- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
Like Lakes Correntoso, Espejo, Lago Escondido, Falkner, Villarino and Machonico, Lake Nahuel Huapi is part of the Road of the Seven Lakes. Its name means "Tiger island" in the Mapuche language. Nahuel Huapi National Park is also a magnificent natural reserve in the south west of the province of Neuquén and north east of the province of Río Negro.
During my stay in Bariloche I loved cycling round the lake. Just imagine it - a 30 km route with the snow topped peaks and immense pine forests of the Andes as a backdrop. Perfect! However, this route is for those who are fit... If you're not very keen on two wheels you can always chose a trip in a canoe, or simply on foot.
After my exertions a bit of cocooning - I headed straight for one of the town's chocolate shops. What can I say, Argentine chocolate is just as good as its wine!
Nahuel Huapi is one of those places that I would like to go back to. At the foot of the Andes the crystal water, high peaks and dense forests of the park are magnificent. The botanists among you will recognise the Patagonian Cypress, and Inca lilies, and zoologists colonial tuco-tucos and pudú - the first is a rodent and the second a small deer.
If you like trekking you'll be ecstatic because there is something for everyone. From a gentle climb on Cerro Catedral next to San Carlos de Bariloche to the trail joining Cerro Panguinal to Lago Espejo Chico in the north of the park, you won't be disappointed. Wherever I went in Nahuel Huapi I felt very small! And I really adored it.
If you include Patagonia on your Argentine itinerary, you'll certainly make a stop in this part of the country. And that would be a very good idea anyway; Nahuel Huapi is awesome and very well organised. There are plenty of outdoor activities from sport fishing to climbing and hiking... I loved it! But on the other hand, don't expect to a total and absolute change of scenery: some of the vegetation comes from our European lands.
The essential must is the lake of the same name, where you can take a catamaran ride if your budget allows for it. But the park is huge, so it has lots of hikes leading to its lagoons, hills and different glaciers. In my opinion, the area around Refugio Frey deserves a special mention; it's a paradise for those who love climbing!