Toponymy: Caviahue, from Mapudungun: sacred place of feast and reunion.

Access: By Provincial Route 26 (if coming from Zapala), or Provincial Route 27

Temperatures in summer: Maximum average 25ºC / Minimum average 10ºC

Temperatures in winter: Maximum average 10ºC / Minimum average 2ºC

Distance from Neuquén (capital city): 379 km.

Distance from Buenos Aires City: 1495 km.

Department of Tourism and Environment: 8 de Abril Street, Caviahue - Tel: +54 2948 495036

Gas/Service station: No

View of Caviahue Town and Lake - Photo: Leo Becari

Caviahue – Copahue is a delightful tourist site located at the foot of Copahue Volcano (2925 m.a.s.l.), near the international border-crossing. Although the two localities are 16 km apart, they belong to the same municipality.

Caviahue lies by the homonymous turquoise body of water, at 1600 m.a.s.l.

All the area has been shaped by the intense volcanic activity of the past 4.5 million years, associated with the Andes formation. This, together with the ice that covered the place 30 000 years ago, helped create this unique and stunning scenery that evidences such morphological evolution: thermal and sulfurous waters, basalt walls, U-shaped valleys and the active Copahue Volcano crater with its small glacier.

Caviahue History

From ancient times, different cultures have known how to take advantage of thermal waters in Copahue, either to improve health or to alleviate certain symptoms. Closer in time, Copahue Thermal Baths turned to be a resting place for thousands of visitors who come from within the country and other countries as well.

The records show that, from 1983, several families started to settle in Caviahue; but it was not until April 8, 1986, that the village was founded, with 60 families already living there permanently.

In June, 1988, the Commission for Development was created, with Don Oscar Mansegosa as its head. In February 1999, it was turned into municipality.

What to visit in Caviahue

Caviahue Ski Resort

It offers the possibility of sliding through ancient araucarias forests (popularly known as Monkey-puzzle trees), or down the slopes of Copahue volcano (2970m). The amount and quality of the snow allows Caviahue to have one of the longest skiing seasons –from June to October.

Winter in Caviahue. In the background Copahue Volcano - Photo: Alejandra Melideo

Cascada Escondida

The path leading to this place can be done on foot or horseback, and in winter cross-country skiing and snow tracks are good options to get to the waterfall, which is 3 km westwards of Caviahue. From the path, the fall can be appreciated, dropping approximately 15 meters, in an environment surrounded by monkey-puzzle trees, ñires and lengas that –together with mutisias sprinkled all over- make up a landscape worthy of admiration.

Salto del Agrio

Del Agrio Fall: It can be found northwest Copahue Provincial Park. From Caviahue, after travelling for 16 km along PR 26 and PR 27, then turning left for approximately two kilometers. The 70-meters fall drops into a pool with walls that evidence columnar basalt formations. In this gorgeous site, the colours blend in with the surrounding rocks and the bed of Agrio River, whose palette range from ferruginous red to sulfur green.

Del Agrio Fall. In the background Copahue Volcanoe- Photo: Patricia Sgrignuoli Broggini

Caviahue Lake Beaches

The nearby farallones can be seen from the beaches at the southeast of the lake. This is a great place to enjoy peaceful summer afternoons, at the cool shade provided by ñires and monkey-puzzle trees. Sporting activities can be done on the beach just as well as more relaxing activities such as reading, sunbathing, or just enjoying a couple of mates. It is not advisable to bathe in the lake or drink its water due to its high level of acidity.

Playas Lago Caviahue - Photo: Alejandra Melideo

Cascadas del Río Agrio

Agrio river Cascades: From Caviahue, go along PR 26 for about 500m (to the right), cross a bridge over Agrio river and take a dirt road that borders the cascades: Del Basalto (3m), Cabellera de la Virgen (20m), De la Culebra (4m)and Del Gigante. The latter is characterized not only for having two waterfalls straddling a basalt block that resembles a face in profile, but also for having a wonderful sight of Copahue volcano.

Cascada del Basalto - Photo:

Mirador Del Lago Caviahue

Caviahue Lake Viewpoint: This is one of the natural viewpoints in Caviahue, from where splendid photographs can be taken not only of the lake, but of the town and the surrounding hills, such as Copahue Volcano or Pirámides peak. The interpretive and panoramic potential added to the strategic location (on the way to Copahue, near PR 26) make this viewpoint a must-visit place.

Caviahue and the lake from the Viewpoint - Photo: Patricia Sgrignuoli Broggini

What to see in Northern Neuquén