Traful’s Submerged Forest

This is a phenomenon of nature easily accessed on a motorboat ride. The vestiges of an event that moved a forest from its original place seen with our own eyes.
Villa Traful offers excellent natural attractions hard to be forgotten. Among them, it treasures a forest like no other.

Why? Because its roots lie under water and because we had to sail across the crystal-clear waters of Lake Traful in order to see this magical site.

A great part of the almost 60 cypresses that make up the forest come out of the water surface and become visible when the boat reaches the opposite shore. The top of this forest displays leafless trunks featuring a whitish hue, faded by their exposition to the water and the sunshine.

As our boat reached the area, it took a turn around the trees so that the water surface would become calm. We were surprised by the sight of huge trunks with their main branches under the water.
  • This is a phenomenon of nature

    This is a phenomenon of nature

  • Lake Soldiers

    Lake Soldiers

  • The trunks look petrified

    The trunks look petrified

  • Almost 60 cypresses

    Almost 60 cypresses

  • The houses of the village

    The houses of the village

These specimens used to stand on the hillside of Bayo Hill, or Alto Mahuida, when in the 1960s a landslide ripped them off their location with rocks and all and they landed on the bottom of the lake.

Deprived of their garments, the trunks look petrified. Believe it or not, the transparency and the calmness of the water let us see them in spite of the almost fifteen meters of depth. Do they have a root? Why don’t they fall? One question was followed by another.

Lake Soldiers

Upright and with few leaves, they watch over the area and they have not lost their lineage. A mystery of nature and a must visit for lovers of SCUBA diving.

A great number of experienced divers arrive in Traful to see this wonder. It is said that the light, especially at noon, lets them go down to the very roots of the trees.

We left this rarity behind and bordered the much eroded cliffs that make up the northern shore of the lake. Huge rocky formations unveil grottos and caves. Access to those areas is impossible due to the high walls.

A Virgin

Fernando Sciaroni, our guide, showed us a statue of the virgin nestled in one of those caves. He told us that a sailor saved his life at that spot when he was surprised by a heavy storm.

As a tribute, he raised a statue of Virgin Stella Maris, the patron saint of fishermens, at that spot. We continued our tour and at the end of the cliffs we got to a bay with a nice beach of white sands.

Some of the passengers decided to dive in these translucent waters. Other adventurers were already there, so we learned that it is usual for motorboats to cross over and spend the day away from everything.

As we returned to the village, we were balanced by the swell and got a general view of both shores. We noticed the difference between the two margins. The lake, which spreads from West to East, is a natural corridor for the mountain range winds.

From a distance, we had another look at Bayo Hill. We saw that another cypress forest had grown there to replace the one that fell into the water.

Thanks to Fernando’s directions, we could spot 2,400-meter-high Traful Peak and the shapes of the hills named Montura Chilena (Chilean Saddle), Carpa (Tent), Cerro Negro (Black Hill) and El Monje (The Monk).

Far away, the houses of the village barely appeared among the high trees that protect them from the winds. On some hills, huge buildings would show off their black roofs and chimneys.

Fernando was proud to assert that “the lake is free from pollution, as it is one of the few lakes in Patagonia where people may still drink the water without any reason to worry”.

Before we stepped on solid ground, we headed for the area known as the Wind Viewpoint. After crossing a great deal of waves, we understood why that rocky formation receives that name.

At the base of that huge rocky mass, we entered a natural cave after some maneuvers. We had very little space to move but it was enough to take a picture of that strange dark place.

Thus, just like in real life, the mysterious actions of nature do not cease to amaze us. Where the strength of the wind and the clamor of the land can cause disasters, another positive force may renovate what has been lost.
Read complete Outing...Mónica Pons / Eduardo Epifanio

Useful Data

Duration: 2 hours


Traful Extremo
Ruta Provincial 65 s/n, (8403) , Villa Traful, Neuquén
Cel: +54 9294-4210759

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