Argentina travel blog by Mark Berman -
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The bus journey is quite spectacular between Bariloche and El Bolson with mind-blowing views of blue lakes and white snow-capped mountains on each side!
There are 3 lakes and the road runs directly beside them - Lake Gutierrez, Lake Mascardi and Lake Gulleimo. Route 40 is the famous 'Road of 7 Lakes',
although officially those 7 lakes are further northward situated between Villa La Angostura and San Martin de los Andes. This journey of 2hrs is a continuation
of Route 40 in the southerly direction. Put your camera on high speed so you can get some shots out of the bus window along the way or better still,
rent or travel by car so you can stop where and whenever you like!
Feria Artesanal and Plaza Pagano
El Bolson has an easygoing feel and pace about it - nice and slow. The central park (Plaza Pagano)
with tall trees, open green grass and central lagoon features one of the towns highlights - Feria Artesanal
, the arts and crafts market - hippie central!
The market is active each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (10am-6pm). The motto of Feria Artesanal is "Our Hands, Our Land, Our Diversity". The
market is known for its organic healthy foods like cheeses and fruits that come from the surrounding farms and orchards and the people are very friendly
and helpful. It was actually a couple of hippies from El Bolson that picked me up hitchhiking around Bariloche a few days earlier, so I already knew some
locals before arriving here and found them in the market area. Around Plaza Pagano are historic buildings, the church, carved wooden and abstract steel
monuments, colorful flowers, cafes, street art and hippie culture. There is another market in El Bolson called Feria Franca
with products from the region
and a beer garden for tasting the local brews. There are 2 or 3 ATM machines in town as well as a range of accommodation options from budget upwards.
Everything has a backdrop of snowy mountain capps!
4 very important historic buildings on the tourist circuit in El Bolson are firstly the hospital -
Hospital de Area El Bolson (1940). One of the first doctors here was Dr. Rodolfo Venzano who was also a cartographer and he mapped the first geographic
plans and maps of the area. In the early days there were no ambulances, the doctors used their own cars or visited patients on horseback! The police station -
Comisaria-12 (1939), a blue building with a stone entrance and watchtower, part of the towns infrastructure. The church - Iglesia Nuestra Senora de Lujan
(1950) has features that were brought over from China. When funds to build the church ran low, an event was held to raise more. The school - Escuela No 270
(1909) is a national monument and has a beautiful view of snow-capped mountain ranges up behind it, there are some flower gardens here also. A new theatre
tent will be built on an empty section on the main street in El Bolson soon! A place for artists, culture, fine arts, music and dance. One other building
worth a mention is the white clock tower called La Torre Cantina (The Cantina Tower), you will see it beside Plaza Pagano.
Nature, Scenery and Activities
El Bolson has a lot of nature, scenery and
activities around the area to explore including Lake Puelo (15kms). There are several waterfalls - Cascada Escondida (10kms), Cascada Mallin Ahogado,
Cascada de la Virgen (20kms) and Cascada Nahuel Pan (9kms). The forests of Bosque Tallado (14kms) has 56 sculptures carved on dead trees by outstanding
artists. A large rock in the shape of an Indians head - Cabeza del Indio (6kms), lookout point - Mirador del Azul (5kms), the blue river - Rio Azul,
mountain - Cerro Perito Moreno (25kms), museum of Patagonian history - Museo Leleque (80kms), museum of rocks and fossils - Museo de Piedras Patagonicas
adventure park in the trees - Parque Acrobatico
, horse riding - Cabalgatas Fofocahuel
, Canopy Tour Patagonia
and camping to name a few!
3hrs Bus to Esquel
From El Bolson I
traveled 3hrs south by bus to Esquel where I slept the night before continuing the next morning south-west through Trevelin towards the border of Chile