If you arrive in town without a reservation, your first stop should be the Oficina de Turismo , next to the main plaza, which has an updated list of availabilities and prices. Rates almost double in most places from December 18 to March 1. For more information, go to www.sanmartindelosandes.gov.ar.

Cabanas

San Martín has more than three dozen cabana complexes, ranging from attached units and detached A-frames to new "apart-hotels." The quality varies somewhat; generally, the real difference between each is size, so always ask if a cabin for four means one bedroom and two fold-out beds in the living room. Cabanas are a great deal for parties of four to six. They're usually less expensive than hotels and come with small kitchens. During the off season, couples will find reasonably priced cabanas; however, many places charge a full six-person price during high season.

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On the upscale end ($70/£47 double off season; $210/£142 double high season), try the following: Claro del Bosque ★, Belgrano 1083 (tel. 02972/427451; fax 02972/428434; www.clarodelbosque.com.ar), is a Swiss Alpine-style building tucked away at the end of a street on a wooded lot. The managers are very friendly and accommodating. If they're fully occupied here (which is common), ask about their brand-new complex of charming apartments nearby. In a quiet location close to the water, Apart del Faldeo, Cnel. Rohde 1250 (tel. 02972/411317; www.apartdelfaldeo.com.ar) is new and open year-round.

If you'd like to get out of town, try Paihuen's beautiful stone-and-mortar attached cabanas in a forested lot at Ruta Nacional 234, Km 48 (tel./fax 02972/428154; www.paihuen.com.ar). It's is an upscale resort-style complex with one of the best wine bars in the area. Aldea Misonet, Los Cipreses 1801 (tel./fax 02972/421821; www.aldeamisonet.com), has wood-and-stone attached units that sit at the edge of town; some units overlook a gurgling stream, as does the terrace.

Note: Prices fluctuate wildly according to who makes the reservation; speak Spanish and you'll likely get a lower rate. Feel free to bargain when making your reservations. Make your final offer if you find the price too high -- the owners may very well take whatever you offer, especially during low season.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.