Nahuel Huapi is said to be the habitat of the mysterious Nahuelito and the Anchimallén dwarves. I am posting some photographs that I have taken of the lake at different places just to give a clear idea of its beauty and the awesome scenery that surrounds it.
Lake Nahuel Huapi is located on the border between the Argentine provinces of Neuquén and Rio Negro (40°59’ S, 71°29’ W); it has a total surface area of 550 km2 (213 sq. mi.); its deep (440 m – 1,440 ft.) crystal clear waters form several fjord-like arms that pierce deeply into the forested snow capped Andes.
It stretches from Last Hope Arm and Brazo del Rincón (Corner Arm) in the north (see map below - marked [A]) to its outlet into the Limay River (see point [B] on the map below).
It has several forested islands, the largest, now named Victoria, originally gave the lake its name, which in Mapudungun, means “Tiger Island” (it is the long and thin island that can be seen in running across the middle of the lake in the first photograph below).
The first written reference we have about the lake was penned by Spanish Captain Diego Flores de Leon, in his chronicle Memorial which tells of a Spanish officer named Juan Fernández who in 1620-1621 explored the eastern side of the Andes and discovered “a very big lake called Navalhuapi [sic]”.
He does not give any reference to the meaning of the name, however a few decades later, Jesuit Father Diego de Rosales after exploring the area in 1653 wrote that the “famous lagoon of Nahuelhuapi […] means: Lake of tigers”.
This has led many to believe that he is referring to the animals, but he goes on to say that it was inhabited by “rebel Indians” and that were “called tigers due to their bravery”. So perhaps, in this particular case the tigers were not animals but courageous Indians.
Nevertheless, there were tigers in Patagonia until quite recently. See my post on this itriguing subject Here.
 Fonck, F., (1896). Menéndez, Francisco Viajes de Fray Francisco Menéndez a NahuelHuapi. Valparaiso: Imp.Gillet, 1896-1900. v.1 pp. 23+
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©