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Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Mon Jun 28, 2004 11:57 pm


I need some information about a trip into the far parts of the Andes mountains.
My destination is Las Lenas in Argentina, a great place to ski. The nearest Airport is Malargue (70km) and otherwise San Rafael (about 250 km?), Mendoza (450 km?) and Santiago de Chile. Santiago needs crossing the Andes. This is no fun since it is winter over there and at 3.000 m falls a lot of snow.
I will fly on next July 17 with KL to Sao Paulo. After this I take a flight to Foz-de-Iguazu. This is border Brazil/Argentina. It should be possible to get a flight Iguazu - Buenos Aires - Malargue. Otherwise flying Sao Paulo - Buenos Aires - Malargue.

Could you tell me all you know about crossing the Andes, how to enter Las Lenas and what about flying to Malargue? What about the planes they use? I wonder anyone was there before...

However, this will be a nice trip.

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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:26 am

Crossing the Andes is almost a must in your lifetime, and I tell you this not just because I live half the time in Mendoza. Anyone who has done the overland Highway between Mendoza and Los Andes (a town in Chile), will attest on how magnificent and beautiful the road and scenery are; there are also several roadside attractions along the way, including some small ski resorts. Do it someday, you won't regret it!

The road itself does remain open even in the dead of winter, but unfortunately the risk of snow closures is almost weekly, so if time is not eternally disposable to you, I won't recomend it for this particular trip.

I don't think there is any problem with an Iguazu-Buenos Aires-Malargue/San Rafael route, the only variable I'm not sure of is scheduling. Besides that, it's just like any domestic flight experience in any normal country. Since it's a 3 hour drive from Mendoza on 40 southbound to San Rafael, about 4 1/2 hours to Malargue, and 6-7 hours to Las Lenas, I can't tell you what the Malargue 'airport' is like, because I've never been there.

It's probably not much more than a runway with an arrival structure attatched to it. San Rafael is very modest, I did stop there on a flight once, but quite frankly it probably serves it's limited flight services. Mendoza is an international airport, despite my gripes about having TWO jetways gathering dust due to 'lack of planning'... but it's out of the way. Las Lenas is in southern Mendoza, the capital city is in the north of the province (if you had time I would recomend you visit the city).

The Road to Las Lenas itself from Malargue is in excellent condition. Really, Las Lenas has become an international trendsetter and hangout for skiiers the world over, I think you will be quite pleased with the place. IT IS NOT a city like Bariloche or a town like Aspen where people really live, though. Las Lenas is a resort, where the skiing is as good or better.. but I'm sure you already knew that.  Smile

There are other far more qualified 'in the know' about operations of the domestic aviation market that can definately answer your specific questions.

If you have any specific questions about the region, I'm pretty sure I can answer them. Have fun skiing and bring warm clothes, this time of year it's cold everywhere in Argentina, not just up in the mountains!
(except probably in Iguazu itself...)
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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:38 am

Aerolíneas Argentinas/Austral and Southern Winds-Federales both fly to Malargüe from AEP using B737-200s. For details and prices, see:



In Dollar or Euro terms, you may be surprised by how cheap flights on Argentine carriers are. For Santiago, the only flights between Mendoza province and SCL are with LAN, who serve the provinical capital's El Plumerillo airport (MDZ).

If you are going to Iguazú and want to fly down to Buenos Aires, you have the choices I mentioned above plus American Falcon (http://www.americanfalcon.com.ar), who also use B737-200s. Have a nice trip.


[Edited 2004-06-28 17:43:17]
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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:42 am

P.S. Don't forget that coming from GRU, you will land at IGU (Foz do Iguaçu) on the Brazilian side of the border (I'd recommend TAM on that segment), and to fly on to Buenos Aires, you will have to fly from IGR (Puerto Iguazú) on the Argentine side. They are NOT the same airport. The falls themselves, if you are interested, are better seen from Argentina, although Brazil gives you the overview (less spectacular than I thought).


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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 1:33 am

You can try check the airports you may visit in Argentina at this site:


You have profiles and some details of operations including photos. It is in Spanish and English although I am not sure all translated.

Veel plezier in Argentinie, tot ziens!
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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:46 am

Flights from Buenos Aires (AEP) to Malargue (LGS) are possible with Aerolineas Argentinas and Southern Winds. In July, AR flies AEP-LGS twice on Saturdays and A4 flies once on Saturdays too. Schedules as follows:

Saturdays ONLY:

AR2968 AEPLGS 07:05 08:10 MD83 - Operated by AUSTRAL
A46510 AEPLGS 17:20 18:20 B737
AR2950 AEPLGS 16:40 17:45 B737 - Operated by AUSTRAL

AR flights are charters, so better you check with a Travel Agent, as they are not sold by Aerolineas Argentinas itself.

You can buy the tickets through these travel agencies:

Badino Travel:

Station Travel: http://ski.stationtravel.com.ar/laslenas/default.asp

Flying to San Rafael is another possibility through regular flights with AR. AR flies a B737-200 AEP-LUQ-AFA-AEP daily except Sundays, departing AEP 07:10am arriving AFA 08:45am. But in this case, AFA is 140 km away from Las Leñas Ski Resort.

Hope you enjoy your trip to Argentina!

