Lake District of Argentina, Patagonia
Concierge.com's insider take:
Argentine Patagonia's most-visited region was formed when pre–Ice Age glaciers punched jagged holes through the Andean cordillera, leaving a network of forested valleys and emerald lakes. Now Neuquén, Río Negro, and Chubut provinces provide excellent opportunities for hiking, fly-fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, and skiing. Serious climbers focus on 12,500-foot Volcán Lanín, a dormant volcanic cone that dominates the horizon. Higher rainfall around San Martín de los Andes supports large stands of lenga, a high-altitude southern beech tree, which carpet 7,900-foot Cerro Chapelco, where the Nieves del Chapelco ski resort's 31 pistes wind prettily through the woods (54-2972-427845; www.chapelco.com.ar). Snaking southward, the Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Drive) connects San Martín de los Andes with Villa La Angostura, a charming, tourist-oriented village on Lake Nahuel Huapi's northern shore. Villa La Angostura is favored by winter visitors to the exclusive Cerro Bayo ski center and summer fishermen intent on staking out the mouth of 300-yard-long Río Correntoso, a renowned spawning site for trout (54-2944-494189; www.cerrobayoweb.com). Bariloche, the region's main city, is the jumping-off point for multiday hikes through Nahuel Huapi National Park (contact Bariloche-based outdoors outfitter Meridies; 54-2944-462675; www.meridies.com.ar) and for 54-piste Catedral Alta Patagonia, Argentina's largest ski resort (54-2944-409000; www.catedralaltapatagonia.com).