San Rafael's bounty stems from the waters of the Atuel River, which local residents have long used as a playground. The road south from town leads through the scenic walls of the Atuel Canyon. The adventure scene is headquartered in the tranquil community of Valle Grande, which stretches along the river itself. Along the way, you'll find cabins for rent, horseback riding trips, rock climbing, and small restaurants. Many cater to large groups of students. For half-day rafting trips, try Raffeish (tel. 2627/436996) or Antu Aventuras (tel. 2627/439069). Upriver from Valle Grande are four imposing hydroelectric dams, and beyond that a massive reservoir called El Nihuil where there are boat rentals, restaurants, and beaches.
A new development southwest of San Rafael is Finca Viña del Golf, RN 144, Km 674 (tel. 2627/487027; www.vinasdelgolf.com.ar), which combines a winery, 18-hole golf course, and a planned lodge.