The Limay River is an important river in the northwestern Argentine Patagonia (the region of Comahue). It originates at the eastern end of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and flows in a meandering path for about 380 kilometres (240 mi), collecting the waters of several tributaries, such as the Traful River, the Pichileufú and the Collón Curá. It then meets the Neuquén River and together they become the Río Negro. At this confluence lies the city of Neuquén.

Limay River
ISS012-E-13151 Limay River, El Chocón.jpg
Aerial view of the Limay River looking southeast
Physical characteristics
 • locationNahuel Huapi Lake
 • elevation770 m (2,530 ft) AMSL
 • location
into Río Negro
 • coordinates
38°59′35″S 68°00′18″W / 38.993°S 68.005°W / -38.993; -68.005Coordinates: 38°59′35″S 68°00′18″W / 38.993°S 68.005°W / -38.993; -68.005
Length380 km (240 mi)
Basin size61,723 km2 (23,831 sq mi)
 • average700 m3/s (25,000 cu ft/s)
Map of the Río Negro drainage basin, including the Limay

The river serves as natural border between the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén. Its deep waters are clear, and carry a large flow, 700 cubic metres per second (25,000 cu ft/s) on average. Its drainage basin has an area of 61,723 square kilometres (23,831 sq mi) and includes almost all the rivers and streams of the Atlantic basin in the region, as well as an extensive network of lakes.

The waters of the Limay are used to generate hydroelectricity at the five dams built on its course: Alicurá, Piedra del Águila, Pichi Picún Leufú, El Chocón, and Arroyito; together with the Cerros Colorados Complex on the Neuquén River they constitute more than one quarter of Argentina's total hydroelectric power generation. The construction of the successive dams and reservoirs has reduced the length of the river, which originally measured about 450 kilometres (280 mi). In the 1980s the only heavy water plant in South America was constructed next to the river at the town of Arroyito.

The river is also used for fly fishing; in some locations its banks are suitable as beach resorts, with facilities for camping.

The origin of the word comes from the Mapuche indians and it means, crystalline, that you could see to the bottom.



  • Colbert E. Cushing, Kenneth W. Cummins, G. Wayne Minshall: River and Stream Ecosystems of the World: With a New Introduction. University of California Press 2006, ISBN 0-520-24567-9, S. 280ff (eingeschränkte Online-Version (Google Books))
  • ArgentourRío Limay
  • Pescando con Mosca en la Patagonia Argentina
  • Ministry of Environment — Hydrological basins of Argentina.
  • Ministry of Economy — Provincial Economic Overview, Neuquén, August 2005.