Located on the shores of Lácar Lake, inside the Park Nacional Lanín, San Martín de los Andes is considered a paradise of peace and tranquility, with its surroundings of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, hills and dazzling forests.
This typical mountain village that today dazzles those who visit it, it was originally a military settlement. In addition, due to its particular wood and stone construction, it gives it a warmth and charm characteristic of the area.
San Martín de los Andes offers its visitors numerous hotel, gastronomic and recreational proposals for all levels and ages.
During winter , the activity revolves around the winter c entrance of the Cerro Chapelco, one of the most attractive in the Patagonia, located a few kilometers from the city center. Of international level, it has 29 tracks of various difficulties, a complete service structure and the best service for lovers of skiing and white sports.
It also offers the possibility of fly fishing during the warm summer months (November to May), is the starting point for a wide variety of land and lake walks, to spend unforgettable moments in close contact with nature, at any time of year.
Among the many exciting excursions, ranging from the contemplation of unique landscapes during hikes to the adrenaline generated by adventure tourism, it is worth mentioning the Seven Lakes circuit towards Bariloche,Vill a la Angostura, Lanín volcano, Meliquina lake and Hua ridge Hum, Currhué lakes, Lahuen Co hot springs, Paimún and Huechulafquen lakes.These excursions can be done throughout the year, although during the fall (March) and spring (September) you will surely see the most beautiful and colorful landscapes.
Here is a list of the most outstanding activities to organize your trip:
Visit to the city center
One of the most beautiful characteristics of the city is that its center maintains the Andean imprint with many wooden constructions and with a meticulous care of the flowers found in squares and gardens of houses and premises. The center of San Martín de los Andes grows along the three of the most important avenues: General Villegas, San Martín and General Roca. Most of the businesses that visitors love, such as the Paseo Amancay Gallery and the Paseo del Maitén, where you will be able to find clothing. , accessories and regional handicrafts, as well as some cafes where you can enjoy the sweet flavors of the region (Cafecito Bar, Riché Patagonia, Unser Traum ).
In these avenues there are also the classic chocolate shops: Mamushka, La Vieja Aldea , Riche and Pata Negra. Also, you can enjoy the typical regional dishes in the popular restaurants: Doña Quela, La Casona, Patagonia Grill and Sunday. There are also the classic craft breweries: Good Stone, Wemul, Fassbier, Andino and Clover, ideal for having a cold beer after a day of excursions!
Other places in the city center that can be visited are the Sarmiento and Centenario squares, if you go with children there are games and places to sit and enjoy outdoors surrounded by flowers and trees. If you keep walking to the lake side, you will find the Plaza San Martín, has in the center a monument that honors José de San Martín riding his white horse. It is a nice place to sit and rest, see the trees and relax while the young people have a picnic on the grass.
In front of Plaza San Martín there is another park, which houses the Centro Visitors and the Lanín National Park Museum. There you can find information about the park, its creation and its visit. You can also learn about the history of the first settlers in the area, and the flora and fauna that can be found in the park.
At the back of this building, there is a small Craftsmen Fair nbsp ; where you can buy souvenirs and traditional gifts from the area: mates, knives, elves as "souvenirs from Patagonia", fabrics and all kinds of bijo uterie (semi-precious stones, earrings and necklaces made of alpaca or silver). There are also stalls with paper lanterns and fine fruits harvested in the area. The boys also have their exclusive stalls with puppets, kaleidoscopes and fun didactic games made of wood.
Following the walk through the center, another tourist point is one of the most representative buildings of San Martín de los Andes, the San parish José , is the patron of the city, of carpenters and loggers. The interior of the chapel is covered with wood, from the walls to the ceiling called a barrel vault because of its shape. This parish is relatively new is from 1979/1980.
See the city from the Arrayanes viewpoint
The Arrayán viewpoint is located on a high point, steps from the city center, and allows the best panoramic photos. This viewpoint is one of the most visited at any time of the year, from there the changes of the forest, the extensive water mirror of the lake and the smoke from the chimneys of the houses of the town assure you the best postcard of San Martín de los Andes .
To get to the viewpoint you can do it on car, renting a bicycle or walking (half day and medium difficulty circuit) through the narrow gravel road that leads to the Arrayán Tea House (5 kilometers). During this path you will see huge cypress trees with their evergreen foliage, you will pass through a section of the route of 7 lakes and then silence will be felt as you are surrounded by pure nature.
