Famous for the locals, unknown for the tourists, the road of the 7 lakes, or El Camino de los 7 lagos is one of the must do in Argentina.
When you cycle in Europe, the scenery changes fast, the mountains are like in a fairy tale, the landscape is just perfect. But in Argentina it is rough. It is like you leave the fairy tale to join the tough real world.
The wind is strong, the Andes mountains are far from perfect, the horses are like giants and the flowers are the same color as the mountains.
The road of 7 lakes starts wither from Villa de la Angostura and goes till San Martin de los Andes.
They say it is easier the other way around, because the wind pushes you from the back and somehow helps you.
On the other hand, this means you start the road with 14 km of climbing only.
Personally I started from Villa la Angostura and finished in San Martin de los Andes.
General information about the road of 7 lakes:
- It has 110 km
- It can be done in 2 days if you are fit. This has been a big question mark before starting the road. What does it mean fit? how hard is it? Am I going to be able to do it? Myself, ordinary person who goes to gym 3/4 times a week was able to do the road in 2 days without any problem.
- If you want to enjoy the scenery, take longer brakes, you may take 3 days or more
- The road has an unpaved part, but they work on paving the road
- There are hostels on the road, even people will tell you there are not. But I would advice having a tent with you to be on the safe side
In both Villa la Angostura and San Martin de los Andes you find a lot of options to rent bicycle, tent, and everything you may need for the road.
Also they give you the option to return the rented equipment at your destination in change to half a day rental price.
It is better if you ask for recommendations from your hostel/hotel because some of the shop owners may be quite rude, especially if you are not a professional cyclist, or will try to oversell.
The place where you rent the cycles will make you the itinerary and will give you all the information you need to be ready for the road.
- 0 km Villa la Angostura
- 3 km Puente Rio Correntoso – the shortest river in the world
- 16 km Lake Espejo
- 22 km Espejo Chico – in the intersection where it says San Martin to right, take the left, you go for less than 1 km and you can see the lake. Then you return to the route. Here there is camping.
- 29 km Quintaparay – camping
- 33 km Entrada Villa Traful
- 51 km Pichi Traful
- 58 km Lakes Villarino and Falkner. Here is camping with full facilities: a small restaurant and showers.
- 64 km Cascada Velignanco
- 70 km Lago Hermoso
- 74 km Lago Machonico with its green waters
- 82 km Lago Meliquina, Here you have the option of enter the village and have a delicious local lunch or continue to San Martin de los Andes
- 100 km Chapelco – from here you only descend to a tryunphal arrival in San Martin
- 110 km San Martin de los Andes.
Facilities on the road:
Usually you have from where to buy water, or a meal. There are small restaurants on the road. Some camping places have facilities like showers, a small restaurant, others not.
Play it safe:
Neither the road or camping facilities are illuminated, therefore for your own safety it is better if you have yourself set for nigh before it gets dark. The locals say there are no wild animals but I would not bet my life on this.
Enjoy the ride.