Excursions to Esquel
Los Alerces National Park
We depart towards the principal gate of the National Park in a journey where we will be able to distinguish the ecosystems of the region, with a dense vegetation thanks to the continuous rains. The lakes as in the Percy River that we can observe during the trip are due to the movements of the glaciers that we find in the mountains. We rest for the first time in Villa Futalaufquen knowing the Interpretative Center so as to understand its autochthonous flora and fauna. We then arrive at Puerto Limonao, bathed by the Futalaufquen Lake waters, 4km near. We can take a ship from that harbour to sail the waters of the lakes Futalaufquen, Verde and Menéndez so as to arrive at the northern part of the park, actually to enter the jungle area to discover the Alerzal Milenario. This voyage on a catamaran (double hulled vessel) is not included, please check before travelling because it is offered only in high season months. In case of not performing the navigation, we return to Esquel.
Optional in high season: Navigation along the Futalaufquen, the Verde and the Menéndez Lakes & Alerces Milenarios Forest
In Summer there is an optional navigation along the Futalaufquen Lake from Puerto Limonao to Puerto Mermoud. From here we do a small trek to reach Puerto Chucao at the shore of the Menéndez Lake, from where we will start the second maritime stage towards the Alerzal Milenario. Another path takes us to the lake and river Cisne with its rapids until we meet the oldest alerce in the park.
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Old Patagonian Express "La Trochita
We start a fantastic journey of 25 kilometers in the vintage Patagonic Express La Trochita, which was declared National Heritage Patrimony. It is an old steam train whose narrow gauge has less than a meter, it goes across the Patagonic steppe, with its wagons, whose heating are iron salamander stoves with firewood as fuel, were built in 1922 together with its engines Baldwin and Henschel. The first trip was inaugurated in 1945 up to Esquel. The train offers a dining-room with delicious cakes that can be served together with chocolate and coffee. The route begins at the Esquel station, going through the Esquel stream, then the way changes so as to go parallel to the mountain range and the route towards a town called Tecka. It crosses the steppe, we can see acquatic birds such as ducks, cauquenes and flamingos in low lands called mallines in indigenous language. The route ends in Nahuel Pan station (name of the highest mountain of the zone) where there is a place with craftmen. While we visit a small handcraft center, the steam engine performs the maneuvers to get ready to go back. During the return, the train crosses the valley. The journey lasts nearly 3 hours and it isn´t cancelled for bad weather, unless an excess of snow provokes blockages. Today there are two stretches, the touristic stretch which joins Esquel with Nahuel Pan and the passenger´s stretch which goes up to El Maitén.
When it is operating the train? The outputs for the year are on Saturdays and depending on the month is added on Monday. Departure is at 10:00 AM and return at 24:45. Saturdays can add an additional departure at 14:00 pm, depending on the demand.
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Trevelin: Nant & Fall small waterfalls, nant Fach Flour mill and Pisciculture
We depart from Esquel to visit the Nant and Fall Province Natural Reserve, where three waterfalls form the stream with the same name that means Arroyo de Los Saltos (Waterfalls Stream) in Welsh and are located in a lush cypress forest. They are the natural drainage of the Rosario Lake which forms these waterfalls in its way to the Corintos River, affluent of the Futaleufú River. The Nant Fach flour mill is a replica of the old mills built by Welsh colonists in the Valle Hermoso, in Colonia 16 de Octubre in the end of the 19th Century, where wheat harvested on the farms in the Colony was processed. It was since 1890 that a booming wheat industry was created in Chubut and the Welsh received important prizes at an international level for its quality. Typical Argentine political mistakes made this region be declared unsuitable for wheat growing, the limit from the Colorado River to the South, thus eliminating the agricultural financial assistance which was granted at that time, favouring the north of the country. Since then they have taken up the cattle activity. The mill that is a museum nowadays belongs to the Evans Welsh family, being Mr. Thomas Dalar Evans the one who populated the whole valley in 1890. We can see musical instruments of those days, as well as sewing machines, irons, even carriages used for the wheat harvest. This is situated in Trevelin, whose translation means Pueblo del Molino (Mill´s town) where Cwm Hyfryd (Valle Hermoso – Beautiful Valley) is located surrounded by mounts and with an unaltered ecosystem. To end up the circuit, we will go to the salmon station at the Baguilt Stream, only 20km away from Trevelin, where they breed young fish, with big pans with near 200,000 Brown Rainbow trouts which are then spread in lakes and rivers in Chubut so as to make trout sport fishing (catch is returned), a sustainable resource.
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Parallel 42º Andean Shire (Comarca Andina del Paralelo 42º)
We begin a full day excursion visiting the mountain range towns that form the Parallel 42 Comarca, interprovince boundary between Río Negro and Chubut provinces. This region is characterized by the cultivation of fine fruit and hop which is used to flavour handcraft brewed beer produced in El Bolsón. There is a special micro-climate in this region due to the fact that the valley is 200 meters over sea level and it is not attacked by the strong winds of the rough Patagonia, creating an ideal climate with fertile lands, where redcurrants, morello cherries, maroons, blueberries, apart from strawberries and raspberries are produced. During our itinerary, we will visit the Lago Puelo National Park, Epuyén, El Hoyo and El Bolsón. The first stop is at the Leleque Museum, on the Benetton Estancias (ranches), which shows the history of the Tehuelche natives who originally inhabited these lands and were fiercely dislodged by the Mapuche natives who entered the country through Chile. Then comes Epuyén, the capital of fine fruit, then we visit El Hoyo and Golondrinas. Later, in the province of Río Negro, we come to know El Bolsón, and we stop at the craftmen fair where the stalls display woollen, carved wooden and ceramic goods and more. Beer is very special, thanks to the hops, you can try different flavours, stout, made of wheat, with honey or fruity. We also visit the Loma del Medio and the Mirador Río Azul.