Despite being in a resource-rich area, Esquel is famous for its environmental rectitude, as the residents have passed laws to restrict gold mining in areas of known gold deposits due to social and environmental issues.
All this stems from concerns to keep the natural beauty of the city with features like glacial mountains, Patagonian forests and world-class fishing. Hire a car in Esquel and see why this city is now the major tourist hub for Argentina’s western Chubut province. The city has many activities located within driving distance like the La Hoya ski resort, river rafting on the Coronado, horseback riding at La Petrona and lots of others found in very picturesque idylls.
Esquel has its roots from Welsh immigrants, who began arriving here around 1865. Drive 25 km to the nearby town of Trevelin where the influence of Wales is still strongly seen. The pioneering spirit of the settlers may be seen at the Historical Museum located in the Old Flour Mill. Although Trevelin is not a large town, there is no shortage in Welsh tea rooms. Make sure you stop here for the delicious Welsh cakes! To see more of the place, it is better to get a car rental in Esquel which can be conveniently booked online with the best rates available to save you cost, time and the hassle of waiting for public transport.
Paul Theroux, the travel and fiction writer captured the flavour of his South American travels in The Old Patagonian Express. One major tourist draw in Esquel is the narrow-gauge train called La Trochita locally though visitors know it as the Old Patagonian Express. Although it no longer travels its original and much longer route which wended its way to Buenos Aires, you can still ride this from Esquel to Nahuel Pan, which is a settlement near the eponymous volcano. This is the southernmost railway worldwide, and thought to be the one of just five remaining narrow-gauge trains still operating. At the Nahuel Pan station, you may see some Mapuche natives who still live here, and who ply their crafts for sale in addition to their animal husbandry. Earlier in the journey, the train passes through rainforest and steppe lands before reaching the reddish volcanic rocks of Nahuel Pan. The snow-capped mountain scenery and the picture postcard train cars make it a great expedition.
Rent a car in Esquel and drive towards the Los Alerces National Park. En route there, at the 70th km marker, look out for the house which purportedly served as the Argentinian base for the outlaw, Butch Cassidy. If you are a fan of the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you would be acquainted with how these two ran away to hide out in South America. The park is a sanctuary for the cypress tree of the same name, the alerce. The park which borders the neighbouring country of Chile covers 2,630 sq. km. Founded in 1937, the park’s mission was to protect the flora of the Patagonian Andes, especially the alerce forest here. The alerce is one of the longest-living trees and many in this park are over 1,000 years, with examples of 3,000 year old ones still around. There are also many lakes and river systems here. An artificial lake, Lake Amutui Quimei, was formed with the building of a hydroelectric dam. The electricity produced here provides the industrial power needed in the coastal nexus of Puerto Madryn. Trekking and fishing are popular in this park. You can also take boat rides on the lakes, and you can see the Torrecillas glacier from the boats. At the village of Lake Futalaufquen, you can find out more about the various tours and walking trails, while at the local port of Limonao 4 km away, you may embark on a spectacular lake tour. The Esquel population, both resident and visiting, have both been growing – find out why yourself.
21 October 2019
5°C / 9°C
22 October 2019
3°C / 10°C
23 October 2019
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24 October 2019
5°C / 17°C