The Rainbow Tour of the Seven Lakes Road from Bariloche, Argentina

By Roy Heale

One of the most beautiful journeys by car in Argentina is the Seven Lakes' road. Starting in San Carlos de Bariloche the road connects to Villa La Angostura and San Martin de Los Andes for a full day excursion. Along the route are the seven lakes: Machónico, Falkner---where there is a 20meter waterfall---Villarino, Escondido, Correntoso, Espejo and Nahuel Huapi. Plus at the end of the journey the eighth lake is Lacar where San Martin de los Andes is situated on the shore. The road also traverses three national parks: Lanín, Arrayanes, and Nahuel Huapi. This is truly a scenic journey full of wonderful photo opportunities and memories that make for a perfect journey. It is almost 200kms from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes---40 of which are across a gravel road--- and the entire journey is surrounded by spectacular mountain vistas, lakes, unspoiled forests, and parks.

During my visit to Argentina's Lake District my host and tour guide Cristian Signorelli from Bariloche Gay Travel made certain that I experienced this distinctive adventure before I left the region. We met early at my hotel for breakfast and then headed out in our car for a day full of activities. It is possible to enjoy this one day excursion on a tour bus, but I recommend a private guide in order to move at your own pace, stopping to enjoy everything this magnificent day trip has to offer.

It was a slightly cloudy and rainy start to the day but that could not daunt my excitement.

I new this was going to be a mystical gay day when at the start of our journey we were greeted by a dramatic rainbow just as we were leaving San Carlos de Bariloche. A sight that always surpasses the rain or clouds, especially when one can almost here Judy Garland's voice singing those inspiring, familiar words.

The first stop was at the quaint small town of Villa La Angostura situated on the northern shore of Lake Nahuel. This is a year-round destination for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, camping, sailing kayaking, and more including skiing during July, August, and September. The small town site is full of shops, restaurants, and parks with a resident population of about 12,000 people. As we strolled around the village and along the shoreline of the lake we were once again greeted by a rainbow stretching from a mountain peak to the lake. I began to wonder how Cristian organized and planned his gay tours!

After a short refreshing visit around the town and the traditional sharing of mate we were back in the car and on the road to San Martin De Los Andes. On this section of the journey the road winds its way though mountain peaks, alongside the lake shores, though small settlements, forests, and open valleys. Wild flowers and berries adorn the embankments, waterfalls appear by surprise accompanied by small creeks and rivulets. Throughout the journey it is constantly reassuring how this wonderful countryside has been unspoiled by any kind of major commercial development.

We arrived in San Martin de Los Andes just in time for a parilla lunch of beef, salad, and patatas fritas accompanied by a good Malbec. This is another quaint Andean town with year-round tourism and outdoor activities for all to enjoy.

For our return journey we headed back via the highway through the more desert-like region of the Andes Mountains where lakes are not commonplace and the vegetation is more arid. However, Cristian told me if we were lucky there might be a sighting of the region's indigenous bird of prey---the Condor with its three meter wingspan---cruising the wind currents high above.

Sure enough, after about one hour of driving in the afternoon sunshine, Cristian spotted a Condor in the sky and stopped the car for me to take a picture. By the time we were both out of the car, and to our amazement, we were surrounded by what seemed like at least one hundred Condors hovering above. Both of us were completely mesmerized by the sight and they seemed curious about us for several minutes. Then as quickly as they appeared they vanished again. As a local resident Cristian was astounded and impressed upon me that most people were lucky to see just one Condor. He had never before seen or even heard of an entire flock of them traveling together. In fact many people search the skies and never even see one lone Condor. It is important to note that Condors usually travel alone or in pairs making this a very rare sight to behold.

By the time we arrived back in Bariloche I had spent yet another unforgettable and very gay day in the spectacular Argentina Lake District which was full of memories to last a lifetime.

After an incredible week in the Lake District my observations rate this as a wonderful gay-friendly playground and the perfect place for that long-awaited gay honeymoon! Cristian Signorelli of Bariloche Gay Travel will plan your visit so that your memories will be deserving of how long you may have waited for your wedding.

Whether you want to go skiing in the winter, sit on the beach during the summer, or climb a mountain peak, this region has everything for the perfect gay getaway.

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