SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
JUNIN DE LOS ANDES
Departmental head city of Huiliches, in Neuquén Province, Junín de los Andes was founded on February 15, 1883 by sergeant major Miguel Vidal, on the banks of the Chimehuin river. Early in its history, it was a fortress used on the army campaign against the natives, for which reason it was declared to be a historic building in 1943. A monolith at the spot commemorates its foundation and the Andes Campaign.
This is the oldest town in the province, and is 385 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital. A typical mountain village, it combines peace and quiet, tradition and mountain sports, in a privileged natural setting. With its approximately 9,000 inhabitants, Junín promotes the attitude of respect for nature shared by its original native inhabitants.
Junín de Los Andes offers a vast range of facilities, such as hotels, bungalows and camping grounds, as well as the chance of sampling delicious regional food.
Within the luxuriant woods, resides an abundant fauna consisting of red deer, foxes, wild boars, hares and otters that will suddenly appear, or may easily be discovered by eager naturalists.
A variety of tours takes you to Paimún, Curruhé Grande and Chico lakes, as well as Termas de Epulafquen, El Escorial and Hueyeltue Valley, where long distance skiing is practiced during the winter months.
The imposing Lanín volcano, 3,776 meters above sea level, with its conical shape, poses a challenge to local and foreign mountaineers. Making it to the summit by the north or south face is a challenging task for experts. The catamaran excursion on Huechulafquen and Epulafquen crystalline lakes, with transparently green and glassy waters is well worthwhile.
Considered to be one of Neuquén's most important tourist centers, Junín de los Andes proudly boasts of being the province's first city, founded on February 15, 1883, as a fortress to be used on the Indian Desert Campaign. It is known as the "trout capital of Argentina" and is the mandatory venue for all fishing and hunting enthusiasts. In the surrounding area one can obtain major game trophies such as red deer and European wild boar, while the fly-fishing on the mouth of the Chimehuín is world famous. Travelers can happily return from a day's fishing there with their oversized trout and pejerrey tucked under their arms. Junín is a choice spot for those that shun "mass tourism" thanks to its peace and quiet. It is a good spot to stay for those wishing to practice winter sports in the nearby Chapelco.
A few kilometers away lies the entrance to LANÍN NATIONAL PARK, with its area of about 379,000 hectares, created to protect the pehuen forests and the Andean and Patagonian flora and fauna. The National Park is an attraction in itself and, based in Junín de los Andes, one can go on different excursions within it.
In Lanín National Park, you can go to places such as Tromen, Huechulafquen, Paimún, Curruhue Grande and Curruhue Chico, Verde, and Escorial lakes, the Achen Ñiyeu volcano, or you can go to Termas de Epulafquen or the valley of Hueyelthué - a special place to practice long-distance skiing during the winter months, or lastly, go on a visit to Lanín Volcano (3,776 meters above sea level), that looks regally over the whole countryside and is continually being challenged on its northern face (access from Tromen) or the southern one (access from lake Paimún).
Junín offers a mosaic of opportunities to practice so-called "action and sporting tourism".
In its three modes: spinning, fly casting and trolling, may be practiced from mid-November to late May in Junín de los Andes. Exotic species such as rainbow and brown trout, fontinalis and salmon make fishing one of the main attractions here. Other recreational activities such as mountaineering, horse riding, trekking, white water rafting and boating, big and small game hunting, long-distance skiing and lake navigation expeditions are included in the recreational offer here. There is a wide offer of lodging, including hotels, inns and bungalows, as well as excellent gastronomy with exquisite regional cuisine (smoked and pickled trout, venison and boar meat among the specialties). A special advantage is Junín de los Andes's closeness to other important tourism centers in the "Corredor de los Lagos" (Lake Belt) and Chile through the Mamuil Malal pass, open during daytime, enabling half-day and full-day excursions.
Trout fishermen have their private paradise in the magnificent possibilities offered by the famous fishing areas here: Malleo, Chimehuin, Quilquihue, Aluminé and Collon Cura rivers, and Curruhue Grande, Paimún and Epulafquen lakes.
Huntsmen have private big game preserves (deer and wild boar) or small same preserves (hares, ducks and copetonas), within the provincial area. Consult at Nahuel Mapi refuge. Tel.: 27220.
Trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts have ideal options on the slopes of Lanín Volcano (3,776 m), being able to overnight in three different refuges: Coronel Bediya (2,450 m), Beba Alvarez, belonging to the Club Andino de Junín de los Andes (2,600 m) and the new refuge RIM 26, located on the Mule Track (2,350 meters above sea level)
Finally, nautical sports fans can do kayaking and rafting on the roaring waters of the Chimehuin and Aluminé.