Conservation and Ecotourism in Argentina:
The development of Bariloche and the formation of Nahuel Huapi National Park
The private donation of land which created the park came from Dr. Francisco P. Moreno, Honoris Causa, (1852-1919) who "wanted to preserve and demonstrate to future generation the richness of the Argentine
Republic's natural flora and fauna. On November 6th, 1903, he donated an area of approximately 10 sq. miles in the vecinity of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, to be kept as a public Natural Park. " Originally called
Parque Nacional del Sur ( South National Park, the park was renamed Nahuel Huapi National Park in 1934. Patagonia Virtual As you see from this map, it is an area rich in rivers and lakes. Some of the major
waterways are Gutiérrez, Mascardi, Hess, Fonk, Martín and Nahuel Huapi, the largest at 2524 ft. (765 m) above sea level. It covers an area of 1288 sq mi (560 sq km), and is approximately 464 m deep. It
is 174.8 m(76 kmi) long, and at its widest, 27.6 mi (12km) across. It empties into the Limay river which joins the Neuquén to form the Negro river which ends at the Atlantic. The lake is dotted with islands,
the largest being Victoria, and extends up into the surrounding area with Hope, Corner, Machete, Blest, Sadness,and Narrowness inlets, or brazos. Multiple peninsulas host communities such as Quetrihué,
Llao Llao, San Pedro and Huemul.
If you visit Victoria, make sure you take the lift to Cerro Bella Vista for a panoramic view of the lake. Don't forget your camera! The tallest peaks in the area are Catedral 7880.4 ft (2388m), Bayo 5775
ft (1750 m) and Tronador, named for the avalanches that thunder down the mountain sides and are loud enough to be heard miles away. Other peaks, ranging between 5940 ft and 7920 ft are Capilla, Cerro Santa,
Bastión Elena ,López Crespo, Cuyín Manzano, Campana, and Milaqueo. The terrain of mountains, hills and valleys supports ample wildlife, flora and fauna. Between the peaks, the pasos, or passes, allow access
through the Andes to Chile. The most well known and used are Puyehue, Perez Rosales, and Vuriloches, used by the Mapuche over the centuries. One of the many attractions is the Valle Encantada, Enchanted
Valley, with rock configurations created by wind and rain. Most notable are those called the Finger of God, the Castle, or the Penitente.
There are many half and full day trips from Bariloche, including an all day drive around the Seven Lakes of Espejo, Correntoso, Villarino, Falkner, Escondido, Hermoso y Machonico and Lagar, with a stop
at San Martin de los Andes. You'll see some spectacular mountain and water vistas. A shorter tour will take you around the edges of Nahuel Huapi to Playa Bonita, with its great views of Isla Huemul, cerro
Campanario where another lift will take you up for super views, LLao-LLao and if you can time it right, stop at Colonia Suiza in time for tea and pastries or a curanto - a typical meal which is cooked by
hot stones under leaves in the ground. Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapí is the only park in Argentina that hosts another national park, Los Arrayanes, within its boundaries. The Bosque Los Arrayanes is a forest
of unique trees with smooth bark the color of cinnamon sticks. Small deer, called pudú-pudú are thought to be the inspiration for the Walt Disney classic, Bambi. Nahuel Huapi is an extremely popular destination.
Growth and development are changing the area, and many residents worry about the impact to the natural beauty and environment. When you visit, be an ecological tourist, enjoy yourself, and write us a trip