My little piece of Eden

It is true I have seen many incredible places the last few months. I was blessed to be in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. But there is one, like an old great love, that stayed in my heart all these years. I finally went back to my paradise on earth.

Villa La Angostura is located in the Province of Neuquén, in The Patagonia region of the most beautiful country in the world… Argentina 😉

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The closest airport is in Bariloche, the nearest big city. Villa La Angostura is 1 hour away from here and there are regular busses running between these two locations every day.

‘La Villa’ is a small mountain village, surrounded by the Andes Mountains, with deep blue lakes like mirrors and green everywhere you look. This is an enchanted fairytale location. After traveling around some of the most beautiful mountain landscape like the Swiss Alps, I dare to say that there  is no such a beautiful place in the world than Villa La Angostura. This is seriously a gift from God. Judge yourself and let me know if I am wrong 🙂

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The three main hills visible from the center of the village are : Inacayal, Belvedere and Bayo… Behind them: The Andes.

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There is high season in summer, where the beaches become center of attention and activity. During winter months when the boutique Cerro Bayo Sky Center opens. Keep in mind that this village would never be crowded, it is a popular location in Patagonia but not as visited as Bariloche or San Martin De Los Andes.

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During summer this place blooms. Wild flowers of many colors fill the streets. Wooden galleries throughout the city center (4 blocks long) full of business, restaurants and everything you could need. I recommend to rent a bike and explore this gem of nature.

The village is composed by three major streets or avenues: Avenida Los Arrayanes that comes from Bariloche (Main access to Villa La Angostura), the Siete Lagos way that takes you to San Martin de los Andes and to the famous excursion Siete Lagos, which takes you along one gorgeous path across seven lakes. The third one is Boulevard Nahuel Huapi that leads you to the port. In the center there is a big sign of the ACA (Automovil Club Argentino), Argentina’s largest automobile association.

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All busses arrive to the main bus station by the ACA at the center of the village.

There are 3 different banks with ATM. 3 Supermarkets: “La Anonima” on the Siete Lagos Avenue and a “Todo” near by. There is also a smaller “Todo” on the Av. Arrayanes as well.

There are many good restaurants around town, most located on Av. Arrayanes. My absolute favorite is “Gran Nevada” (200, Av. Los Arrayanes 102, Villa La Angostura, Neuquén, Argentina), amazingly big plates and good prices.

You should also visit the lovely tea house “La Casita de la Oma” (Cerro Inacayal 303, Villa La Angostura, Los Lagos, Neuquén, Argentina) for out-of-the-world homemade cakes and tarts, and special flavored teas.

 

Among the special places in Villa La Angostura there is one that is unique in the world:

Arrayanes forrest National Park

The Arrayan is a special tree that grows in many parts of the world, but only here the specie reached the max height and number of specimens together. The Arrayan is light brown with white dots all over, if you touch one you will notice it is extremely cold, even in hot temperatures.

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Arrayanes

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Arrayanes excursion

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Ferries to Arrayanes

The forrest is located at the far end of the Quetrihue Peninsula, located by the port (Puerto) of Villa La Angostura, between the bays (Bahia Brava and Bahia Mansa).

The visit to this amazing forrest could be done by ferry, round trip, or one way if you decide to walk one section. The hike is 12 KM and it takes about 3 hours, for the adventurer ones you can rent a mountain bike and do this path in 2 hours. Be aware that there are parts of medium to high difficulty. It is not recommended to do the hike with children or seniors, also make sure you are in physical state to walk 12 Kilometers through mountain trail.

The cost for the ferry ride round trip is $500 (Argentine Peso) per person. Children up to 12 y.o pay half. If you want to do one way only is $380 (Argentine Peso). You have to add the ticket entrance to the park, which is $120 (Argentine Peso) and a small boarding fee of $2 (Argentine Peso). *These are the official prices are August 2016, extracted from the official national park web site.

Bosque de Arrayanes National Park Website  (English version)

El Puerto

The port is my favorite place in Villa La Angostura. To get to the Arrayanes Forrest National Park you have to arrive to the port. The ferries depart from here and the entrance to the peninsula is here.

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Peninsula Quetrihue

Both bays are divided by the strait that precede the Quetrihue Peninsula. One side is the Bahia Mansa, of quiet waters and amazing views. From here the ferries depart for the Arrayanes forrest. If there is paradise I firmly believe it looks like Bahia Mansa.

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Bahia Mansa

On the other side of the strait is Bahia Brava, of agitated waters and incredible colors. A long deck takes you a long way in, so you feel you are one with the water. Unforgettable experience and images of an immense natural landscape that will make you feel very small.

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Bahia Brava

To arrive to the port you have to walk 4 KM from the center of the village, follow the signs to the port (El Puerto). You can also take a local bus from the bus station also at the city center.

Lake and River Correntoso

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Correntoso Lake

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Lake Correntoso

This Correntoso River connects the famous Nahuel Huapi lake with the Lake also called Correntoso. This has to be one of the most beautiful spots in the area. Absolutely a must see. To arrive follow the 7 Lagos way for about 4 KM. There is a bike line and walkable path, you could also take a bus at the bus station.

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Correntoso River

During summer months the Correntoso beach is one of the best spots to cool off and relax looking over the mountains in the background.

Puerto Manzano

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One of the Elite neighborhoods of the area. Famous for its excellent restaurants and quality hotels. A great place to walk around and have some of the best views of Villa La Angostura. There are also excursions on the lake that depart from here.

To arrive you can take a bus from the bus station that takes you directly to Puerto Manzano.

Cerro Bayo Sky Center – Cascada Rio Bonito

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Trail to Cerro Bayo

This Boutique sky Center is not as big as the ones in Bariloche or San Martin, but stills pretty popular for winter sports. From the bus station there is a bus that leaves at 9 AM and 12 PM to the Sky Center, and returns at 1PM and 5PM. If you prefer to walk up there take the Puerto Manzano bus that leaves you at the entrance on the highway and from there up 6 KM. You can so this trail in Summer and Winter (I did both). 1 KM before arriving to the base of the Sky Center you will find the waterfall “Rio Bonito”, and you will have the reward of walking all the way up.

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Rio Bonito Waterfall

Cascada Inacayal

On the way to Correntoso Lake and River, on Siete Lagos Avenue you will find the entrance to the Cascada Inacayal and Mirador Belvedere.

The walk is intense, and the path is not very well signalized. But this challenging adventure will reward you with one of the most secluded and most beautiful waterfalls you will encounter in life. I did this excursion twice without a guide. The first time I got lost and went back down, and when I came back a year later I found it.

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Inacayal Waterfall

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The whole territory is occupied by Mapuches, an original civilization with a millenary culture. It is too sad to see the true owners of these lands being forced to live in camps like strangers in their own territory.  It is fascinating to see their homes and life style. Pay attention and be respectful.

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To come back here was like being reunited with an old love. I got the same feeling now than when I was 20 and moved there. When I am here I feel I don’t need anything else in the world.

After leaving my country 7 years ago, visiting other places and falling in love with Rome ❤ I returned to an old lover, only to fall in love again.

This precious gem still remains my favorite place on earth.

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