South America has a lot of different landscapes, but Patagonia Argentina is definitely one of my favorites. And I’m not telling you this because I’m Argentinian: this huge area is famous for its beauty and all the activities you can do. Skiing, kayaking, trekking, and sailing. Or maybe just go for a walk surrounded by roses, pine trees, and lakes.
Cities like Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, and San Martin de los Andes are part of the same area near The Andes, characterized by the presence of lakes, hills, and woods. Check how to get to Patagonia from Buenos Aires
First stop in Patagonia Argentina: Bariloche
Located in Río Negro Province, Bariloche is the main city of Patagonia Argentina. I’ve been there twice and I will come back soon. When I travel, I like to discover new cities, but the truth is that I absolutely love Bariloche. I tell you my reasons here: 5 reasons why you should visit Bariloche
The first time I visited Bariloche, it blew my mind. As a city girl used to the concrete jungle, high buildings and chaotic traffic, I’m excited when I see more than two trees together. So, suddenly, I was in front of these stunning lakes, surrounded by hills and nature.
There are so many things to do in Bariloche:
- Eat chocolate
- Drink handcrafted beer (Honestly, I’m not a drinker but that’s what many people do)
- Enjoy a boat ride with a day trip through the lakes
- Ride a chairlift to the top of a hill and enjoy jaw-dropping views
- Sit by the Nahuel Huapi lake and relax
- Skiing and snowboarding during the winter
- Go rafting or kayaking
- Go for a walk to the Arrayanes woods
Bariloche, a city full of legends and myths
The architecture has a strong German influence and they say that many nazis escaped from Europe and they hid in this area. As far as I know, some stories are just a myth (like the one that said that Hitler himself lived there) but others are true. Some nazis officer that lived in Bariloche were captured there. Check out this tour about the German Footprint and Nazi presence in Bariloche.
There’s another popular story related to Bariloche. In 1941, Walt Disney visited Bariloche and Arrayanes Forest where you can see a very particular kind of tree that would have inspired him to create Bambi! The bark of these trees is very similar to Bambi’s fur. Is it true? Well, I don’t know. It’s true that he was there and that he released “Bambi” a year after, but was the woods his inspiration? It’s still a mystery! In any case, if you go to the Arrayanes Forest in Bariloche, you can visit “The Disney’s cabin”.
Bariloche is a city full of legends and I got one more for you. While Scottish have their Loch Ness Monster, Bariloche inhabitants have Nahuelito, a monster that, according to some people, lives in the depths of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Next stop in Patagonia Argentina: Villa La Angostura
In 2013, I visited San Martín de los Andes and I took a one-day trip to Villa La Angostura. The name of the tour is The Seven Lakes Road and it’s as beautiful as it sounds! It’s a 100 km road that connects Bariloche and Villa La Angostura. You can enjoy magnificent views while you travel!
When I arrived at Villa La Angostura, the first stop was Bahia Manzano, a little area with fancy accommodations and a stunning green lake with yachts. After that, I had lunch and spent a few hours downtown. Villa La Angostura has beautiful gardens and there’s an annual contest to choose the best garden in the town.
Finally, I visited Bahía Brava and it was so unique! I mean, that white dock, that emerald water, the storm threatens on the horizon… All the ingredients for a perfect moment and a perfect picture! It was cold and windy but I had a blast!
The tour guide was great! He was a middle-aged man, a descendant of Patagonia natives tehuelches, very proud of his land. After 7 years, I still remember his sense of humor, his kindness, and his wisdom. He said that when tourist complains of the rain, they forget that’s the reason why we can enjoy all this marvelous landscapes.
Last stop: San Martín de los Andes.
After visiting Bariloche for the first time, I decided to go for a holiday to San Martín de los Andes. You can also take a one-day trip to visit this charming city. The first thing that caught my attention was the streets full of roses! Wood everywhere, roses of every color on the streets.
San Martín de los Andes is placed on the shore of Lake Lacar, so you wake up, have some breakfast, walk a few steps and there it is the lake! It was incredibly windy and cloudy when I traveled, so I still feel that I couldn’t see all the beauty of the lake on a sunshine day.
I walked near the shore, facing the wind. I stared at the cabins and flowers, these perfect roses that probably wouldn’t survive in the streets of my city. Then, I sat in the park to enjoy the calm and see the statue of San Martin, our national hero, the one that gave his name to the city.
The best things to do in San Martín de los Andes
But, if you want a little more of adventure than what a relaxing view can give, these are other things you can do if you visit San Martín de los Andes:
- Skiing in Chapelco, one of the most important ski center in Argentina
- Take a day trip to Villa La Angostura
- Visit Junín de los Andes
- Take a catamaran to go down Lake Huechulafquen and contemplate Lanin Volcano
I couldn’t see Lanin Volcano when I took this tour because it was very cloudy, but I had a blast going down Lake Huechulafquen and discovering these little islands full of bonsai. It’s funny cuz if you see the photo, they look like regular trees, but any of them has more than 1 meter!
It was pouring down with rain but I stayed on the deck of the boat, happy, taking all the photos that now help me to remember the details!