Like the resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and thanks to Lanín’s proximity, San Martín is a mecca for everything from hiking and climbing to mountain biking, white-water rafting, trout fishing, and skiing.
HG Rodados (Avenida San Martín 1061, tel. 02972/42-7345) rents mountain bikes, which are ideal for the secondary roads around Lago Lácar and the park.
Argentine rivers generally have lower flows and fewer rapids than their Chilean counterparts, but the Class III–plus Río Aluminé flows through spectacular scenery a couple of hours north of San Martín. It’s best with the spring runoff in November and December; contact Lanín Turismo (Avenida San Martín 437, Local 7, tel. 02972/42-5808, www.laninturismo.com.ar).
Closer to San Martín, the Class II Río Hua Hum provides a gentler experience. Contact El Claro Turismo (Coronel Díaz 751, tel. 02972/42-8786, www.elclaroturismo.com.ar); Net Sur (Coronel Pérez 1124, tel. 02972/42-7929, www.netsurpatagonia.com.ar); or Yuco (Belgrano 842, Local 12, tel. 02972/42-3150).
For fishing gear and advice, visit the Jorge Cardillo Fly Shop (Villegas 1061, tel. 02972/42-8372).
Overlooking San Martín de los Andes, at a maximum elevation of 1,920 meters, Cerro Chapelco draws enthusiastic winter crowds to 29 different runs, the longest combination of which is about 5.3 kilometers. The diversity of conditions means it’s suitable for both experienced skiers and novices. The Fiesta Nacional del Montañes, the annual ski festival, takes place in August, when there are also provincial skiing championships.
Chapelco Aventura (Mariano Moreno 701, tel. 02972/42-7845, www.cerrochapelco.com)is the resort office in San Martín. Rental equipment is available on-site, but also in town at Bumps (Villegas 465, tel. 02972/42-8491) and La Colina (San Martín 532, tel. 02972/42-7414).
Lift-ticket prices depend on timing; the season runs mid-June–mid-October but is subdivided into low, mid-, or peak season. For current rates, check Chapelco’s website.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition