- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
San Martín de los Andes
Surrounded by lakes, dense forests, and mountains, San Martín de los Andes lies in a natural basin at the foot of Lago Lácar. It's a small, easygoing town, much like Bariloche was 30 years ago, with many small hotels and houses reflecting the distinctive Andean alpine architecture of Bustillo. Wide, flat streets lined with rosebushes run from the town pier on the eastern shore of Lago Lácar to the main square, Plaza San Martín, where two parallel streets—San Martín and General Villegas—teem with block after block of ski and fishing shops, chocolatiers, trinket shops, clothing boutiques, and cafés.
The Mapuche lived in the area long before the town was founded in 1898 by immigrants of Chilean, French, Dutch, and Italian descent. Because all of the water from this area runs into the Pacific, the territory was disputed by Chile, which claimed it as its own until 1902, when it was legally declared Argentinean.
After Lanín National Park was established in 1937 and the ski area at Chapelco developed in the 1970s, tourism replaced forestry as the main source of income. Today San Martín is the major tourist center in Neuquén Province—the midpoint in the Seven Lakes Route, and the gateway for exploring the Parque Nacional Lanín.
San Martín de los Andes at a Glance
Sports and Outdoors
Elsewhere in The Lake District
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $165-$195 -- Buenos Aires Luxe Hotel w/Breakfast, 35% Off Sheraton Libertador Hotel
- $150 -- Argentina 4-Star Hotel in Wine Region w/Breakfast Sheraton Mendoza Hotel
- $2140 & up -- Brazil & Argentina: 8-Nt. Escape w/Air & Tours LatinEscapes.com
- Alluring South America IExplore
- $115 & up -- Downtown Phoenix 4-Diamond Hotel at 40% Off — $115 Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel