The Lake District

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Lake District - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Araucaria Araucana

    Found only in this part of the Andes, the ancient Araucaria Araucana tree grows to 30 meters (100 feet) and has long spiny branches. Cones...

    Found only in this part of the Andes, the ancient Araucaria Araucana tree grows to 30 meters (100 feet) and has long spiny branches. Cones the size of bowling balls are full of pinon nuts that provided nourishment to the Mapuche, who call these trees pehuenes. The northern portion of the park near Lago Huechulafquen and Aluminé is one of the best places to view these peculiar giants.

    Neuquén, 8345, Argentina
  • 2. Bolsón International Jazz Festival

    In February, the Bolsón International Jazz Festival brings music to streets and restaurants around town. The Fiesta Nacional de Lúpolo (National Hop Festival) is celebrated...

    In February, the Bolsón International Jazz Festival brings music to streets and restaurants around town. The Fiesta Nacional de Lúpolo (National Hop Festival) is celebrated the same month.

    El Bolsón, Río Negro, 8430, Argentina
  • 3. Bosque Tallado

    About 1 km (½ mile) from the base of Piltriquitrón, you'll find fire-damaged beech trees that have been carved over the years by 13 notable...

    About 1 km (½ mile) from the base of Piltriquitrón, you'll find fire-damaged beech trees that have been carved over the years by 13 notable Argentine artists. Thirty-one monumental sculptures transform the dead forest into a living gallery. Tours can be arranged through Maputur.

    El Bolsón, Río Negro, 8430, Argentina
    2944-491–440-Maputur
  • 4. Cabaña Mico

    Don't leave the El Bolsón area without a jar of jam! Cabaña Mico has a long table lined with little jam pots (and disposable sticks),...

    Don't leave the El Bolsón area without a jar of jam! Cabaña Mico has a long table lined with little jam pots (and disposable sticks), so you can sample the 40 different flavors before making your purchase.

    Islas Malvinas at Roca, El Bolsón, Río Negro, 8430, Argentina
    2944-492–691

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 5. Cascada de la Virgen

    Venture 15 km (9 miles) north of El Bolsón to see the Cascada de la Virgen. It's most impressive in spring, when the runoff from...

    Venture 15 km (9 miles) north of El Bolsón to see the Cascada de la Virgen. It's most impressive in spring, when the runoff from the mountain falls in a series of three cascades visible from the road coming from Bariloche.

    El Bolsón, Río Negro, 8430, Argentina
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  • 6. Cascada Mallín Ahogado

    Four km (3 miles) north of El Bolsón on R258, the Cascada Mallín Ahogado makes a great picnic spot....

    Four km (3 miles) north of El Bolsón on R258, the Cascada Mallín Ahogado makes a great picnic spot.

    El Bolsón, Río Negro, 8430, Argentina
  • 7. Cerro Otto

    For an aerial view of the area around Bariloche, ascend 1,405 meters (4,608 feet) to the top of Cerro Otto. A little red cable car...

    For an aerial view of the area around Bariloche, ascend 1,405 meters (4,608 feet) to the top of Cerro Otto. A little red cable car owned by Teleférico Cerro Otto will carry you there in about 12 minutes, and all ticket proceeds go to local hospitals.  A free shuttle bus leaves from the corner of Mitre and Villegas, and Perito Moreno and Independencia. You can also hike or bike to the top, or drive up from Bariloche on a gravel road. In winter, cross-country skis and sleds are for rent at the cafeteria. In summer, hiking and mountain biking are the main activities. There is a revolving restaurant on the summit. For a real thrill, try soaring out over the lake in a paraplane.

    Bariloche, Río Negro, 8400, Argentina
    2944-441–035-for information on schedules and equipment rental

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 2,550 pesos, Cable car may close for a few wks in May for maintenance
  • 8. Cervezería El Bolsón

    About 2 km (1 mile) north of town, Cervezería El Bolsón is the brewery that started the Patagonian "cerveza artesanal craze," and even if it...

