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Few cities can compete with the scenic splendor of San Carlos de Bariloche. Located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park and in the heart of Argentina’s Lake District, Bariloche—as it’s commonly known—is submerged in a kaleidoscope of mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, and Andean-Patagonian forests. Whether you’re after the thrill of whitewater or the serene escape of nature—Argentina’s adventure capital cannot disappoint. Bariloche is also known for its incredible chocolate, make sure to visit one of the artisanal chocolatiers before heading into the wilderness.
City, lakes, and mountains dovetail as you drive the Bustillo avenue “short trail.” As you cruise the southern banks of Nahuel Huapi Lake don’t hesitate to stop at the San Pedro peninsula or Saint Edwards chapel for peaceful strolls. Continue to Villa Tacul for a scenic view of Llao Llao Bay and onwards to Mount Campanario where the best vistas await.
Just off the Circuito Chico and part of the Llao Llao Municipal Park, Cerro Llao Llao is a leisurely hike that rewards you with a beautiful view of the Andean-Patagonian forests and Nahuel Huapi Lake. Pass glacial lakes and Fusia vines where you may even spout a souther river otter, huillin, building it’s home in the roots of riverside tree.
Go by boat from Puerto Pañuelo to the woodlands of Victoria Island. Visit the volcanic sands of Torre Beach and see the ancient cave paintings of the indigenous people who once lived here. Explore the Arrayanes Forest where the orangish trunks of arrayán tree give the air an amber glow. Keep an eye out for the tiny pudu— these white-spotted deer grow barely over a foot tall.
Brazo Tristeza is a glacial fjord off Nahuel Huapi Lake. Cruise these waters on a clear day to see the Tronador Mountain glacier before disembarking to hike through the dense forest towards the Arroyo Frey waterfall. When you arrive at the falls, notice the unique sound of the cascade—water now flows through holes bored into riverbed from thousands of years of erosion.
The glacial waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake spread 204 square miles and rest in the Patagonian National park of the same name. Lounge on one of the pebble beaches or kayak the calm clear waters, but note that aboriginal legend says a giant humped serpent, Nahuelito lurks beneath the surface.
Tronador out-peaks its neighbors by 3,000 feet Standing at the full height of 11,384 feet. This extinct stratovolcano lodged in the southern Andes between Argentina and Chile out peaks its neighbors by 3,000 feet. At the full height of 11,384 feet, Tronador makes for a spirited hike. From the summit overlook black glacier, Ventisquero Negro, whose black color can be attributed to surrounding sedimentary rock runoff.
San Martin de Los Andes is a cozy town in the heart of Patagonia. Birdwatch in the quiet wilderness or go horseback riding with gaucho guides. Adrenaline junkies will want to take on the white water of the surrounding rivers, while more mellow travelers can explore the hot springs and enjoy the views of Lake Lacár.
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