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Route of the Seven Lakes: Patagonia’s Most Stunning Road

  • Post last modified:July 25, 2023
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If you're planning on traveling to Bariloche, chances are you may have heard of the route of the seven lakes. It's one of the best day trips in the area, and is definitely something you should add to your Patagonian bucket list.


The road have seven different lakes along it, and is one of the most picturesque areas to visit in the country!


We spent a week in Bariloche, and spent two days dedicated to doing the route of the seven lakes. In this guide we're going to share exactly how to do it, what to expect, and tips for having the best experience visiting the route of the seven lakes. Let's dive right in!

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Where is the Route of the Seven Lakes?

The route of the seven lakes is a stretch of 107 km (66.5 miles) along route 40 in Patagonia. It is right between Bariloche in Rio Negro, and San Martin de los Andes in Neuquen. Route 40 connects the two cities, and the route of the seven lakes is part of this highway, starting in Villa La Angostura and San Martin de los Andes.

Where is the route of the seven lakes

The red line indicates the route of the seven lakes.


How to Get to the Route of the Seven Lakes

In order to visit the route of the seven lakes, you have two options.


Rent a Car to Visit the Route of the Seven Lakes

As the route of the seven lakes has a lot of stops, going by public transportation isn't really possible. We rented a car from Bariloche, and then we did the route by ourselves. We personally think that this is the best option, as it allows you to do the route on your own schedule, and you can stop whenever you'd like.

driving the route of the seven lakes
driving the route of the seven lakes
driving the route of the seven lakes
driving the route of the seven lakes

There are so many great reasons to stop along the route of the seven lakes.

If you are coming from Bariloche you can get a car directly from the airport. We suggest booking in advance to make sure there is availability. If you are visiting from San Martin de los Andes, you can rent a car from inside the city. If you plan on going to Villa La Angostura from Bariloche, you could also rent a car from that city as well.

Drone shot route of the seven lakes

Having a car allows you to explore the route of the seven lakes on your own time.

Rent a car in Bariloche:

Take a Tour to the Route of the Seven Lakes

If you are by yourself, or do not feel comfortable driving, you could alternatively take a tour from either Bariloche or San Martin de los Andes. You can check with your hotel in advance or upon arrival so that they can connect you with a local tour operator.

the route of the seven lakes

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The Route of the Seven Lakes

Now that you know where to begin, we're going to go a bit over each of the lakes that you will pass along the way, as well as some bonus things to do in the area!

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Route of the Seven Lakes pin
Route of the Seven Lakes pin
Route of the Seven Lakes pin

Lake #1: Lago Correntoso

Lago Correntoso is the first lake along the route if you are going from Bariloche, and is located right after the center of Villa La Angostura. It actually has several spots that you can enjoy it along the route, because the bottom part of it connects to the start of the route, and the top of it connects to the route 23 km up the road.


We suggest going down to the beautiful beach called Playa Lago Correntoso, and then stopping along the road where it connects with Rio Correntoseo. From there you can get a stunning view of the river running into the lake, as well as the bridge that is down below it.

Rio Correntoso, route of the seven lakes
Rio Correntoso, route of the seven lakes
Rio Correntoso, route of the seven lakes
Lago Correntoso, route of the seven lakes

Lago Corrento has a beach and a bridge over the river connecting to the lake.

Later on you'll also be able to admire the lake from its northernmost points, where you'll see two camera icons on Google Maps that both say "mirador Lago Corrrentoso". Both of these spots you can easily pull over and enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Correntoso.

Lake Correntoso, route of the seven lakes

Lake #2: Lago Espejo

The next stop is Lake Espejo, which translates to Mirror Lake. This is another large lake that has multiple viewpoints along the route. The first one that you can see in the picture below is actually located left of the fork of Route 40 and 231. Right after turning onto route 231 you'll see the view of the lake and its beach below on the right hand side.


You can then head back onto route 40 and continue, stopping at the beach, and finally stopping at another viewpoint that is 7 km up the road.

