski season; in any case, it is near the downtown, so you can go on a taxi). You can take a 4-hour horseback tour from Villa La Angostura to the Incayal waterfall. I have no idea of the cost, but imagine that it is not cheap.
There are many beautiful places near Villa La Angostura, but probably the nicest ones are the Mirador Arrayan (same name as the one in San Martin de los Andes) from where you can take beautiful photos of the lake. You might want to go to lake Espejo for fishing, or to Laguna Verde for taking beautiful photos. The Cerro Bayo ski center and the Río Bonito waterfall also deserve a visit and are some 5 miles away from the downtown. There are also motorboat tours that go to Isla Victoria and the Los Arrayanes National Park, that leave from the port (that is also beautiful and some 12 blocks away from the downtown). Walk the village: beautiful residences, many flowers, large gardens, all in the most pure Alpine style.
Bus to El Bolson: although I recommend going to El Bolsón and lake Puelo on the local tour, you can also go on the bus. Vía Bariloche, El Valle and Andesmar have local bus services from Bariloche to El Bolsón (2 hour travel) and some continue to lake Puelo, where trolling is a rewarding experience, at a lower cost, but where trout are smaller than in Puerto Blest. If you are fond of fishing, you can try fishing in Lago Mascardi, that goes to the Pacific Ocean through the Manso River, in lake Guillelmo (no idea how fishing is there), in river Villegas (that runs into the Manso river one mile downstream), in the Foyel River (rather difficult to walk upstream, but with good fishing chances) or in the Quemquemtreu river 5 miles before El Bolsón, where trout are far smaller than in the other rivers I mentioned, but where you can catch some 2-pound rainbow trout. If you cannot get a direct bus to lake Puelo, don’t worry. There are local buses from El Bolsón to the lake, that run about every hour, and a taxi there should not cost more than 10 dollars.
From El Bolson you can visit: Lake Puelo National Park (already mentioned), Cabeza del Indio (the profile of an Indian’s head in the rock, all natural), or go towards the Azul river (the scenery is beautiful). You will also want to visit the Artisans Fair (mostly hippies) that cover a circle of nearly one thousand feet around the main square. I am not fond of fairs, but I found this one fascinating. See the hippies making their own five-string guitars, carving wood sculptures of former Presidents, knitting their gloves and sweaters... I know you will enjoy it. The fare opens four days in the week, so check it out before you go. As far as I remember, it opens on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but this could have changed.
Buses towards San Martin de los Andes or towards Neuquen will take you to a number of good fishing spots: Rincón Chico (15 miles away), the Anfiateatro del Río Limay (Limary river amphitheater, 25 miles away), Confluencia Traful (good trout fishing, 40 miles away and next to where the river runs into the Alicurá Lake, another very good fishing destination). In this area you can catch small trout during the day and some really nice trout towards the evening. And if you go as far as lake Meliquina, you stand a good chance of fishing, and you will take beautiful photos. Enjoy your stay in Bariloche.
This is a delightful full-day tour, that covers a wide variety of landscapes. Obviously, the jewel of the tour is the small city of San Martin de los Andes. I have done this tour a number of times, but the last times I went I…Read More
This is a delightful full-day tour, that covers a wide variety of landscapes. Obviously, the jewel of the tour is the small city of San Martin de los Andes. I have done this tour a number of times, but the last times I went I only took my camcorder, and have no photos to share, except from the Limay river area. In any case, here you have some link with beautiful photos of the town. You will agree with me that it is a beautiful place to visit: www.sanmartinandes.com/galeria/index.htm; www.welcomeargentina.com/sanmartindelosandes/fotografias.html. If you want to read the information, click on English version. And here are some photos of Villa La Angostura, about half way between Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes: www.villalaangostura.gov.ar/galeria/default.asp.
The first part of the tour may not capture your attention. Nahuel Huapi lake is wide and the mountains are far away. But as soon as we cross the Limay river, some 15 miles away, the scenery will start to change. After about one hour it will become beautiful. We will border a number of lakes: Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Verde, Falker, Villarino, and Lacar, will go through Villa La Angostura, a high-class city with beautiful residences and gardens, will visit a couple of ports on the lake, will stop at a waterfall, then at Pichi Traful, where Word of Life has a nice hostel, until we will finally arrive at San Martin de los Andes, a beautiful Alpine style small city. All the places you will see along the road are beautiful. I once camped at Lake Correntoso overnight, and set up my tent under the moonlight. Of course, I was not aware that you cannot camp anywhere in the National Parks, but since I got up early I had no problem.
