Introducing Bariloche & The Lake District
Home to some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, the Lake District hosts thousands of visitors each year. People come to ski, fish, climb, trek and generally bask in the cool, fresh landscapes created by the huge forests, glacier-fed lakes and cute little alpine-style villages. Don’t get the idea that the region is overrun, though – spaces are so wide here you’ll only end up bumping shoulders with other travelers in the main population centers.
The city of Neuquén – the largest in the region – provides transportation links to all over the country. What it lacks in beauty it makes up for in surrounding attractions. Just out of town are some world-renowned paleontological sites and outstanding wineries. Way, way south is the resort town of Bariloche, with its picture-postcard location on the banks of the Lago Nahuel Huapi. This is ground zero for the outdoor adventure crew, both in summer and wintertime. Bariloche is the chief transportation hub for southern Patagonia and Chile, and a short ride from the laid-back hippie haven of El Bolsón. Villa Traful and San Martín de los Andes are both lakeside villages nestled among pehuén (araucaria) forests, which fill up for a short time in summer but are blissfully quiet the rest of the year. To the north, the little-visited ex-Provincial capital of Chos Malal makes an excellent base for exploring nearby volcanoes, lagoons and hot springs, as well as an important stopover for those traveling northwards on the RN 40 to Mendoza.