Notes and Photos from Argentine Patagonia

Clowning around near the glacier at Cerro Tronador, Patagonia.

We passed 8 weeks in Argentina, half in Patagonia enjoying the mountain lake scenery. Besides, Chile expels us every 90 days and Argentina is pleased to accept our money. We made a slideshow of some of the sights.

Patagonia is a favorite destination for locals and tourists, but there’s no shortage of open space and national parks, much of it similar to Yellowstone. The warmer town of El Bolson further south in the foothills reminds me of the Colorado Front Range. The Bariloche area is as wealthy as the Vitacura comuna of Santiago, attracts tourists from all over the world, and English is widely spoken. I heard French and German, too.

Trees are so plentiful in Patagonia that phone booths are made of logs and wood!

We explored the surroundings of 3 timeshares, Club DUT, Cerro Catedral, and Bahia Manzano. We do not recommend the first two because their net connections are poor. Neither has figured out that people of all ages use the net on vacation. It’s a utility now, guys!

Bahia Manzano, near the town of Villa La Angostura, is a picturesque bay and small marina on a small peninsula. The area is so sparsely populated and the coastline so jagged and long that empty lots are available on Lago Nahuel Huapi. The architecture of the houses and businesses is wealthy, attractive, and varied. We saw no subdivisions where every house is painted in a pastel color and designed to look the same as the others.

Isla Victoria, Lago Nahuel Huapi

Avenue of the Giants, Victoria Island, Bariloche, Argentina. The Giant Sequoia trees were imported from California and planted in 1928.

The high fee and low withdrawal amounts at South American ATMs are a constant inconvenience. Bankers in many countries are oligopolists that fix high prices, probably at the behest of governments. Panama and Mexico charge reasonable fees. In Argentina, the banks charged us $4 to withdraw $200 from the ATM, or 2%, whereas Chile charges $5 to withdraw $400, or 1.25%. Bring lots of cash the next time you visit the Southern Cone, and don’t forget to carry a gun to deter robbers! Plus, this does not include other fees charged by your home bank.

The ski lift at the Cerro Catedral resort operates in the summer and costs about $12. There are three lift segments to the summit. You can buy a round trip ticket or one way. We bought the one way ticket and ate lunch at the restaurant at the bottom of the last lift. The scenic hike down steep and loose rock footpaths exhausted us for many hours.

Club DUT is a mile (1.5 km) from Cerro Campanario, a photographer’s dream. The hill is serviced by a ski lift and is not blocked by other hills, so there is an unobstructed view of the mountains and several lakes and rivers. We included several shots from the summit in our Alta Patagonia slideshow, along with other interesting and scenic places.

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