CROSSING TO CHILE FROM BARILOCHE
BY THE CARDENAL A. SAMORE PASS
If travelers wish to cross the border with Chile, all they have to do is take a guided tour. On this tour they will have the opportunity to go across the fascinating Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina, and Puyehue National Park in Chile as well as skirt three beautiful lakes: Nahuel Huapi, Espejo and Puyehue.
The journey starts in Villa La Angostura, where Nahuel Huapi's Ultima Esperanza arm is skirted. At km 11 (National Route Nº 231), you turn right to get to a natural balcony on Lake Espejo. Here there is a small but comfortable beach resort featuring a private beach, a hotel and water sports.
If you go around the hill, at km 24 there is a low valley and two kilometers ahead Puyehue border post is found. After a quick Customs check, you continue along the route and at km 31 come to the meeting point of Blanco and Pereyra rivers, where there is an impressive lenga forest.
At km 43 you reach Cardenal A. Samore International Pass, an almost horizontal volcanic sand pass, 1,314 meters above sea level. The border is marked with a small image of "Virgen de la Paz" (Our Lady of Peace).
If you continue along the road to Chile, you will go down through lenga woods. Some kilometers ahead you will find the Customs post called "Complejo Aduanero Los Pajaritos", in the depths of the native forest, where there is a café, among other amenities. Further on, you will find Puyehue hot springs, featuring a hotel, as well as Ñique hotel, very close to lake Puyehue.
In order to get to Osorno, an important tourist center in Chile, you have to skirt the lake for about 23 km and then travel 43 km across the flat valley.
ACROSS THE LAKES
The excursion starts at Puerto Pañuelo, where you embark to sail across Lake Nahuel Huapi up to the Blest arm of the lake. At Puerto Blest you disembark and may have lunch if you wish. Then, a bus will take you to Puerto Alegre (a short trip indeed) and once again you will set sail on a catamaran across the greenish waters of Lake Frías to reach Puerto Frias 20 minutes later.
Here you must do a quick Customs check and continue by bus. At 976 meters above sea level, surrounded by lush vegetation, you arrive at Peulla, at around 5pm. When you have completed the Customs check on the Chilean side, you will be taken to Peulla Hotel.
This German-style hotel built of local wood offers full facilities. After checking in, you will have some free time to go for a walk around the place and get to the "Cascada Velo de la Novia" (Bride's Veil Cascade), where you can enjoy the landscape and commune with the magic beauty of the place.
After having breakfast on the second day, you will be taken by bus to Puerto Peulla, where you will embark again and sail across Todos los Santos lake, also known as Lake Esmeralda. After two hours you will get to Petrohué.
Petrohué is a town located on the slopes of the Osorno volcano, by the lakeshore. Travelers have lunch here and visit the world famous Petrohué Waterfalls. Here you can also visit a museum devoted to volcano topography.
The trip continues by bus, skirting a great part of Lake Llanquihue, one of the largest lakes in South America. Then, you arrive in Puerto Varas, the "City of Roses" and 17 kilometers ahead, along the Pan-American Highway, you get to Puerto Montt. In order to get back to San Carlos de Bariloche you can take a regular bus or plane.