A kilometer later, the signs announce the viewpoint Myrtle. Upon arrival you will see a very solid wooden walkway and balcony that will allow you to feel the west wind, soft but concrete on your face. And every now and then you will hear the noise of the city, the waterfront and several motor boats that glide across the lake.
To bear in mind: From the pier on the shore of Lake Lácar, take the exit to the National Route 234 or 7 Lakes. At the height of the Monument to Roca, turn left onto Provincial Route 19.
A few meters of asphalt lead up to the structure of the former Hotel Sol de los Andes and the gravel road begins there. To return, you can take the same place or join the Arrayán circuit, which later crosses route 234 again.
Visit the Che Museum
Framed by the mountains, Lake Lácar and the picturesque city of San Martín de los Andes, La Pastera Museo del Che, is a different alternative to learn about life and thought. or from east mythical character. The museum building is a collector's item in itself dating from 1946, entirely made of wood.
From the entrance you can see the aesthetic desire to preserve that spirit of the middle of the last century, with a gasoline dispenser similar to the one that was located in La Pastera when Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado chose this place to spend the night.
In the main room, dynamic and informative panels recreate the life of the revolutionary leader, with an agile biography, accompanied by unpublished photographs. The thematic panels that complete the exhibition bring Che's vision of workers, youth, his conception of the new man, Fidel Castro and the family closer together.
The tour, which also has a tribute to those who disappeared during the military dictatorship, ends on the mezzanine floor of the room where you can see a setting with bundles of grass, recreating the space where Guevara and Granado slept in the summer of 1952.
Another way of navigating Che's life is through multimedia, produced by the Asociación Trabajadores del Estado (ATE). Among writings, videos, music and photographs, the institutional audiovisual stands out. It shows, in addition to the history of the Museum, images of the inauguration on June 20, 2008, which was attended by Aleida Guevara March, one of Che's daughters.
Learn about the history of the first settlers in your museum
The First Settlers Museum preserves part of the cultural wealth of the first communities that inhabited the Andean region .
It is located in the civic center of San Martín de los Andes. It is a typical wooden house, built in 1930, it served as the headquarters of the first Commission de Fomento and later housed the municipal authorities.In 1962, when the municipality began to function in its current building, this construction was moved nine blocks from its original location and used as a house, a shed for storing materials and a workers' dining room.
The house was recovered and restored in 1987 to open its doors as a municipal museum. The pieces it exhibits are of great historical value due to their age and state of conservation, they bear witness to different regional past facts.
The permanent samples revolve around Patagonia from the year 1,500. At that time these inhospitable lands were inhabited mostly by groups of Tehuelche origin that occupied a vast territory from the humid pampas to Tierra del Fuego.
In what is now the province of Neuquén, the dominant ethnic group was the Pehuenche, which ruled on both sides of the mountain range.
The Pehuenches received this name because their main source of food was the pine nut of the araucaria or pehuén. Organized in family groups, they moved and they ran over large areas. Numerous utensils and arrowheads found in this region are preserved in the museum. Other objects found are Valdivian pots discovered in excavations carried out within the municipal ejido.
The museum also exhibits a small sample of paleontology, donated by the collector Erico Berry, with fossils of fish and crustaceans found in the western sector of Neuquén and on the coast of Chubut.
Where to eat the best chocolates
It is impossible to go through San Martín de los Andes without being tempted by the various chocolatiers in the city, each offering its original range of artisan elaborations that include all kinds of chocolates: branches, chocolates, tablets, waterfalls and toppings.
If you want to visit the best have Here are the most recognized chocolate days:
-Mamusia: Mamusia is a chocolate shop but also many other things. It is a family business that raises the banner of the third generation by building a sweet history. A space that found a place not only for chocolate in its endless forms and ingredients, but also for regional sweets, artisan candles and finally, ice creams.
The years and its belonging to the history of San Martín de los Andes give it identity and make it part of the community. It is the first chocolate in the city and it begins in the kitchen of Mamusia, the family's grandmother (who came from Poland to San Martín de los Andes in 1972). Mamusia rises in a strategic place and architectural heritage of the city. The history of the building that today houses the chocolate shop has a long history. The old Bar Lerín used to be there, a bar for drinks and bowls that, although abandoned for years, retained that typical facade of the first buildings in San Martín.