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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:01 am

I would avoid Las leñas... try Chapelco.. nicer place.. it actually has a town to spend the rest of the day when you are not sking... (Las leñas is just a ski center with no town and almost 0 entertainment) and you can fly directy AEP-CPC and some weekend EZE-CPC.. take a look at it www.chapelco.com.ar

Alto.. Mucho mas alto.. hasta la cumbre
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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 1:47 pm

JCS: The question has been answered. I think SCL-MDZ is not the best option if you can do it by AEP (I didn't know you could). As Derico said, the road Mendoza-Los Andes-Santiago is so beautiful, but very traitorous at this time of the year (it could get close in 1 hour). Costume is also slow.
Malargue has the best goat meat I ever tasted! you have to try it. The area (Mendoza, Malargue, etc) is a very beautiful place in Argentina. First time there?

I love to ski. I've just arrived today from my first ski day of the season. In my opinion, the best places for Ski in the southern cone are:
Argentina: Bariloche. I don't remember why Las Leñas was not a good option for me. I think is a good place for off trail ski. But I'm not sure if it was small or lack of black trails. Really don't remember. Ski in Argentina is cheaper than in Chile, though, I really want to spend a weekend in Bariloche when they open the season. Even with airline tkt is very cheap!
Chile: Portillo (pretty close to Los Andes/Mendoza), Valle Nevado - the largest ski area of South America (Santiago) and Termas de Chillan. What type of skier are you (advanced, heliski, learner, etc?).


in order: 721,146,732,763,722,343,733,320,772,319,752,321,88,83,744,332,100,738, 333, 318, 77W, 78, 773, 380, 73G, 788, 789, 346
Topic Author
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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:01 pm

Dear Friends,

thanks a lot for you information! Nice to have all those airline names / websites and the usefully (detailed) flights.

@ Derico: I know Las Lenas is a resort. I have read good articles about it. Thanks a lot about your story of the road Mendoza and Los Andes. I did see this road on the map, but didn't know the story! I saw on the map also a very small road a little south from Las Lenas. That one won't be open in winter...

@ ARGinMIA: I still look what is the best place, and my 1st interest is skiing. But I will take a look at Chapelco!

@ Arcano: Yes this will first time in Argentina! And aaaiiii, unfortunately I live vegetarian since I was born; I don't think I will try the goat meat. But what about the milk and the cheese? I was also thinking about Bariloche. But in the end I would like to visit both! I am ski-teacher (I got my license only 1 year now and got also my 'normal' job) and I like technical (speed) carving. Especially on wide, simple, French tracks (they are like a highway). I don't like too much (cliff) jumping (dangerous). I do like very VERY much off-track skiing and making tours. Heliskiing is not too much in Europe and expensive, so haven't done that yet.


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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:59 pm

Tierra del Fuego also has a resort opened six years ago by the French. Cerro Catedral (Bariloche) smd Chapélco (San Martín de los Andes) are both great places for skiing. Las Leñas I've heard mostly good reports about, but I haven't been so I wouldn't know. Further north, Catamarca also has resorts, although with the state of the provincial economy, I can't vouch for there quality at present.


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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:13 am

Catamarca has skiing? I've never heard of it! Anyhow, here's a list of important ski centers in Argentina north to south:

Vallecitos @ Potrerillos, MZ: Weekend escape spot for people in Mendoza metro
Penitentes, MZ: Little resort along Andes highway near International Tunnel
Las Leñas, MZ: Major ski resort with night skiing. Developed greatly in last 10yrs

Caviahue, NQ: Off the beaten path & relatively unknown but emerging resort in northern NQ
Chapelco @ San Martín de los Andes, NQ: Fast becoming third pillar of skiing in ARG
Cerro Bayo @ Villa Angostura, NQ: Cozy more intimate alternative to Bariloche along Nahuel Huapi Lake

Rio Negro:
Cerro Catedral @ Bariloche, RN: Most famous ski resort of the southern hemisphere, split between Alta Patagonia & Roble Catedral resorts (are they still separate to enter, anyone?)

La Hoya @ Esquel, CH: Another of the 'new' generation resorts in Argentina, growing rapidly in popularity

Santa Cruz: ...they should build one.

Tierra del Fuego:
Cerro Castor @ Ushuaia, TF: Newest and farthest south skiing in the world

These are 3 great websites:

Welcomeargentina... loads and loads of information
InterPatagonia... great website about everything Patagonia
ArgentinaPictorial... Just incredible pictures of EVERY corner of the nation, even Formosa!!

Once you see in pictures how many places there are in Argentina you didn't even know existed, and how peoples from every part of the world call it home, you can't help but feel lots of pride.

If we could just get the economy growing for about 10 years AND place all the peronists and radicals in straight jackets for 50, it would be the greatest place in the world!  Big grin
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RE: Argentina & Chile: Malargue/Las Lenas

Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:03 am

Very thorough, Derico! Yes, I would do the same to all the peronists and radicals (don't forget their "friends" too...and the so called "transversales"...). I've seen pictures of pistes and cable cars in Catamarca. Parts of the province are definitely high enough (up to 16/17,000ft), but as the province has been an economic backwater for many years, with limited tourism, I don't know if any resorts are still open. I know AR does a triangular route AEP-Catamarca-La Rioja-AEP, to give you an idea of load factors, and I don't know anyone who's been. A mystery...


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