    About 2 km (1 mile) north of town, Cervezería El Bolsón is the brewery that started the Patagonian "cerveza artesanal craze," and even if it is now the least artisanal of the bunch, it's still a local landmark. Every night from December through March, and Fridays and Saturdays for the rest of the year, the brewery's tasting room turns into a hopping bar and restaurant, where picadas (kind of like tapas), pizzas, sausages with sauerkraut, and a hearty goulash are listed on one side of the menu with suggested beers on the other. For instance, black beer is recommended with smoked meats; chocolate beer with dessert. There are 14 types of brew for you to taste, and descriptions of their ingredients are provided. A large campground is conveniently located by the river in back. There is now a second location (Cervezeria El Bolsón Centro) in town at the corner of San Martin and Juez Fernandez.

    Ruta 258, Km 123.9, El Bolsón, Río Negro, 8430, Argentina
    2944-492–595
  • 9. Cruce a Chile por Los Lagos

    This unique excursion by land and lakes can be done in one or two days in either direction. Travelers board the boat at Puerto Pañuelo,...

    This unique excursion by land and lakes can be done in one or two days in either direction. Travelers board the boat at Puerto Pañuelo, west of Bariloche, then travel by bus up to Laguna Frías, a cold glacial lake frozen in winter. After crossing that lake to Puerto Fríos, you pass Argentine customs, then board another bus that climbs through lush rain forest over a pass before descending to Peulla. Clear Chilean customs just before a lodge by Lago Todos los Santos, where you stop for lunch. You may spend the night at the lodge (recommended) or head straight to Chile by catamaran from Peulla, with volcano views. An overnight stay is mandatory in winter. The boat trip ends at the port of Petrohué. Your final bus ride skirts Lago Llanquihue, stopping at the Petrohué waterfalls, and arriving at last in the the town of Puerto Varas. Guides usually speak English, but if you want to stay on the safe side, do this trip with a tour group.

    Mitre 219, Bariloche, Río Negro, 8400, Argentina
    2944-426–228

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: US$392 (not including lunch)
  • 10. Isla Victoria

    The most popular excursion on Lago Nahuel Huapi is the 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Pañuelo on the Península Llao Llao to Isla Victoria, the...

    The most popular excursion on Lago Nahuel Huapi is the 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Pañuelo on the Península Llao Llao to Isla Victoria, the largest island in the lake. A grove of redwoods transplanted from California thrives in the middle of it. Walk on trails that lead to enchanting views of emerald bays and still lagoons; then board the boat to sail on to the Parque Nacional los Arrayanes. Boats go daily at 10 am and 2 pm (more frequently in high season). The earlier departure includes time for lunch on the island in a cafeteria-style restaurant. The later departure is a shorter trip. Vessels are run by Cau Cau ( Mitre 139, Bariloche  2944/431–372  www.islavictoriayarrayanes.com) and Turisur ( Mitre 219, Bariloche  2944/426–109  www.turisur.com.ar).

    Río Negro, 8400, Argentina
  • 11. Mirador de las Bandurrias

    From town you can hike, mountain bike, or drive 5 km (3 miles) up a steep hill through a dense forest of cypress and oak...

    From town you can hike, mountain bike, or drive 5 km (3 miles) up a steep hill through a dense forest of cypress and oak to the Mirador de las Bandurrias, where you’ll be rewarded with a view of San Martín and the lake. The chance to visit Paraje Trompul—a Mapuche community that’s home to about 40 families—is an added bonus. After taking a snack break in the quincho (café) and perusing the weavings and wood carvings sold here, you can continue another 5 km (3 miles) to see Playa La Islita, a small, rocky island in the middle of Lácar Lake. If you're walking, take Avenida San Martín to the lake, turn right, cross the bridge behind the waterworks plant over Puahullo Creek, and then head uphill on a path around the mountain. By car, leave town on RP48 and drive about 4 km (3 miles) to a turnoff (no sign) on your left. Take the turn and continue to Comunidad Mapuche Curruhuinca, where you pay a fee for the lookout.

