This is a new destination for tourists but a spectacular place to stay, whether on vacations or any long weekend marked by the calendar
A few kilometers away from the City of San Martín de los Andes, there lies a hidden paradise that awaits visitors: Villa Lago Meliquina, an alternative to enjoy the natural magic that concentrates the way of feeling and living of various Patagonian towns in only one spot.
Sometimes it is a matter of luck, of turning into a crossroads and finding a paradise lost in the maps. Others, it is the result of a finger pointing in a certain direction and a friendly voice saying “follow that road and you will find a dreamed-of place”. This is exactly what happened to us the first time we visited Villa Lago Meliquina, one of the best kept secrets in the Lake District in Argentinian Patagonia.
A Route to Be Enjoyed
Villa Meliquina lies just 36 kilometers away from San Martín de los Andes. Those who wish to visit this destination must take the Seven-Lake Road and get to the Gendarmerie Station by the Hermoso River. Once there, they must turn into Provincial Route 63.
Bordering the southern margin of the lake under the shady native trees, we got past the first fishing clubs in the region, which were settled down in the 1930s.
Pesca con mosca en el Río Meliquina
Ruta Prov. 63 Villa lago Meliquina
Resto Bar cervecería
Playa grande de la villa
Puente Río Meliquina
Rodeado de lago y montañas
While traveling this road, drivers will often feel the need to stop and take pictures or enjoy the quietness of the woods by the water body. Finally, after 13 kilometers along the gravel road that separate this place from the pavement, we came to the town at the head of the lake.
The Town by the Lake
Villa Meliquina lies at the head of the lake bearing the same name, in a small valley surrounded by mountains. The first denizens settled down in the 1980s, after the owners of these lands, the Steverlynck family, resolved to divide part of their estancia into lots for sale.
Much water has gone under the bridge across the Meliquina River which gives access to the village ever since: the picturesque houses tinged the scenery and turned this district into one of the most beautiful and most promising tourist destinations in Patagonia.
Featuring a clear conservationist philosophy, most of the houses in the town have their own eolian energy generators and the concept of “zero trash” is already real. The services in the village include a wide array of accommodation options, from 4-star hotels, through lodges to cabin resorts. On the other hand, local restaurants are well-known for their regional dishes and the quality of their steak chefs.
The natural frame where the district is nestled deserves a special mention. The Meliquina River starts at the lake and crosses the town drawing a memorable scene. This water course features high sports value for fly-fishing enthusiasts. A real jewel. Before sunset, when everything is covered by a soft yellow light, travelers must not miss the synchronized dance of rainbow trout showing off their glow as they feed on the insect eclosions.
Other Alternatives, the Same Magic
As we took a rest in a green garden at one of the restaurants in the village, one of the pioneers approached us and told us about some options to add some local color to our stay. Excursions such as a visit to Lake Filo Hua Hum (lying just 20 kilometers away), Casa de piedra (an overwhelming scene of rocky formations that shelters a cave formerly occupied by the first nations) and the Caleufú River, an excellent choice to spend the day enjoying its pools, its rapids and fishing its trout, can be done starting at Villa Meliquina and following Route 62.
That is why travelers should follow this advice: do not forget Villa Lago Meliquina, one of the most beautiful sites in Patagonia.
/ Jorge González
See more points of interest in San Martín de los Andes