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Nahuel Huapi National Park

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Nahuel Huapi National Park is in the provinces of Neuquen and Rio Negro, in Patagonia, in the foothills of the Andes mountains.


Lago Nahuel Huapi

The Nahuel Huapi National Park is an extensive protected area located southwest of the province of Neuquén and west of the Río Negro, in the Argentine Patagonia. The national protected area of Nahuel Huapi - out of a total of 709 474 ha - is subdivided into three zones with different levels of protection. The first one is the Nahuel Huapi national park, with 473 352 ha and with an optimal state of conservation; the second is the Nahuel Huapi national reserve, 160 686 ha, located east of the first one, but with a state of preservation less than the park, to have a less strict category than the previous to be encompassed mostly in private areas. The latter is subdivided into two national reserves called Zona Centro and Zona Gutiérrez. Finally, the third zone is the strict Nahuel Huapi natural reserve, of 75 436 ha, distributed in 6 sectors designated by Decree No. 2149/90 of 10th October 1990, which, due to its biological characteristics, must enjoy a much more rigorous degree of protection. It forms part of the Andean North Patagonian biosphere reserve since 2007.

It is the oldest of the Argentine national parks. It was created by the Argentine government in 1934, on the basis of the donation of 3 square leagues (7000 ha) by Francisco Pascasio Moreno for this purpose. The park covers 717 261 ha, in a strip of about 60 km wide by 170 km from the north to south, lying on the Andes mountain range. Nahuel Huapi Park is world wide famous for its attractive geography, for its highlights Lake Nahuel Huapi and Cerro Tronador, which are complemented by a varied set of mountains, valleys, more than 60 lakes and lagoons, and countless streams. The park, located between the altitudes of 700 masl and 3400 masl, stands out for its representative ecosystems of the Patagonian Andes, inhabiting, more than a thousand superior botanical species and about 300 species of vertebrate animals. They are distributed in four environments: the high Andean, the Patagonian Andean forest, the humid forest and the Patagonian steppe.

The park is managed by the Administration of National Parks, which promoted the visit to the park and its various attractions by establishing an important tourist infrastructure, which included - for example - the construction of the Llao Llao Hotel and the Cathedral of Bariloche. The most populated city within the park is San Carlos de Bariloche located on the southern margin of Lake Nahuel Huapi, which serves as the main base for tourist activities, recreation, sports and nature research, that take place in the park. Villa La Angostura is another town located on the north shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi, within the confines of the park.

The Nahuel Huapi offers numerous alternatives for tourism and enjoyment of visitors, that add up to 600,000 people per year. Activities that can be performed include hiking, skiing, rock and ice climbing, horseback riding, camping, sailing, fishing, boating and trips by car. Winter sports, including skiing, can be practiced at Cerro Catedral and Cerro Bayo.


The Nahuel Huapi National park is the oldest of Argentina's parks and was founded in 1934.


The geology of the Nahuel Huapi area is characterized by remnants of ancient rocks. Initially, the area was a relatively shallow seabed; 200 million years ago, volcanic phenomena began to appear with the eruption of igneous rocks. About 65 million years ago, the Cordillera de los Andes began its growth process, driven by the subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the Suramericana plate. In this process, the crust fractured, giving rise to a series of volcanoes. Later, about 2.5 million years ago, the accumulation of snow and ice began, forming glaciers in the mountain areas, which were descending through the valleys. The descending movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted numerous valleys with U-shaped profiles, which are part of the landscape, that can be seen today.

Flora and fauna[edit]

A large number of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been counted, including several, that are threatened or in danger of extinction. The extensive forests and natural environments include a rich variety of plants, with a profusion of coihues, cypresses and larches. Among its characteristic fauna are condors, deer, wild boars, pumas and guanacos. In recent times, the threat posed by the activities carried out by man in the region has increased for the integrity of the park, its natural environments and the species that dwell in it.


