San Martín de los Andes

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San Martín de los Andes
View of village and surrounding area
View of village and surrounding area
San Martín de los Andes is located in Argentina
San Martín de los Andes
San Martín de los Andes
Location of San Martín de los Andes in Argentina
Coordinates: 40°10′S 071°21′W / 40.167°S 71.350°W / -40.167; -71.350Coordinates: 40°10′S 071°21′W / 40.167°S 71.350°W / -40.167; -71.350
Country  Argentina
Province Neuquén
Department Lácar
 • Mayor Brunilda Rebolledo[1] (MPN)
 • Total 140 km2 (50 sq mi)
Elevation 640 m (2,100 ft)
 • Total 23,519
 • Density 170/km2 (440/sq mi)
Time zone ART (UTC-3)
CPA base Q8370
Dialing code +54 2972
Climate Csb

San Martín de los Andes is a city in the province of Neuquén, Argentina. It is located in the Lácar Department in the south-west of the province, at the foot of the Andes.


At the time of the founding of San Martín de los Andes the valley of Chapelco were sparsely populated by indigenous Puelches who used it as a refuge during the harsh winters of the zone. The Puelches had since colonial times engage in trade with the Huilliches on the eastern slope of the Andes through various mountain passes. Puelches raised horses on the eastern slopes of the Andes and traded them for weapons and alcoholic beverages becoming one of the main food providers of the isolated exclave of Valdivia. The Argentine and Chilean military campaigns; the conquest of the Desert and the occupation of Araucanía; in the second half of the 19th century bought a definitive end to this trade.

In 1898 a military expedition arrived to the zone to take a definitive control of the zone due to increasing border disputes with Chile. The Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina led to disputes whether the main Andean cordillera or the continental divide should serve as border in this latitude. Chilean authorities argued that since Lácar Lake drained into the Pacific the area of San Martín should belong to Chile. The Argentine government was also concerned about the zone's dependence on trade with Chile, just like in Bariloche and other parts of the southern Andes. San Martín de los Andes, modeled like a European style alpine village, was founded on 4 February 1898. Following the founding the main economic activities were wood logging and husbandry.

A major change in settlement life came when in 1937 Lanín National Park was created. This meant that wood logging was gradually reduced and numerous small settlements along the lake shore disappeared. New roads were built effectively connecting San Martín with the rest of Argentina. This led to an increased trade that almost ended local husbandry and agriculture. In the 1970s with the help of bank credits many tourism enterprises were established in San Martín making the town up to this day an important tourism center, specially during winter when the ski pistes are open.


A snowboarder in Chapelco

San Martín de los Andes is a popular tourist destination in both summer and winter, and the seat of the administration headquarters of the Lanín National Park. Its landscape is one of the most spectacular of Patagonia.

  • In spring and summer, it's a famous place for birdwatching, and where takes place the South American Bird Fair, main birding meeting of the continent.
  • In the summer, adventure sports like kayaking, mountain biking, trekking, rafting, horse riding and others are popular. Golf can be played about 10 months a year on the Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II designed Chapelco Golf Club. Design and construction is starting in El Desafio Mountain Resort on a Greg Norman Signature golf course set in the mountains.
  • The city of San Martin de los Andes offers a wide range of accommodation, with an architecture based on prevailing local materials of stone and wood. The warmth in the decorations, the attention to every detail and personalized attention.
  • The beautiful Seven Lakes' paved road, takes you to Villa La Angostura, the Los Arrayanes National Park and the Nahuel Huapi lake.
  • Chapelco is one of the most important ski centres in Argentina and South America for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding amongst others.
    View of San Martín's beach in summer
  • Handcrafted artisan arts & crafts and local culinary delicacies like gourmet chocolates, pastries, organic jams and preserves. Patagonian cuisine and tea houses abound. Alpine-style hotels, lodgings and cabins available throughout.
Teahouses throughout San Martín de los Andes specialize in sweet delicacies such as rich, dark Chocolate and Dulce de Leche tortes


San Martín de los Andes has a cool ocean-influenced climate, on the boundary between Mediterranean (Köppen Csb), oceanic (Cfb) and subpolar oceanic (Cfc). Being shielded somewhat by the Andes in Chile, it is much less wet and more sunny than Chilean Patagonia, but still is very susceptible to heavy storms during the winter which tend to produce a mixture of rain and snow when they manage to retain some moisture over the Andean divide. However, when it is not raining or snowing heavily, the weather can be extremely sunny and beautiful, though the nights under these conditions are chilly and frost has occurred even during the summer.

Climate data for San Martín de los Andes
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 21
Average low °C (°F) 6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 38
Average precipitation days 5 5 5 6 11 11 12 10 6 6 6 5 88
Mean monthly sunshine hours 341 282 248 180 124 120 124 155 210 248 300 341 2,673
Source: World Climate Guide[2]


Athletic Curruhinca, an amateur soccer team, with the entire squad from San Martin de los Andes, won the title "Copa Cablevision" in December 15 of 2013, becoming the first amateur soccer champion in the big metropolis Buenos Aires originally coming from this city.



External links[edit]

Media related to San Martín de los Andes at Wikimedia Commons