A comfortable footbridge leads us to a different destination, where the five senses are completely alert.
So far, the myrtle forest on the Quetrihué Peninsula was just a mystery we would unveil and enjoy some day. Something like a pending matter. Therefore, we were completely fascinated to be waiting for the dreamed tour to start standing at Puerto Pañuelo
. Puerto Pañuelo
was an emblematic spot, the starting point of the navigation on board the most modern catamaran that crosses the waters of Lake Nahuel Huapí: the Cau Cau, which in the Mapuche
tongue means “large seagull” or “kelp gull”. White, with a harmonious line and powerful engines that make it resemble a transatlantic, incredibly enough, this watercraft moors with the softness of a PWC. Sliding across the Cold Waters
Once in the middle of the lake, everything was pleasure and the vastness of the scenery became the protagonist. As we sailed, we could barely perceive that we were crossing into another province: Lake Nahuel Huapí is shared by the Provinces of Río Negro
in the South and Neuquén
in the North.
We continued sailing and spotted some minor islands. Little by little, we came close to the chosen destination. It was time to learn that we would enter Arrayanes National Park. Our eagerness was getting ready for amazement.
As we entered the myrtle forest, we were impressed by several reasons: the cinnamon, almost intensely reddish color of the trunks; the size of the specimens; and finally, the shade and humidity provided by the environment. Everything was in order. Impeccable footbridges provide very easy access with steps to sort the uneven trails that led us through this forest, which dates back to over 250 years ago.
The myrtle is a tree species in the family Myrtaceae
that needs to live close to the water in order to develop and survive. The water is present in this spot. Its bark is cold and it comes off easily and nature is in charge of dressing the trunk again and again. Its flowers resemble orange blossoms.
We felt the need to stroke them and got our hands close to one of them a little distrustfully. It replied with the kind of softness the human skin has.
We went along 800 meters of footbridges and viewpoints in half an hour, enjoying the nooks where the sun has made a huge effort to get through the compact web of entwined leaves and branches. Bambi and Disney
As we walked about the area, we could observe an old wooden house which has been turned into a coffee-shop. It was built in the mid twentieth century and it is said that it was the inspiration for Walt Disney to create his first films about animals in the forest.
As we crossed the lake once again on our way back, the seagulls that followed the boat caught all our attention. They were eager to eat anything we offered them as they fluttered their wings above us.
Expectations were fulfilled and we just had to let our imagination fly back to 1939, when Modesta Victoria
, the first boat that sailed the Nahuel Huapí, went from Puerto Pañuelo
to the City of San Carlos de Bariloche
. The road that borders the lake nowadays had not been built yet. It is said that the guests to the newly inaugurated Hotel Llao Llao
and the local settlers would wave their handkerchiefs for the boat to pick them up. That is the origin of the name Puerto Pañuelo
In order to respect the ritual, we waved our handkerchiefs to bid farewell to this perfect day, just like the old dwellers used to in the also old days of the twentieth century.
Difficulty: Senior citizens, strollers and disabled visitors have the choice to go on a shorter tour. Travel agencies and guides anticipate the difficulties of the ground and accompany tourists, if necessary.
Duration: Half a day
Tour type: Contemplative tourism
How to get here: Puerto Pañuelo is the point where passengers embark and it is located 25 kilometers from the City of San Carlos de Bariloche, following Bustillo Avenue.
Bear in mind: The tour may be done all year round. An admission rate must be paid to enter the National Park.