Esquel is a different place. A small city with a very Patagonian flavour, that gradually opens itself up to tourism. Everything is still authentic here, setting Esquel apart from the more developed towns of northern Cordillera. It is embedded in a rough landscape, where the steppe merges with the forest, in the land of the maitén trees and the calafate bush.

To the east, close to town, you will find the rocky slopes that lead to La Hoya, our family-oriented ski centre. The reddish, imposing Nahuel Pan Mountain, almost 7.000 feet high, encloses Esquel towards the south. And to the west, opens the marvellous farmland of the 16 de Octubre Valley and the nearby Los Alerces National Park, a wonder of nature. Even further, the road to Chile, where you can take the beautiful Carretera Austral.

Here, the history and traditions of the Mapuche and Tehuelche peoples mingle with the saga of the Welsh settlers and the romance of the American outlaws, along with the struggle of the pioneer sheep farmers that arrived much before civilization reached the land.

With the Old Patagonian Express, Paul Theroux's remarkable narrow-gauge steam train making its tourist trip through the steppe, and the man-museum opened by the Benetton family at their huge estancia in Leleque, plus the pristine beauty of the national park, its rivers, lakes, and many thousands-year-old alerce trees, you get a full menu of attractions.

Esquel surely deserves your visit.