When planning to visit South America, the Patagonia sure is one of the main attractions in Argentinean and Chilean territory. As one of the top destinations for either nature lovers, foodies or adrenaline junkies, it is ideal for everyone, with a broad spectrum of activities.
San Carlos de Bariloche, or simply Bariloche, as locals name it, is a beautiful town located in the heart of the Lake District in the Rio Negro province, aprox 1500kms from Buenos Aires. At first sight, Bariloche seems straight out of a Swiss scenery. Its classic wooden houses and European-like city centre, along with a snow-peaked background amazes each one of its visitors. Either in summer or in winter, it’s gorgeous, pure and simple, loved by locals that choose to spend their vacations here in spite of being able to visit anywhere else in the country, and by people all over the world as well.
It’s an epicenter for anyone that wishes to visit the Patagonia, as Bariloche is one of the biggest towns in the area, where everyone at least stops by for a one day trekking, a golf round, or chocolate shopping, another one of its wonders besides nature and outdoor activities.
Ideal for everyone, Bariloche offers an incredible amount of activities that fits every taste. If you are an adrenaline junkie, or just enjoy this lovely sport, the Cerro Catedral is the largest ski resort in Argentina, and offers the best skiing in the nation as well, with amazing runs and a stunning backcountry territory for the experts. And when talking apres-ski, the local breweries and mountain based restaurants and pubs sure have the best end-of-the-day plan.
Things to do in Bariloche: outdoor activities
Skiing is only one of the outdoor activites that you can find in Bariloche. Along the summer and spring season you can find a numerous amount of trekkings and hikings, fit for every level and skill. One of its main trekkings is the Refugio Frey, where you end with a stunning hidden lagoon at the top of the Cerro Catedral, and an amazing scenic view along the way. Other famous trekkings in the area are Cerro Lopez or Laguna Negra, which both offer breathtaking views of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and National Park.
For golfers, the place to visit is the Llao Llao, Bariloche’s most famous hotel, located outside the city. This hotel is where the rich and famous stay, and inside you can see pictures hanging on the walls of all the famous foreign Presidents who have stayed in the hotel over the years. The hotel features an 18-hole golf course that showcases 360-degree views of Nahuel Huapi National Park. In fact, many day-trippers visit the hotel just to get a glimpse of the stunning views from the resort or to dine at one of the four restaurants on site.
Besides skiing, trekking and golfing, Bariloche is also a locals favorite for biking, mountaneering, rafting, kayaking, horse-back riding, and many other activities. For instance, some of the areas in Bariloche’s surrounding are ideal for fishing, where the enormous Nahuel Huapi, Moreno and Gutierrez lakes are the place to go to enjoy a day in the water, and if you are lucky, to maybe catch dinner as well!
You should also do at least one navigation in any of its lakes: the most populars are “Isla Victoria”, “Puerto Blest & Cascada los Cántaros”, and the emblematic “Lakes Crossing” navigation to Puerto Varas (Chile).
Things to do in Bariloche: food, beer, and lot’s of chocolates!
Leaving aside nature and outdoor activities, Bariloche is one of the gastronomic epicenters of the Patagonia as well, it is impossible to leave the famous Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann aside, who finds in Bariloche the place where he fell in love for cooking and his inspiration for his iconic brand as well. Asides from the classic Argentinean asado, one of the main protagonists in the gastronomic offer in Bariloche is its chocolate, nationwide famous, where no one can leave without a box of Mamushka or RapaNui, two of the most famous businesses. When visiting Bariloche´s city center, you will find a chocolate shop about every two blocks, ideal for a sweet temptation after any meal and to take home to family and friends. Also, if you are looking for an even more interesting place to visit and have a nice meal as well, Colonia Suiza is another amazing site in Bariloche, a Swiss-German community founded in the 19th century, a quaint example of Argentina’s immigrant past, being one of the earliest European settlements in the country, where you can find Alpine architecture, waffle stands, and chocolate shops.
And last but not least, the breweries in Bariloche are just as iconic as well. Ideal for après-ski, the end of a trekking day or an intense golf round, in the Circuito Chico you can find the Berlina and Patagonia Breweries, famous for their amazing artisanal beer. In the last few years, the Patagonia Brewery has become one of the top places in Bariloche, where you can find one of the most amazing scenic views of the Moreno Lake and the Llao Llao hotel hotel together, perfect for a personal post card to show family and friends.
Things to do in Bariloche: visit the attractions in the surroundings
Being the most attractive town in the Lake District, you can day-visit two other towns that are around an hour drive from Bariloche during your stay. One of them is the small town of El Bolsón, where its first non-native inhabitants came from Germany, and consequently it has become famous for its production of cheeses and beer. Another small town that is possible to visit in a day trip from Bariloche is Villa La Angostura, high in the mountains and home to the Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes, the place where Walt Disney found the inspiration for his all-time classic Bambi.
If you have some extra time, you could visit also the 7 Lakes road to San Martin de los Andes, and the spectacular National Park Los Alreces near the city of Esquel.
Before leaving Bariloche, go to the summit of Cerro Campanario (or Cerro Otto – in both cases you have chairlifts), and take a panoramic picture: the views are just perfect!
We invite you to discover the amazing destination that is Bariloche and the Lake District, Beyond BA LATAM offers tours (click here to see some of our travel ideas!) and experiences for all these alternatives, where we stand out in tailor made vacations, designed around your interests and travel style. It will be our pleasure to help you plan your next beautiful journey to Argentina!0