Back to Argentina . . Heading North to the Lake District

After a few days of RnR post Torres del Paine, we decided to cross back from Chile to Argentina and head North to the Lake District. Since one-way flights in Argentina are pretty expensive, the better method of travel is by bus. We stocked up on snacks and boarded the bus for our 28 hour ride from El Calafate to Bariloche, AR. We don’t really remember how we filled the time , but it definitely consisted of a lot of card games.

Arlen meeting the locals in El Calafate

Arlen meeting the locals in El Calafate

Sunset in El Calafate before heading North

We were in El Calafate long enough to catch the sunset over the Andes before heading North

First meal following the 28hour bus ride - great homecooking!

First meal following the 28hour bus ride – great homecooking!

The Lake District in Northern Patagonia is where a lot of the local Argentinians come to vacation. It is known for the deep blue, turquoise, and green colors of the lakes and the surrounding volcanos and mountains. Intrigued by the beauty of Volcano Lanin, we then headed from Bariloche to Junin de los Andes, which is the best access town into Parque de Nacional Lanin. We were interested in attempting a summit of Volcano Lanin, a 2 day assent, but since a guide is required  guide we weren’t able to arrange something on short notice. Our Plan B was to camp in the Parque and trek part way up the Volcano; Plan B turned out to be amazing!

The Ranger station of Parque de Nacional Lanin.

The Ranger station of Parque de Nacional Lanin.

Once in Parque de Nacional Lanin we chose to camp closest to the Volcano trail-head, at Campo Ecofer. At the campsite you have the option to take a small boat 100m across the lake to a secluded campsite right under the volcano. To call the boat you simply ring a bell, and a kid rows the boat from the other side of the lake to pick you up . . . pretty sweet. The campsite is nothing short of incredible. Imagine setting up camp in a field of green grass shaded by trees, right on the water, with a Volcano hovering over you. To make it even better, the campsite is run by a small family on their farm, so while hanging at the site, there are beautiful horses strolling around, sheep grazing, parakeets calling in the trees, and roosters to wake you up in the morning. Peaceful and relaxing just start to describe this feeling.

Waiting for the boat to take us to the other side.

Some nice scenery while waiting for the boat to take us to our campsite on the other side.

If you look closely you can see the small row boat to take you across the water.

If you look closely you can see the small row boat to take you across the water.

Is there one or two volcanos?

Volcano Lanin



The view from our dinner table

The view from our dinner table

We set out to do the Lanin de Sur Trek (Trek up the south face of Volcano Lanin), which follows the river towards the base of the Volcano. The route was surrounded by the Araucaria (or monkey-puzzle trees), which are spiky green trees with large cones on them. After a few hours of hiking we missed the main path at a river crossing and instead continued following the river up the valley. After a steep rock scramble up the side of the mountain we managed to enjoy some snacks and views right under the volcano.

The monkey-puzzle tree

One large monkey-puzzle tree in a forest of them

Hiking alongside the river be

Hiking alongside the river bed

Since we quickly fell in love with this place, we wanted to stay a third night. However on the 3rd day we woke up to clouds and rain and decided it was time to leave. To get out of the park there are 2 buses, one at 11:40 and one at 6:40. After packing up our campsite and taking  the small boat to the other side of the lake, we were surprised to see the bus start pulling away. After a few screams and an attempt of running after it (feels like elementary school), we gave up. We hitched a ride a few kilometers down the road to the information center and a hosteria / restaurant. After about an hour of unsuccessful hitchhiking attempts, we decided it is best to wait for the next bus. The hosteria was run by a really generous guy who allowed us to hang out in the restaurant and enjoy cafés while waiting for the next bus.

Here is what missing the bus looks like, not bad.

Very thankful for the cafes at the hosteria while waiting for the next bus.

Check out the cones on that monkey tree!

Check out the cones on that monkey tree!

Since we had time to kill, and since Arlen recently purchased a nice new camera, we thought it would be fun to have a Photographer-Off during our wait. The rules: the photographer gets 3 pictures attempts of the other person in an attempt to take the best shot. Here were the two leading pictures. Which is your favorite?!

An action photo of Arlen showing his vertical leap.Photographer: Karen

“An action photo of Arlen demonstrating his vertical leap with a ray of sunshine sneaking through the clouds” – Karen.
Photographer: Karen

Beautiful face on a stormy day.Photographer: Arlen

“Beautiful smile on a stormy day.” – Arlen
Photographer: Arlen

Coming up on our next post, Vacation from the Vacation!

11 thoughts on “Back to Argentina . . Heading North to the Lake District

  1. Linda Lindeman

    Arlen & Karen
    What an amazing adventure!! I am so jealous – the pictures are breath taking! I am in awe how the days have flowed so well – with so little structure. You are quite a team, and I can’t wait for your homecoming when we can hear more stories!!

    1. A & K Post author

      Hi Linda!
      It’s good to hear from you and I’m glad you are enjoying out blog and pictures. It definitely has been an adventure! I hope all is going well back home, we’ll be excited to catch up when we are back.
      Best, Karen

  2. Ryan Bailey

    Arlen I never knew you could jump so high!!! Great reading your entries, can’t wait for all the new ones to come!! Keep having a great time, I know you will!!


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