With its shimmering blue waters and forest-lined shoreline, Lake Lacár is one of the most popular attractions in San Martin de Los Andes. In the peak of summer, when the temperature can regularly reach 70 degrees and the sun hangs high in the sky, bask on a beach beneath snowcapped peaks over 200 miles from the ocean. Enjoy the 15-minute stroll from the center of town to dramatic Bandurrias Lookout, and then continue on foot for 30 minutes to La Islita beach. Hire a canoe and paddle the waters surrounded by mountains and silence, or hop on board a sightseeing cruise to motor past islands and virgin forest towards the neighboring Chilean border.
On a full day cruise, disembark at the port of Chachín to hike 30-minutes to Chachín waterfall as it powerfully spills through the forest. On the ride back towards San Martin de los Andes, admire a shoreline pockmarked with caves where the indigenous Mapuche once thrived, and soak in the vistas that arguably rank as some of the best in Patagonia. Or spend a day at Quila Quina on the lake’s southern shore, a lakeshore village that’s full of watersports and native Mapuche crafts.
Bandurrias Lookout is 1.5 miles from San Martin de los Andes, and the summer months of December-February are the most popular times to visit. The lake water is cold throughout the year, although each February there’s a swimming race that crosses the width of the lake. Aside from touring the lake by boat, it’s also possible to drive Route 48 along the winding northern shore.