Lago Espejo, route of the seven lakes
Lake Espejo, the route of the seven lakes
Lake Espejo, the route of the seven lakes


Lake #3: Lago Villarino

The third lake is actually much smaller than the first two, and doesn't have much more to offer than just a viewpoint. Lago Villarino is located on the left hand side, and you can easily pull over to see the view right from the lot. 

Lago Villarino, the route of the seven lakes

Lake Villarino can be accessed right from the parking lot.

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Lake #4: Lago Falkner

Just across from Lago Villarino is just across from Lago Villarino, and to access it you can simply park on the side of the highway and walk along the beach. This is also a great place to relax or to have a picnic.

Lago Hermoso, route of the seven lakes
Lago Hermoso, route of the seven lakes


Lake #5: Lago Hermoso

Lago Hermoso is one of the only lakes that you aren't able to see right from the highway. In order to get there you'll have to turn left off the highway right after the restaurant El Viejo Amacen. You'll go down a dirt road for 4 km to get to the lake, where you'll also see a camping area. Right behind it you'll also find a tiny laguna called Pudu Pudu.

Lago Falkner
Lago Falkner, route of the seven lakes

Lake #6: Lago Machonico

Once getting back to the main highway you'll have just another 4 km to reach the next lake, Lago Machonico. This one is simply a quick stop, as it is just a viewpoint. It is beautiful, but at this point you will probably be ready to get to San Martin de los Andes as things start to look very similar.

SYM Danni at route of the seven lakes

Lake #7: Lago Lacar

This is the final lake along the route of the seven lakes! (or the first if you are coming from San Martin de los Andes). Lago Lacar is actually right next to the city of San Martin de los Andes, and has a lot of different areas that you can enjoy it from.


As we had started for sunrise, we had been exploring the whole day, and were starving by the time we arrived to San Martin de los Andes. We grabbed a bite right on the lake, and it was the perfect way to finish the day. As it was starting to get late, we didn't have a ton of time to experience all that the lake had to offer, so we definitely suggest spending the following morning seeing all of the other great areas of the lake. The furthest point is actually over an hour away! 

lago Lacar, the route of the seven lakes

Lago Lacar has a beautiful area that we went to called Yuco Beach, which actually has 5 different small beaches all just a few minutes walk from one another. With bright turquoise waters and mountains as the backdrop, this is definitely one of the most beautiful areas of Lago Lacar to check out. We were also recommended Playa Quila Quila, Pucara, and Muelle Hua Hum.


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Other Things to Do Along The Route of the Seven Lakes

While the seven lakes are definitely the highlight of the route of the seven lakes, there are actually some other great places to check out! Here are the other spots to visit while doing the route of the seven lakes:


Ñivinco Falls

Ñivinco Falls is another stunning location that can be found just by parking off the side of route 40. The start of the trail to get there is between the top of Lago Correntoso and Lago Villarino. The falls are a true hidden gem of Patagonia, and you can read more about getting there by reading our Ñivinco Falls travel guide.

Ñivinco falls, route of the seven lakes in Patagonia
Ñivinco falls, route of the seven lakes in Patagonia
Ñivinco falls, route of the seven lakes in Patagonia

Ñivinco falls are found along a trail right on the route of the seven lakes.

Cascada Dora y Santa Ana

Remember the route you turned on to see Lago Espejo? Well, if you keep going down that same route you'll actually end up in Chile! Don't worry- these waterfalls are still in Argentina, but the trails to get to them are located close to the border. Actually, a lot of people come on a day trip from Chile to see these stunning waterfalls!


Cascada Dora y Santa Ana are two gorgeous waterfalls that require hiking to get to, and a lot of planning, as the road is only open to get there until noon, and there are also other factors to keep in mind.


It's for these reasons that we were unfortunately we were unable to visit, as it is truly more complex than simply driving over there. Although it is in Argentina, you for some odd reason need to go through Chilean customs, and have a special paper saying you have permission from your rental company to go into another country. This can take 24-48 hours, so if you do want to visit here you'll have to talk to your rental company in advance.


