Why we like this lodge
- The lodge is the only place to stay on this enchanting lake and is accessible only by boat or a three-hour hike, so there is hardly a soul on the surrounding trails
- Its all-inclusive programme includes boat trips and hikes up to hanging glaciers through thick lenga forest with friendly and knowledgeable guides
- The food is exquisite - prepare for both quality and quantity!
- With as many staff as guests, you are looked after every step of the way and feel completely at home
Aguas Arriba has knowledgeable and attentive guides that sit down with you each evening to discuss with you how you would like to spend the following day. Most options are half-day excursions so that you do activities in the morning and afternoon with a break in the middle for lunch at the lodge. However, there are also full day excursions available. Equally, it’s the perfect place to do nothing, ignore the confinements of time and just soak up the natural beauty of your surroundings. This is particularly tempting on a cold, wet day with the draw of the large, open fire inviting you to relax in the cosy living room.
There are a number of trails that ascend from the lodge and wind through the forest to various viewpoints dotted around the private reserve from where you can see the majestic peak of Mount Fitz Roy on a clear day. You can also combine a boat trip to either end of the lake with one of the hiking trails. Take a steep yet short path up from the dock on the southern edge of the lake to get fantastic views of Huemul Glacier and the Fitz Roy range. Alternatively, take the boat to the northern shore and venture towards the border with Chile on foot. If you're keen to walk the length of the lake, you may wish to do a six-hour guided hike along the eastern side, passing Aguas Arriba halfway. For those that wish to explore the trails independently, this is also an option and the guides can direct you along the best routes.
Lago del Desierto is a wonderful location for fly fishing with plenty of quiet bays and the opportunity to catch rainbow and brown trout usually weighing one to two kilograms. Due to steep cliffs that descend into the lake's edge, there are areas where the water is deep, so you can let your line sink far. You can hire a guide for the day but we recommend bringing your own equipment.
What Our Customers Think
We adored Aguas Arriba - the lodge was cozy and inviting, the hiking was unique and offered a different flavor to the area, and the hospitality was out of this world!
Jami & Don California, USA December 2017
Aguas Arriba was a once in a lifetime experience. The owners were one of a kind!
Bob USA October 2017
Aguas Arriba was in a different league - wonderful and probably the one place we would return to if we could. The food and service here was exceptional
Graham February 2014
About Aguas Arriba Lodge
Over a decade ago, the owners, Pata and Ivor, had a dream to build a lodge on the lake despite the challenges they faced in transporting materials and battling with the elements. In 2012, five years of hard work and construction later, the lodge opened its doors to their first guests and they’ve never looked back since.
37 kilometres north of the mountain town of El Chalten and just five kilometres south of the Chilean border, Aguas Arriba is located in a peaceful, secluded position on the shores of Lago del Desierto. There is no road access to the lodge, so the only way to arrive is by boat or on foot. Either way, you will need transport to Punta Sur on the southern edge of the lake where a guide and the lodge's own private boat will be waiting to take you on the 15-minute crossing to Aguas Arriba. If you would prefer to hike in, you will need one of the lodge's guides to accompany you as the path is not obvious. Your bags are transported by boat if you choose this route in, but this option is only possible if a guide is available on the day.
The lodge has a simple and rustic design aimed to blend in with the natural landscape inside and out. Its eco-friendly build is made up entirely of wood sourced within Patagonia. The wooden interior and open fire give you the feeling that you're in a cosy chalet overlooking a vast lake. Its huge windows allow light to flood in and give expansive views stretching all the way to Mount Fitz Roy. An outdoor wooden decked terrace is the perfect spot for a glass of wine as you sit and listen to the water lapping the shore and the wind whistling through the trees.
Perhaps the most impressive and enchanting space in the lodge is the main living room. This room is the full height of the lodge and has an enormous floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the lake, letting in an abundance of natural light by day and giving incredible views up to the hanging glacier. By night, the glow and warmth from the open fire and the large comfy sofas centred around a large coffee table make it the perfect place to relax after a day of excursions and get to know the other guests staying. There is also a small library with comfortable chairs downstairs and a mezzanine balcony upstairs with more sofas, yoga mats and a computer for use to download photos - no WiFi means that you can completely disconnect in this secluded spot.
Food and drink
Three delicious meals are served a day in the dining room, all typical Argentinian dishes using locally-sourced ingredients. Lunch and dinner are three-course meals and you are given the choice between a couple of different options. There is an impressive wine and spirits selection, and a bottle of Patagonian wine is included with lunch and dinner (any further alcoholic drinks are not included in the price). Breakfast is a varied buffet with freshly made bread and cakes, cereals, jams, hams, cheeses and eggs cooked to your liking. The lodge can cater to all dietary requirements with prior warning.
This has to be one of the most relaxing places I've ever stayed. The setting is sensational, it's as if you have the lake entirely to yourself. You are so well looked after by the staff who are incredibly friendly while providing a first-class service. Having no WiFi and phone signal is total bliss...
Zoe Winterbotham Booking Coordinator
There are six spacious en suite rooms. All have a simple and very natural design with wooden cladding throughout, creating a cosy chalet feel in each. While the rooms are all doubles or twins, an extra bed can be added to a couple of the rooms, transforming them into triples and making them perfect for families or groups of friends. All rooms are centrally heated and have thick mattresses, plenty of warm covers, comfortable pillows and crisp cotton sheets. Bathrooms have showers as well as bathtubs, and towels, robes and organic toiletries are provided.
Fitz Roy room
Two of the rooms are corner rooms and face south with views of Fitz Roy in the distance, as well as the Vespignani Glacier opposite. One is on the ground floor, tucked away from the main lounge areas, while the other is on the first floor. These are the largest of the rooms (20 to 27 square metres) and offer the best views.
Three rooms face west over the lake with views of Vespignani Glacier. All three are found upstairs on the first floor and are bright and generous spaces (17 to 24 square metres).
The final room faces north towards the southern beech forest surrounding the lodge. An ideal option for families or groups of friends, this room comprises of two separate spaces that are joined together by an internal door. This means that they can both be used as bedrooms, or one space can be used as a living room and the other as a bedroom.
Dates, rates and inclusions
The lodge is open from October to April, the minimum stay is two nights and room prices start from $390 USD per person per night.
The rate includes:
- Boat transfer across Lago del Desierto to and from the hotel (15 minutes)
- Full board accommodation (three meals a day, and coffee, tea and soft drinks available all day). Please note that alcoholic drinks are excluded except for one bottle of the house wine which is included with lunch and dinner. Any additional alcoholic drinks will need to be paid for in cash in US dollars or Argentinian pesos.
- Daily guided excursions programmed by the lodge
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