TREN DE LA PATAGONIA (PATAGONIA TRAIN) - A Trip Back in Time
A tour inside the train
- Carriage left for Family Nº 667: this carriage was manufactured by the English in 1913. It was for the Line heads and their families; it has three bedrooms, toilet, kitchen and a service room.
- Tourist Carriage Nº 128 and 167: The Nº 128 was fitted onto a Gloucester chassis and the bodywork manufactured in 'pinotea' in 1914 by Entre Ríos Railways. The Nº 671 was a Western Railway bedroom carriage, manufactured in Birmingham in 1914.
- Eating room Carriage Nº556 and 546: these carriages are fitted onto a Gloucester chassis (British origin), and the bodywork was fully manufactured in cedar wood and mahogany.
- Engine Nº 121: North Britige brand, manufactured in Scotland in 1912, Carguera Chaco style.
Boarding the Tren de la Patagonia will be done at the Ferrocarril de la Ciudad (City Railway) de San Carlos de Bariloche, as from there you will depart on this marvellous train. After departing, you will travel for 25 minutes, enjoying the marvels that Nature offers at the Nahuel Huapi bank. After this you will take the bridge that crosses the beautiful Ñirihuau river, where you will be able to take pictures of a unique and fantastic place. Later, on your second stop, you will arrive at Ñirihuau station. This place has an excellent view, where you can observe Cerro Catedral's unmistakable beauty, the majestic view of Tronador hill or the Capilla hill's harmony, together with other natural marvels.
Listening to the voice of "pasajeros al tren..." ("passengers on board.") you will resume the trip to "Los Juntos" station (Perito Moreno). This stretch will take you about 45 minutes of a journey full of heavenly landscapes.
You will stop at "Los Juntos" station for about 60 minutes to do endless activities. You will be able to visit the station, which keeps a great quantity of migratory birds; you will observe the old railway buildings and will enjoy a unique environment.
CERRO CATEDRAL Total journey: 45 km.
Lasting: half day.
Catedral hill offers a huge infrastructure of service and means to enjoy skiing in winter or the sightseeing of the amazing view as from the summit.
It is called Catedral due to its shape, which is similar to the towers that crown the summit of a Gothic Cathedral. Different kinds of rising mean allow access to it at all seasons. Hotel and gourmet services and a variety of shops satisfy tastes and needs for the great quantity of skiers and tourists who arrive year after year. In summer there are different kinds of activities that let you fully enjoy nature in its wooden slopes. You can come back going down Gutiérrez lake.
CERRO OTTO (Otto hill)
Lasting: 2 hours
Taking km. 1 of Los Pioneros you go up to Piedras Blancas winter complex (km. 5) on a slightly winding road, ahead you will find the cross-country skiing tracks the Refuge and Berkoff museum
Cerro Otto Cable car
Free bus as from Mitre and Villegas or by car along Los Pioneros Avenue up to Km. 5, you arrive at the Cable car low station. Going up to the summit in panoramic gondolas, 1.405 metres above sea level. At the summit you find the Confitería Giratoria (revolving tea house) the only one in the country. You also find the Art Gallery where reproductions of the works by Miguel Angel Bounarotti: El David, La Piedad and el Moisés are exhibited. They are produced by the Florencia Pietro Bazzanti Gallery, Italy. The surroundings of the Art Gallery are ideal for a tour in the woods, with snow in Winter, with a mantle of flowers in Spring and Summer or with the magic Autumn colours.
Half day lasting.
The trip starts in Bariloche going along the Nahuel Huapi lake. The passenger will find Playa Bonita at km. 8 and from there you will be able to see Huemul Island . 10 kms. ahead you will reach Cerro Campanario's (Belfry Hill) base. Here a chairlift takes the passenger to the summit (1,050 m. above sea level). The passenger will be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful and fascinating views in the region. People can see Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno lakes, Trébol Small lake, San Pedro Peninsula , Llao Llao and Victoria island . On Llao Llao Peninsula we find San Eduardo chapel, which is considered an architectural jewel designed by the well-known architect Bustillo.
On Nahuel Huapi lake you find Pañuelo port from where crafts set sail for boat excursions.
Resuming the journey, you cross the Angostura Bridge above the river that takes the same name, which joins Moreno and Nahuel Huapi lakes. You go past Bahía López at the hill base of the same name, with a view above the Moreno lake and Llao Llao Peninsula . After that, you take the bridge above Moreno lake and start going along Trébol small lake back to the city, closing 'circuito chico'.