Today this traditional chocolate shop offers among its various products elaborations with the finest raw materials that give rise to the classic filled chocolates with and without liquor, chocolates with dried fruits, nougats and bar chocolates. The most requested are those filled with cream and pistachios, semi-soft tiramisu, marzipan with semisweet chocolate, grapes with cognac, Swiss cream, raspberries or whiskey .
-Mamuschka: A company founded in 1989 by Juan Carlos Carzalo. Among the delicious creations of the Russian doll brand is the nougat timbale, layered with almond praline, caramel and Mamusch Cream.
All the milk, semi-bitter and bitter chocolates are made from cocoa beans from Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil. The chocolate shop is constantly innovating, as in the tablets 70% cocoa from Chuao de Venezuela, 85% cocoa from the Ecuadorian Amazon and 56% cocoa from Chuao with nuts.
Mamuschka's new 63% cocoa branch chocolate and Malbec chocolates made with Malamado de Familia Zuccardi are also part of the brand's innovations.
In the picturesque shop you can also find other sweet products such as caramel dates, lemon mousse and homemade marzipan with amaretto. Boxed or canned chocolates (including personalized handmade boxes), children's sweets, bars, nougats, ice creams and the unique chocolate stick.
-Pata Negra: Born in 2016 in San Martín de los Andes, with a different and modern vision. You can also see how they are manufactured in its retail store, in the heart of the city.
Currently, it has become one of the flagship chocolate shops in San Martín de The Andes. The place is excellent to take a break and try the different types of hot chocolates. From chocolate with wine to white chocolate with churros, it is one of the varieties that you can find. Don't leave without trying the dulce de leche and Baileys chocolates! The place is small but has tables to sit on. It is open from early morning until 9 at night.
-Grandma Goye: Dry chocolate bars and tablets are one of the classics of the brand. Although it is impossible not to try the chocolate bars filled with fruits, liqueurs and mousse. They also produce chocolates filled with fine fruits, liqueurs, nuts, dulce de leche, cookies, fruits dipped in chocolate and white alfajores, semi-sweet, glazed, filled with dulce de leche and with chocolate mousse or fine fruit candy.
If you want to eat something sweet but at the same time fresh I recommend you try one of the more than seventy flavors of ice cream produced in Abuela Goye.
Trekking to the Mirador Bandurrias
It is one of the most popular trekkings in San Martín de los Andes, it can be done throughout the year and the difficulty is low, since it is a 5 kilometers that takes about half a day.
The path to the Bandurrias viewpoint starts behind the effluent treatment plant, at the end of Juez del Valle street, in the Costanera del Lake Lácar. From this point there are signs that mention the viewpoint and a gate that will indicate that you are entering the lands of the Mapuche community.
The path is wide with a gentle slope, it is a pedestrian path that enters the forest. The march is continually uphill. During the tour you will find a variety of fauna accompanied by cypress trees, radal , oak and coihue.
Once at the Bandurrias viewpoint you will have one of the best views of the city, Cerro Chapelco, Cerro Abanic o, the beaches of Catritre and Quila Quina, and the entire Lácar lake.
From the Bandurrias viewpoint you can also you can access the Islita viewpoint, where you can also enjoy beautiful panoramic views. To get to this other viewpoint it is a few kilometers along a path (Islita) that leaves from Bandurrias (it is signposted).
Enjoy the beaches of Lago Lacar
Despite its glacial origin and how cold the water in Lake Lacar is, you can enjoy its fine stone beaches during the summer. Also They are very beautiful for fishing, camping, picnicking, walking along the banks or having a few mates while enjoying beautiful sunsets with views of the mountains and the blue lake.
I recommend you read our note on the Best beaches in San Martín de los Andes, where you will have the most complete information on all the city's beaches.
Skiing and snowboarding at Cerro Chapelco
In the northwest of the Patagonia Argentina, in the province of Neuquén and 20 kilometers from the city of San Martín de los Andes is located one of the most important ski centers and historical data of our country: Chapelco Ski Resort.
