Traveling through Patagonia Argentina is definitely one of the many musts one should have on their to-do list. This place is known for its perfect views, see sights, hiking trails, lakes, mountains, and peacefulness. For more commercial purposes, it is also well-known for its winter sports.
I highly recommend you travel by car, or fly and rent one. This will give you the freedom to stop and admire the views throughout your road trip.
Since this time we will be traveling virtually, I would like to share with you some views, feelings, and experiences I had visiting these places.
We will begin from San Martin de Los Andes. Here you can review the map and edit it to your preference: Map. And YES, it is the same national route that we traveled in the northern region of Argentina. I hope you enjoy it!
San Martín de Los Andes
The last time I came here, I was living in Costa Rica and came to Argentina on holidays. With some friends, we planned a skiing trip, and I had the honor of meeting two lovely people earlier that year who hosted me in their home.
To be honest, I never rented a car because I am -really- bad at looking for deals on that topic. I discovered the wonders of renting a car with my husband, he is head of that department. During my stay in SMA, I would take the bus, or they would drive me downtown for me to take the bus that goes to Cerro Chapelco (the Ski Center).
During my week in SMA, I went skiing for 4 days, did some reading, enjoyed meals with friends, and went for walks downtown a few times.
Considering that my stay was pretty short and specific, I did not do much this time other than enjoying time with friends, the cold weather, skiing, and Argentine food!
Before, I had been here in the summer as a kid on a family trip. It was lovely. You can really enjoy yourself walking around the lake and into the woods. There are a few hiking trails and Camping-Spots for those who enjoy being in nature. This is also very common throughout all the routes I will describe.
Some general tips regarding clothing would be:
- For Summer: Consider a warm sweater and/or jacket because at night it gets a bit chilly sometimes. During the day, it can get pretty warm. You might even want to jump into the lakes, so bring your swim-suit and a towel (the water is FREEZING, in my opinion).
- For Winter: Be Smart! Avoid wearing 20 layers of clothes. Try to get yourself thermic comfortable-clothes. You can even buy one or two of each 2nd handed, or borrow them from a friend. And VERY IMPORTANT: Waterproof footwear and jacket.
On our way to Villa la Angostura
From San Martin de Los Andes to Villa la Angostura, we will travel through the well-known Route of the 7 Lakes (Ruta de Los 7 Lagos). It is a portion of RN40 with lakes, going through the National Park Area, enjoying the best views of Patagonia.
I did this road-trip as a kid, so I could not find any pictures to share. So I will have to keep it short. But image all the time having a
Our first stop will be Lácar Lake, in San Martin de Los Andes. This one you probably walked by during your stay. From here, we will take National Route #40 all the way to Machónico Lake.
Machónico in Mapuche language means "Place of the Páncora" (it's a kind of freshwater crab). In its lookout, we will be able to appreciate several hill peaks such as Cerro Adolfo, Cerro Mocho, Cerro Olivia, Cerro Tres Dientes, and Cerro Piedra de San Francisco.
Continuing driving on National Route #40, we will come to our 3rd lake: Lake Falkner. This is a very calm lake, with a great resting spot. You will be able to appreciate the calmness and "silence" of nature.
Close enough, we have our 4th and 5th lake. These are Lake Villarino and Lake Escondido. These are also beautiful, and I highly recommend you have your camera ready for some great pictures.
Our last two lakes are very close to each other; these are Lake Espejo and Lake Correntoso. As the name says, Lake Espejo (mirror) is known for its steady waters. If the weather conditions help, it will reflect the landscape. If you enjoy meditating, you might want to take a 15-20 minutes break and meditate surrounded by that calmness.
The last lake. Lake Correntoso will be our last stop before Villa La Angostura.
In Villa La Angostura, you can enjoy great food and connect with nature. I recommend taking a day to visit other lakes within the region too.
Most of the lakes in this region are from melt-ice. That is why they are clean, pure waters, and of beautiful colors.
A little over 80 KM drive, we will arrive at Bariloche. This is probably one of the most popular and touristy cities in the region. It is also well known for its beauty, lakes, winter sports, camping spots, and more.
This place also has a very vibrant energy, great for young people who like to live a little at night.
The last time I was here, I spent over a month. I stayed in 3 different places, and one was while I was attending a Yoga Retreat/Training for 30 days.
Here there are many options and things to do. In winter you can practice almost any winter sport, a popular spot among the younger generations, and very touristy too.
Here in Bariloche, you will not only have fun but also find great gastronomic offers, good home-made beers, some of the finest chocolates, and a lot of activities to do outdoors.
Connecting with Nature
In Bariloche, you will find many options for different interests. If you like hiking in the mountain, there are many base camps, hiking trails, and other paths to visit.
Its forest always surrounds you, and the lakes here are as beautiful as the ones we see before. The biggest and most famous lakes here are the Nahuel Huapi Lake and Perito Moreno Lake.
For hiking, you can start with a short warm-up at Cerro Campanario, which has a great view of the Lake, mountain, forest, and city. You can also do some research to find the right trail in Cerro Otto or Cerro Catedral.
Another lake to visit is Lake Guiterrez. This a quieter lake, only a few minutes out of the city center. It has a wide beach and a short trail through the woods nearby. You can visit La Cascada de Los Duendes or continue to the Guiterrez Lake Lookout.
Something I can guarantee is that none of the options in this place are disappointing.
Support the locals
If you like getting a taste of local crafts and home-made jams, Colonia Suiza is THE spot! Patagonia is rich in berries and wild fruits, and it is home to the best home-made jams (in my personal opinion). Some of the classic flavors are Rosa Mosqueta, Raspberry, Blueberry, and Elderberry Fruit (one of my personal favorites).
I also have some personal recommendations for local guides. They offer a local tour through different beer houses. This is a great experience to really connect with local people, culture, and traditions.
So now that we've had our hikes, lake views, food, beer, and sweets, we will continue our trip to El Bolsón.
If you haven't had time for sweets before, don't worry. This is also a great spot to get your favorite flavors and goodies as souvenirs. They have a fair with local crafters where you will be able to appreciate the local art.
This town has a spiritual vibe, and you will notice it on the road. From Bariloche to El Bolsón, you will pass a few lakes, sight-views, and try to recognize how the forest gets a bit wilder further on.
For those who connect with spirituality and meditating, this is a great spot! There are many yoga retreats, meditation, and healing therapies.
I was here for a day and couldn't believe it. I promise you that next time, I'll be renting a house in the middle of nowhere and connect with nature, myself, and relax.
I hope you have enjoyed this fast and very summarized trip through Argentine Patagonia. It is a region with so much to offer that it is impossible to describe it all.
But if you ever need to disconnect, without a doubt, it is a place to consider as a first option.
Live, Love & Laugh
A True Nomad - Sol Acevedo