LET’S GO EXPLORING
For those who don't want to fish every day or don't want to fish at all, El Encuentro offers enriching and exciting excursions to explore the surrounding country and local communities with our knowledgeable, English-speaking guide, Hector Gonda. Whether you want to hike or horseback ride, learn about local culture and history, or focus your sights on local birds, El Encuentro can design the right excursion for you. You, too, will have colorful stories to share with your angling companions at day’s end.
The following excursions are available from El Encuentro Lodge. Please review the list below and let us know your preferences. Especially during January and February, it is necessary to book your preferred excursion(s) as soon as possible.
Day Trip to Los Alerces National Park
This stunning national park is a World Heritage Site, established in 1937 to protect the largest collection of ancient Alerce trees in Argentina. The globally threatened Alerce tree (Fitzroya cupressoides) is the second longest living tree in the world and is an endemic conifer to South America. Alerce trees in the Los Alerces National Park range from 1000 to 3000 years old. In addition to lush forests, the park is also known for its large, crystal clear glacial-carved lakes, framed by the mighty peaks of the Andes. A day trip to the park can include a boat trip into the park backcountry, and/or half or full day hikes.
Depending on what kind of hiking you want, our guide, Hector Gonda, can take you on a variety of hiking trails – from half day to all day and from gentle to more strenuous. As you hike, you’ll learn about the natural history of this part of Patagonia. If you’d like, Hector also can share tips on photography.
Los Alerces National Park has lots of hiking trails – and luckily for us, some are located right across the river from the lodge in an area seldom visited by others. Other trails are in the main part of the park, inviting you to explore the ancient Alerce forest, visit a glacier, or marvel at historic petroglyphs. We will be happy to discuss the options with you and have trail maps to share.
El Encuentro is situated where the forests of the Andes give way to the openness of the steppe country. The variety of habitats host an interesting diversity of birds. Depending on the season, you might see migrating flamingoes, black-necked swans, ashy headed geese, and colorful Patagonian meadowlarks. Scanning the waters of a marsh or wetland will reveal numerous endemic ducks and shorebirds. Moving quietly on a forest trail might bring sightings of a pygmy owl or Magellanic woodpecker. Hector provides binoculars and spotting scopes for his guests to use.
Horseback riding is available near the El Encuentro Lodge with a local guide who will show you how the gauchos “ride” and share local lore of the region. Depending on your experience, you can go for a couple of hours along the river, or go for a longer ride into the surrounding mountains.
This region offers great kayaking on lakes and/or rivers near the lodge or in Los Alerces National Park. Certified kayaking guides can take you out for a day or half day, designing the excursion to match your interest and skill level. Both hard shell and inflatable kayaks are available. Helmets and lifejackets are provided.
Discovering Local Culture and History
Welsh History: Whether visiting an historic water mill or present-day vineyard, spending a day delving into the region’s colorful history will give you a whole new perspective on your days in Patagonia. The community of Trevelin was settled by Welsh pioneers in the mid 1800’s. Successfully growing wheat and milling flour, the Welsh at the time, turned this valley into Argentina’s bread basket. Hector will take you to museums and even a Welsh tea house to give you a flavor and understanding of the many influences of the Welsh that one can still appreciate today.
Futaleufu, Chile: El Encuentro Lodge is only 7 km from the Chilean border and another 10 km to the charming village of Futaleufu. It may be close, but you’ll be surprised by the different landscape and Chilean culture. Your guided day here can include savoring Pacific seafood or Chilean lamb and a pisco sour at a local restaurant and marvel at some of the famous Class V rapids of the Rio Futaleufu. One also can also enjoy some good hikes in the area. And why not get the stamp on your passport that you visited two countries on the same trip, with hardly any driving?
Train Buffs: Ride the historic narrow-gauge railway, “La Trochita” the Old Patagonian Express. Riding on one of the only narrow-gauge trains still operating in the world takes you from Esquel and the small village on Nahuel Pan, a small Mapuche village. The round trip takes about 3.5 hours travelling though native forests and the classic Patagonian steppe country to the east. Your time in Nahuel Pan includes a visit to a small museum highlighting the indigenous history and cultures of this region.
Hiking from Brook Trout Base Camp
Experience Patagonia wildness at its best on a guided hike while staying at our remote Brook Trout Base Camp. Hikes begin right from the door of your tent, led by your guide or helper. You can enjoy a half day or full day hike, exploring the lenga forests, small streams and open hillsides around Camp, with dramatic views of the Andes. Sheep, cattle and horses might cross your path, but you won’t have to see any other people.