Chapelco hill has a height of 1,980 meters above sea level. The maximum length of the track is 5.3 kilometers and its slopes range from from 20 to 45 degrees of incline. It has more than 28 slopes of different levels of difficulty, which offers attractive alternatives for all kinds of demands throughout its more than 1600 hectares of skiable area.
Chapelco has a fascinating view of Lake Lácar, the tranquility of the lengas forests and the impressive background view of the Lanín.
The winter resort has all the variables for practicing alpine, cross-country and cross-country skiing, as well as snowboard and its usual exhibits of half pipe, parallel slalom big air and fun park in the snowboard park located at the end of the Graeff chair, on platform 1,700.
The season for all these activities in Chapelco is from mid-June to mid-October.
While throughout the year you can enjoy in your small village (base of Cerro Chapelco) first class restaurants, clothing stores, souvenirs, there are clothing rental stores for skiing, has a large parking lot, information center, nursery and shuttle buses to the center.
Another very fun way to enjoy this hill is to hire the excursion to Chapelco and viewpoints, where in addition to being able to enjoy all the winter activities, you will be able to discover all the natural beauty of the area, passing through the viewpoints where you will capture incredible photos.
You will have time to explore the winter center, you can rent equipment to enjoy the snow by skiing or snowboarding, or take a snowshoe hike. It's an excursion for the whole family!
On the excursion you will arrive at the Pil Pil viewpoint, where you will have impressive views of the valley and Lake Lacar. The excursion also includes a walk and tour of the lands of the Mapuche Curruhuinca community , and you will get to know the small settlement called White Bridge. At the end of the excursion you will pass through the famous circuit of the Arrayán Viewpoint, where you can see the entire city next to Lake Lacar, and in the background you will find the Cordillera de los Andes.
In the case of not going with an excursion to Cerro Chapelco, getting there is very easy, accessible and fast since from the center you can do it in 30 minutes to the base. If you do it renting a car. You have to go from the center on Route 40 to the base of the hill there are about 20 kilometers of asphalt and everything is very well signposted. In the case of go by bus from the center, you must take line 6 which also leaves you at the base.
Take the cable car to the Confitería Antulauquen
To get to the Antulauquen confectionery you have to go to the base from the Chapelco ski center 19 kilometers from the center of San Martin de los Andes. Once there you have to go to the cable car sector located a few meters from the base parking lot.
By ascending 1600 meters above sea level until you reach the confectionery you will be able to appreciate wonderful landscapes of Lake Lacar, Mount Chapelco and the centuries-old forests that surround this ascent.
The Antulauquen confectionery has capacity for 400 diners, in addition to having tables and chairs inside, you can also enjoy its deck-style balconies throughout the year. The restaurant is built in wood and offers barbecue mountain meals, fast food, self-service, kiosk, cloakroom and a boutique shopping area.
The menu is very varied, You can have breakfast, lunch or in the afternoon have the classic herbal tea or a hot chocolate. Antulauquen is characterized by its excellent pastry, where the cakes, tarts, scones, muffins, brioches, brownies and mini ham, chicken or tenderloin sandwiches stand out. If you want to try one of their cakes, don't miss the candied orange cream or the traditional apple strudel.
Meals can also be accompanied with fruit juices station, all kinds of infusions and coffees. They have savory and sweet dishes, such as hamburgers, pizzas, empanadas and meats on the plate.
Refresh at Ñivinco Waterfall
A halfway between San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura along the Camino de los Siete Lagos is the path of low difficulty leading to the Ñivinco waterfall.
The walking tour is ideal for those who travel along Route 40 and an opportunity to get to know the North Patagonian Andean forest.
Before starting the journey, it is advisable to stop for a moment at the ranger station Villarino (35 km from the city), where information is offered and excursion departures are recorded. La casa del The park ranger is located on the route about five kilometers north of the entrance to the trail (Ñivinco waterfall).
Next, the signs indicate on the side of the Camino de los Siete Lagos a detour towards the waterfall. 20 meters away is the car park and a few meters away, a gate that begins this peaceful 45 minute walk (the path has an area of approximately 4 kilometers) that offers as a reward among its great attractions, a shallow pool of crystalline waters where it is possible to cool off.
