by Memo Stephens
International caliber Fly Fishing and Hunting destinations are the retreat of choice for the
adventurous sportsman. First class lodging, pristine wilderness, and access to world renowned trout fishing
waters and vast tracks of unspoiled hunting range full of Red Stag and European Boar are the expectation.
Imagine finding a destination lodge with these qualities in the heart of Patagonia Argentina, nestled within a
short driving distance to a Jack Nicklaus design golf course, and a European inspired resort town bordered by
mountains, lakes, and full of interesting shops and restaurants for those who like a little variety in their
vacation. Now mix in secluded terraces and trails, horseback rides into the mountains, elegant bathrooms with
teak floored showers and massive claw-foot tubs, and a sauna and massage center. Did I mention this was in the
heart of Patagonia? Welcome to Tipiliuke Lodge.
I have spent a significant amount of time exploring the countryside near San Martin de Los Andes, Argentina and
fly fishing many of the rivers and lakes in this region; I knew very little about Tipiliuke lodge. I only knew
that it was part of a private estancia, Cerro de los Pinos, that held riches of mountains, valleys, and
perhaps most important, about 15 kilometers of the famous Rio Chimehuín within it’s borders. Cerro de los Pinos
is a 50,000 acre estancia pioneered and cultivated by an adventurous Frenchman, Santiago de Larminat; and to
this day remains under the watchful guardianship of his heirs. The story of their history and that of the
estancia is chronicled in a fascinating book, written by Santiago’s grandson Miguel, and available at
A Pioneer In Patagonia: The Remarkable Life Of Santiago de Larminat. It’s a place that has been meticulously forested, landscaped, and cultivated for 100+ years into
something that feels like a privately held national park. Your hosts, Kevin Tiemersma and his wife Maria
Josefina (Mary Jo) will do everything possible to ensure your Patagonian experience is precisely as you
imagined; and Andrea Giammatteo oversees the meticulously perfect nature of the Lodge, services, and gourmet
itself is a modern renovation of one of the original structures, and for guests it takes on the sensation
of being in a large private home. The main entry welcomes you with a seating area and fireplace, and leads to a
well stocked open bar and an ample living area with oversized furnishings and enough seating for a large group.
Bay windows look out over a stream and wooded surroundings, and as we discovered during our stay, the floor area
may occasionally be cleared to accommodate a late night Tango display. Refreshments and gourmet snacks seem to magically
appear in the gathering areas at the right times of day, and for those business travelers who need to stay in
contact with the outside world, Wi-Fi is available for your laptop. The one modern appliance you will find
noticeably absent is a large television, and this has been left out of the scheme at the direct request of
Tipiliuke Lodge’s frequently returning guests. They come here to leave the rest of the world behind. The main
lodge has 9 spacious guest rooms, each with views to the natural surroundings, and extremely comfortable beds
and furniture. The bathroom in our room was large, open, and elegantly appointed.
For the fly
fisherman, the river some consider the holy grail of Patagonia, the Chimehuín, is literally only moments from
the lodge; as fully 15 kilometers of it winds through Cerro de los Pinos, and you will have private access to
wade extraordinary sections of the river with a guide to assist. The Manager of Tipiliuke Lodge, Kevin
Tiemersma, is a true Chimehuín expert, and authored the section on the Rio Chimehuín in a book called
Fly Fishing the Best Rivers of Patagonia Argentina (Spanish
Edition) (Click this link to order through Amazon; the Spanish version should
be both English and Spanish).
No need to
rush out of bed before dawn and gulp hot coffee during a one hour drive to your fishing destination; take your
time, have a nice breakfast in the dining area, and discuss your fishing interests for the day with your guide.
You will still be in the water quite early and have all the fishing excitement you want, and then be only
minutes from the lodge and a hot gourmet lunch early in the afternoon. Fishing during the hottest part of the
afternoon usually slows anyway, so I prefer to come back for a short siesta and then make it back out for the
evening hatch. Another unique opportunity at Tipiliuke is perhaps the only private spring creek fishery in
Argentina. I spent one evening by myself working around the headwater pond and then slowly creeping
along the stream and casting into the multiple riffles and pools and was rewarded with a number of beautiful
through May is the time to come to Tipiliuke Lodge to chase European Red Stag and Boar, which are plentiful on
this estancia; and if you are here in May you can take a crack at an abundant population of California Quail and
Snipe. Seasoned guides and gauchos stand ready to lead you to game.
thing that struck us most about Tipiliuke Lodge was the diversity of the other guests. Whereas at other
destinations you may encounter only groups of hard core outdoorsman, Tipiliuke provides possibilities for the
entire family. World-class fly fishing, hunting, horseback rides, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, sauna
and massage, golf, and shopping in nearby San Martin de Los Andes can keep almost anyone sufficiently
entertained or relaxed, as the case may be. We found ourselves sharing the evening dinner table with entire
families from the northern hemisphere, who come back to Tipiliuke year after year and had endless stories
involving every aspect of the activities available.
these activities require an article on their own, such as fly fishing the Chimehuín, so look for a more detailed
article in the near future. But in the mean time, if you are looking for a destination lodge in Argentina that
can satisfy both the expert outdoorsman and a family with varied interests, then Tipiliuke Lodge should be on your list.
*Memo Stephens is an Adventure Photo-Journalist who
resides in Argentina, and is available for journalism and photography assignments for both commercial and
private parties. For more information, please email to: