There are tourist spots photographed millions of times and so memorable that they are familiar even to those who have never been there. One of them unfolds in a bend of Lake Nahuel Huapi, in Puerto Pañuelo, a few meters from Lake Moreno and at the gateway to the Llao Llao peninsula, in Río Negro . In 1934, a group of men arrived to that place who would mark the destiny of the landscape they observed. Their names? Exequiel and Alejandro Bustillo, Antonio Lynch, Ernesto Serigós, the Marquis of Salamanca, Carlos Ortiz Basualdo, Francisco Salvatierra and Alberto del Solar Dorrego.

Dazzled by the natural setting provided by the undulations of the land, the forests, the lakes, Victoria Island and the López, Capilla and Millaqueo hills, among others, those pioneers decided to position a huge international hotel at that point that would end up forming part of the Postcard. More than 80 years later, that corner continues to captivate locals and foreigners.

The classic setting is in the heart of the Small Circuit –which this year was renamed “Presidente Arturo Frondizi”–, one of the most picturesque areas of San Carlos de Bariloche . A practically circular route along the final part of route 237 (or Avenida Exequiel Bustillo) and route 77 allows access to some of the experiences that no traveler should miss.

Lake Moreno and Llao Llao peninsula

With an area of ​​16 km2, the waters of Lake Moreno are somewhat warmer than those of its neighbor, Lake Nahuel Huapi. Formed by two main bodies of water –the Moreno East and the West–, the lake is presented as the perfect setting for adventure . In its transparent waters you can practice kayaking , stand up paddle and fishingKayak, one of the activities to enjoy Lake Moreno (Dannemann)Kayak, one of the activities to enjoy Lake Moreno.

The surroundings of Lake Moreno Oeste, meanwhile, are a true amusement park for lovers of hiking. Just north of the lake, the Llao Llao municipal park , on the peninsula of the same name, protects more than 1,200 hectares of Andean-Patagonian forest.Rowing, hiking, mountain biking, stand up paddle.  There is a lot to do in Bariloche in autumn (Llao Llao and Dannemann)Rowing, hiking, mountain biking, stand up paddle. There is a lot to do in Bariloche in autumn.

They are walks between coihues, lengas and larches that can even be threaded together and that allow access to magnificent stone beaches and viewpoints. The park is also characterized by its more than 70 species of mushrooms, visible in autumn and spring, among them, the llao llao (Cyttaría darwinii), edible and with a globose body, which gives the place its name.

Lao Lao Resort, Golf & Spa

Designed by Alejandro Bustillo and inaugurated on January 9, 1938 , the Llao Llao hotel had days of lights and shadows, but for more than 80 years it has been an inseparable part of the surrounding geography. The building burned down completely 9 months after its inauguration and returned to function in all its splendor between 1941 and 1978.Better view, impossible (Llao Llao)Better view, impossible.

In addition to its architecture, its history and its illustrious guests, the hotel stands out for its gastronomy : run by chef Federico Domínguez Fontán, the restaurants Patagonia (open at noon and at night) and Los Césares (dinner only) serve regional dishes such as cheese fondue, smoked table, lamb brochettes, mushroom cream soup, trout empanadas and smoked venison panzottis, among others. 

The gastronomic options, also open by reservation to diners who are not hotel guests, are completed with the Winter Garden, where lunch and the traditional “Llao Llao Tea” are served. Between cakes, red fruit tarts, scones, muffins, brioches, brownies and mini smoked salmon sandwiches, the experience is unforgettable. The huge windows with views of the hotel gardens and Lake Moreno complete the scene.The Llao Llao, in a unique place, opened in 1938 (Llao Llao).

Staying at the Llao Llao hotel is part of an imaginary list of “what to do before you die”. This is how many of his guests feel, like Dante and Silvina, a married couple from Buenos Aires: he visited the hotel in 1971, during his study trip, and he swore to return to stay there one day. More than 45 years later, he enjoys a good wine with a view of the lake with his wife.

Bahía López and Brazo Tristeza

Another of the obligatory stops of the Small Circuit is located right at the beginning of Brazo Tristeza, one of the seven arms of Lake Nahuel Huapi . Traditional descent of boats, Bahía López is well guarded by the towering north walls of Cerro López. Dozens of condors nest there , so the place is ideal for sightings and marveling at the flights of these birds, which can reach a wingspan of 3 meters when they spread their wings.

Mountain bike enthusiasts also find Bahía López a good starting point for pedaling through the Circuito Chico. In addition to incredible views such as the one obtained from the Panoramic Point (at km 23 of route 77), the crossing allows you to join several streams, such as López, Goye and La Virgen. Those in good physical condition to cope with the ups and downs of the road will be able to complete the 25 kilometers that the entire loop demands.Bahía López is a good starting point to pedal through the Circuito Chico. 

Another way to enjoy the area is on foot : from Bahía López, a medium-intensity path goes into the southern margin of Brazo Tristeza and leads, after about 40 minutes of walking, to a viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the Capilla hills, Millaqueo and Lopez.

This natural balcony that even allows you to see Mount Tronador in the distance, also offers rocky walls where you can abseil. The wind adds some spice to the adventure that is short for the most daring and somewhat longer for the fearful.

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