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Friends, music, picnics, pitstops, car games, scenery, and silliness…there is nothing quiet like a good road trip. And to make it all the more amazing (for my birthday, no less) my dear friend Yessica and her sister Erin flew in from NYC to journey with us around Argentina’s gorgeous Seven Lakes Loop. Here the lakes are Caribbean blue, the mountains rival the Alps, and the area’s German influence yields artisanal chocolate and beer at every turn–basically, it’s heaven here.
The trip started in the lakeside city of Bariloche, famous for its skiing, chocolate, and chalet-style buildings. Here, we rented our trusty dusty steed The Renault, (four door, only one was fully functional.)
Though the Seven Lakes Loop is a set path, there are too many gorgeous sites in the area not to take detours. Our first stop: Mount Tronador, a glacier topped 3491-meter-high peak.
Our hike was set in what we all deemed a magical forest, stocked with tall wispy reeds, wild mushrooms, towering trees, and likely, gnomes and unicorns.
After our fairytale stroll we arrived at a huge cliff with a glacier on top, dripping into dozens of waterfalls. Malbec wine, fruit and prosciutto sandwiches was the menu del dia. The location was gorgeous but Yessica’s endless enthusiasm always makes you appreciate things that much more.
We almost didn’t come to the Lakes Distinct due to the bad press it got from the 2011 volcanic eruption but are so glad we did. To be honest, you could see ash mixed in with the hillside soil but unless you knew to look for the effects, you probably would never notice. One cool side effect was this lake filled with these floating volcanic rocks. We couldn’t get over the funny feeling as they washed past our legs.
Day 2: We awoke in the self-proclaimed hippy town El Bolson. Each day they set up a street market with food stalls, jewelry shops, artisanal beer bars, and produce stands. It was the perfect breakfast spot.
We couldn’t resist buying these massive stemmed carrots to have a bugs bunny moment.
Heading north toward Villa La Angostura, we saw all sorts of roadside gems. Wild horses, waterfalls, and cool old relics like this wooden bridge.
We made it to Villa la Angostura just in time for sunset cocktails. Love the layers of mountains.
Day 3: Though our hotel’s fresh baked bread and views tempted us to just cuddle up and linger in Villa la Angostura, the promise of more awesomeness lured us back to The Renault. The lakes and mountains kept coming in droves and then ultimately led us to the charming San Martin de Los Andes. If Hansel and Gretel were Argentine, they would live here.
Day 4: We headed back to Bariloche for one last adventure…The Circuito Chico. This western section of the lake is where all the islands pop up, the peninsulas jut out and the cliff side cafes make it hard to leave. We had a yummy farewell lunch at the super scenic Melihue restaurant, Yessica’s treat.
And to wrap up a trip full of eye-popping natural wonders, we get a sunset like this. It looked like lava was bubbling over the ridge! Though that was highly doubtful, in this region of extremes anything the seemed to be possible.
Have any good international road trip stories or recommendations? We may need them when we find ourselves on the right side of the road in Africa.
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12. A list of everything we packed