When you get to the Ñivinco waterfall you will see a large beach of stones of various colors and, in front, the broadest arm of the stream with a great slope of rocky wall that drops a curtain of water. On the left, something imposing: several jumps produced by a steep drop ending in a zigzag staircase that allows the water to slide gently.
In the area that covers this waterfall you will find forests of ñires and colihue cane . Each species presents its characteristics: the ñire, its leaves with curled edges; the chinchin, its intense shine; the colihue reeds seem disheveled.
To bear in mind, it is ideal to bring a snack, since there are no points to buy food or drinks in the whole area.
Visit Parque Nacional Lanín
The Lanín National Park is the third largest in Argentina. It has from blue lakes, an exotic local fauna, Mapuche communities, forests to an extinct volcano. It is a mandatory stop on your visit!
With 412,000 hectares located in the northwest of the province of Neuquén, the Lanín National Park protects forests Andean-Patagonian since 1937. From It takes its name from the Lanín volcano, which rises in the northern sector of the park and rises above the surrounding peaks by more than 1,500 meters.
The National Park also includes 24 lakes of glacial origin completing a natural environment of great diversity. Only in this sector of the Neuquén mountain range are developed tree species such as pehuén, located more exactly between Lake Ñorquinco and Huechulafquen.
The more humid environments give rise to another peculiarity of this reservation: the Valdivian rainforest, which has a great variety of endemic species. In this environment, the coihue reaches a great development. And in the dense undergrowth the colihue cane and shrubs such as michay and black hawthorn close the path. In the southwestern and northern part of the park a native tree grows: the pellín oak, along with the coihue and the raulí, also native to the place.
The variety of flora is added the heterogeneity of animal species. The Lanín National Park protects three species in danger of extinction: the huemul, the pudú and the huillín. The torrent duck lives near rapid waters and it swims against the current in search of insect larvae, which it catches by skillfully diving and turning rocks with its beak. The great diving duck and the spectacled duck also inhabit the lacutres environments along with the huala, the macá, the crested and flying steam ducks, and the red garter coot, among others.
In the thickets of Caña colihue hides the chucao and huet-huet walking birds and among the birds of prey you can see the peregrine falcon, the black eagle and the common harrier.
Among the Fish can be found introduced species such as salmonids, which displaced Creole trout, Patagonian silverside and puyén , among other autochthonous specimens.
To get to Lanín National Park from San Martín de los Andes, you can access renting a car and going along the national route 234 during 432 kilometers to the main access. Another of the most recommended ways is to hire the 3-day hike through Lanín National Park with transfers and shelters included throughout the year.
Snowshoe hike in the Valle Escondido
The Hidden Valley is located 30 minutes by car from San Martín de los Andes. This valley reaches almost 1700 masl, which ensures incredible views of Lake Lacar, Lanin Volcano, Lacar Valley and you can also see the imposing Cerro Chapelco and an infinity of valleys, peaks and streams.
Through the snowshoe hike you will discover a large part of the area that is surrounded by lengas forests and you can always appreciate it in the background Lake Lacar.
You also get to the famous Stone of the Lion King (named for its shape similar to that shown in the Disney movie), a 1550 meters above sea level, where through a via ferrata (anchorage with safety harnesses) you can experience standing on the tip of the stone on a wonderful lenga forest with an unforgettable landscape.
This 45-minute walk is ideal for families with children, the elderly or for those who simply do not like to make great physical efforts. It allows you to enjoy the forest, the views and recreation with very little physical demand .
Tour the hiking circuits in San Martín de los Andes
In San Martín de los Andes, adventure tourism activities are one of the most chosen by visitors, but the most popular are trekking along the trails that run through volcanoes, hills, forests, lagoons and lakes.
The circuits are mostly of low and medium difficulty, which allows you to venture on most of the walks that will take you to unusual places with beautiful panoramic views.
I recommend you read our note on the best trekkings in San Martín de los Andes, where you will have the most complete information about all the hiking circuits.
Rafting on the Río Chimehuin
The Chimehuin River is an infinite source of activities. One of them is rafting, which is possible thanks to emblematic passes such as the Sauce Rapid, La Boca del Lobo, El Pozón de las Viudas, La Pared del Viento, La Herradura or El Canal, which can all be done in about an hour and a half.