If you make this trip by car, Llao Llao wood offers you an excellent chance to walk along the paths that will join you to nature.
You will also be able to divert towards Colonia Suiza (Swiss Colony) and enjoy the view of a tea house or try 'curanto', a typical meal. This settlement goes back to the last Century, where the first Swiss settlers arrived from the South of Chile
CERRO TRONADOR Y CASCADA DE LOS ALERCES (Tronador Hill and Alerces Cascade)
Whole trip: 225 km.
Lasting: all day
Be ready for amazement. This excursion of unique characteristics will show you something surprising. Not only will you see an amazing landscape but also two uncommon phenomena.
You will visit Ventisquero Negro (Black Blizzard place) whose origin is the immaculate whiteness of Tronador's summit. Right there Manso river rises and goes down as from Tronador to the Atlantic , but it decides to go back to the mountain range, and at Los Alerces cascade it regrets and takes south-eastwards going away from the mountain range. However, it comes across Villegas river and goes back to the mountains; it crosses the mountain range and takes its waters to the Pacific. That is why all that area you will visit is Pacific Basin and not Atlantic. That is the reason of the sign "Divisoria de Aguas" (Water division) that is found between Gutiérrez and Mascardi lakes.
Not only will you be touring around an area full of woods, lakes, beaches, mountains and cascades and incredible landscapes but also you will see curiosities of nature. These are special phenomena in a place where magic is always present.
Height of the hill: 3,554 m.. The journey starts in Bariloche Onnelli St. , which leads to 258 National route. You will go along Gutiérrez lake and A few kms. ahead you will go along Mascardi lake.
Going on along, you will see Los Alerces cascade on the right. Crossing the bridge above Manso Medio river, you start the journey towards Tronador hill. You will go up to Pampa Linda, eating place. Just at the end of the way, going past a coihue and lengas wood we reach Manso glacial, usually called Ventisquero Negro.
The journey ends a little bit ahead, at the Cerro Tronador base. The three peaks that characterize it are: argentinean (3, 410 m.), international (3,554 m.) and chilean (3,470 m.). The Los Alerces cascade makes up a variant in this landscape. Instead of crossing the bridge above Manso Medio river, you can go on along Los Moscos lake and Manso river, until you reach Hess lake. The way ends crossing Roca river.
Walking the remaining 300 m. you will get to the 'mirador' (viewpoint) of the amazing cascade and take the same way to go back.
TRONADOR TAKING MASCARDI LAKE
Taking 258 route, going along Gutiérrez and Mascardi lakes, you can reach the Villa Mascardi Wharf to board the motor boat Victoria II. Cutting through the crystal green Macardi waters, you take Tronador branch and arrive at Tronador hotel to have lunch and to enjoy the view of the hill above.
As from there, going up by car or bus to the Manso river valley, you reach Pampa Linda and later ventisquero Negro, whose origin is at the soft summit ices.
This visit will allow you to see and understand this nature curiosity. After being at the hill's base, coming back to Pampa Linda, you will walk in the woods to reach the picturesque scenery of Salto de las Nalcas.
Afterwards, sailing again along Mascardi, you will start the way back to Mascardi port to go back to Bariloche.
EL BOLSON - LAGO PUELO (Puelo Lake)
Round journey: 300kms.
Lasting: all day
El Bolson is located 129 km. to the south of Bariloche on 258 route. The route, which is asphalted, goes along Gutiérrez, Mascardi and Guillelmo lakes, it crosses Villegas and Foyel rivers and after going past Quemquentreu it goes into the city. The visit to the famous crafts fair, which has a huge variety of local products, is a must. It is also a must to visit the farms that produce fine fruit and sweets. Cheese and home made beer are very famous in this place.
6 Km. away from the city, Cabeza de Indio and Mirador del Río Azul viewpoint offer one of the most beautiful landscapes in the place. 16 kms. farther away you find Puelo lake and 11 kms. even farther away El Hoyo small village (the capital of fine fruit). You can also go to El Maitén to visit "La Trochita", an old steam train that has turned into tourist relic.
PUERTO BLEST Y CASCADA LOS CANTAROS - LAGO FRIAS (Blest Port and Cantaros Cascade - Frias Lake)
You depart from Pañuelo port followed by seagulls, which are eager for the food provided by the passengers, they will escort the catamaran almost the whole journey. When you take Blest branch you go past Centinela island, which keeps the Perito Moreno's mortal remains. He created the National Parks. After one-hour sailing you arrive at Cántaros port to get into Valdiviana jungle going up a terraced path, which leads to Los Cántaros lake that feeds the cascade.
