Legendary rivers, classic Argentine hospitality
Based out of the San Martin and Junin de los Andes area of northern Patagonia, Ron and Vanessa Sorensen’s Chocolate Lab Expeditions offers custom trip itineraries that combine exceptional guiding, Argentine estancia accommodations, quick access to fishing and heartwarming hospitality. The waters around the San Martin area are famous among trout anglers and include legendary rivers like the Traful, Collon Cura, Limay, Filo Hua Hum, Chimehuin, Malleo. On a typical week-long itinerary, guests commonly stay at two destinations or spend some nights camping out on the river.
Chocolate Lab Expeditions has relationships with a number of Northern Patagonia’s famed lodges and estancias and design custom trip itineraries that best suit the specific fishing and travel needs of their guests. Regardless of where you stay, each lodge or estancia offers comfortable double occupancy rooms with private bathrooms, gourmet meals, and heartwarming Argentine hospitality. See below for highlights of these unique lodging options offered through Chocolate Lab Expeditions.
Estancia Tres Lagos
Private access to the Filo Hua Hum and surrounding lakes. The estancia itself is a beautiful ranch surrounded by national parklands and breathtaking scenery.
Tipiliuke is one of the most established estancias in the area and offers private wade access to stretches of the Chimehuin river. With superb service, boutique-lodge feel, and beautiful meticulously kept grounds this operation is very popular with couples and non-anglers as well as focused fishermen.
Estancia Collon Cura
Ted Turner’s simple yet comfortable estancia offers clients access to four different day floats on the Collon Cura as well as good food and accommodations.
Estancia San Huberto
This legendary estancia, owned and operated by The Olsen Family since the end of the 19th century, offers private wade fishing access to 30 miles of the Malleo River with contemporary authentic estancia-style accommodations.
Quillen River Lodge
This lodge provides accommodations overlooking the stunning Quillen Valley and loads of private wade fishing water. This is a 45,000-acre ranch with exclusive access to over 8 miles of the Quillen and the Malalco Rivers.
Estancia Arroyo Verde
This stunning estancia sits on the upper section of the Traful River, surrounded by expansive lawns, flowers, and pine trees. Arroyo Verde offers authentic Argentine accommodations and world-class service of international repute.
A variety of authentic Argentine meals consisting of locally sourced meats and produce paired with regional wines and beer are served at each lodge. Includes basic continental breakfasts plus a variety of hot and cold lunches prepared and served by your guide. Appetizers and cocktails preface hearty, multi-course dinners served late (9 p.m. or later) in traditional Argentine style.
For itineraries that include hotel stays in the towns of San Martin or Piedra de Aguila, guests will typically eat at one of the local restaurants.
Typical Length of Stay
Standard length packages are 7 nights / 6.5 days and typically include stays at two different lodges. Custom trip itineraries of any length can be arranged.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Non-angling activities vary at each lodge or estancia and include active adventures such as hiking, horseback riding, biking, golf, kayaking, birdwatching, wine tasting, and massages. Non-angling activities are tailored to the interests of each guest and arranged in advance at the time of booking.
Wi-Fi internet and cell service are available at most locations. Check with your mobile service provider for coverage areas and special fees.
How To Get There
Travelers connect to Buenos Aires overnight from major U.S. cities, arriving at the Ezieza International Airport by mid-morning the following day. After an overnight stay in the city, catch one of several daily flights from Aeroparque domestic airport to Chapelco airport near the town of San Martin de los Andes. Here, meet a member of the Chocolate Lab Expeditions team for transfer to the first destination.
Alternatively, guests can take one of many daily flights to/from Buenos Aires and Bariloche and coordinate a special transfer to/from San Martin de los Andes. The transfer between Bariloche and San martin de los Andes takes approximately three hours, needs to be arranged in advance, and comes at an additional cost.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Due to the flexibility of Chocolate Lab’s custom crafted trip itineraries, arrival and departure days and times vary and will be confirmed at the time of booking.
With limited domestic flights and time-consuming transfer logistics between the international and domestic airports, guests typically spend their first night in Argentina in Buenos Aires, flying to San Martin de los Andes the following day. However, it may be possible to make a same-day connection. On the departure day, guests can leave the lodge, fly from San Martin airport (Chapelco) to the Buenos Aires domestic airport (Aeroparque), have a reasonable amount of time (we recommend 4 hours) to transfer to the international airport and connect with their return flight to the U.S.
Typical Travel Itinerary
Day 1: Depart your home airport and connect with overnight flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Friday (depending on itinerary): Arrive in Buenos Aires international airport (Ezieza) in the morning. Transfer to your hotel in downtown Buenos Aires and overnight.
