Upon arriving to San Martin de los Andes, we went to a cafe for a pizza and coffee. (Yes I know the combination sounds horrible but it is what we were craving.) Since it was New Years Day, there wasn’t a lot open but we lucked out and found a place called The Coffee Store. After eating our snack/ second lunch, we found a place to stay for the night. We decided to camp close to town at the ACA campground. While it was a little more expensive than we were hoping but it was nice to be close to the center. We set up camp, took showers, and then decided to head back into town. We found this amazing bakery called La Pasteleria where we enjoyed a very large piece of pie. I would recommend this place to anyone passing through San Martin. The atmosphere was amazing and so was the food. I wish we had had longer in San Martin just so I could go back!
The next day, we woke up to rain so we decided to pack up the tent and head to Junin de los Andes. (The bus ran about every hour and cost around $30 pesos.) Upon arriving to Junin, we went to the grocery store to grab food for the next couple of days and then we took the bus from Junin de los Andes to the part of Lanin National Park near Lanin Volcano. The bus only runs twice a day (once in the morning and once in the late afternoon) so make sure you plan accordingly. The bus takes about 2.5 hours as you take a dirt road through the national park along Lago Huechualafquen. We decided to camp at Camping Ecofue which was a cool campground because it was only accessed by boat but it was definitely overpriced ($120 pesos per night) given that there was just an outhouse and no access to clean water since there were farm animals everywhere.
The next day, it was still raining (it started that evening when we arrived) but we decided to brave the rain and go hiking anyway in shorts, in the rain, and in strong Patagonia winds. While this might not have been the best idea, we survived and did manage to see El Saltillo Waterfall. That evening, the rain got even worse and it started to downpour. Unfortunately, we were kind of stuck and just had to wait it out. Luckily, during the night, the rain finally stopped before our stuff got completely soaked.
The next morning, we packed up camp to head back to Junin because we had a bus early the next morning to Pucon in Chile. Luckily, we did have a chance to get out and walk around a little but before the bus came. The park was really beautiful and I would definitely like to return again when the weather is better so I can see the volcano up close.
Once we arrived back in Junin, we found a campground on the edge of town called Camping Malin. After spending the past several days in the rain, the sunshine and warm shower were very welcomed. That afternoon we went to Via Christi Park which was one of the most interesting parks I’ve been to because it combined the history of the Mapuche people with the story of Jesus Christ. It was definitely a very unique find in this small Argentinian town.
While our stay in Junin de los Andes and Lanin National Park wasn’t ideal due to the rain, I would definitely return again to see more of the area because it was very charming and beautiful.