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El Bolson

Enclosed by snowcapped mountains and ancient glaciers, the picturesque El Bolson rests in the middle of the fertile Valle Nuevo, surrounded by the Nevado mountains on the west and the mighty Mount Piltriquitron on the east. This gentle and welcoming town, surrounded by beautiful waters and forests, can be enjoyed all year round, with winter months brining skiing at Mount Perito Moreno, summer allowing for fishing and nautical sports, and the colorful spring and fall offering a plethora of activities for all to enjoy.

Born under sign of myth and legend, this valley route was pioneered by Spanish Captain Juan Fernandez, who died in the quest for the Cesares City, abundant in gold and silver. The first settlers were of Chilean origin, and the valley was declared to be Argentine in 1902. In 1933, the city was founded at 128 kilometers from Bariloche; in turn, the heterogeneity of its population is due to immigration both from Argentina and from some European countries, the settlers being attracted to the magnetism of El Bolson's landscape and quiet mountain life. In order to preserve this privileged natural environment, El Bolson was declared a Non-Nuclear Zone in 1984, a region free of radioactive pollution, granting it the title of Ecological Municipality.

Seasonal Attractions
In the winter, the snowed slopes of Mount Perito Moreno offer great skiing opportunities. Fall and spring paint El Bolson in beautiful hues of ocher and green, with the cypresses, coihues, and lengas bringing explosive color throughout the city. In the summer, the water courses are ideal for such nautical sports as trout fishing and river rafting on the Azul River, fine fruit picking, and mountain biking. Horseback riding to Mallin Ahogado and Catarata, camping in the grounds of Las Golondrinas, Villa Turismo, and Azcona, hiking, mountain bird watching, trekking, and beach trips along the various lakes and creeks also are of interest.

Regional Arts and Crafts Fair
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, The El Bolson Regional Fair, or the "Feria Regional de El Bolson," takes place at the foot of Mt. Piltriquitron at Pagano Square. Here, local artisans gather from all over the surrounding area for this world-famous craft fair; cultural expressions of art, ceramics, wool products, wood and leather work, clothes, fresh foods and musical instruments constitute an authentic reflection of the area. Formed by a group of 1970 hippies, the Fair today has more than 250 stands, inviting tourists to explore, sample, and soak in the range of unique regional products and culture. Such a fascinating reflection of Argentina cannot be missed on your trip to El Bolson.

Food and Agricultural Activity
Throughout El Bolson, farms and orchards grow wheat, corn, sweet and sour cherries, raspberries, grapes, and apples; in addition, the community grows hops as a fragrant for the beer industry, making it the venue for the National Hop Festival that occurs annually from February 17th to 20th. Goats and sheep are also kept for the manufacture of dairy products, such as cheeses, yogurts, and there are trout nurseries and regional chocolate and ice cream shops.

How to Get There
El Bolson is accessable via National Routes N 258 and 40, skirting lakes Gutierrez, Mascardi, and Guillelmo, and crossing Pampa del Toro, Canadon de la Mosca, and El Foyel on a day-long trip. There are also airlines reaching the nearby cities of San Carolis de Bariloche or Esquel, from which several means of transportation leave towards the district.

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