Villa Traful

Villa Traful is definitely a bit of a detour from the route of the seven lakes, but as you'll already be in the area, we highly recommend it! It is 26 km away, and takes 40 minutes to get to from the main highway. This is because it goes down a pretty wonky dirt road, weaving in and out of the mountains.

Villa Traful, the route of the seven lakes in Argentina
Villa Traful, the route of the seven lakes in Argentina
Villa Traful, the route of the seven lakes in Argentina
Villa Traful, the route of the seven lakes in Argentina

Villa Traful is a great detour off of the route of the seven lakes.

The views to get there are a reason in itself to visit, and the adorable town of Villa Traful is located along the beautiful Lake Traful, making it a super picturesque place. When we went everything was closed because it was a holiday, but we loved the nature, and heard that the restaurants there are great!

Villa Traful, Argentina


Mirador Inalco

Mirador Inalco is the first viewpoint after Villa La Angostura, and is right on the side of the road. We visited during sunrise before starting the route of the seven lakes, and then again on the way back to Bariloche. The second time we went there was a guy selling some great souvenirs out of his truck, and we got to see some Amazing birds!

Mirador Inalco, route of the seven lakes
mirador Inalco bird
Mirador Inalco shop
mirador Inalco, the route of the seven lakes

Mirador Inalco is a great place to stop before the route of the seven lakes.

Puerto Angostura

This area is actually located before the route of the seven lakes, right by Villa La Angostura. Puerto Angostura is a quaint port area that has a series of beaches, piers, and viewpoints. It is also the entrance to Los Arrayanes Forest, which is popular boat trip from Bariloche.

Puerto Angostura
trail to Ñivinco
Puerto Angostura
Puerto Angostura

One of the most fun things to do in Paraty is to visit a Cachacaria.


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Where to Stay Around Route of the Seven Lakes

The route of the seven lakes can be done as a day trip, or can be stretched into a few days depending on how many things you'd like to do. Here are the different options for places to stay before and after:


Option #1: Stay in Bariloche

If you simply want to take a tour, or to drive there and back, you can stay in Bariloche. It will be a long day, and you will really only have time to do the 7 lakes. However, this is a great option if you have limited time in Bariloche, and don't want to move your belongings around.


The place that we stayed in Bariloche was Selina, which has both hostel-style rooms, as well as nice private rooms. We also love that they have pool and spa passes, a fireplace, and a DJ playing at night.


Two other great places that we highly recommend that are located along Circuito Chico are the famous Llao Llao Resort & Spa (the top hotel in all of Bariloche) and Hotel Amancay, a beautiful hotel with some of the best lake views in the area, and incredible medialunas for breakfast.

Hotel Amancay

Hotel Amancay is a great place to stay in Bariloche.

Option #2: Stay in Villa La Angostura

Villa La Angostura is where we decided to stay the night before starting to do the route of the seven lakes. This cut off the first hour of our drive from Bariloche, and allowed us to start going to the lakes first thing in the morning. We booked at Acceso Bayo, which was an adorable and cozy cabin right off the highway. 


The family took us in last minute, and even agreed to wake up an extra half hour early to serve us breakfast. Their homemade medialunas were so good, and we were so comfortable in our room! 


There are also two great Glamping spots worth checking out are Las Ramblas de Puerto Manzana and Glamping Patagonia Inspira.


Option #3: Stay in San Martin de los Andes

If you happen to traveling to San Martin de los Andes from the north, then you may want to stay there, and then do the route of the seven lakes as a day trip. We finished the route of the seven lakes and then spent a night in San Martin de los Andes before heading back towards Bariloche, which we also highly recommend.


The hotel that we stayed at was super cozy, and was located right along the river. The breakfast was incredible, and the staff was incredible, making La Fontaine Hotel y Apart another great hotel that we suggest checking out. They also have a sister hotel which is incredibly popular located right along the water called Rotui Apart Hotel.

La Fontaine, where to stay along the route of the seven lakes
La Fontaine, where to stay along the route of the seven lakes
La Fontaine, where to stay for the route of the seven lakes
La Fontaine, where to stay along the route of the seven lakes

La Fontaine is a cozy hotel with a beautiful backyard.

Option #4: Stay Along the Route of the Seven Lakes

If you're looking to explore deeply and slowly travel the route of the seven lakes, this is an option as well! Right along the route of the seven lakes you can find various hotels and campsites. One thing to keep in mind though is that most of these are only open during the high season, which is either in the summer (December to March) or winter (June to August).

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Is the Route of the Seven Lakes Safe?

While certain areas of South America and Argentina can be a bit dangerous, Patagonia is generally a very safe area, and very tourist-friendly. We found Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, and San Martin de los Andes to all be very welcoming and nice areas to be both day and night.

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Other Things to Keep in Mind for Visiting Route of the Seven Lakes

Now that you know almost everything you need to know for visiting the route of the seven lakes in Patagonia, we have just a few more things to share and keep in mind.


Weather in Neuquen

We visited Neuquen in the first week of May, which is the autumn. The leaves were all colorful, and it was simply beautiful. This area of Patagonia experiences all four seasons, with warm and sunny summers, and very cold and snowy winters. If you happen to visit in the spring or fall like we did, the weather can be pretty unpredictable. One minute it can be warm and sunny, and the next it can be cold, cloudy, and windy, so it's important to be prepared for all types of weather.


The Best Time to Do the Route of the Seven Lakes

We think that the two best times to visit the route of the seven lakes are in summer or in fall. If you visit from December to March you'll be able to take advantage of the warm temperatures, and get to swim in the blue waters. If you happen to visit in May you might have rain, but the leaves will start to change colors, making the drive insanely beautiful.

autumn time at the route of the seven lakes
autumn time at the route of the seven lakes
autumn time at the route of the seven lakes
autumn time at the route of the seven lakes

The autumn is a beautiful time to do the route of the seven lakes.

How to Prepare for the Route of the Seven Lakes

Here are some of the things we suggest bringing on a trip doing the route of the seven lakes:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Snacks for the road
  • Umbrella (In case it rains)
  • Layers or a jacket
  • Flip Flops for the beaches (we personally always get Havaiana flip flops, as they are comfy and long lasting) 
  • Sneakers (if you do any of the hikes)
  • Zippered Bag or Backpack - take a look at these backpacks for travelers!
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Bathing suit if you visit in the summer
  • Drone for some epic content (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and takes incredible footage)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Tessan travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)
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Travel Planning Tools

Here are some useful tools that you can use for planning your upcoming trip!

Skyscanner is our go-to for flights, as it lets you search for "anywhere", the cheapest places in each country, and the cheapest dates each month for your destination.

Booking.com is what we use to book our hotels, as you can collect points and get discounts the more you travel.

Economy Bookingsthe cheapest car rentals around the world

Local Rent a Car: for the best local car agencies

Bus Bud: the most complete site for bus tickets around the world

Flix Bus US: the cheapest bus tickets in the US

Train Line: our go-to for trains in a ton of different countries

Omnio: our secondary choice for train or bus tickets

Airalo is a company that offers E-SIM cards for almost every country in the world, to keep you connected during your travels.

Get Your Guide is a site that gathers tours from local tour operators for unique experiences around the world.

Radical Storage is a company that connects you to the closest luggage storage spots so that you can explore on your layovers, or for hotels that won't hold your belongings.


So are you ready to explore one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia? There are so many beautiful locations in Argentina, and we love continuing to explore all that this incredible country has to offer.


Want to discover more incredible spots around? Make sure to check out all of the other Argentina travel guides that we have to offer! Also make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to hear about more related articles that we have coming up.


Ready for the most epic trip of your life? Well, you don't have to spend a fortune to have the most incredible travels. Now Scratch Your Mapa offers travel planning services that are guaranteed to save you both time and money. Take a look at the different travel packages we offer, or email us for a free consultation.


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