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The Loch Ness Monster's Patagonian Cousin

Some say it doesn't exist. Some hold it as absolute truth that it does. Either way, people have been talking about the monster for over 200 years.

Bariloche’s Lago Nahuel Huapi is believed to be the home for a creature that is a cousin to Scotland's famous Loch Ness Monster. Much mystery surrounds the story of "Nahuelito," as Argentina's legendary beast is called, and the first sightings can be traced back to the time before white men first arrived in Patagonia. The Mapuche Indians, who live near Lago Nahuel Huapi, have intricately detailed stories of their fishermen encountering a giant beast off the lake’s rocky shores.

In 1910, George Garret was the first person to write down the tale of his monster encounter. While sailing back to land in the evening hours, he reportedly spotted an enormous creature that, he estimated, was between 16 and 22 feet long and six feet high. Garret kept mum about his experience until 1922. When he did reveal it, though, his tale included many details that matched the Mapuche accounts.

Whether in the ancient stories, the tales of a newly transplanted settler or recent sightings, Nahuelito's appearance is always described the same way: the creature is between fifteen and thirty feet, has two humps, leathery skin, a slender, swan-like neck, a narrow head and a snake-like body.

Head out to Lago Nahuel Huapi and you might be lucky enough to spot Patagonia's version of the Loch Ness too. 

By Shanie Matthews
I am a lover of things foreign, animals, and outdoor sports (especially snow skiing). My husband and I originally moved to Argentina as owners and...
01 Dec 2008

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