Lake District - The 7 Lakes Road

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Ladera Norte Hostel

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Sunday, February 28, 2010

As recommended by the English couple we met in Torres del Paine, we hired a car for 3 days to explore the Argentine Lake District. We set off the morning after our fondue, excited to have our own means of transport, leaving and stopping when we want! Within 10 minutes we had stopped at a view point the other side of Lake N.H. looking over to Bariloche and the mountains behind... not a cloud in the sky... beautiful! We took a diversion up to San Martin de los Andes, the start of the 7 Lakes Road and headed 38 km on a stony, unpaved road to a very small village called Vila Traful. Despite being dusty and trickier to drive, the journey was beautiful - with the road following along the lake, and a fantastic view point to climb on the way. This lake ended up being our favourite, and it wasn't even a part of the 7 Lakes drive! We had lunch in the village, which was full of pretty wooden buildings, and where we were entertained by a dog and its owner – watching as she threw a stick in the lake for the dog, who proceeded to run to the end of the pier and then take a huge leap into the water, retrieving the stick and swimming back to his owner, before shaking the water off and running back for another go! We watched this process 5 times before deciding we better get going, I wonder how many more times he repeated it!!!

We had another 50km on dirt roads, before thankfully getting back to paved roads - stopping at various viewpoints of beautiful lakes and waterfalls, before reaching our destination of San Martin de los Andes. This town was really striking, the main street chocker block with buildings made from wood... which were mainly restaurants and chocolate shops, awesome!

The following day we headed south on the 7 lakes road, stopping at every viewpoint or dirt track possible to see each lake. By the end, every lake seemed to blend into one, as we had seen so many! We arrived in the town of Villa La Angostura by 2pm, so headed straight into the centre for some food before finding accommodation for the night; a lovely hostel with nice outside areas, kitchen and very cosy room... annoyingly our most expensive hostel in Argentina, but what the hell!?! We decided to save money and cook that night, but first we headed out for sunset with a bottle of vino to the lake to get some views. We sat watching a man fishing whilst being waste deep in the lake as the sun went down, only then to see that the view 50 metres behind us at another lake was even more beautiful, doh!

So, back to Bariloche the next day, and we dumped our bags back in the hostel before heading off to drive the 60km circuit, to the Llao Llao national park and back. We stopped at the most famous hotel in Argentina, the Llao Llao, asked the security guard if we could have a peek around and, once in, pretended to be staying there (if only!). It was a truly beautiful hotel, set on a hill with panoramic views all around of mountains and lakes & inside it had one huge long corridor with ball rooms, restaurants and bars coming off it... one day maybe we could stay there???! We stopped at a beach on the way for some lunch at a parilla, but were very disappointed with the small and burnt meat we got, sacrilege for Argentina. To treat ourselves when we returned the car that afternoon we had another hot chocolate in Rapa Nui, which solved everything!

We had Wednesday in Bariloche as well as our bus to Mendoza didn’t go until 4.30pm. We did a bit of shopping and had one last hot chocolate before heading to the bus station for our last overnight bus in South America.
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