    San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén, 8370, Argentina

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 150 pesos
  • 12. Monte Tronadór

    A visit to Monte Tronadór requires an all-day outing, covering 170 km (105 miles) round-trip from Bariloche. This 3,658-meter (12,000-foot) extinct volcano—the highest mountain in...

    A visit to Monte Tronadór requires an all-day outing, covering 170 km (105 miles) round-trip from Bariloche. This 3,658-meter (12,000-foot) extinct volcano—the highest mountain in the northern Lake District—straddles the frontier with Chile, with one peak on either side. Take R258 south along the shores of Lago Gutiérrez and Lago Mascardi. Between the two lakes the road crosses from the Atlantic to the Pacific watershed. At Km 35, turn off onto a road marked "Tronadór" and "Pampa Linda" and continue along the shore of Lago Mascardi, passing a village of the same name. Just beyond the village the road forks, and you continue on a gravel road, R254. Near the bridge the road branches left to Lago Hess and Cascada Los Alerces—a detour you might want to take on your way out. As you bear right after crossing Los Rápidos Bridge, the road narrows: note that it’s one-way heading up 10 am–2 pm, one-way heading down 4 pm–6 pm, and two-way 7:30 pm–9 am only. The lake ends in a narrow arm (Brazo Tronadór) at the Hotel Tronadór, which has a dock for tours arriving by boat. The road then follows the Río Manso to Pampa Linda, which has a lodge, restaurant, park ranger's office, campsites, and the trailhead for the climb up to the Refugio Otto Meiling at the snow line. Guided horseback rides are organized at the lodge. The road ends 7 km (5 miles) beyond Pampa Linda in a parking lot that was once at the tip of the receding Glaciar Negro (Black Glacier). As the glacier flows down from the mountain, the dirt and black sediment of its lateral moraines are ground up and cover the ice. At first glance it's hard to imagine the tons of ice that lie beneath its black cap.

    Río Negro, 8400, Argentina
  • 13. Museo de la Patagonia

    This small museum explains the social and geological history of northern Patagonia through displays of Indian and gaucho artifacts and exhibits on regional flora and...

    This small museum explains the social and geological history of northern Patagonia through displays of Indian and gaucho artifacts and exhibits on regional flora and fauna. The stories of the Mapuche and the Conquista del Desierto (Conquest of the Desert) are told in detail.

    Bariloche, Río Negro, 8400, Argentina
    2944-422–309

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 250 peso donation, Closed Sat. and Sun.
  • 14. Museo Primeros Pobladores

    Next to the tourist office, this museum occupies the tiny building that served as the original city council lodge. It is mainly dedicated to Mapuche...

    Next to the tourist office, this museum occupies the tiny building that served as the original city council lodge. It is mainly dedicated to Mapuche ceramics and weavings; a collection of 13,000-year-old tools and fossils gives an idea of ancient life in the region.

    J.M. de Rosas 700, San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén, 8370, Argentina
    2972-412–306

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: By donation
  • 15. Parque Nacional Lago Puelo

    Set more than 200 meters (656 feet) above sea level, this park’s titular lake has warm water for swimmers, plentiful fish stocks for anglers, plus...

    Set more than 200 meters (656 feet) above sea level, this park’s titular lake has warm water for swimmers, plentiful fish stocks for anglers, plus a selection of on-the-water excursions for boaters. Hiking options abound in the area as well—the most interesting of which are at the west end of the lake on the Chilean border.

    Chubut, 8430, Argentina
  • 16. Parque Nacional los Arrayanes

    Lago Nahuel Huapi's entire Quetrihue Peninsula, with its unique forest of arrayanes (myrtle trees), is protected by the Parque Nacional los Arrayanes. These trees absorb...

