Argentina: three cities to visit in Patagonia
January 1, 1970
by Sol Liendro
Patagonia region goes from the provinces of Neuquén to Tierra del Fuego, in the south of Argentina, where you can find landscapes such us wet forests, glaciers, lakes and wild fauna at the foot of the Andes mountain range.
My husband and I took a plane to Bariloche. We also visit others cities like San Martin de los Andes and Villa La Angostura.
Personally speaking, ten days is perfect for visiting this part of the region.
When can you visit this region?
There are two seasons to travel: the winter season which is basically for winter sports in the ski centres, the best in this cities: Cathedral Hill in Bariloche, Chapelco Hill in San Martin and Bayo Hill in Villa La Angostura; and the summer season which is the most advisable to do the activities, and I will be describing below. Fall season is beautiful too because of the colours of the tree leaves.
Places we visited in Bariloche
It is located 19 km away from Bariloche and its name is because of its peaks are similar to a gothic cathedral. It’s one of the most important ski centres of Argentina and South America. It has a height of 2388 meters.
We went in summer so we used an entire day to do trekking and enjoy the wonderful view of the city and the Nahuel Huapi Lake.
At the base of the hill, there is the Cathedral village, with hotels and shops where you can rent ski equipment.
A very interesting place actually. On the top, there is an art gallery and the Otto House Music, the only place where you can find a disco on a top of a hill. You can taste some typical food in the rotatory restaurant while you have a 360° view.
National Geographic named it as one of the places with the best views of the world. They are not wrong at all. It’s perfect to spend the day having a drink at the bar on the top of the hill.
Tronador Mountain and Black Glacier
It has a height of more than 3000 meters. Its name is due to the sound that makes the ice when it falls, that is similar to a thunder (tronador means “that which thunders” in Spanish).
At the base, we could see the Black Glacier, which is like this because of the sediments that flow from the mountain through the Manso River and stick in the base of the ice. Likewise, Manso River has its particularity caused by the sediments: it is white like milk.
Llao Llao Hotel
The most symbolic hotel of Patagonia and Argentina. It’s worth taking some photos of its gardens, its golf course and, certainly, its architecture. If you like you have the possibility to have some tea with cookies and admire its inside.
Victoria Island and Los Arrayanes National Park
We went to Pañuelo port, that is located in front of the emblematic Llao Llao Hotel and we bought tickets to go sailing to Victoria Island. It’s about 30 minutes sailing and you can visit Toro beach where we took a bath, we also saw prehistoric rock art and we took a guided tour into the forest -not all the paths are well signalized- and it’s the best option if you want to know better about the native flora and fauna.
After visiting the island, we came back to the ship and we sailed to the Arrayanes Forest. It’s in a peninsula called Quetrihué, in Villa La Angostura. In this place, the path is well signalized so you just have to follow it and enjoy the flora. We had an estimation of 45 minutes to visit it before returning to the ship to sail back to the port.
If you want to visit Arrayanes National park on your own, there is a path that comes from Villa La Angostura. You can ask the locals where to find the beginning of it. It’s a good experience if you like walking through the forest.
Blest Port and Los Cántaros Waterfall
Again the tour begins in Pañuelo port. We sailed through Blest Branch (Nahuel Huapi) until Blest Port; this place has overgrowth vegetation due to its excessive damp weather. Here we have an optional tour to sail through Frias Lake. We did it and it was amazing. The water is green because of the sediments that flow from Tronador Mountain. And there is a point where we could see the difference of colour between both lakes. After this tour, we went to Cántaros Waterfall. The ascent begins with a stairway which has multiple viewpoints.
Note: others activities I would advise is kayaking, rafting in Manso River and riding a horse through the fields at the foot of the mountains. An unforgettable experience, especially if you are travelling with the person you love.
Places we visit in Villa La Angostura
We have been there for two days. It’s located 82 km away from Bariloche and it’s the smallest one; the city centre where the main shops and restaurants are must have about five or six blocks only. As I have already written, the most important hill is named Bayo but it also has two other hills to enjoy a beautiful view, Inacayal and Beldevere. We also visited the beaches of Brava Bay and Mansa Bay and the Messidor Residence; entering, taking pictures or walking through the gardens of the last one is forbidden. People can only go through a signalized path by a car that borders the house. The Residence is famous for its history and now it’s the governor’s summer house.
Places we visit in San Martin de los Andes
We took the Route 40, the longest and most famous of the country, to take the tour “the seven lakes route” which is well known here. From Bariloche to San Martin there are different viewpoints to admire seven lakes -Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Correntoso, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner and Machonico- and then bordering Lacar Lake we arrive at San Martin. This city has a lot of tour options to go visiting the Mapuches villages and know more about their culture.
To return to Bariloche we took another route, to see some rocks formation called “Enchanted Valley” and a big rocky formation called “The Amphitheatre”.
The marvels of Patagonia Argentina are waiting for you!