The Correntoso river is a very short river (probably the shortest river in Argentina, about one thousand feet long, that connects Correntoso lake with the Nahuel Huapi. It is famous for the size of the trout fished there, but is reserved only for fly fishing. You need to be an expert to fish there. Wading could be dangerous, because the river seems far shallower than it really is, and trout can easily see you, because the river is transparent. Probably in the evening you will stand a better chance. Buses that go from Bariloche to Villa La Angostura can leave you there. Remember you need a fishing license. There is a beautiful 4-star hotel there. I had breakfast at the hotel. It was expensive but delicious, so I have no complaints. Villa La Angostura is a beautiful and luxurious Alpine style village. You cannot buy a small piece of land there for less than fifty thousand dollars. It is the town of the rich. Every detail is carefully taken care of, even the trash cans are concealed in beautiful miniature wooden huts. There are flowers everywhere, beautiful residences and lovely gardens. The tour will stop there for breakfast, but check the prices before you make your order. You can taste delicious cakes here, if you can afford the price… But having foreign currency, the price may seem normal to you.
We will stop at a couple of ports, where you will see motorboats launched, a panoramic view of the lake, and some nice residences along the coast. Further along we will stop at the Vulignanco waterfall, quite nice, but not comparable to the Los Cántaros falls in Puerto Blest. There will also be a stop at Laguna Verde, a small emerald-green lagoon. Finally, we will arrive at San Martin de los Andes. This village has expanded rapidly, is in a narrow valley between mountains, and faces beautiful lake Lacar. You will stop here for 2 or 3 hours for lunch and sightseeing. Eat as fast as you can and take a taxi to the Mirador Arrayan (Myrtle Viewpoint). You will have a fantastic view of the town and lake, like the one you saw in the first link. The drive should not cost more than 5 dollars and is really worth the price. The other alternative you have is taking photos in the port, or climbing up the (low) Bandurria hill, from where you can also take nice photos. San Martin de los Andes really deserves spending some days there. You can also visit the Chapelco ski center, lakes Lacar, Lolog, Currhue Chico, Currhue Grande, Huechulaufquen and Epulaufquen, and even climb the Lanin volcano (beautiful), but lets continue the tour back towards Bariloche. We well come back along another (shorter) road, stop at lake Meliquina (beautiful) where the tour will stop for a snack. If you are a fisherman, walk back to the bridge where river Meliquina leaves the lake. I cannot guarantee that you will fish anything, but it is worthwhile giving it a try…
We will then go through the Enchanted valley, where you will see all sorts of forms in the rock, and some 40 miles before arriving at Bariloche we will start bordering the Limay river. The Limay river has a continuation of the Enchanted Valley, including forms like God’s finger. It is an excellent place for fishing fairly large trout, mostly in the evening. If you get off the tour at Confluencia Traful, you can continue on regular bus services to Bariloche. The buses that come from Neuquén and from San Martin de los Andes come through here. Check the timetables, because they run about every two hours, and try fishing either at Confluencia Traful (only fly fishing is allowed in the Traful river, but you can do spinning in the Limay, or walk about a mile towards Neuquén and fish in the Alicura lake). Some 25 miles before Bariloche we will visit the Anfiateatro (Amphitheater), a beautiful spot on the Limay river for taking photos. Aw you may notice, this is a beautiful tour with a large variety of places that you will really enjoy. Enjoy your stay in Bariloche.
Although other peeople may have different choices, this is the tour I enjoy most. It is the first half of the Navigating the Andes tour, at 20% of the price. It costs 86 pesos ($29) from Bariloche or 64 pesos from Puerto Pañuelo…Read More
Although other peeople may have different choices, this is the tour I enjoy most. It is the first half of the Navigating the Andes tour, at 20% of the price. It costs 86 pesos ($29) from Bariloche or 64 pesos from Puerto Pañuelo (Llao Llao), to where you can go on the local bus for less than one dollar. If you go on your own to Llao Llao you must check in 30 minutes before the catamaran departure.