The Chimehuin River is of a degree of difficulty II and adds to its proximity the majestic presence of the Lanín volcano, very fun rapids and maximum security for those who think about enjoying it as a family.
To get to the river, you can access by car from the city of San Martín de los Andes to Junín (1 hour by RN40) or hiring a excursion rafting down the Chimehuin River, where you have transfers included and all the necessary equipment to navigate (approximate duration of 6 hours - half a day)
During the descent of the river you will also be able to enjoy of El Pozón de las Viudas, La Pared del Viento, La herradura and other nooks and crannies of the river. Among the animal species that you could cross during the circuit are the Jotes duck, the condors, the Martin Pescador, deer and wild boars. The landscape in this river tends to be rather steppe although always surrounded by cypress trees. poplars and willows.
The flow of the Chimehuin River depends on the thaws and summer temperatures. The best time of year to navigate it is between January and February, when the waters go down and acquire the irregularities of the bottom, which makes rafting more fun. It is always important to keep in mind that in November (the thaw season) the rivers are at their peak of flood, presenting a rafting with much water, faster and a lot of shaking. Towards the end of the season (March - April) the water level drops, hence its degree, speed, flow and number of rapids. It becomes calmer.
Horseback riding through the Mapuche community
A horse and a guide are enough to reach the least accessible places in the region. The horseback riding through the Community Mapuche allows you to understand the landscape surrounding San Martín de Los Andes from the inside. In addition, the Mapuches offer a different vision of the world, far from the busy rhythm of the cities. This activity is carried out within the Mapuche Vera Community (Base of Cerro Chapelco 20 kilometers from the city), being the service provided by them with their concept of service and community guides.
L the Mapuches together with their horses will take them to places inaccessible by any other means, natural beauties that sometimes we don't even imagine, as well as points of relevant cultural importance, geological or historical.
They will also cross the rivers Ruculeufu, Chimeuin and Hermoso, thick forests that contrast with areas of steppe and walls of rock, where several waterfalls and streams can be observed.
These departures are made every afternoon throughout the year and have a duration of a full day (5 hours).
Bathing in the Termas de Lahuen Có
The Lahuen Có hot springs (miraculous waters in the Mapuche language), are ideal to enjoy a spa day in one of the most paradisiacal corners of the Lanín National Park (North sector of the park).
The Lahuen Co hot springs are also known as Epulafquen hot springs for the homonymous lake located near the area.
The national park built some comfortable walkways, which allow easy access to the different natural pools, experience the temperature of its waters and enjoy this geological wonder.
Today science is aware of the health benefits that these volcanic waters have, so I recommend you go through them when you are in San Martín de Los Andes.
These hot springs are located a few kilometers from the border with Chile and the Carrirriñe International Pass, their main access from San Martín de los Andes is through provincial route 62, that passes through ancient forests in its purest form, crosses a river of solidified lava (El Escorial) and several water bodies with volcanic sand beaches.
Visit Villa La Angostura on the way of the Seven Lagos
The walk through the Seven Lakes ( Machónico, Falkner, Villarino, Escondido, Correntoso, Espejo and Nahuel Huapi lakes) is one of the most requested by those who visit San Martín de los Ande s. The route covers more than 100 kilometers from San Martín to Villa La Angostura (The circuit is along the famous Route 40, noted for its amazing landscapes).
If you are a great adventurer to be able to do this tour by bicycle, (2 hours) or else with the tour Road of the Seven Lakes to Villa La Angostura. The excursions (duration 9 hours) include some of the most incredible places such as Río Hermoso, Lakes Machónico, Hermoso, Villarino, Oichi, Traful, Espejo Chico, Grande, Correntoso and the beautiful waterfall known as Vullignanco.
A complete tour of this path can take half a day or a whole day. Upon reaching the end of the route in Villa La Angostura located on the northwest of Lake Nahuel Huapi), you will be able to observe the most picturesque mountain landscapes of Argentina in the different viewpoints. This small town is immersed in the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi , surrounded by lakes and framed in the main protected areas of Patagonia. The forests are crossed by rivers, waterfalls and mountains that change their colors through the different seasons of the year.
Also In Villa La Angostura you will be able to know the port of the lake, Quintupuray, the Messidor, the center of the city and its surroundings. During the whole circuit has the camera ready because you will be able to take incredible photos of the mountains, blue lakes and forests!
