Epu Lauquen (or Lafquen) Lagoons
Its name means “two lagoons” and it refers to the Superior and Inferior Lagoons, that are the first and the ones with the easiest access of this system that involves four lagoons (or five, depending on whether you count Vaca Lauquén Lagoon or not). We have to point out that in this particular area, “lagoons” are true mountain range lakes; like these ones and the Varvarco Campo and Varvarco Tapia, on the north.
The Epu Lauquen Lagoons Touristic Forest Reserve is 65 km away from Andacollo and 150km away from Chos Malal. You can get to this place through a beautiful mountain road that borders the Nahueve river, with its crystal-clear waters and the strong currents, and you will pass by the confluence point with the Buralero river. Meanwhile, you will be able to notice the transformation of the vegetation that changes from the dry characteristics of the hills on the pre-mountain range to the exuberance of the Andean-Patagonic forest. There are one-of-a-kind specimens of roble beech along with other species such as Lenga Beech, Antarctic beech, Coihue beech and a great variety of flowers plus wild plants of sassafras, strawberries and raspberries. The forest occupies 7500 hectares.
The La Nasa stream, that joins two lagoons, is an ideal spot for fishing stream trout, perch and catfish, as well as the mouth of the Raíces stream and where the Nahueve river origins, in the Inferior Lagoon or Primera.
In order to arrive in the reserve, you have to take National Route no. 43 in Andacollo, an unpaved road in good conditions. Nevertheless, you have to travel it carefully since in some parts it has precipices on the sides. Before reaching Las Ovejas (2 km), the new route 45 starts on the left, that leads straight to the lagoons, bordering the Nahueve river that origins in the Lagoons. Fill your gas tank in Andacollo and take provisions.
You will have to pass through a Gendarmerie post to enter and through the control post of the provincial Park Rangers who charge for a small entrance fee. You can ask them for directions of paths for strolls, places for camping, regulations for fishing, etc.
The hiking to the waterfall of the Arroyo Chaquira (a stream) or an easy climbing to the small and hidden Laguna Negra are musts.
But do try not to leave your footprints: this place has something magic, it seems to have never been touched by man’s hand. Make sure it stays that way.