To this price, you must add the admission fee to the National Park (I am not sure if it is $6 or $10). If you have a National Park fishing license, you are waived the admission fee.
The road from Bariloche to Llao Llao is beautiful. The real scenery starts two or three miles after you leave Bariloche. Make sure you get a seat on the right-hand side of the bus, because lake Nahuel Huapi will be on that side. You will go through Playa Bonita, Melipal, and other residential areas. If you go in September you will probably see snow on both sides of the road, as I did, but if you go later on in the year, you still stand a good chance of seeing the snow very near at Los Cántaros waterfall and lake, also called lake Ortiz Basualdo.
While you wait for the Catamaran, you will see a landscape of impressive beauty. The Llao Llao Hotel, with its golf course, will be in the middle of the scenery from the departure pier and, turning towards the right-hand side, you will have a beautiful view of mountains covered with snow.
If you turn to the opposite side, you will see forests by the lake, including some lovely three-star hotels. If I am not wrong, the Tunquelen hotel is one of them.
The navigation of the Nahuel Huapí lake is beautiful. Go to the back of the catamaran. People have the custom of throwing, or offering, crackers and pieces of bread to the seagulls. I have seen them snatching them from the hands of the tourists. Enjoy the scene and take some beautiful photos.
The most beautiful part of the tour are the last 15 minutes before you arrive at Puerto Blest. You will see the Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters) mount on the right hand side of the catamaran. All the Nahuel Huapi has a navy blue color and the whole scene is impressive. When you arrive at Puerto Blest you will be required the admission fee ticket of the National Park, so keep it at hand. If you have not paid it yet, you can also pay it here.
The first catamaran arrives at 9 in the morning, and if you have bought a stay at the Puerto Blest hotel, you may be waived the admission to the National Park, ONLY if you arrive on the first catamaran. In any case, remember that you need a fishing license if you intend to fish (the fishing season opens in November and lasts until April), and that IF YOU HAVE BOUGHT A FISHING LICENSE YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THE ADMISSION TO THE NATIONAL PARK.
Walk along the trail in the forest, even if it is for a few minutes. The scenery is beautiful. Take photos from the Puerto Blest pier, there is a beautiful panoramic view. Check how much you have before you depart for navigating the Laguna Frias section on a smaller catamaran. They take you there on the bus, but if you want to walk the departure point of the other catamaran is only two miles away.
The bus that covers this section had to be brought on a ferry. There is no road from Puerto Blest to Bariloche and the only structures you will find in Puerto Blest are the hotel (14 rooms), the National Coast Guard (Prefectura) office, the park ranger's house, the campground, and nothing else. It seems a paradise on earth, and if you want to relax, you have found the right place.
On the road to Puerto Frías, where you will board the second Catamaran, you will see a huge coigue called El Abuelo (the grandfather). You will be bordering the Frías river most of the way. In this river, you can fish large trout, but you also stand a high probability of hooking a submerged tree. The water in this river is emerald green, but not transparent. This is because the water comes from lake Frias that is fed by the glaciers of Tronador Mount. You will have the chance of taking beautiful photos of Mount Tronador during the navigation of lake Frias. Keep your camcorder and photo camera ready, or you may lose the chance. You will only see the mountain for a few minutes. As you see, the glaciers of Mount Tronador send their water in different directions: towards the Manso River (see my report on the tour to Mount Tronador), towards this like, and also towards Chile. Mount Tronador is the international limit with Chile; it has 3 peaks: the Chilean peak, the International peak (the highest one), and the Argentinean peak.
One you come back from here, they will take you navigating to Los Cántaros to see the 3 falls. The catamaran WILL NOT COME BACK TO PUERTO BLEST, IT WILL DEPART DIRECTLY TO PUERTO PAÑUELO (LLAO LLAO) and the tour will continue back on the bus to Bariloche. Your return ticket is valid for any catamaran, and if you decide to stay overnight at Puerto Blest, it is still valid for returning any day.
At lunch time, I suggest choosing the most expensive option, that will still cost $10, to taste smoked trout, smoked deer, and smoked wild pig. If you are looking for cheaper options for eating, either take your food from Bariloche, or go to the campground (less than half a mile away) and buy a hamburger or a sandwich with a soft drink.
Normally, when I go to Bariloche, I stay one or two nights at Puerto Blest. The food is good, and the hostel has fantastic views. It is not a Holiday Inn, going up the wood staircase is rather noisy, because it squeaks, but the beds are comfortable and the view is incredible.