Another excellent option from San Martín de los Andes is to do the excursion Camino de los Siete Lagos to Bariloche and Paso Córdoba. This 12-hour tour also reaches Villa La Angostura and continues to Bariloche , where you will have free time to explore the city and have lunch with its typical gastronomy.
Then the return to San Martín de los Andes is made by the "Natural Amphitheater", where you will be able to appreciate the exuberant rock formations, following the Paso Córdoba, the Caleufú and the nascent town of Meliquina.
Visit Lago Meliquina
A few kilometers from the city of San Martín de los Andes (35 kilometers) is a hidden paradise: Villa Lago Meliquina.
This town located on the eastern head of the homonymous lake, in a small valley and surrounded by mountains is where its first settlers settled in the eighties, after the owners of those lands, the Steverlynck family, decided to subdue a part of their stay.
Much water has since passed under the bridge that crosses the Meliquina river and that gives access to the town: the picturesque houses were brushing the landscape to turn the town into one of the most beautiful places and with the greatest tourist projections in Patagonia.
With a clear conservationist philosophy, most of the houses of the town use wind power generators and the concept of "zero waste" is already a reality. The services of the village are not far behind either: there are various accommodation possibilities, from 4-star hotels, through lodge-type establishments, to cabin complexes.
On the other hand, the local restaurants are known for their abundant regional dishes and for the quality of their grills.
To visit this hidden little town on car you have to take the Seven Lakes route until you reach the gendarmerie control in front of the Hermoso river and, once there, turn onto provincial route number 63. Winding the south bank of the lake, you will pass in front of the first clubs of fishing in the region, established in the area since the 1930s.
As you walk the path you will find several natural viewpoints that will allow you to take beautiful photos and you will also have place to enjoy the tranquility of the forest next to the water mirror. Finally, after traveling the 13 kilometers of gravel that separate it from the asphalt route, you will find the town crowning the end of the lake.
Trekking to Colorado Volcano
Trekking is an activity that has many followers in San Martín de los Andes and the ascent to the Colorado Volcano is one of the most visited, both to reach the summit and to practice prior to others more difficult ascents.
The journey begins at the foot of the Colorado (40 minutes from the city) in front of Piedra de Trompul, an iconic rocky promontory of about 800 masl within Mapuche territory. The path (Colorado) to the volcano begins in a small forest next to Route 48. From afar you can see the summit that stands out for its conical shape and by the red color of the volcanic material that makes up its soil.
During the way you will cross the stream that comes down from Cerro Colorado and on the right side of the canyon you can see the footprint to start the walk of 1,000 meters of unevenness that exist between foot and the top. The duration of the trek to reach the peak is approximately two and a half hours at a medium pace.
As they advance they will cross lengas forests, in the first section they have firm and erect trunks but as they ascend they lose its shape. When they exceed 1,500 meters above sea level, it can be seen that the lengas are stunted as a result of the continuous snowfalls that modify their structure due to the weight and time that they cover them.
The leaves of the lenga and ñire in autumn turn their color towards an intense reddish and coppery, and offer a very showy mountain to contemplate or photograph.
Near the top, you will probably have to do a few meters with some snow. These ascents are made from October to November, you have to provide gaiters, waterproof ski pants and poles (they can be supplanted with reeds found on the route) as part of the equipment.
Upon reaching the top, the ground is of an intense red color formed by stone of volcanic origin. From this great vantage point you will be able to appreciate Lake Lácar, Lolog, the Chapelco mountain range, los cerros Fan, Sabana, Mallo , the Lanín volcano and the immense Andes mountain range that shows some of its snowy peaks.
To get to the Colorado volcano, first you have to start from its base and you can go renting a car From San Martín de los Andes along National Route 234 towards Junín de los Andes and after 3 kilometers take National Route 48 to the left.After 7 to 8 kilometers along the gravel road, you will cross the Pampa de Trompul and then the Piedra Trompul. In front of the latter there are indicative signs that mark the beginning of the route to the Colorado volcano.
Another option and the most recommended is to perform the excursion trekking to the Colorado volcano. The ascent takes an average of 3 hours with transfers included from the city.
