The great diversity of Patagonia’s mythical landscapes with its colorful lakes, rivers, forests, snow-capped Andean peaks and glaciers provide the ideal setting for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The region is well known for its world-class ski and winter sports resorts, but the summer months (December through March) are an ideal time to explore the immensity of the region’s natural wonders with warmer temperatures and longer days, including 15 hours of daylight on average.
Adventure enthusiasts will find a wide array of activities to enjoy the great outdoors from ziplining, mountain biking and hiking to horseback riding and kayaking, just to name a few. Golfers can find inspiration in the region’s stunning scenery and challenge their game on world-class courses and fly-fishing fans will find some of the best fly-fishing in the world in Patagonia’s rivers and lakes.
San Carlos de Bariloche (or Bariloche for short), set on the banks of Lake Nahuel Huapi with its distinct Alpine-influenced architecture and artisanal chocolate shops dotted throughout town, is the main gateway to Patagonia’s lake district. A little over an hour’s drive north of Bariloche is the charming town of Villa La Angostura with its great lake beaches and wide range of dining, shopping, and accommodations options. One of Argentina’s most scenic drives begins here. The Road of the Seven Lakes is a beautiful stretch of the country’s legendary Route 40 linking the towns of San Martín de los Andes to Villa La Angostura.
One of the best ways to see and experience Patagonia’s riches is by visiting Argentina’s wide network of national parks, 17 of which are located in the Patagonia region, and many of them are listed UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some of the more popular parks include Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina’s oldest; Los Arrayanes National Park, a forest of native arrayán trees with their cinnamon color trunks; Los Alerces National Park and its 2,600 year-old larch trees; and Lago Puelo National Park where the main feature is Puelo Lake with its changing verdant colors and its wide range of water sports.
Travelers looking for a cooler experience can visit Los Glaciares National Park, the largest of Argentina’s national parks, and home to some of the most majestic Patagonian landscapes with rugged towering mountain peaks, forests and glacial lakes, including 100-mile long Lake Argentino. The park is named after the various glaciers that call it home with the main attraction being the Perito Merino glacier and its thunderous ruptures. From here, it is also possible to visit El Chaltén, one of the most picturesque towns in Patagonia, famous for its hiking circuits.
Patagonia’s lake district is easily accessible with regularly scheduled flights from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche, San Martín de los Andes, Esquel, and El Calafate. (gateway to Los Glaciares National Park). Visitors can also choose from a wide array of accommodations that range from luxury boutique hotels and cozy bed and breakfasts, to glamping and classic campgrounds.