Getting to Cerro Chapelco

Getting to Cerro Chapelco

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Where is Chapelco?

Cerro Chapelco is 20km (12 miles) southeast of San Martín de los Andes. Chapelco is located in the southwest corner of the Neuquén Province in the Lakes District of Patagonia, Argentina.

Driving distances and times for San Martin de los Andes:
  • 1,565km (973 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires
  • 108km (67 miles) north of Villa la Angostura via RN 234 (Los 7 Lagos Road) – 1.5 to 3 hours depending on road conditions
  • 262km (163 miles) north of Bariloche via RN40 – 3:15 hours
  • 192km (119 miles) north of Bariloche via RN 234 (7 Lakes Road) – 2:20 hours to 4 hours

Getting to San Martin de los Andes

The Chapelco Airport (CPC – Carlos Campos) is located in close proximity to San Martin de los Andes, but the downside is that winter weather can wreak havoc with the reliability of flights. Bariloche is the alternative gateway airport. See the San Martin de los Andes travel page for more information on getting to San Martin.

Driving from San Martin de los Andes to Chapelco

From San Martín it’s a 15 km drive south along Ruta 234, the Seven Lakes Road between Villa la Angostura and San Martin de los Andes, then a left hand turn onto RN19, the 5km unpaved access road to Chapelco. The drive between San Martin and Chapelco takes about 20 minutes.

The drive up is reasonably easy because the road is well graded and the gradient is pretty mellow. Generally snow chains aren’t required, even for 2WD vehicles, except on really snowy days. Some of the big name car rental companies can provide snow chains when you hire a car, but you can’t just rent snow chains in San Martin de los Andes.

The Chapelco car park is reasonably big and there are no car parking fees.

Other Transport Between San Martin and Chapelco

If you don’t have a car (or it’s a really snowy day and you don’t have chains), the easiest way to get to Chapelco is to catch a taxi or remise. Sure lots of the taxis don’t have roof racks and you may nervously wonder whether your skis or snowboard might fall out of the open boot, but it’s a quick way to get up the mountain on-demand! A taxi or remise costs about AR$90 one way (2011 rates).

There are lots of inexpensive shuttles (about 30 pesos) that head between San Martin accommodations and Chapelco at set times. Some hotels have their own shuttles or your accommodation can make a reservation for you with one of the shuttle companies.

A cheap way to get to Chapelco is with a Ko-ko bus that departs from the San Martin bus terminal opposite the lake. The service only operates on the weekends and there are only a couple of departures each day.

The other method of transportation is hitchhiking which is legal in Argentina.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

Not sure if you’d call it a “ski resort”, but Las Pendientes is located right next door to Chapelco. This tiny little ski area has a couple of lifts, 2 trails and 152 metres of vertical drop. To access Las Pendientes, continue on RN19 past the Chapelco car park for another 5 minutes.

Cerro Catedral is located near Bariloche. Catedral is huge and the most developed ski resort in South America.

Cerro Bayo is not too far from Chapelco, located near the town of Villa la Angostura. Cerro Bayo doesn’t cater to beginners and intermediates as well as Chapelco, but powderhounds may prefer Cerro Bayo.