Get to know Lago Lolog
The beaches of Lake Lolog are among the most chosen by visitors and residents of San Martín de los Andes.
The main qualities of these beaches are the warm water in the summer months (December to February). At Bonita beach you can go about 300 meters and the water reaches your waist: ideal for groups with boys. They also have lifeguards throughout the day.
Another point in favor of this beach is that unlike the rest, the bottom is sandy and it is not necessary to get in with sandals, since there are no stones that make it uncomfortable when swimming or walking.
To go to Lake Lolog from the center you have to take National Route 62 and do about 12 kilometers. The whole road is paved and very well signposted. When you get to the fork after a straight of about three kilometers, you can choose to go to the popular Playa Bonita (on the left) or continue to La Herradura.
If you continue and take the path on the right, you will reach the bridge of the Quilquihue river and then on the left, about 500 meters opens the Lolog lake, with the also popular beach of La Herradura, where there is a food track and chemical toilets.
As in the previous case, you can get into the lake for about 300 meters with the water at a low level. On both beaches many dive without a suit and can spend an hour in the water without feeling cold. A few meters later you will find a parador with a stove and bathrooms to spend the day.
A few kilometers further on there are the beaches of Los Cipreses with launching of boats and great space to sunbathe and walk peacefully.
In general, there are usually many people throughout the day in Playa Bonita and in the others the presence of visitors increases after 5 pm, when many finish working in San Martín.
The Lolog has another peculiarity: its coasts belong to two departments: Lacar (San Martín de los Andes) reaches the Quiquihue River. On the other side, it is already the Huiliche department (Junin de los Andes). On the San Martín side there is a small town where they rent kayaks and sell smoothies, hamburgers and ice creams in a house that was converted into a parador.
Going out to dance in San Martín de los Andes
In San Martín de Los Andes people also fully enjoy the nightlife that the Andean city offers. There is a great variety of bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, pubs, with music for all tastes, live shows and a very varied audience. Here are the highlights:
-Club Disco Velvet: It is the key place that welcomes all the young people who come to San Martín. It has two bars, two dance floors, animations and DJs.
In its lounges, corridors and courts you will be able to enjoy the bars with n the most varied cocktails, they also have the classic Patagonian craft beers. Velvet has a plant with a stage where some nights there are musical shows and a track where national and international rock classics pass. After 3 am you will be able to enjoy all kinds of pop music, reggaeton, cumbia and techno. It can accommodate up to 600 people.
- Dublin: This bar is one of the meeting points for the inhabitants of the town of San Martín, you will see groups of friends at your door all with a beer in hand and chatting about life. When you enter the door you will come across a billboard of the city of Dublin.
The pub is open all year, you can enjoy more than 14 varieties of beer artisan accompanied every day from 8 pm by blues, jazz and rock musical shows. It also stands out for being an emblematic bar related to art and culture.
-Malabar: It is another of the sites considered as "the corner of town", it is an excellent place to converse with Sanmartinenses while in the background s uena from national and international rock to reggae.
At night this corner is usually filled with people dancing to the rhythm of the music. The bar opens from 11 pm to 5 am. S e stands out for its drinks, drinks, music and the atmosphere that is breathed by people with very good vibes, that is why it is also known as the Malabar family.
- Manchester Pub: An ideal environment for groups of friends enjoying a special pizza with beer and good music. Classic games are also offered table to invite whoever you want until late at night.
It is a British-style bar, with English music, which has an outdoor deck, this set with paintings and photos that distinguish the place.
Play at the Magic Casino in San Martín de los Andes
Located in the heart of the mountain village, Casino Magic San Martín de los Andes
is located just 4 blocks from the civic center and 9 blocks from the waterfront of Lake Lácar. This Cordilleran Casino offers its visitors good service and multiple entertainment. A gaming room with 152 slot machines including electronic roulette, roulette tables, Black Jack, Baccarat, Poker and a bar with a great variety of drinks.
You will also find multi-denomination slots, video games, poker, electronic roulette and traditional roller games. The gaming tables are open all year round.
In the Pub Corner simple dishes are offered to enjoy with friends , good music and live shows every Saturday from midnight. You will be able to enjoy various shows with international, national or local artists from Tuesday to Sunday.
If you want to know more about excursions, accommodation and all the information about San Martín de los Andes, contact us.