San Carlos de Bariloche in Patagonia is the first choice destination for Argentinian tourists. In this post you can find good tips on things to do in Bariloche, including where to sleep and eat.
After an intense week discovering Buenos Aires we chose a less busy and more natural destination in the heart of Patagonia. After a 24 hour bus and 1,770 km later, we arrived in San Carlos de Bariloche. This beautiful town is located alongside the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi, and it is one of the most important tourist centres in Argentina. Here the dazzling world of Patagonia begins. The great diversity of landscapes and range of activities will surprise you. There are plenty of things to do in Bariloche – Skiing, snowboarding, trekking, mountain biking, horse riding, rafting, lake excursions, fishing cruises, golf, beaches, forests, windsurfing, fresh air, chocolate, paragliding and exquisite mountain food which is so typically cooked. There is something for every taste! All these things made us fall in love with Bariloche. This is definitely a place where we could live! Here are our Top 5 things to do in Bariloche.
Top 5 Things to do in Bariloche
1) Cerro Tronador is the most famous mountain in the Nahuel Huapí National Park in Argentina. A massive eroded volcano with some huge glaciers and ice falls. There are three peaks, Pico Internacional(3,491m), Pico Argentino(3,300m) and Pico Chileno(3,320m). To get there: travel 90km from Bariloche by car along Route 254 or join a tour group to witness the majestic views.
2) Circuito Chico is a 25km circuit in the Nahuel Huapí National Park. Rent a bike for an enjoyable day out and discover some spectacular hidden locations. Highlights include, the view from Llao Llao hotel, Villa Tacul, Lago Escondido and Bahia Lopez. The circuit is hilly so prepare to pedal! There are 2 bike rental companies: Cordillera Bike and Circuto Chico Bike Rental. Price for a full day rent is 200 AR$. We used Cordillera Bike. The owner, Daniel, will give you great tips to enhance your tour. If you are not used to cycling this might be a little tough. But don’t worry you can make it! To get there: take the number 20 bus from the center of Bariloche to Kilometro 18.4 on Avenida Bustillo from Calle Moreno.
3) Cerro Catedral is the most developed winter sports centre in South America. The name is due to the similarity of its rock summits to the tower of a gothic cathedral, which makes the place a sanctuary for lovers of rock climbing during summer. The trek to Refuge Frey will bring you to the top where you will enjoy the breathtaking view of peaks surrounding a little lake. In winter, hundreds of thousands of skiers choose this place because of its 600 hectares of skiable slopes. To get there: take the bus “Catedral” in calle Mitre in Bariloche city center. The bus will bring you to the foot of the Mountain in about 25 minutes. This was our favorite of things to do in Bariloche.
4) Lake Gutierrez by kayak. Kayaking offers a wide range of possibilities in Bariloche. One of the best spots for this outdoor activity is Lake Gutierrez for its calm waters and beautiful landscapes. The lake is surrounded by Mountains and beaches. On a sunny day the colors will leave you speechless! To get there: Gutierrez lake is situated 15 km from Bariloche. Take Ruta 40 to El Bolson if you go there by car. By bus take the “Colectivo” number 50 from Calle Mitre in Bariloche city center.
5) San Martin de Los Andes and the 7 lakes If you want to take a day off from trekking, cycling, paddling and so on, we strongly recommend renting a car in Bariloche. The round trip takes around 5/6 hours plus stops. You will have the opportunity to see amazing landscapes and sceneries passing through the vast Lake Nahuel Huapiand, the caracteristic town of Villa Langostura, the Mirror Lake (Lago Espejo), and final destination before coming back San Martin de Los Andes. If you don’t want to drive you can join a tour from one of the numerous travel agencies. To get there: take the route 237, then turn left to the route 231, then right to route 234. Check the route here.
