Ruta de los Siete Lagos
- 1 Day
A spectacular road between towering, snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes and dense pine forests, this is a 110km Lake District classic. Bike it in a few days, drive it in one, tour it or bus it – just don’t miss it.
Starting at San Martín de los Andes, head out of town on the RN 40, skirting the banks of Lago Lácar and passing the Mapuche town of Curruhuinca. After 20km you’ll come to the lookout at Arroyo Partido.
From here it’s a 5km downhill coast to a bridge over the Río Hermoso. Two short climbs and 5km later, you’ll reach the dark-blue Lago Machónico. A further 5km brings you to a turnoff to the right, where it’s 2km of dirt road to Lago Hermoso, surrounded by mixed ñire and radale forests. Colored deer are common in this area, as are hunters, so be on the lookout (for both) when walking in the woods.
Entering the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, it’s 15km to the Cascada Vullignanco, a 20m waterfall made by the Río Filuco. Two kilometers on, the road runs between Lago Villarino and Lago Falkner, which has a wide sandy beach.
Two kilometers further on is Lago Escondido, from where it’s 8km of downhill zigzag to a turnoff to the left. Follow this side (dirt) road for 2km to get to the north end of Lago Traful.
After 30km look for the turnoff for Villa Traful – it’s 27km from here to the villa, down a good dirt road, passing scenic lakeside bush campgrounds.
Sticking to the main road, though, you'll skirt the banks of Lago Correntoso and after 20km you’ll come to a bridge and a disused hostería (lodging house). If you're looking for a side trip, just before the bridge, turn right and take the uphill road that ends at Lago Espejo Chico after 2km.
Continuing south, you’ll catch glimpses of Lago Espejo Grande on the right through the trees. There are several lookouts along the road.
From here it’s another 15km to a crossroads where you turn left, and 10km on asphalt to Villa la Angostura.
Bariloche has the widest range of accommodations in the region, with something to suit all budgets, from business hotels and youth hostels to boutique guesthouses and hotels. Particularly popular destinations, such as San Martín and El Bolsón, also have a good range of lodgings. In the national parks, visitors can choose between campgrounds, refugios and the odd fishing lodge.
The best dining scene by far is found in Bariloche, with an excellent range of parrillas, fusion restaurants, Italian and German cuisine and more. Neuquén, San Martín, El Bolsón and Villa La Angostura all have some standout restaurants, while elsewhere you are largely limited to parrillas and low-key restaurants serving Argentine standards.