A pleasant tour visiting communities of Mapuche people, in the middle of the forest and a natural privileged balcony that offers panoramic views of the city of San Martín de los Andes and Lácar Lake.
Duration: Half noon
Distance: 0 kms
Enabled: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
Description tour: Bandurrias viewpoint
As much of the regional circuits, in this one you also have the option to do it walking or by vehicle. In the first case, the path starts behind the effluent treatment plant at the end of Juez del Valle Street, in the second case you should take the National Road Nº 234 to Junín de los Andes, and turn left to go along the Provincial Road Nº 48 that leads to Hua Hum International Pass (48 km).
We will comment first on the walking option, which offers greater opportunities to enjoy the circuit.
A fence will tell you that you are entering lands of the Mapuche community, it is a wide way and it is originated from a frustrated road project towards the boundary line. A few metres further, the way comes across a rock, turning into an upward path that enters the forest.
Downwards, the Lácar Lake receives water from the Pocahullo Stream (which means seagulls' place in the Mapuche language) that runs through the city.
While going way up, many paths among the trees are opened. In case of doubt, we suggest to choose always the way on your right. The reason is simple, any deviation to the left will lead to a cliff. However, as the upper part is used by vehicles, turning right will lead directly to the road where you will be able to reach the viewpoint straight on.
The Cypress, native species from the place, is associated with other kind of trees such as Radal, Oak and Coihue, being part of the surrounding forest. This forest is located on a slope of less exposure to the sun than the Arrayán viewpoint which is opposite the first one.
Finally the path can be seen from the main road, you will find a handicraft stall and an access box where you will have to pay the entrance to the Mapuche community if you want to continue towards La Islita (the Little Island).
You must take to the left, going up along a gentle slope to the top of the viewpoint, where there is a monumental rocky promontory with an awesome surrounding landscape. On the left, you will see the hillsides, the valley and the city of San Martín de los Andes, showing its constant development, you'll also see the pier opposite the National Road Nº 234 "of the Seven Lakes", and at the back Chapelco Mountain.
A hundred metres to the right approximately, you will enjoy another exceptional panoramic view of Abanico Hill, Catritre and Quila Quina beaches, the Lácar Lake and the mountain range which follows its way toward the Pacific Ocean.
Arriving by car
If you are traveling by vehicle, you should take the Provincial Road Nº 48, which is not paved and leads to Hua Hum International Pass.
After two kilometres since the pavement finishes, at the end of a bend, you will see on the left a sign indicating the entrance to the circuit.
The forest of Oak trees begin to close, on the right you will see the Park Ranger's House and among the trees on the left, a picnic area and the first view of the lake.
As long as you go up, the road begins to widen and the vegetation increases, the first houses of the Mapuche people appear, fruit trees, and even a football field surrounded by wild apple trees. Depending on the season, you can buy regional marmalade, homemade bread and fresh cherries. These options make it worthwhile stopping and resting for a while which is so common in Patagonia.
Finally, the way descends across the residential area and you will see the junction that leads to the viewpoint itself on the left. On the right, after paying the access to the Mapuche community, you will reach the area known as La Islita.
It is worth to continue the tour to La Islita. It will take half an hour long walking (10 minutes by car) and you will be able to enjoy a small and beautiful beach -favorite among residents- with white sand and some metres distant from a rocky island that can be reached swimming.
Just going past the access, the rural school appears, and soon many homes which were originated in a provincial plan for the residents of the place (mostly Mapuche people). This plan have increased widely the number of inhabitants from the place, since it was an isolated spot.
You must be careful because eventhough the detour leading to La Islita has got road signs, it suddenly appears on the left. You should leave your vehicle in a parking lot between the trees and then walk some metres down to the beach.
On the way you will find inhabitants selling goods and food, and there is also the possibility of camping on the beach in a wild cherry trees area (You should talk to them before camping).
Office: Secretaría de Turismo - Av. San Martín y Juan Manuel de Rosas
Opening hours: 7:00hs a 14:00hs