Bariloche is the gateway to all the recreational and scenic splendours of the Northern Lake District and is surrounded by the 2-million-acre Nahuel Huapi National Park. Although cars, planes and buses are always arriving, you can escape not only by land, but by water too. One of the most instersting things to do in Bariloche is to take the scenic route into this sparkling wilderness of lakes, forests, mountain glaciers, waterfalls and meadows and pass from Argentina to Chile by Lake Cruise. As of things to do in Bariloche this should be on everyone’s list.
The idea was born in 1913 when a team of tourists crossed the Andes Mountains along a route joining Peulla in the Chilean side with Bariloche in Argentina. An adventure was born that formed a link between these two countries which was to become an established Lake Cruise (or Cruce de Lagos). Nowadays the “Lake District Crossing” is one of South America’s most popular surface crossings via a series of motorboats through spectacular scenery – snow-capped mountian peaks, luscious forests and azul lakes.
The lake cruises entail either a day trip or a 2-day trip from Bariloche to Puerto Montt or Puerto Veras that takes you across the 3 Andean lakes of Nahuel Hapi, Frias and Todos los Santos with gorgeous views of Cerro Tronador and Chile’s Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Tours run throughout the year except for December 25th and January 1st. This is a great option for travelers in Patagonia looking for that ‘scenic route’ while traveling. Just remember, if you plan to do this crossing, you will be required to show your passport and other travel documents before you cross the border into Chile.
So what is there to see on the Bariloche Lake Cruise as you pass from lake to lake? There are endless natural attractions for you to feast your eyes on and some which are particularly notable.
From Bariloche your first stop will be the beautiful village of Puerto Blest. It is located on the banks of the Nahuel Hapi Lake and is the landmark for an unique natural landscape. Come and spot the incredible variety of birds that flock to this location whilst admiring the majestic cypress and coihue trees that grow in the rainforest microclimate of this area. Furthermore, take an easy 650-yard (550-meter) walk up the steps that run alongside Los Cantaros Waterfall until you reach the top. Stroll along the banks of Los Cantaros Lake, which feeds the waterfall, and then enjoy free time to explore the trails of the area.
As you pass into Lake Frias, the staggering Mount Tronador will loom into view. Hovering approximately 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) above sea level, the extinct volcano is the Lake District’s highest mountain. With 9 glaciers dotted around its summit, the mountain peers out of the lush vegetation of the Cordillera de los Andes beside its equally impressive neighbours, the volcanoes of Osorno and Puntiagudo that take watch as you drift towards Chile.
Vincente Perez Rosales National Park
Once having passed into Chile do not miss the opportunity to explore the Vincente Perez Rosales National Park that runs alongside Lake Todos Los Santos. The park is named after a man who founded several towns in the Llanquihue Basin during the times of the German colonists. Its key attractions are Lago Todos los Santos and the snowcapped peak of the Osorno Volcano. You can also enjoy views of the unmistakable summit of Puntiagudo Volcano, which sits 2,493 meters above the northern horizon, and Tronador Volcano (3,491 meters), which marks the border with Argentina. From the park’s higher ground you can clearly see the paths taken by lava flows to the rivers, lakes and waterfalls of this natural paradise. The jewels of the park are the Petrohué Waterfall, which flow foaming and powerful through a canyon of volcanic rock formed by lava flows. The cascades are an amazing spectacle and certainly worth a visit.
Looking for more things to do in Bariloche? We have compiled a list of 6 things to do in Bariloche for you. For more information on trips to Bariloche or other tours in Argentina visit www.sayhueque.com