Esquel is a growing mountain town that is reasonably wealthy. Population is about 40,000 and the town was founded in 1906. It is located at the north-eastern tip of the "16 de Octubre" Valley, and is the Chubut province largest city on its western side, lying about 10 km west of the backbone Route 40 that runs parallel to the Argentinian Andes. Its coordinates are 42º54'51"S 71º18'59"W
Money: If you're having problems getting money out of ATMs (like many other places in Pantagonia try the following: Choose fast cash instead of withdrawl and withdraw no more than 500 peso. Yes, you will still be charged a steep 50 peso withdrawl fee, but this is sometimes the only way.
Esquel has a proper bus terminal and has several busses coming to and from Bariloche, El Bolson, and other cities in the south and west every day. There is also an airport, with -depending of the time of year- 3 to 5 flights a week from and to Buenos Aires.
The city is walkable, but there are local busses and taxis available as well. Car rentals are available as well.
Mountains surround the city and Los Alerces National Park is close by. There is a ski station (La Hoya) only 14 km away. Esquel is a convenient hub for making day-trips to the Los Alerces National Park, the smaller town of Trevelin and its Welsh settlers museum, the picturesque town of Futaleufu over the border in Chile, the Piedra Parada (standing stone) badlands area, white-water rafting at Corcovado, or fly-fishing at a lot of different spots within a 60-km radius from the city.
There are 2 treks that can be done in the city and several more in Los Alerces National Park. As of March 2013 it is the off season and there are only busses going to the park once per day on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays which leave at 8am and leave the park the same day around 6:45 pm which would get you back to Esquel around 8:30pm. It costs A$95, with an additional entrance fee of A$65. Better check these fees in advance, as inflation is getting worse in Argentina (but is somewhat compensated by devaluation of the peso). There are several decent campsites with little shops that sell food and other supplies within the park, so a multi day trip may be better. Esquel has a tourist information center which you may want to consult before heading to the park. They do have English speakers. The park also has an information center if the information provided by the folks in Esquel is not adequate.
There are a lot of mid-range and high end shops in town selling camping and trekking gear.
There are several restaurants and a surprisingly well stocked grocery store in town. Also a medium-sized "La Anonima" supermarket.
There are several hostels available in the city, but some are about a 20-30 minute walk from the bus terminal.
There are a few small inns scattered about the city.
Go to Futaleufu for white water rafting. Or to Corcovado for a somewhat milder rafting experience.
Marga has a direct bus to El Charten which leaves on odd days of the month at 10:30pm as of March 2013.
Daily buses also leave for Rio, Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Bariloche, Calafate (via ruta 40, 26 hours, 420 pesos, 00:40 every other day) and Calafate via Rio Gallegos (24 hours, 405 pesos, 13:30 daily). Check plataforma10 for details or Taqsa. * Plataforma10, . edit, * Taqsa, . edit
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