The Road of the Seven Lakes
Winding 107km from Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes in Neuquén province, the Seven Lakes route is one of the most impressive tours in Argentina’s Patagonia region. The itinerary, which is part of famous Route 40 – the road that crosses the country from north to south parallel to the Andes – includes beaches, waterfalls and ravines, along with fantastic opportunities for swimming, fishing and boating. Here, we take a look at the complete tour, which includes the Correntoso, Mirror, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner, Machónico and Lácar lakes, as well as passing very close to Nahuel Huapi, Chico Mirror and Traful.
1 Lake Lácar
The route usually begins in the city of San Martín de los Andes, located on the eastern shore of Lake Lácar. This lake of glacial origin, as are nearly all in the region, has a surface area of some 50km and is surrounded by an impressive natural landscape of forests, mountains and beaches. It is part of Lanín National Park, famous for the volcano of the same name, which is still considered active today. The park is known for its high-quality routes and trails that are highly regarded by trekking fans. The best way to finish up this stop is to take the road (either walking or driving) between San Martín and the Mirador de Bandurrias viewpoint. As well as to being able to stop at several beaches on the way, the views of the lake and the city are superb.
2 Lake Machónico
At the foot of the Andes – approximately 30km from San Martín de los Andes – is Lake Machónico, the next stop on the route. In addition to being surrounded by stunning forests, it is known for its conditions suitable for water sports, such as kayaking or canoeing. It is one of the calmest lakes on the route and its viewpoint also deserves a stop to enjoy the vistas, especially the dark blue of its waters.
3 Lago Falkner
Lake Falkner, in the heart of Argentina’s oldest national park, Nahuel Huapi National Park, is a peaceful haven located among hills and is particularly appreciated by anglers. Located in its vicinity is a well-known campground with all amenities, including a special family section, beach access and fishing sites. Also very close to Lake Falkner, at the gates of Nahuel Huapi, is the Cascada Vulliñanco waterfall, a cascade that falls more than 20 metres and is one of the most important landscapes on the route.
4 Lake Villarino
Lake Villarino is Joined to Lake Falkner by a small arm of water and surrounded by a Patagonian Andean forest in a remarkable state of conservation. It is also highly appreciated by fishing fans, especially for its trout and the impressive views of the mountains that can be seen from the shores.
5 Lake Escondido
This lake is very close to Lake Villarino and – true to its name – is hidden among the leafy trees that surround its shores and whose reflections can be seen in its shining waters. The smallest of the Seven Lakes that make up the route, is part of the Rio Negro basin. Its viewpoint, awash in vegetation, is perfect for taking very special snapshots.
6 Lake Espejo
Closer to Villa La Angostura is Lake Espejo, the sixth stop on this route. It is named after its calm waters, which produce a very special reflection of the incredible light in the province of Neuquén. Just a few minutes by car – and just before arriving at the last stop on this road – you will find Lake Espejo Chico, where visitors may also enjoy a few days of camping.
7 Lake Correntoso
The route ends in Villa La Angostura with the stop at Lake Correntoso, which is joined to Lake Nahuel Huapi by the river of the same name, which is famous for being one of the shortest rivers in the world. A variety of water sports can be enjoyed in its high-quality waters, from swimming to windsurfing, as well as fishing. There are various options for accommodation in its surroundings. Nearby is Lake Traful, which, although not part of the route, is notable for its imposing 76sqm size.