Welcome to Esquel
Dotted in the southern corner of Argentina’s Lake District, Esquel is a tiny village on the doorstep of stunning natural scenery. A population of only 28,000 inhabitants makes this an authentic place to base yourself in northern Patagonia, away from the crowds and immersed in some of the region’s most jaw-dropping landscapes, particularly at Alerces National Park nearby. This UNESCO-protected area is shaped by glacial rivers and lakes, hanging valleys and Valdivian Forest, most outstandingly the Alerces: the second longest-living trees in the world.
Adventure addicts would do well to set their sights on a trip to Esquel and the Alerces National Park, what with the sheer extent of adrenalin-pumping things to do here. Navigate a warren of hiking trails, try white water rafting on the Corcovado River, go rock climbing at La Palestra or horseback riding and biking through the wilderness. What’s more, with so many luminescent lakes emerging between the forests, kayaking is a fantastic way to feel even closer to these magical waters, perhaps catching sight of a Condor weaving gracefully through the sky above. On top of all this, Esquel is a great destination for skiing in winter, particularly at La Hoya which lies just half an hour’s drive north of town. Little Esquel really does pack a punch!
A land of virgin forest, bright blue lagoons and glaciers, Los Alerces National Park is a soul-stirring place indeed, named after the protected Alerce trees–one of them is an incredible 2,600 years old!
No need to drive to reach this picturesque lake, as Laguna La Zeta is just a walk away from Esquel itself. Wander through fragrant pine trees, go for a dip, or have a go at outdoor pursuits like windsurfing, biking and fishing.
A half-hour drive north from Esquel takes you to this ski resort, which is not only excellent value but also has 24 pistes and fewer queues than some of the other Lake District ski centers.
A must-do experience during your time in Esquel, La Trochita is an old steam locomotive that dates back to the 1930s and offers return journeys to and from El Maitén, affording stunning views of the Lake District along the way!
Esquel has its own fair share of cultural attractions too: from Leleque Museum, which explores the lives of the indigenous Tehuelche people; to Trevelin, a Welsh town awash with tea houses and rose gardens; not to mention Esquel’s fantastic cultural center.
You’ve heard the story about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, so while in Esquel why not make the short trip to Cholila and see the very cabin these Wild West outlaws hid out in between 1901-1906?