    Lago Nahuel Huapi's entire Quetrihue Peninsula, with its unique forest of arrayanes (myrtle trees), is protected by the Parque Nacional los Arrayanes. These trees absorb so much water through their thin skins that all other vegetation around them dies, leaving a barren forest of peeling cinnamon-colored trunks. A stroll up and down wide wooden steps and walkways is a memorable experience, as light filters through the twisted naked trunks, reflecting a weird red glow. You can make this excursion from the pier at Bahía Brava in Villa La Angostura (or by boat from Bariloche via Isla Victoria). In summer, you can walk (three hours) or cycle, after registering at the Guardaparque office (ranger station) near the pier.  Leave in the morning, as the park entrance closes at 2 pm (11am in winter). A nice combination is to go by boat and return by bike (it's all downhill that way). If returning by boat, buy your return ticket at the pier before you leave.

    Río Negro, 8407, Argentina
    2944-423–111

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 1,820 pesos
  • 17. Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi

    This national park is notable for having the highest concentration of lakes in Argentina. The largest of them, Lago Nahuel Huapi, covers 897 square km...

    This national park is notable for having the highest concentration of lakes in Argentina. The largest of them, Lago Nahuel Huapi, covers 897 square km (346 square miles) and has seven arms—the longest of which is 96 km (60 miles) long and 12 km (7 miles) wide—reaching deep into forests of coihue (a native beech), 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. Inside the park, nearly every water sport invented can be arranged through local travel agencies, tour offices, or hotels. Boating is particularly popular, with options ranging from a placid Isla Victoria outing to challenging white-water-rafting adventures. Information offices throughout the park can also offer tips about tackling the miles of mountain and woodland trails. Small towns like Villa La Angostura and Villa Traful are excellent destinations for further explorations on foot or horseback. Since most of the park is at a low elevation (under 1,829 meters or 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.

    Av. San Martín 24, Bariloche, Río Negro, 8400, Argentina
    2944-423–111

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 1,820 pesos
  • 18. Playa Catritre

    Easy access and a family-friendly atmosphere have made Playa Catritre one of the most popular beaches in San Martín. On the south side of Lago...

    Easy access and a family-friendly atmosphere have made Playa Catritre one of the most popular beaches in San Martín. On the south side of Lago Lácar, 4 km (3 miles) from the town center, it's a great spot to enjoy a dip in the calm, clear lake waters, and admire the view of the Cerro Bandurrias. Oak trees provide shade for picnics, and water activities for children are available. A Mapuche-run campground is nearby. Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: swimming; walking.

    San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén, 8370, Argentina
  • 19. Playa Quila Quina

    Situated in a Mapuche village, this small lakeside beach is a tourist hotspot with ferries bringing visitors from San Martín five times a day. It's...

    Situated in a Mapuche village, this small lakeside beach is a tourist hotspot with ferries bringing visitors from San Martín five times a day. It's possible to arrive by car, but be prepared for a steep descent down to the rocky beach. Although busy, Playa Quila Quina is perfect for swimming and enjoying the panoramic views of Lake Lácar. Not far from the shore, a trail leads to a small waterfall (Arroyo Grande). To reach Playa Quila Quina, turn off R234 2 km (1 mile) before the road to Catrite and get on R108. Amenities: food and drink; parking; toilets. Best for: swimming; walking.

    San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén, 8370, Argentina
  • 20. Volcán Lanín

    Rising 3,773 meters (12,378 feet) in solitary snow-clad splendor on the western horizon, Volcán Lanín towers over the area and is visible from every direction....

    Rising 3,773 meters (12,378 feet) in solitary snow-clad splendor on the western horizon, Volcán Lanín towers over the area and is visible from every direction. It sits on the Chilean border, with Lanín National Park on one side and Chile's Villarica National Park on the other. The closest Argentine access is from Junín, but the northern route to Paso Tromen also offers endless photo ops through the tangled branches of the araucaria trees. You can climb Lanín in three to four days round-trip with a guide.

    Neuquén, 8345, Argentina

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