Tours and Activities:
A Precious RefugeKarina JozamiKarina Jozami
The Lago Puelo National Park is one of the natural habitats for species such as the pudú and the huemul, both endangered. Presided over by abeautiful water body after which it has been named, this reserve protects a natural environment that reaches the mountain range border.
Having been created in principle as an annex to the Los Alerces National Park, in 1971 it became an independent 27,674-hectare area. The characteristics of this natural reserve are unique in Patagonia. Due to its scarce height above sea level (only 200 meters), its geographical environment and its geologic formation, this site lodges many endemic flora species, as well as a beautiful scenery and exceptional weather.
In this sector, the mountain range has undergone certain changes caused by glacier action. The turquoise mirror of the lake after which this protected area is named gets its color from the sediments of vast glacier fields and minor snowdrifts located in the mouths of the Turbio, Azul and Epuyén Rivers. The lake empties into the Pacific Ocean through the rapids and the Puelo River and is framed by impressive mounts such as Mount Tres Picos and Mount Vanguardia, with beautiful hanging glaciers.
Various forest systems develop in this park. There are alerces and species representative of the Chilean Valdivian rainforest, which is only intrusive in this sector.
The sheer mountain range foothills are covered with a vibrant green upholstery that reaches the warm waters of the coastline. In the summer, the low altitude of the Park raises maximum temperatures to 36ºC, which heats the water mirrors until they reach 20ºC. This enables visitors to practice various water sports and enjoy the beach without putting up with the cold temperatures of the Patagonian lakes.
One of the main treasures of this park are the patagua or pitra forests. This tree species is related to the myrtle trees but they obstruct access in the forest areas of such magnitude.
It has a crumple trunk which develops with a singular appearance in this environment and generates a very special atmosphere.
The park is also a shelter for the huemul, one endangered species in Argentina. Declared natural monument, the largest population of this cervidae dwells the Lago Puelo National Park.
Hiking about the various trails until some small sandy beach with transparent waters is discovered turns out to be a fascinating experience. There are several circuits that may take from half an hour to 6 days.
In addition to hiking, guided horseback rides, lake rides and sport fishing may be enjoyed in the Park. Fishing is mainly practiced in the Azul and Puelo Rivers and in the lake bearing the same name, where motor navigation is authorized and launch excursions access the area up to the northwestern end at Los Hitos.
In the northern end lies the recreational area. During the high season, information posts, dining rooms, coffee-shops with restrooms, a grill sector for daily use and two camping sites -one recreational and one primitive- operate along with the superintendency of the Park. At the La Playita area, there is a vehicle camping site.