Laguna Del Diamante
One of the places we were really looking forward to visit is Laguna Del Diamante located next to volcano Maipo. From Malargüe where we spent the night we drive north to the entrance of the reserva nacional. We arrive at 4.30 pm just in time as they close at 5 pm. This is because from the entrance to the laguna it is another 1.5 - 2 hour drive. While the laguna itself is at around 3300 meters we get up to 3700 meters while crossing over some mountains on our way.
There is very little information in our travel guides about Laguna Del Diamante but we saw a few reports from fellow travelers which made us go and visit this place. While the first hour of driving is not that spectacular and guanacos are the main highlights the rest of the way suddenly get’s very spectacular. The light is perfect and we enjoy the scenery. We also feel every meter we drive up the mountain as we have not been on high altitude for the first part of this trip.
One thing we also wonder is the few cars that pass by. They are no 4x4 type but just ordinary street cars. Not that the road is very rough but we would not come here with a normal car. Our impression from the various reports we read is that this is really a remote spot that does not get a lot of visitors. So we are prepared and expect the whole place just for us.
Map at the entrance showing how to get to the actual Laguna.
After almost two hours driving we finally get there.
Here we will camp for the next couple of days.
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The laguna itself we can only see once we are very close but then the mountain gives way to a fantastic view down to the laguna with volcano Maipo in the back. Here we want to stay a few days and go hiking. First though our body needs to adjust to the altitude.
We are a little bit surprised that we are not the only ones but there are quite a few people camping already. Most of them are local fisherman and not really tourists. There is also an expedition car camping at what seems to be the best spot here. Guess from which country ... of course ... most of these cars are from Germany. As there is plenty of space we join them. Marion and Bernd from northern Germany are retired and traveling around the world as much as they can. Although we are not really here to meet fellow Germans we very much enjoy their company as we get along very well. Over the next couple of days we exchange tips of places to visit and tell stories of past trips across the world. Marion and Bernd have a couple of more months before they go back to Germany for a little while. They have been in South America already for about a year.
In the afternoon we take a short hike to adjust to the altitude.
The guanacos having fund very close to our camp site.
A last picture with the Laguna and volcano before we are continuing our journey.
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We very much enjoy the relaxed time at the laguna, the short walks and the great nature up here in good company with Marion and Bernd. Initially we were planning to stay for three nights but then decide that on the third day we slowly move on. We are not in a hurry and as it is again a very beautiful day we take more pictures from the other side of the laguna. There we see for the first time in South America big overland trucks with pretty large groups of tourists. Not a bad decision to move on especially as Marion and Bernd tell us later that the next day there are even more tourists coming. It is main holiday season after all and the locals also like to travel.