Top 5 Places to Sleep
1) HOPA Home Patagonia Hostel & Bar. After 50 days of travelling South America, sleeping 90% of the time in hostels, we found the best one of the trip, so far. Home Hostel has great rooms, comfortable beds, big kitchen with everything you need to cook. There is also a very cool bar inside. Breakfast is included. The owners Gabbi and her husband will take good care of you and give you all the information you need to explore the area. Wifi network works well throughout the hostel. The common area is really good and there is always a great vibe around. You are 6 blocks from the micro center and you have a supermarket next door and a fruit and veggie shop around the corner. The bus station is 10 minutes by bus away. You are just 2 blocks from the Lake side. This hostel has an absolutely fantastic location and facilities are more than adequate. The hostel is clean and has funny and colorful decorations. We were really satisfied with our choice! Address: Onelli 125, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
2) Moving Hostel Travel Bar. It features a bar and billiards table. Nahuel Huapi Lake is 100 metres away. Breakfast is included in the rates. Bright and spacious, rooms at Moving Hostel Travel Bar are decorated with tiled floors. All of them have shared bathroom facilities. An American breakfast is served daily. Drinks and snacks can be ordered at the bar. Address: Salta 504, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
3) Belgrano Decks. If your kind of accommodation is an apartment then this is it! Boasting an indoor swimming pool and sauna facilities, Belgrano Decks has chic, self-catering accommodation in downtown Bariloche. Belgrano Square is 1 block away and Centro Civico, the town’s main square is 4 blocks away. Wi-Fi is free. Belgrano apartments will provide you with a flat-screen TV and cable channels. There is a full kitchen with a refrigerator. Bathrooms feature bath tubs. Address: Avenida Belgrano 173, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
4) Hotel Cottbus. This is in a very good location in Bariloche town. The price is really affordable and reasonable. Rooms are clean and have a flat-screen LCD TV. All of them have private bathrooms. A buffet breakfast is served daily in the breakfast room. Address: Villegas 444, 8400 San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
5) Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, Golf-Spa. If you want the best of the best, this is the place for you. We passed this beautiful Hotel and we couldn’t resist stopping by and visiting. The location is breathtaking. It’s surrounded by Cerro Lopez and Tronador Mountain peaks and the Moreno and Nahuel Huapi Lakes. This hotel features a spa and health club, an 18-hole golf course and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Different spa therapies are available. The hotel is not in the city center. You get what you pay for here which is 5 Star! Address: Avenida Bustillo Km 25, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
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Top 5 Places to Eat and Drink
1) RAPA NUI Chocolateria. This is one of the best things to do in Bariloche. If you come here to the Capital of Chocolate you must visit this rich chocolate and coffee shop. Here you will taste chocolate in all of its expressions. Your soul will be elevated with the explosion of sweetness. Address: Mitre 202 (Mitre y Villegas) Bariloche. Check out the map.
2) Alto el fuego. This is a small and cozy restaurant in a typical Bariloche chalet. Dish to die for: el matambrito de cerdo (very thin cut of meat in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, taken from between the skin and the ribs). Address: 20 de Febrero 451, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
3) La Salamandra Pulperia. Here you will find a wonderful atmosphere and delicious food. Dish to die for: ojo de bife (beef). This restaurant has only 12 tables so for this reason we recommend booking in advance. Address: Avenida Exequiel Bustillo 5818, San Carlos de Bariloche 8400, Argentina. Check out the map.
4) Bellevue Salón de Té & Queso Pan y Vino. This is a great place to spend a nice and quiet afternoon in a budget way. The terrace and garden look like something from a design magazine. Dish to die for: cheesecake. It’s not in town, you need to take a bus or a car to get here from the city center. Address: Av. Bustillo Km. 24,600, Llao Llao, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. Check out the map.
Bariloche annual events
Each year there are a number of events that take place in the town. Here are some of our favourite things to do in Bariloche annually.
1) National Chocolate Party. Bariloche has been nominated the Chocolate Capital of Argentina. Every year, during the Semana Santa, this sweet celebration bring thousands of gluttons that can taste the biggest Chocolate Easter Egg (9 meters height). The longest Chocolate bar of the world is also offered to people in the main square of the town accompanied by musical shows.
2) National Snow Party. For more than 40 years, every winter, Barloche celebrates the National Snow Party. The celebration includes many events that culminate with the election of the National Snow Queen.
3) Open Shimano LATAM. This is one of the biggest Biking events in the country and one of the most popular things to do in Bariloche for all the byciclovers! Check out this video.
4) National kayak Meeting. Every year, hundreds of kayakers meet up at the Nahuel Huapi Lake to paddle together on the amazing waters.
5) Medieval Fair Bariloche is another annual event taking place in Bariloche. Check this out if you are in Bariloche at the time and experience another unique attraction of this city.
Videos of things to do in Bariloche
When to go
The High season is between January to February and July to August. The Mid season is March, April, September and December. The Low Season is May, June, October, November. Regardless of the time of year that you visit, there are always things to do in Bariloche.
What to pack when travelling to Bariloche and Patagonia
The wind in Patagonia is always cold and, even in summer, the nights are cool. Temperature can change drastically from day to night. Be prepared for temperatures from 45ºF to 75ºf. We recommend to bring different layers of clothes. Comfortable shoes to walk long distances are mandatory and a good hat is always welcome. Depending on certain things to do in Bariloche, such as skiing, trekking, fishing and adventure activities you must come prepared or you can buy in town in one of the numerous sports wear shops. Check out our other post on what to pack for a long backpacking trip.
Click the following link to find out how to get to Bariloche.
Have you been to Patagonia? What are your suggestions for things to do in Bariloche?
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