Some 'miradores' (view points) along the path let you contemplate the beautifulness of the waterfalls that slide over the rocks. Later, crossing to the opposite side, you land at Blest port. As from here you ride 3 kms. on a bus and get to Alegre port to sail Frías lake. Cutting through its crystal, green waters in the middle of a wooden landscape, where Tronador's white summit stands out, you reach Frías Port. (This is optional and if booked in advance you can go on up to Peulla, located at the side of the `Todos los Santos ' lake in chilean territory).
ISLA VICTORIA Y BOSQUE DE ARRAYANES ( Victoria Island and Arrayanes Wood)
The excursion starts at Pañuelo port, where you can reach by line buses or by private car. You reach Anchorena port in 30 minute sail. Anchorena port is located on the centre of the island, which is the narrowest area. A ski lift leads you to the comfort of Cerro Bella Vista tea house and balcony, from where you can have a spectacular view of Bahía Anchorena, ( Anchorena Bay ) and further away all the Llao Llao and Pañuelo port area.
Other options are a visit to Gross port and to an old small village or to the cave paintings and playa del Toro (beach). Sailing further away you arrive at Bosque de Arrayanes on the Quetrihue Peninsula . There, there are 600 m. of terraced paths that let you observe magnificent examples of this species (arbustias and solitarias - bushes - in other regions), which, in this place acquire, the dimensions of a tree making up a pure wood considered unique in the world because of its characteristics. These trees can reach a height of 18 ms. and 300 years of age.
SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
Round trip: 360 kms.
Taking 237 National route northwards doing 21 kms. up to the 231 National route junction.
The tour around this beautiful circuit includes all range of landscapes that can be enjoyed in this privileged region. The way towards San Martín, this road full of woods, crosses rivers and streams, goes along several lakes (Nahuel Huapi - Correntoso - Espejo - Escondido - Villarino - Falkner and Machónico). There are beaches and a variety of 'puntos panorámicos' (view points) that let you enjoy wonderful landscapes. Going along Lacar Lake , you reach San Martín de los Andes to have lunch and visit the city.
To go back you take Paso Córdoba, which offers a different view. After going along Meliquina lake, the wood disappears to cause rocky formations that are as rare as beautiful. When you reach Confluencias, we can see Limay river's winding blue that gives shape to "Valle Encantado" ( Enchanted Valley ) and "El Anfiteatro" (The Anphitheatre). Going on along this river up to its source in Nahuel Huapi Lake , you return to Bariloche.
CIRCUITO GRANDE (Big Track)
All day lasting.
It shares the same charms as Circuito Chico, as part of its journey is the same, although it is usually done in the opposite direction (Bariloche - Confluencia and links up with 234 route - Villa La Angostura - Bariloche). This offers a different view of the landscape.
Departing from Bariloche and going along Limay river, you reach Anfiteatro, a natural formation that is similar to a Roman amphitheatre. Later you reach Valle Encantado, where you will be able to see strange rocky shapes. Further ahead and going along Cuyín Manzano and Minero rivers and through cohiues woods, you have access to Traful 'mirador' view point. This is a cliff of more than 70 m. above the lake and afterwards Villa Traful ( Traful Village ) where you will have lunch. Resuming with the journey you reach Arrayán port and El Portezuelo and go back taking Camino de los Siete Lagos ( Seven Lakes Way ) and Villa La Angostura.
INTERNATIONAL LAKES CROSSING
The crossing starts on board of the modern catamaran "El Cóndor", which can take up to 308 passengers, it has heated lounge, bar and toilet. Sailing among the hills towards the heart of the mountain range you reach Puerto Blest.
Later you do 3 kms. going along Frías river by bus and reach Alegre port. There you board "Dalca" or "Caleuche" catamaran to sail the Frías lake's green waters. The condor´s flight, together with the Tronador's high summits, makes this trip unforgettable.
When you reach Frías port you follow migratory procedure and argentinean customs procedure. Afterwards, you go on by bus crossing the mountain range taking a way of lush vegetation (Valdiviana Jungle) until you reach Peulla, first chilean settlement. We finish with migratory and chilean customs procedure in time to have lunch. Then, you sail along Todos los Santos lake up to Petronue, where you visit the Saltos de Petrohue (Petrohue waterfalls) and later, going along Llanquihue lake you reach Varas port. You end the excursion at Montt port.