To the native Mapuche of Argentina’s Andes, the name Huechulafquen means “long lake.” It’s an apt title for this azure spectacle that stretches for 18 miles, and is officially the largest of the 24 lakes in Lanin National Park. Next to the lake, on the northern shore, the conical, snowcapped Lanin volcano rises 12,293 feet into the blue Andean sky. In spring, summer, and early fall, thousands of visitors flock to the lake for camping, hiking, and staging attempts on the dormant volcano’s summit. There are boats for hire at Puerto Canoa and scenic lakeshore cruises, and the fly-fishing in the neighboring Chimehuin River is among the best in the world. A mile and half past Puerto Canoa, visitors will find scenic Piedra Mala and a protected corner of the lake. Walking trails lead towards Lake Paimun and El Salitillo waterfall, and the epic, Andean, mountains vistas are a highlight of both Lanin National Park and San Martin de los Andes.
Following Route 234 and then 61, Huechulafquen Lake is located 37 miles from San Martin de los Andes and 18 miles from Junin de los Andes. There’s an official ranger station and visitor center when you reach the shore of the lake, where an entrance fee of approximately $9 usually applies for foreign visitors.