March 8, 2008

Lake Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia


Lake Nahuel Huapi's beauty goes without saying–it's almost overwhelming.   At each turn, you're met with a breathtaking view.  Located in the Argentinean  Patagonia, the lake is surrounded by mountains and dotted with islands.   The town of Bariloche sits on the edge of the lake.  It's known for its alpine style buildings and Swiss-style chocolate shops. 

Famed ski resort La Catedral (The Cathedral) is there, and so is Llao Llao, one of the world's most luxurious resorts.  But the real attraction is that you can't get the same photo twice, not even if you took photos all day long.  The lake reflects the light, the lake reflects the mountains, the view goes on forever, sometimes the mountains are more visible than others.  And when you get home and make prints, it seems that no photo does the place justice.

The town of Bariloche is charming, too, with its feel of old-world Europe.  St. Bernard dogs lol about in the main plaza, shops selling chocolate and hand-knits (made of yarn from local sheep) line the streets.  The gnome is the local mascot, and all through town, the Swiss Chalet vibe is everywhere–wood and stone buildings with shutters, steep roofs and flower-filled window boxes are all over town.  The look is thanks to the German and Welsh who founded the town.

Outside town, tea houses line the road; another throwback from the Welsh who settled here (and raised sheep).  Don't miss the gondola ride up the Cerro Otto.  Enjoy the 360-degree view of the area and then stop for a drink at the tacky-chic revolving restaurantNahuel-Huapi can also be enjoyed by boat–tours are available from a number of companies. 

  • On your way out of town, drive the amazing Ruta de los Siete Lagos–The Route of the Seven Lakes will have you barreling down unpaved roads through forest and pasture, with seven breathtaking scenic lakes as stopping points along the way.  The route ends in another charming picturesque town, Villa La Angostura, which is worth exploring.
  • Patagonia is a place that stays in your heart forever, if only in pictures, of which you frankly, can't take enough.

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    6 Responses to “Lake Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia”

    1. Breathtaking photo! My cousin traveled to Bariloche several years ago — he didn’t bring back any photos, but he did bring a wooden spoon for my collection so I forgave him! What a lovely place to spend your honeymoon.

    2. Lovely! So cool about the rescue dogs!

    3. My DH and I always wanted to go to New Zealand for the hiking, but maybe Patagonia is the way to go?

    4. Hambone and I spent our honeymoon in Bariloche, skiing at Cerro Catedral, in 1994. We loved it. Seventeen years ago, it was a quiet destination and we felt like we had the slopes to ourselves—well, us and scores of Brazilian schoolchildren in rental snowsuits on “spring break”. And, seventeen years ago, a 750-ml bottle of malbec cost less than a 1L bottle of soda or fizzy water so we had wine with every meal. We’d look forward to taking our kids hiking when it’s summer there.

    5. What a beautiful photo! It is so true that a picture just doesn’t do the real thing justice. I love scenes like that.

    6. Oh my – A gondola ride up Cerro Otto? 360 degree views AND a revolving restaurant? I am so there.
      (And while you may feel the photo doesn’t do the lake justice, the rest of your post surely does!)

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