Altitude: 340 meters/1,115 feet, Populaiton: 11,000, Telephone Code: 02944
In the 1970s, as part of an international movement to abandon city life for simple rural pleasures, young urbanites fled to El Bols贸n, a small village nestled within the river valley separating two impressive mountain ranges, where they could spoil themselves in the warm microclimate favourable to growing soft fruit, or venture into the spectacular mountain scenery and rich forest environment鈥攚hich they promptly set about saving from the logging agreements issued by the government.
Today, as in the 70s, you can enjoy walks from El Bols贸n up into the stunning and well-preserved forest environment where 400 year old coihue and 1000 year old alcerce trees still stand. Follow the trails that wind towards grand waterfalls or alongside trout-filled rivers brimming with crisp blue water, fed by glaciers beyond the snow line.
The town is a mixture of gauchos, Mapuche Indians and Grateful Dead follower look-alikes. The combination has created a forward thinking township that is open-minded, appreciative of all cultures and places importance on taking care of Mother Earth. The plentiful sunshine and nurturing soil has helped the small town to be Argentina's berry, hops and organic foods mecca. Most of its restaurants tend to specialize in organic fare; perhaps the most famous is Jauja, an ice cream parlor specializing in over 70 different flavors of organic, homemade treats.
The town is filled with holistic and homeopathic body spas that specialize in all types of modalities including reiki, acupuncture, reflexology, cranial-sacral therapy and floral therapy. The town is also home to a healthy creative community that hosts a multitude of festivals and fairs to show off and sell their wares as well as on occasional live music shows. Although El Bols贸n do not have much in the way of luxury hotels, is a backpackers paradise with campgrounds interlaced through the outskirts of town and along the rivers, though it does have a sprinkling of hosterias and small hotels in the center of town.
Telephone code: 02944; altitude: 1,115 feet (340 meters); population: 11, 000 full time residents