Get up at sunrise. Walk along the trail in the forest. Sometimes you will have to go over or under a fallen tree, but the trail that goes along the lake takes you to the Los Cántaros Waterfall after a one hour walk. It is not the same to find the right angle for a photo with another 100 tourists around you, than having the sight all for yourself. Probably the nearest person will be two miles away. You will enjoy seeing trout jumping in the lake, black neck swans swimming next to the reeds. The whole scene is really enjoyable.
Once you cross the Los Cántaros river, turn left and you will find the trail up to the falls (there are 3 falls, all beautiful) and beyond the falls you will find the Los Cántaros lagoon, also called lake Ortiz Basualdo. You will have to climb about 300 steps, so go in the right mood. When you come back, you can either turn right, go over the suspension bridge and walk back to Puerto Blest, or continue down towards the pier, where you could have a chance of fishing nice trout. Fishing in the Los Cántaros river itself is prohibited. Check the fishing regulations because they change from one year to another, and check if you can do trolling in the lake. Trolling in Puerto Blest is rewarding, and expensive. It cost about $30 an hour in 2005, and it could be even more expensive now. But you stand the chance of fishing a beautiful trout, like the one I fished (see the photo below).
As you may see by what you have read and by the photos, it is a fascinating tour. Don't miss it.
Enjoy your stay in Bariloche. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 15 Apr, 2007
The tour to Cerro Tronador: this tour is not expensive. I cost me 12 dollars when I went nearly two years ago, and could be costing some 18 to 20 dollars by now. The name of the mount is due to the thundering noise it…Read More
The tour to Cerro Tronador: this tour is not expensive. I cost me 12 dollars when I went nearly two years ago, and could be costing some 18 to 20 dollars by now. The name of the mount is due to the thundering noise it makes when huge pieces of ice fall of its glacier. I have done this tour both in summer and in spring, and have really enjoyed both. The last time I went (September 2005) I went two days after a strong snowfall. I started seeing snow 50 miles before arriving at Bariloche, at the Alicura Lake. I had never seen snow there before. I noticed how the pine trees that were planted have grown, giving a green color to an area that before was nearly a desert, and also saw the trout farm barges in the lake. These trout farms in the lake are the guarantee for future fishing, because when storms arise, the largest trout jump out of the barges, stay in the lake, and then swim up the river. You are allowed to fish in this lake five or six times more than inside the National Park, and in this area I have caught seven and a half pound brown trout in the evening, when the daylight was fading away. During the sunlight you will normally catch smaller trout.
After passing the Alicura Lake, we cross the Traful River and then start bordering the Limay River with its enchanted valley. God’s finger and other attractive forms in the rock will draw your attention, and 25 miles before Bariloche you will see the Amphitheater, a beautiful formation. My love for trout fishing took me there once for four days in a tent; of course, at that time (1970) you could still leave a tent unattended in the countryside. I would not take that risk today… My fishing at that time was poor, 3 trout in 4 days, but later one I caught a really nice one in Confluencia Traful, on the same river. After that they constructed the Alicurá dam, and for some time fishing was poor. I understand that now it is recovering again. Nearer Bariloche, we pass in front of Rincón Chico, a traditional fishing spot that now belongs to the Bariloche fishing club. A moderate admission fee applies, and probably only fly fishing is allowed, I am not sure of this. A few miles later we pass in front of the mouth of the Limay river, where it leaves the Nahuel Huapi lake. This is a very good spot for fishing when the season starts, but not so good later on in the summer. The National Parks fishing license is also valid outside the National Park, by an agreement with the Provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro, and if you have a fishing license of the National Park you are not required to pay the admission fee to the park when you travel to Puerto Blest or to Cerro Tronador. Keep this in mind. You can buy the fishing license for one day, one week, a month or a year, at the National Parks administration, but also at the fishing gear shops.
We will cross a couple of streams before arriving at Bariloche, the Nirihau and the Ñireco. The Nirihau stream or river is a real challenge for fly fishermen. I have been unable to fish any trout there, but I have seen them swimming in the pools. Pools are large, water runs slow, you see the trout and trout see you. Draw up your own conclusions… You must find some way of not being noticed by the trout, generally walking far away from the pool banks; come down the stream camouflaged by the running water, and cast your lure into the pool. The Ñireco stream is only good where it runs into the Nahuel Huapi river. At the beginning of the season, there is another good stream, Pichi Picún Leufu, beyond the Bariloche Airport, but once the stream shrinks, you will only find small trout. But I have got completely sidetracked.
