Water temperature varies depending on the season and the size of the lake. In late summer, for example, the temperature of the Nahuel Huapi Lake is between 13° and 14° Celsius. Between November and May, you should dive wearing a wetsuit: the suggested thickness is 6 millimeters in two pieces, plus boots and hood. This kind of suit lets water in, which is easily heated by body temperature. As water stays inside the suit, temperature remains unchanged.
For the rest of the year, it is convenient to wear a drysuit, always with a buoyancy compensator, a compressed air cylinder, flippers, mask and weight belt.
Instructors and dive masters (guides) are authorized by the Administration of National Parks and by the Argentine Coast Guard. They also have insurance. They work under the safety rules and procedural standards of the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and OLAS (Latin American Organization of Undersea Activities).
A first-time diving experience takes about 4 hours. It starts off with an explanatory video and talk. Next, divers get comfortable with the practice gear to know how it works. Divers will first practice at the surface, in waste-deep water, and then they dive. Diving time depends on the cylinder's charge, ranging from 30 to 50 minutes. An instructor coordinates the tour so it is comfortable and safe at all times. This first scuba-diving experience does not require previous knowledge. Everyone above 10 years old can do it, provided they are in good health. Knowing how to swim and feeling comfortable in the water is required.
Where can I practice scuba diving?
Located 8 kilometers away from downtown Bariloche, on the shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, this is one of the most popular beaches in the area, which serves as the perfect environment for reconditioning diving, courses, first-diving experiences or scuba-diving for divers with little experience.
La Angostura Creek
Within the Short Circuit, the La Angostura creek is a channel that connects two of the most attractive lakes in the area: Moreno and Nahuel Huapi. The activity starts off in Moreno lake, where divers follow a wall that is 15 meters deep and then swim through the creek to reach the Nahuel Huapi Lake. The dive is somewhat difficult because of the relief featured by the bottom of the lake and requires good buoyancy skills. You'll see all the typical species of Patagonian lakes: lobsters, crabs, trouts, perches, pueyenes, alevinos, algae, as well as attractive trunk formations.
Also located within the Short Circuit, Villa Tacul is one of the best scuba-diving sites as it is formed by a series of bays that, apart from their beauty above and under water, are protected from the wind.
Snorkeling in Limay river
This tour combines snorkeling with the speed of the river which results in an experience full of excitement. There are two sites in the river where you can practice this. One is La Boca, where the Nahuel Huapi Lake starts (so visitors can get used to the snorkel) and then you reach the river through a fall. The other option is the Amphitheater, for more experienced snorkelers. Both tours take about 2 hours.
This is recommended for scuba-diving experts only, as it is performed on a wall that goes 37 meters deep, in Moreno Lake. You should wear a wetsuit if you're diving in summer. As for the rest of the year, you should wear a drysuit. From September to May, you can see rainbow, brown and salmon trouts, perches, puyenes, and velvet catfish. There are also lobsters, crabs, freshwater snails and clams.
Best Scuba-Diving Season: November through April. Water temperature: in winter, 2° to 4° Celsius. In spring and summer: 8° to 12° Celsius.