The Lake District Sights



Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi

Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi Review

Created in 1934, the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi is Argentina's oldest national park. The park extends over 2 million acres along the eastern side of the Andes in the provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro, on the frontier with Chile. It contains the highest concentration of lakes in Argentina. The biggest is Lago Nahuel Huapi, an 897-square-km (346-square-mi) body of water whose seven long arms (the longest is 96 km long, 12 km wide) reach deep into forests of coihué (a native beech tree), cyprés (cypress), and lenga (deciduous beech) trees. Intensely blue across its vast expanse and aqua green in its shallow bays, the lake meanders into distant lagoons and misty inlets where the mountains, covered with vegetation at their base, rise straight up out of the water. Nearly every water sport invented and tours to islands and other lakes can be arranged through local travel agencies, tour offices, and hotels. Information offices throughout the park offer help in exploring the miles of mountain and woodland trails and the lakes.

Having landed in Bariloche, you can explore the park on an organized tour or on your own. Nearby excursions such as the Circuito Chico, Circuito Grande, a trip to Tronadór, or the ski area at Catedral can be done in a day. Since much of the park is covered by Nahuel Huapi Lake (it's 96 km long, covering 346 square mi), some of your exploration will be by boat to islands, down narrow fjords, or to distant shores on organized excursions. Small towns like Villa La Angostura and Villa Traful are excellent destinations for further explorations on foot or horseback to smaller lakes with their connecting streams, waterfalls, and surrounding forests and high peaks. Since most of the park is at a low elevation (under 6,000 feet), getting around in winter is not difficult—just cold. Fall foliage, long, warm summer days, and spring flowers are the rewards of other seasons. Park entry is 12 pesos.

Updated: 12-19-2011

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