Get in[edit]

Since Buenos Aires by plane, Aerolineas Argentinas. By bus Via Bariloche and Crucero del Norte. By car see in the web Interpatagonia or automovilclub guide. Car rental[28].


At certain access points to the park you are required to pay the Park Entrance Fee of AR$400 (Jan. 2020). This fee is payable if you go to Pampa Linda (Tronador) and enter the park on a boat excursion; there is also a AR$11 port tax. Access to the refuges in the National Park around Bariloche are free: Refugio Frey, Refugio Lopez, Refugio San Martin & Refugio Italia (you need to pay for stay overnight, but the next refuges camping is free).

Get around[edit]

There is an excellent local public transport system from the centre of Bariloche to Llao Llao, Colonia Suiza and Cerro Catedral. There are tourist buses leaving to Pampa Linda (Tronador) on a daily basis during the summer.

See[edit][add listing]

Black Glacier
  • Arrayanes Forest (Bosque de Arrayanes) It is 1,600 hectares area forested by rare Arrayán trees that grow along the northern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
  • Cerro Catedral[29]. Cerro Catedral was named for the granite spires of the mountain top, which resembles as a gothic church. Catedral is real sanctuary for the skiers and snowboarders, who visit there Bariloche ski resort to worship the snow god.
  • Cerro Otto. It has beautiful views in winter and its top is accessible by ride up.
  • Lago Moreno. Nice blue green lake of the distinctive color was affected by an ash from the volcano eruption 2011.
  • Lago Nahuel Huapi is picturesque lake with mysteries, which is willingly visited by tourists.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Ferry to Puerto Frias, [1]. Explore lake Frías, a mirror water beauty and natural environment.  edit
  • Golf, +54 294 444 5700, [2]. The most recognized golf sport in LLao Llao. Attraction is provided by the beautiful alpine style hotel, built in 1939 (recently renovated) with the dramatic backdrop of the mountains.  edit
  • Hiking, [3]. Enjoy the exclusive park nature! There is more information for more experienced hikers[4].  edit
  • Kayaking, [5]. Pura Vida Kayaking is an activity for all water sport lovers.  edit
  • Kite surfing, [6]. There is an excellent spot for windsurfing too.  edit
  • Mountain biking, [7]. This attraction is composed into the several days package.  edit
  • Rafting, [8]. Raft on the one of the most beautiful water courses!  edit
  • Rock-climbing, [9]. Frey is an immense climbing wonderland for everyone.  edit
  • Skiing in Cerro Catedral, [10]. Excellent choice for the skiers.  edit
  • Trekking, [11]. Trek Bariloche has a full list of trekking routes in the National Park. Get more experience in the trekking[12].  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

The area is rightly famous for its barbecued meats, Parrillas "Boliche de Alberto" fondue "La Alpina", pizza "El Mundo de la Pizza", trout and deer "familia Weiss". Palacios Street has a lot of restaurants.

Drink[edit][add listing]

"Blest" the best beer. Wilkenny, Pilgrim, The map room, South bar - they are all a safe bet. Sip a little mate as well.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Most of the cheap accommodation is in the centre of the town for more information pass by the tourist office on Centro Civico where they have a full list of budget and not so budget accommodation.


Bariloches budget accommodation quickly gets fully booked, so make your reservations in advance, particularly during the high season.