The tour to Mount Tronador is my third choice for a stay in Bariloche, after Puerto Blest and after San Martin de los Andes. It goes through beautiful sceneries, first bordering the Nahuel Huapi lake only for a couple of blocks, then lake Gutierrez, and after that lake Mascardi, along the highway that goes towards El Bolsón. Lake Mascardi is beautiful, and we will border it on both sides. After we have passed the entrance to the National Park, we will cross the Manso River, where the tour will stop for a cup of coffee. Don't waste your time. Go to the restroom if you have to, take a cup of coffee with you, and walk to the bridge. You will see beautiful trout swimming in the river. I had a very rewarding experience filming them in the water. And I promised to come back with my fishing gear… Further down the Manso river on its way to the Pacific Ocean (the same as the Puelo river in El Bolsón and the Futaleufu river in Trevelin, these three rivers run into the Pacific Ocean, and therefore offer far better fishing chances). By the way, the Villegas and Foyel rivers run into the Manso river. The Manso river has one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen: Cascada Los Alerces. Unfortunately, travel agencies have stopped to include this waterfall on the tour to Tronador. The argument is that the road is in bad condition, but maybe a generous tip to the tour driver might convince him to include it in the package… We will stop at the Mascardi lake balcony, and if it is still spring, we will start seeing snow on both sides of the road. This is a beautiful viewpoint for taking lovely photos.
Further on, we will stop at Pampa Linda for lunch. Lunch is expensive here, but if you it a plate of pasta it will not hurt your pocket… We are only 4 or 5 miles away from the Tronador, mount that we have already seen from the Mascardi balcony. The last part of the trip up to the Glaciar Negro (Black Glacier) we will border a stream and cross it a few times. Probably you will see the water running between snow accumulations, and you will also probably see people on horseback. The Pampa Linda hotel provides this service (although we went all the way on a traffic van). I really enjoyed this part of the trip. The black glacier is completely different to the other glaciers I have visited. Granted, I prefer the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate or the Martial Glacier in Ushuaia. Here water is dark, because the pieces of ice that fall carry earth and gravel with them; that is why the top section of the Manso river has a green emerald color. But the scenery is really enjoyable. You may not be able to go beyond this point if the road is blocked by the snow. But in summer you will normally reach the base of mount Tronador, where there are some very nice small waterfalls and where the scenery is really beautiful. This is one of the 3 full-day tours you should not miss in Bariloche. Enjoy your stay in the Patagonia.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 19 Jan, 2007
Many years ago I traveled over three thousand miles on the car, starting in Buenos Aires and coming down to the lakes area, through Bahia Blanca coming south, and returned through Santa Rosa (La Pampa). Although I made a stopover at Río Colorado (quite nice,…Read More
Many years ago I traveled over three thousand miles on the car, starting in Buenos Aires and coming down to the lakes area, through Bahia Blanca coming south, and returned through Santa Rosa (La Pampa). Although I made a stopover at Río Colorado (quite nice, in the Colorado river lower valley) the first destination I visited was lake Alumine, where I stayed a few days fishing in river Alumine with good results (although most trout weighed two to three pounds), and then continuing south to Junin de los Andes, San Martin de los Andes, Pichi Traful, Bariloche, and back to Buenos Aires. Here I will concentrate on a couple of very interesting destinations north of San Martin de los Andes.
ALUMINE / VILLA PEHUENIA. Villa Pehuenia offers the only ski center in Argentina operated by a Mapuche Indian Reservation Community, where you can do a trip on dog-driven sledges in the snow, celebrate the Indian new year (June 24), visit the Primeros Pinos (First Pine Trees) snow park, or do rafting on the Alumine river, that is already in the Alumine / Moquehue area. The whole area is very attractive, although in my opinion both San Martin de los Andes and Villa La Angostura are more beautiful. The road from Zapala to Alumine climbs up to nearly 11,000 feet, so keep an eye on your car motor, and if it is not receiving enough air, withdraw the air filter, and that will solve the problem. I experienced this problem, and solved it this way. There are some very nice waterfalls in Villa Pehuenia.
