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Esquel



About 1200 miles south of Buenos Aires, the beautiful town of Esquel rests on a green mountain range valley in the west of Chubut Province. Meaning "site where there are thistles" or "quaking bog" due to the marshy land around the Esquel Creek, the city is the most important tourist center in the Chubut mountain range, and is considered a world-renowned fishing destination. Cold, snowy winters and lovely summers reel in visitors who enjoy the various hiking, camping, horseback riding, estancia tours, and sightseeing opportunities available, made all the more breathtaking due to its spectacular location at the foot of the Andes. As the prime city in the natural showground formed by Mt. La Zeta, Mt. Cruz, and Nahuel Pan, Esquel is a stop sure to wow all who take the time to poke around.

History
The first expeditions to Esquel date around 1670, made up of religious groups like the Jesuits traveled through the Andes from the Pacific Ocean. Colonizers made an appearance in the late eighteenth century, and in 1865, the Mimosa brought the first Welsh colonists, who settled in the Chubut river valley. Among the primitive owners of the land are the Tehyelches, Chuliaken, and Mapuches people, and the city originated in the measuring of the 16th Colony of October, or Colonia 16 de Octubre. Esquel was founded on the 25th of February, 1906, when the first telegraphic service began operation by Mr. Medardo Morelli.

Attractions
With over 28,000 inhabitants in this so-called "Comarca de los Alerces" (Larch District), a wide and ever-growing infrastructure offers great restaurants, accommodations, excursions, and transport services to allow visitors to experience the full splendor of Esquel. Trekking, fishing, hunting, mountaineering, and 4 x 4 touring are just some of the available activities in the backdrop off ancient trees, roaring rivers, and mountainous terrain. Many lake excursions are available over lakes Futalaufguen, Menendex, Cisne, Verde, Rosario, and Rivadavia, and there are sevel specialized agencies to take vistors on thrilling tours and sporting outing. Art is summoned in this city during the Theatre Provincal Festival, while its rivers are a must for fly-fishers in search of tranquility and privacy. In addition, there are also regional craft markets, offering items made by native descendant inhabitants and local flora and fauna food items to taste.

La Hoya Winter Sports Center
Attracting snow-sport lovers of all kind, visitors will find ever convenience for skiing, sunbathing, and pristine landscape views at La Hoya, also the seat for the competitive Ski National Festival. Sun-protected snow allows for skiing up to mid-October, while the emptying of many area rivers allows for fishing of species that would normally only be found in Chilean rivers.

"La Trochita" Patagonian Express
Providing an infamous tour of history and nostalgia, La Trochita is a working train that runs a spectacular route through the Los Alerces mountains, linking Esquel with El Maiten. Traveling alongside forests with blooming Lupen and trees over 3000 years old, this locomotive is a special part of South American history, running on an old fashioned narrow track system of the early 1900s. After two and a half hours, the train stops at Nahuel Pan Station, inhabited by Mapuche people who partake in shepherding and manufacturing local handicrafts. This universal tourist attraction offers daily excursions in summer, sure to delight viewers with a step back in history.

Los Alerces and Trevelin National Parks
Only 45 kilometers from Esquel lies the gorgeous Los Alerces National Park, a place of seemingly endless waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and forests offering breathtaking views of Andean Patagonia. The "Alerzal Milenario," or thousand-year-old Larch Forest, harbors trees over 3,000 years old, making them some of the oldest living things on the planet. One can also visit Trevelin, the first community in this area, founded by Welsh pioneers from Puerto Madryn.

Dining & Accommodations
For the traveler who doesn't mind spending a bit more for comfort, the Cumbres Blancas Hosteria offers suites where two bedrooms, a living room, a mountain-view reading area, a restaurant, and various features and services are offered in its beautiful log and stone architecture. For the traveler on a budget, an alternative is La Casa del Pueblo, a reasonable hostel with a clean room, lounge areas, and breakfast included, located in the center of the town. There are plenty of good restaurants to try in town, such as the restaurant Don Chiquino, offering delicious pasta dishes and live entertainment of magic tricks and mind puzzles, located at the edge of town.

How to Get There
Esquel can be reached along National Route N 258 from Bariloche, National Route N 25 from Trelew, or from Comodoro Rivadavia via National Route N 40. Air travel is another option, with four weekly frequencies offered by Aerolineas Argentinas.




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