  • Bello Horizonte Hosteria, Salta 394, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 442 2621 ().  edit
  • La Puerta Verde Hostel, Quaglia 160 1º floor, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 442 8317 ().  edit
  • Lake View Apartment, Av. Exequiel Bustillo 953, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 433 3333.  edit
  • Marcopoloinn Hostel, Salta 422, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 440 0105 (), [13]. Modern, clean hostel. Free breakfast and dinner, fast internet, Wi-Fi. Lots of party folk. Easily the best value in town.  edit
  • Nomad, Onelli 459, R8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 430-7267 (), [14]. When all the other ones are fully booked, this one might be worth a try.  edit
  • Penthouse 1004, San Martín 127, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 443 2228 (), [15]. Offers an amazing panoramic view. Excellent public areas, especially the kitchen. Free breakfast, wi-fi internet and has a computer for use, but it is very busy and hard to get access to. Won't make reservations if you you are arriving after 2pm.  edit
  • Periko's, Morales 555, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 264 452 2326, [16]. Named after the owner's dog.  edit
  • Refugio Patagonia Hostel, Mitre 1338, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 442 2539, [17]. Feel at home with Tato and Sandra, they're building a big "quincho"/barbecue saloon.  edit
  • Ruca Hueney Youth Hostel, Elflein 396, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 443 3986 (), [18]. Free breakfast, internet.  edit
  • Tangoinn Downtown Bariloche, Salta 514, R8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 440 0004 (), [19]. Modern, clean hostel. Free breakfast, fast internet, Wi-Fi. Breakfast buffet. Very quiet.  edit


  • Aconcagua Hotel, San Martín Avenue 289, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina, +54-294 442 4718, [20]. Aconcagua Hotel is located along San Martín Avenue in San Carlos de Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina. It is near the Civic Center, Lake Nahuel Huapi, and casino. Aconcagua Hotel’s 32 comfortable rooms guarantee a restful stay. Each accommodation is equipped with a central heater, TV, Internet access, and toilet & bath with shower.  edit
  • Design Suites Bariloche, Av. Bustillo Km.2,5 8400 Bariloche Provincia de Rio Negro Argentina, +54 294 445-7000, [21]. Modern hotel (not all suite as the name might imply), with all the benefits (Spacious rooms, Free W-Fi, Stunning Panorama Views, clever design touches) and drawbacks. The suites themselves are not traditional suites, rather larger rooms with a couch and a balcony. Hotel 3km from the City Center.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Bariloche, Mitre 408 - (8400) S.C. de Bariloche - Río Negro, +54 294 443 0622, [22]. Grand Hotel Bariloche is a 9 storey hotel (3.000m2), which is located at the main street in San Carlos de Bariloche. At half way in the commercial route of Mitre avenue and only 100m from the Nahuel Huapi lake. They offer 75 rooms organized in singles, doubles, triples and apartments.  edit
  • NH Bariloche Edelweiss Hotel, Av. San Martin 202, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54-294 444 5500 (), [23].  edit
  • Nido del Condor, Av. Bustillo 6922, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, +54-114 315-3305 (), [24]. Spa hotel  edit


  • Galileo Boutique Hotel, Av. Antartida Argentina, s/n, Base Cerro Catedral, San Carlos de Bariloche, C.P. 8400, Argentina, +54 294 446 0388, [25]. Galileo Boutique Hotel is located along the base of Cerro Catedral in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Major landmarks, such as the Nahuel Huapi Lake and the city’s Civic Center, are within proximate distance from the hotel. Feel as if you’re in the Swiss Alps when relaxing in Galileo Boutique Hotel’s luxurious Rooms, Suites and Apartments, each adorned with quaint cypress wood frames and geometric roofs.  edit


  • 460Loft, San Martín 460, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, +54 294 458 3952, [26]. Equipped apartments. Rent by the day.  edit



Camping in the National Park is permitted in the designated areas. There are free wilderness camp sites and paid sites with facilities.


Stay safe[edit]

If you go trekking you are required to register your intentions with the National Park, do so at their Information Centre (San Martin 24) or [30]

Get out[edit]

  • Villa la Angostura Small town about an hours drive from Bariloche, very picturesque, you can also hike by 12km trail to the famous Bosque Arrayanes.
  • El Bolsón Small hippie town (founded in the 70's) in a mountainous valley about 120km/75mi south of Bariloche. There's a twice weekly outdoor flea market (get there in the morning, it closes down around 3pm). Lunch at "Las Brasas" parrilla is recommended. Nice scenery on the way from Bariloche.Create category
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