Further north, we have the thermal baths of COPAHUE / CAVIAHUE. This renown thermal bath center (Copahue), very well organized and developed, also has its ski center, and is next to the Copahue Volcano. The main destinations here are the Agrio river waterfalls (cascada del Agrio), the crater of the volcano, and the nearby ski center of Caviahue, a very complete ski center, with easy, medium and difficult options for those who love this sport. Surprisingly, all active volcanoes are on the Chilean side of the Andes. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no volcanic eruption in Argentina for many years. So if you want to see active volcanoes, you will have to cross to Chile, probably to Pucon, that is nearly facing San Martin de los Andes on the other side of the Andes. In-between Copahue and Zapala there are some good fishing areas, like the Codihue and Agrio rivers. I have fished nice trout in the Codihue river, obviously going upstream some 3 miles from the national highway. Further north, the Neuquén river near Chos Malal offers excellent fishing opportunities.
The Cerros Colorados lake has not been very visited by fishermen, and large rainbow trout and perch can be fished in this river, specially where it enters into the lake formed by the dam. And if you go upstream from Chos Malal, you will reach Andacollo, a small town near the Chilean Border, and very near to the Andes. I am only giving you the general picture, but there is a lot to explore in Argentina. Highway 40 continues north up to Mendoza, another destination I am sure you will enjoy visiting. Along this highway towards the north you will find a number of interesting rivers for fishing, like the Barrancas and Grande rivers, that form the Colorado river), and, already in Mendoza, the Atuel river at El Sosneado. All these rivers to the west of Highway 40 have no dams that regulate their flow, and therefore water is not clear after October, precisely when the fishing season starts. So you would have to use natural bait (prohibited) or fish with artificial lures as long as the water remains fairly clear, or of a light emerald green color.. My favorite spot for fishing is the Atuel river at El Sosneado, between Malargue and San Rafael, but I am sure that your chances are better in the Neuquén river (I have not gone fishing in this area, but have heard some very interesting fishing reports). Downstream from any dam fishing chances improve, but you must stay away from the dam about half a mile (fishing exclusion area) and pay attention to any increase in the river flow due to power generation or irrigation requirements. Welcome to Argentina. You are really going to enjoy your trip to San Martin de los Andes and its surrounding area.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 07 Jan, 2007
Some travel agencies offer both these half-day tours in one full-day tour. I took it two years ago at a cost of 15 pesos ($5), so now it should be costing not more than $10, plus the price of the cable car at Cerro Catedral…Read More
Some travel agencies offer both these half-day tours in one full-day tour. I took it two years ago at a cost of 15 pesos ($5), so now it should be costing not more than $10, plus the price of the cable car at Cerro Catedral and the chair lift at Cerro Campanario. It is a must in the winter season and in spring, while in summer it might be enough to take the Circuito Chico, which has beautiful panoramic views.Cerro Catedral without snow still has nice panoramic views, but it's not quite as nice. In winter is it really fantastic. And the cafeteria at the top of the cable car has some moderately priced foods at their "self-serve," like their delicious goulash. Give it a try.In winter and spring you will enjoy seeing hundreds of people practicing skiing. And in summer you will still have a very nice panoramic views of the nearby mountains and lakes.On the other hand, the "CIRCUITO CHICO" is a must any time of the year; it has some of the most fantastic views in the area surrounding Bariloche. Don't forget to take the chairlift at Cerro Campanario, from where you will have beautiful panoramic scenes. At the top you will find a nice cafeteria, rather more expensive than in Bariloche, but still with moderate prices. And at Punto Panorámico you will have another beautiful chance of taking delightful photos. This tour sometimes also visits Llao Llao (although the hotel no longer admits groups of tourists; it is better to get there on the local bus and walk around), and will stop near Puerto Pañuelo, another fantastic place for taking photos, that in any case you will visit when you take the catamaran to Puerto Blest. You will also pass by the division between both sections of Lake Moreno, where trout fishing is possible, although trout caught there are not very large.If any travel agency offers to include Colonia Suiza in the tour, take it by all means. There are very nice tea rooms in that area, with delicious Swiss and German cakes, including Black Forest. And if no travel agency takes you there, go on the local bus service. The ticket will cost