Lovely Lake Lacar and the joy of living in Argentina's Lake District.
Spring has sprung in the spectacular Lake District of Argentina.
The indigenous Mapuche people are found in the Andean region of both Argentina and Chile.
More blooming evidence of Spring as seen in Nahuel Huapi National Park of the Lake District.
SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
View of San Martin de los Andes on Lake Lacar
Following is a brief excerpt from an email we sent to family and friends many years ago when we first arrived in San Martin. I find it interesting to now read these forgotten, but not lost, emails since joining the world of blogging. Little did I know that blogging would be created in the not-so-distant future and little did I know what fun it would be t share the many places we had visited, explored, and lived in during our expat “nomadic” life.
“We are currently in the beautiful Lake District which is south of Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina. We are living the outdoor life and enjoying the incredible lakes with the Andes in the background. Our base is San Martin de los Andes which is a lake town of approximately 30,000 inhabitants. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the country and for a very good reason – its beauty, its casual lifestyle, its outdoor activities, and its friendly population.
San Martin de los Andes was our home base while living and exploring the Lake District.
Now for a little historical background: San Martín de los Andes was founded in 1898 and modeled like a European style alpine village. Following its founding the main economic activities were wood logging and husbandry. A major change in settlement life came about when Lanín National Park was created in 1937. The creation of Lanín National Park meant that wood logging was gradually reduced and numerous small settlements along the lake shore disappeared. New roads were built which effectively connected San Martín with the rest of Argentina. This led to an increased trade that almost ended local husbandry and agriculture. In the 1970s many tourism enterprises were established in San Martín making the town an important tourism center especially during the skiing season.
From San Martin de los Andes we could visit the nearby towns and the many recreational areas. It was a perfect base for our needs! When we felt like “hitting the road” we had two options. One option was getting on local bus for the excursion on the Road of the Seven Lakes. The other option was to get on a long distance bus to cross over the Andes and visit Chile. I will save those excursions, however, for another posting.
Here is a peek of a glorious Andean peak as seen on our way to visit Chile from the Lake District.
There are non-stop spectacular views as seen in the Lake District of Argentina.
“We have taken the three hour bus trip on this route (one-half of which is on gravel road) with one gem of a lake after another. The final lake on this route is named Lago Nahuel Huapi where the small town of Villa La Angostura is located and where we spent Turkey Day. “Villa” as the locals call it is on the same lake as Bariloche, but there the similarity ends. It is small, lovely, and quiet. We spent Turkey Day having a chicken-bird picnic on the beach. You will see that we made friends with a local doberman who definitely enjoyed the picnic with us and who guarded us while we took our after-feast siesta!”
Scenic cruise boats ply the waters from Villa la Angostura.
A "local" has decided we offer the best available Thanksgiving meal and we are happy to share!
Just outside Villa la Angostura is Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes which offers several hikes through the unique arrayán forest - arrayáns are evergreens with gnarled brown trunks). Here you can hike mountain trails and enjoy hidden vistas of Lake Nahuel Huapi without the crowds. Afterwards, retire to your lodge, or cabin, or hut, or whatever which is often tucked away in the surrounding forest. Villa a great retreat for a few days of fun and relaxation. Above all, it is a place to enjoy nature and the peaceful life. Now for a total change of pace, let’s visit the bustling city of Bariloche!
Now this is one attractive bus and it's time to visit Bariloche.
San Carlos de Bariloche, usually referred to as Bariloche, is a city situated in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park and is the largest urban area in Argentina’s Lake District. The city has a permanent population of approximately 110,000 and is the the biggest, most lively, and most tourist oriented city in the Lake District.The name Bariloche comes from the Mapudungun (language of the Mapuche people) word Vuriloche meaning "people from behind the mountain.” The Poya people used the Vuriloche pass to cross the Andes, keeping it secret from the Spanish priests for a long time.
Meet the magnificent poster boy of San Carlos de Bariloche!
foreign exchange student in Argentina. Bariloche was one huge chocolate Easter wonderland with everything imaginable in the form of chocolate. It was a chocolate addicts fantasy come true. In 2012 Bariloche received the Guinness Book of Records certification for the largest chocolate Easter egg in the world! Quite impressive.
Tourism, both domestic and international, is the main economic activity of Bariloche all year round. While popular among foreigners including Europeans, the city is also very popular among Brazilians.
One of the most popular activities is skiing. The main ski area is at the area of Cerro Catedral. During the summer beautiful beaches such as Playa Bonita and Villa Tacul also welcome sunbathers. Most tourists visit Bariloche in its winter (summer for North Americans and Europeans) for its skiing, but it is definitely a worthwhile destination year round. And the regular flights from Buenos Aires make Bariloche and the Lake District conveniently accessible.
Some visitors may be put off with the tall apartment buildings, nightclubs, and the urban sprawl. If you feel this way, head out to Nahuel Huapi Lake or the surrounding mountains and enjoy their peace and quiet. It is also easy to avoid staying in the city center by finding accommodations on the road leading to Llao Llao outside of Bariloche. There are many options available in and around Bariloche to satisfy every personality and Bariloche is certainly a worthwhile destination while visiting Argentina’s Lake District.
The lovely and very impressive Llao Llao Hotel and Resort near Bariloche.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed your visit to the spectacular Lake District of Argentine. I know that I have certainly enjoyed revisiting this beautiful area. Until our next excursion, I wish you happy holiday Thanksgiving Day greetings and l look forward to seeing you again very soon! Saludos, Laura