Yuco and Nonthué Beaches, the Hua Hum River and Chachín Cascade are some of the nooks that anticipate the biological diversity of the Valdivian rainforest.
The geography of San Martín de los Andes
captivates the eye with its hills and small beaches on the shores of vast Lake Lácar. The road that leads to Hua Hum International Pass
is a sample of the diverse vegetation in the mountain range and Lanín National Park.
On our first visit to the area, we wanted to see the various beaches. Eight kilometers away from the city, we came across Trompul Rock, which, according to local denizens, displays the face of a person in the twilight.
We drove on and reached Yuco sixteen kilometers ahead. At the access on the road we could not even imagine what we were about to discover once we got deep into the shady trails that led to the beach. ’Yuco’
stands for ‘isolated place’ in the Mapuche tongue. Its sandy shores and the large rocks let visitors dive into Lake Lácar and the woods offer excellent shade.
Valdivian Rainforest with a Full Name
As a result of the work done by the park rangers in the Lanín Station, each species is identified with a signpost reading its name: raulí, coihue
Though there are no services in the area, Yuco is ideal for a picnic. We had lunch at this quiet, family site where visitors may enjoy interesting hikes. It is forbidden to camp overnight.
Twenty kilometers ahead, Nonthué is the appropriate place for those who wish to spend the night in a tent. Sitting on a high rock, we watched the joint between Lakes Lácar and Nonthué, usually known as ’la angostura’
(the narrow point), where the crystal-clear waters reveal the shallow depths crossed by the watercrafts.
While sitting on our chairs on the beach, we enjoyed some mate
and let our minds wander around the wild scenery featuring a thousand colors where we also appreciated the cozy sounds of nature.
We drove on towards Hua Hum and had some photographs taken at a long pier that seemed to project the garden of the inn bearing the same name. Some 800 meters ahead, we crossed the Hua Hum River, whose cold green-bluish waters reveal volcanic rocks of countless hues in the bottom. We learned that the Hua Hum River empties its waters in the Pacific Ocean, an unusual fact in this area.
Amazement Never Stops
The road became narrower but it still treasured some secrets. At one fork, travelers must choose between reaching the Chachín River and Cascade or go on some more kilometers and reach Lake Queñi. At this point, the vegetation became lush, as we were in the middle of the Valdivian rainforest. We chose to walk along a sloped trail in order to reach the viewpoint over the cascade and see this wonder of nature in its entire splendor.
Instead, in order to continue towards Lake Queñi and the hot springs, travelers must travel a longer stretch (about eight kilometers) and drive a high vehicle or a 4WD so as to cross meltdown creeks. We resolved to leave that adventure for a future excursion.
We were told that a one-and-a-half-hour hike would lead us to the natural hot springs in the forest. The area has a special kind of magic where visitors may take a hot bath and recover from the effort required by the hike.
The same gravel road led us back to the city. We were feeling a little tired and quite dusty but satisfied. We would certainly recommend that circuit to our friends.
Duration: All day. Carry everything necessary to spend the day.
Tour type: Contemplative
How to get here: At the junction of National Route 234 and Provincial Route 48, there starts the gravel road to Hua Hum. The conditions of the road are subject to how dry the weather is. This is the cause for the surface of the road to be rugged.
Bear in mind: To both sides of the mountain range, the atmosphere is humid in comparison to the city, because rainfalls are plenty. There are many species typical of the Valdivian rainforest, such as cinnamon trees, maniues, taiques, topa topa and other species that co-exist with a thick understory, caña colihue, lianas and epiphytes.