The mapuche legend goes that Maivé fell madly in love with him as soon as she saw him. The beautiful ketri or myrtle forms a unique forest in the Quetrihué Peninsula.
To the Southeast of the Quetrihué Peninsula, lies a natural treasure of the Los Arrayanes National Park. On the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, about 12 hectares concentrate magnificent giant myrtaceous bushes, best known as myrtles.
From the mapuche term ketri, “myrtle” and hué, “site”, the forest of the peninsula has certain features that make it unique in the world: its specimens reach over 15 meters of height and 400 years of age. As ancient as they are beautiful, their thick trunks are covered by soft thin sheets that make up the cold bark dyed in a delicate cinnamon color.
During the summer season, its small exquisite white flowers ornament its branches to give way to the blackish violet edible fruit of the Fall, used by the Indians to prepare chicha (alcoholic beverage).
Sailing along the quiet waters of the lake to this magical nook is amazing and bewitching at any time of the year. On board the Futaleufú, the catamaran setting sail from the Villa La Angostura
harbor goes up the Nahuel Huapi course in the Mansa Bay. In the Northern area of the peninsula, the cypresses, coihues, radales and ñires grow, as well as the notros, michay, chapeles and ciruelillos, which form thick bushes together with the caña colihue. On the shores of the lake, you may watch the great grebes and black-crowned night herons having a rest as you pass by, while the Balsas, Cumelén and Manzano Bays are crossed, till you get to the Quetrihué harbor.
Ni bien se desciende del catamarán, el encanto de los arrayanes distingue el paisaje. Como en los cuentos fantásticos, los imponentes portes con sus caprichosas formas de llamativo marrón rojizo, se asemejan a los escenarios de duendes y elfos.
Para no interferir el frágil equilibrio de la naturaleza, los senderos construidos en plataformas de madera marcan el recorrido, realizado junto a los guías que muestran las diferentes etapas del crecimiento del arrayán y su convivencia con otras especies de vegetales y animales.
Small water courses coming from the Hua-Huan Lagoon, which name derives from a local tree which aroma is similar to the laurel, cross our path.
Likewise, the Patagua Lagoon stands out, which adopts its name from another tree species typical of the swamp areas, well-known for its bark which, when reduced to powder, is used as a healing product by popular medicine. In this water mirror, biguá ducks, steamer ducks and coots coexist with other birds such as the woodpecker, the austral thrush, rayaditos and chucaos, which you can see if you move in silence.
The path gets deep into the forest towards a wooden cabin built in 1933. The Casita de Té (Tea House) is also known as Bambi’s house, as it is believed that it was there where Walt Disney got inspired to create this marvelous and tender character.
As it plays with memories from childhood, the house invites with a cup of hot chocolate with a piece of delicious cake.
The magic and beauty of the environment leave their mark, which accompanies us in our way back to Villa La Angostura. Just like awakening from a beautiful childhood dream.
Opening hours: The catamarán sets sail at 2.30pm every day (timetable guaranteed as from April 12 of 2005).
Tour type: Contemplative
How to get here: The lake excursion leaves from the La Mansa Bay harbor, heading for the Quetrihué harbor. It can also be reached along the Arrayanes National Park main path, which crosses the entire peninsula to the forest.
Bear in mind: An interesting option is to go on the lake excursion and then cycle your way back along the main path, crossing the whole peninsula.
Remember that this is a protected area and, as such, the regulated by National Parks must be complied by so that the environment is not altered.