San Carlos de Bariloche is a picturesque town of about 130,000 inhabitants in northern Patagonia, in the west of Argentina. It is situated in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentinas oldest National Park established in 1934, it is one of the centers of Argentinas skiing and a paradise for every outdoor loving person!
If you do not want to spend your hours travelling around this vast country on a plane, you will already be awarded with half the fun. The night buses in Argentina are a truly unique experience. If you chip in the extra few notes to travel first class, there will be leather lounges waiting for you that fully recline. More food is being served more than you could eat, sometimes even with bubbles. If you are not sleeping, you will be entertained by the latest movies, or your steward (yep!) will be the host of a Bingo game. Prize:Â A bottle of wine, also to be consumed on the bus. So if you are travelling from one of the farther destinations like Mendoza or even Buenos Aires, time will still fly by.
Once you drive along the lake Nahuel Huapi and arrive in San Carlos de Bariloche, there wonÂ´t be much more sitting around. If you do not get there in winter time to hit the slopes of the nearby Cerro Cathedral or Cerro Otto, you can climb, cycle, go fishing or simply sunbathe by the lake (and if you dare to swim, jump into the cool water, it will surely be below 20Â°C!), and eat lots of chocolate and ice cream!
Why chocolate? Well, if you see the architecture of the Twon, you will understand. It feels like you travel back in time, and as if you are on a different continent.Â âLittle Switzerlandâ Â it could be called, and this is due to the European immigrants that settled down here in the early 1900s.
The peninsula of Llao Llao is about 20km outside of Bariloche, and a visit of the old Llao Llao Hotel where you can have a hot chocolate is almost a must. You can get there by bus. The Llao Llao peninsula has some good walks to offer and nice beaches to relax. A few bike shops around town have very good mountain bikes for rent, so if you dare the challenge of constant up and down, you can spend the day cycling around the âCircuito Chicoâ on the peninsula. Stop here and there for a snack, or find the beer breweries for some refreshing pints. Do not miss out on Colonia Suiza.
Take a bus to Cerro Cathedral and go up to the top of the lifts. You will not only have some magnificent views of the area (and maybe also a cheeky play in some leftover snow), but also the opportunity to go on a great hike! Make your way to the backcountry hut of Refugio Frey. You can make it a return trip from the base of the mountains, or you take the bigger challenge and start from the top. Ask for the start of the track and follow the signs. You might get your pants wet, if there is still some snow around But it is amazing! And even better when you get rewarded by a cold beer at the Refugio Frey. Argentinians certainly know how to enjoy their food and drink.
Â There are lots of other walks, from a few hours to a few days, so check out the Tourist Information.
Â On your way back to Bariloche you can already look forward to one of those unforgettable Steaks. Best recommendation: Tarraquino Restaurant!