San Martin was a bit of a bust. Recommended as a base for several multi-day treks in my guide book, the national park office and the tourist office in San Martin hadn’t heard of any of these and really couldn’t give me any pointers on how to get to the starting point. In addition, I got some impressively wrong information on bus connections that made me decide to only stay one night in the town.
The town itself is actually quite nice, as was the hostel I was staying at. It had the same kind of peaceful and relaxed vibe Futaleufu had. But the only “activity” there was a 3km walk to a local viewpoint over the lake San Martin was bordering. While pretty, it surely isn’t enough to warrant a visit.
In the end though, San Martin was unavoidable. For one the road between Bariloche and San Martin is known as one of the prettiest in Argentina. There are two options to get from Bariloche to San Martin by bus: Fast or scenic. The scenic road, also known as the seven lakes circle, drives through absolutely stunning countryside that would probably be better enjoyed with a rental car. However, if you don’t plan on returning to Bariloche (as we didn’t), the bus is a much cheaper option and the view is the same.. It’s just that you can’t stop.
For four hours the bus drives through the mountains, past seven lakes (who would’ve guessed), with the last lake being the one San Martin coasts.
Secondly: The direct road from Bariloche to Pucon was, once again, closed due to snow. The only pass remaining open in that area was only served by buses starting from San Martin, so I never really had the option to avoid it in the first place.