Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nahuel Huapi Lake and Arrayanes Forest

Yesterday we got a break in the weather and took off for the Bosque de los Arrayanes, the only place in the world where the Arrayan tree grows. It's at the end of a 12 km long peninsula, shown in the last photo here. We decided to take a boat there, and then hike back (13 km along a beautiful trail, highly recommended). The tour of the forest takes about one hour, and we did the hike in 2 1/2 hours. The third and fourth pictures are of Puerto Manzano, located just a few miles from where we were staying in La Angostura. The whole area is spectacular. The lake itself is huge, probably as big as Lake Tahoe, and it is full of gigantic islands, all surrounded by snow-covered peaks.

The main airport for the lake is in Bariloche, which has now become a small but important city. If you're travelling to the region you'll most likely fly into Bariloche. Avoid the city, though, because it is not very impressive. Go anywhere but the city and you will find dozens upon dozens of charming hosterias. We had lunch today at the Llao Llao Hotel, which is about a 45 minute drive north of Bariloche. It is obviously one of the 10 most beautiful hotels in the world. You could spend a day driving around to different viewpoints taking pictures of it. Of course you'll pay American prices there: $300+ for a room with a moutain view, $500 for a lake view. Much as we like the Llao Llao, we thought that Villa La Angostura, on the other side of the lake, was much more charming, and almost as beautiful, plus being more secluded and off the beaten path.

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