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Beaches on the Lácar: Catritre and Quila Quina

 Estimated reading time: 1 min. Texts Karina Jozami   Photos Jorge González
Catritre and Quila Quina Beaches - San Martín de los Andes

Catritre and Quila Quina are two of the most popular beaches in the summer. Resting on the shores of the Lácar, both alternatives let visitors enjoy the lake till sunset.

No sooner do the plum trees start to bloom and the gorse upholster the mountain in vibrant yellow shades than the local dwellers and the tourists begin spending the afternoon and even the entire day at Catritre or Quila Quina.

These beaches on Lake Lácar let visitors enjoy the sunshine on the long summer days, when the sun sets after 8pm. There are also those who choose these natural nooks to dare to swim and freshen up in the water, as these areas of the lake are more shallow and accessible for bathing.
Catritre and Quila Quina Beaches - San Martín de los Andes
They are accessed through National Route 234 and leaving the city towards the Southwest. The access to Catritre Beach lies 4 kilometers ahead. It is a zigzagging mountain path that opens up among an ancient forest up to the lake shore. The infrastructure of the area invites visitors to stay and includes a camping site with fire pits, tables, benches, restrooms and restaurant.

Furthermore, the camping site called Lolen, owned by the Mapuche community, lies next to this venue and also provides an area for tents.
Catritre and Quila Quina Beaches - San Martín de los Andes
Farther Ahead

The second choice is to get passed the access to Catritre and drive on along Route 234 for one more kilometer up to the access to Quila Quina. A 12-kilometer-long very winding mountain road goes uphill the first 6 kilometers and then downhill along a typical slope. In addition to these difficulties, the village of Quila Quina welcomes a great inflow of visitors in the summer. Therefore, we recommend driving carefully. As from the 7th kilometer marker, Lake Lácar comes into sight again glittering in the sunshine that anticipates the beauty of the scenery.
Catritre and Quila Quina Beaches - San Martín de los Andes
Some meters before the entrance to the village, after crossing the cattle guard, there is a parking space where visitors can leave their cars and set out in a short hike to see the Arroyo Grande cascade, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by giant rocks and accessed through a footbridge.

Following the main road up to its end, the village features a pier and a beach with a restaurant and coffee-shop. This is the starting point for secondary roads leading to the picturesque recreational parking site, which features all services to spend time in full contact with nature. Furthermore, visitors may discover a mineral water fountain and follow the trail known as “El Cipresal” (the cypress grove), which leads to a site featuring cave paintings.
Catritre and Quila Quina Beaches - San Martín de los Andes
Useful Data
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.
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Level of Difficulty
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