you less than $1 each way.You can also go to Cerro Catedral on the local bus services. And although the local bus services cover the route of the Circuito Chico, it is far more practical to take the tour, because this way you will not miss any nice spots in this area.Please excuse me using the words fantastic and beautiful so many times. That is exactly what Bariloche is: a beautiful and fantastic place to visit.And Bariloche is one of the cheapest tourist destinations in all Argentina, except in July and August, when prices go up to double.The Cerro Otto cable car is another option in this area, not included in this tour. Free transportation to this cable car leaves from across the road from the Banco Nación (National Bank), on the main street. However, unless it has snowed recently, you can do without this tour, or even walk to the top from Bariloche (there is a road up to the top and it is some six miles each way). The interesting thing you have at Cerro Otto is a rotating cafeteria that in about 30 minutes turns around 360 degrees while you are having your tea or Alpine chocolate.Enjoy your stay in Bariloche. Close
This is about half the tour called "Navigating the Andes" at 20 percent of the price of the whole tour, so unless you intend to continue your travel in Chile, it should be the best option for navigating the Nahuel Huapí Lake. The first section of…Read More
This is about half the tour called "Navigating the Andes" at 20 percent of the price of the whole tour, so unless you intend to continue your travel in Chile, it should be the best option for navigating the Nahuel Huapí Lake. The first section of the tour is by road, from Bariloche to Puerto Pañuelo (Llao Llao). Try to get a window on the right-hand side to enjoy the scenery of Lake Nahuel Huapi, but if you are not fortunate enough, don't worry, because while you are waiting for the catamaran at Puerto Pañuelo, you will be able to take unforgettable views of the Llao Llao hotel with its golf course, of the port itself, and of Lake Nahuel Huapi. This area has an incredible beauty.Navigation of the Nahuel Huapí Lake is really enjoyable, but especially the last five or ten minutes before you arrive at Puerto Blest. The best sight will be on the right-hand side (Cerro Tres Hermanos) and before you land at the port (a view of the Puerto Blest hotel, with the forest behind, the lake in front, and Frias River on the left-hand side).There will be a stop for lunch at Puerto Blest, with enough time for a short walk along the lake. Lunch is good, prices are moderate, and they normally offer three different options, and one of them gives you the possibility of tasting smoked deer or wild boar.After that a bus will take you to Puerto Frías, where you will board another catamaran to navigate Lake Frias and see the Tronador mount from the lake. This lake has emerald green waters, and as soon as you get off the bus, and before you board the catamaran, walk around the port, because you will have the chance of taking beautiful photos.The time during which you will see the Tronador mount and its glaciers from the catamaran will be limited, so have your camcorder and photo camera ready. I can guarantee that you will really enjoy the scene.On the way back you will board the first catamaran up to Puerto Los Cántaros. There you will have about an hour and a half to walk up to the Los Cántaros waterfall and lagoon. You will have to climb some 300 steps towards the falls, but you will be delighted with the scenery.The Los Cántaros Fall has really three waterfalls, of which the first one is the tallest, but all three are enjoyable. And the lagoon upstream from the falls is really beautiful, especially if there still is snow on the mountains that border the lake, something that is quite probable. If you go in winter or spring, you may only be able to go as far as the first fall, since the road further up could be blocked by the snow.This tour would be my first choice when visiting Bariloche, and I would complete it with the Circuito Chico (Small Circuit) half day tour to have a basic panorama of what Bariloche is like. But you really need at least one week at Bariloche if you want to enjoy the most beautiful options it has to offer you. This tour costs slightly more than others, because it includes navigation. It should be costing now some $40 to $45 per person, plus the admission fee to the National Park, $10 per person.A stay at the Puerto Blest hotel is higly recommended. This tour allows you to come back the same day or any other day you may wish. If you stay, walk along the side of Nahuel Huapí Lake to the Los Cantaros falls and lagoon, and take pictures with nobody near you, nature in its primitive condition, without dodging heads for taking good photos. Also try trolling in the Nahuel Huapí Lake. There are some huge trout in this area. Although the largest trout I have fished at Puerto Blest weighed eight pounds, the record in the national park is 36 pounds. Give it a try. Chances of fishing a trout above eight pounds are minimal, but you may be lucky. Enjoy your stay in Bariloche. Close