Day 2: Transfer from your hotel to the Buenos Aires domestic airport (Aeroparque) for your flight to San Martin airport (Chapelco). Upon arrival, a representative of Chocolate Lab Expeditions will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your first destination.
Day 3-8: Six full days of guided fishing with stays at various lodges and/or estancias in the greater San Martin de los Andes area.
Day 9: Depart the lodge and transfer to the San Martin airport (Chapelco) for your return flight to the Buenos Aires domestic airport (Aeroparque – AEP). Transfer from the domestic airport to the international airport (Ezieza – EZE) to catch your return overnight flight to the U.S.
Day 10: Arrive in the U.S., clear customs, and connect with a flight to your home airport.
Valid passport. Citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.K. and other Western European nations do not need a visa for tourist trips of up to 90 days.
Minors Traveling Without Both Parents
All children 18 years of age or younger accompanied by only one parent or legal guardian must have a NOTARIZED letter of consent from the other parent stating the child/children have his/her permission to travel. Single parents need NOTARIZED documentation of divorce or a spousal death certificate. Unaccompanied Minors require a NOTARIZED letter of consent signed by both parents.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
The cornerstone of Chocolate Lab’s operation is the amazing variety of estancias, and over 200 miles of private access waters throughout northern Patagonia. Brown and rainbow trout in the 15-20+ inch class dominate the area rivers, streams, and lakes; and steady hatches of mayflies, caddis, and various stoneflies play a role throughout the entire season. Guests fish two anglers per guide and employ a variety of fly fishing techniques depending on water and conditions.
Filo Hua Hum River (Estancia Tres Lagos)
There are over 10 miles of private access on the Filo Hua Hum river, a small and short freestone stream that offers excellent and consistent fishing action for both beginning and experienced anglers.
Chimehuin River (Estancia Tipiluike)
The Chimehuin is a large freestone river similar in many ways to Montana’s Madison. Perfect for float fishing, sight-fishing, and prospecting with streamers, nymphs, and large attractor dry flies.
Collon Cura River (Estancia Collon Cura)
Perhaps the most prolific trout fishery in all of Patagonia and a must-fish river for worldly trout anglers. The water is similar to Wyoming’s Snake River, but lined with willows and high sandstone cliffs. Collon Cura trout are exceptional fighters, with fish averaging in the 14 to 20-inch range with chances at some true monsters.
Malleo River (Estancia San Huberto)
The Malleo is a classic mid-sized freestone river offering consistent, easy wade fishing for hard fighting trout. This river is well known among dry fly enthusiasts throughout the region for its spectacular caddis and mayfly hatches.
Limay River (Hotel in Eagle Rock and overnight Camps)
The lower Limay River is a tailwater that flows out from the Pichi Picun Leufu dam for 60 miles before emptying into the enormous Chocon Reservoir. The lower Limay offers anglers a rich and varied river system populated by rainbow and brown trout.
Quillen & Malalco Rivers (Quillen Lodge)
The Quillen is a mid-size spring-fed with riffles, weed flats, and deep pools that provide a variety of fishable water. The Malalco is a small tributary to the Quillen with prolific hatches and large trout.
Traful River (Estancia Arroyo Verde)
There are over 10 miles of private wade fishing access on the world-renowned Traful River. Narrow and clear, the Traful is big fish water with many browns and rainbows in the 25 to 30-inch class. It’s a fairly difficult river, but well worth the effort for anglers pursuing the fish of a lifetime.
Boats and Equipment
Chocolate Lab Expeditions uses top-of-the-line fiberglass drift boats. Guides provide all flies and can supply rods, reels, and wading boots if needed. Guests should arrive with their own waders, leaders, and tippet.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person, based on double occupancy, and quoted in US dollars. Trips of any length can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
Rates vary depending on trip package and typically fall within the cost range stated below.
7 Nights / 6.5 Days = $4,200.00 – $6,650.00
- Accommodations and meals at the lodge
- Beverages including beer, wine, and some alcohol at the lodges
- Fully guided fishing
- Ground transfers to/from San Martin (Chapelco) airport and the lodges
- Fishing license
- Wading boots and rods and reels, if needed
- All flies
What’s Not Included:
- International and domestic airfare
- Transfers, hotels, and meals in Buenos Aires
- Alcohol at some lodges/hotels
- Ground transfers to/from Bariloche
- Waders, leaders, and tippet
- Gratuities for guides and lodge staff