The Baguales Mountain Reserve is located in the province of Río Negro, in Argentina, 30 miles to the South from San Carlos de Bariloche. Its surface covers 25,000 acres, and contains a series of mountain refuges distributed along Mt. Villegas, Mt. Ciruela and Mt. Aspero.
The area is perfect for all types of skiing —backcountry, snowboarding, catskiing—, is situated in the core of the Patagonian region and circumscribed by two rivers: the Villegas and Foyel. Its snow powder rivals the quality of other top destinations in the world, and yet, is still a developing area for skiing activities so it doesn't get too crowded as other areas like Cerro Catedral or Las Leñas.
Inside the reserve there are three mounts: the Villegas (2000m), Ciruelo (1400m) and Aspero (1200m). All of them allow for awesome sightseeing and great ski runs as the snow powder there is one of the best in Patagonia, due to the dry weather and winter snow falls.
Another view of Mt Ciruela
The area offers a mixture of spacious wilderness, immaculate forests, overwhelming mountains, canyons, steppes and valleys, alongside a unique fauna.
It is even possible to get a sight of the autochthonous Andean Condor when it wanders around the rocky top of the mountains.
The wonderful scenery of Baguales offers sights of lenga beech covering deep valleys making for outrageous sights of vegetation and a mixture of local and introduced species. Autochthonous birds naturally gather around the overwhelmingly peaceful reserve and its surroundings, adding their singing to the sound of streams of crystalline water.
The quality of the powder is out of this world
Baguales is only a 1-hour drive away from Bariloche, which is the biggest ski center throughout the Argentinean Patagonia. You can reach the Bariloche airport from Buenos Aires, via an internal flight to the San Carlos de Bariloche airport, or from Santiago de Chile, via long-distance bus or a short flight, too. Therefore, you can choose between those two alternatives if you are coming from abroad and planning some holidays in South America.
In winter, you will need to travel the road in a 4x4 vehicle because of the heavy snow.
The Mountain Reserve remains closed during summer but still allows visitors to do some horseriding. When you arrive, you will receive safety instructions by the guides working in the area.
There is yet not much information about the area besides the Reserve's website itself
, sadly, although it is a really interesting option if you plan to ski tour in South America. Here is a website with some guides from Baguales offering some cool ski trips there
, and a general guide to ski touring in Patagonia
if you haven't ever done it before.
The main lodge in Baguales is very spacious. It is located at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level and covers an area of 3,200 square-feet. It seems to have been crafted from materials in the area. and has 4 double bedrooms each with an own private bath, and also a shared bedroom for 8 people. The lobby has a fireplace which makes it a really cozy place to relax after a day of skiing.
There are three mountain refuges distributed throughout the area for those practicing backcountry ski:
Refugio "El Pintado" is a cottage with a very rustic touch. It can host around 10 people, and has kitchen, bathroom, stove.
There is another lodge called La Mesada, at 1600 meters asl. It is the biggest of the backcountry lodges and can host almost 30 people. It counts with a dining room to share the experiences of the day with fellow skiers. It has a big fireplace that keeps the lodge warm.
Valle Norte is the oldest of the shelters, and is set in the midst of a forest of beech trees.
All lodges have a rustic style and are very cozy
The view of the wilderness you get from the lodges is something else