Its beaches and summer nautical activities as well as the nooks ideal for walking make Quila Quina a place worth visiting.
Nestled on the shores of Lake Lácar, Quila Quina Village has the perfect components to seduce both local denizens and visitors to San Martín de los Andes
. It boasts beaches, nautical sports, hiking trails, campsites, cuisine and everything each one dares to discover.
The pleasure began at the very moment we left the pavement in order to enter the winding mountain road that gets deep into thick forests. First it climbs uphill and then goes down along a green hillside. Half through the way, we had a broad view of the entire coastline. Drivers should be careful not to stop the car at certain spots. In order to take a memorable picture, we had to wait for the right occasion, park off the road and put the brakes on.
The road goes past the houses of the Mapuche Curruhuinca
community. The families that live there devote their time to raising animals, taking care of the orchard and making handicrafts. These houses stand out for their classic fences made of sticks.
As we entered the village, we took the main path, which led us to the pier where the catamarans moor. A very pleasant coffee-shop and a popular beach were the first attractions that caught our eye. This is a colorful and cheerful place where visitors may rent kayaks and be delighted by the blue waters of Lake Lácar in the background, which certainly shows off its best suit.
We resolved to spend the day there, so we parked our car at this location and set out on a stroll around the area. The village lies inside the national park and shelters grand houses built as early as the 1940s. They remain open in the summer.
We followed the trail along the coastline. The lake is located in a vast valley and an imposing mountain range appeared on the other side of the water body before our eyes.
As we got to the beach known as El Cipresal
(The Cypress Grove), we remained there for a while in order to appreciate its man feature: its strategic location shelters it from the prevailing western winds. Huge cypresses with twisted roots make a strong contrast with the softness of the beach.
We continued our visit on foot until we came to a creek that ends in the lake. It is at this location where we found a very well organized campsite in which visitors may enjoy a stay amidst nature. We observed landscaped areas, full services and grills on the banks of the creek.
The inner paths of the village led us back to the port and we sat at a table on the coffee-shop deck to have a drink as we contemplated the lake. We learned that there are several options to go hiking around the area. One of them leads to the cascade and a mineral water spring. There is also a longer circuit that gets to a ravine where cave paintings and the Lion's Cave may be admired.
All through the day the colors of the scenery and the forests slowly changed and set ourselves into the mood to discover the various nooks where visitors usually sunbathe or dive in until quite late in the afternoon, as the sun sets after 8 pm in the summer.
Duration: All day
How to get here: By land: 18 kilometers -6 along paved National Route 234 and 12 along a rubble mountain road which is usually complicated when it is rainy or snowy. Drivers should be extremely careful.
By water: catamarans leave the por of San Martín de los Andes several times a day according to season.
Bear in mind: It is very important to drive carefully along the mountain paths. In the summer, the weather is generally dry and in addition to the bends, cars usually kick up dust and therefore, extreme precautions must be taken in order to avoid accidents.