As a Canadian, approaching the town of Bariloche almost reminded me of the Rockies. Bariloche’s setting is absolutely stunning. The town sits on the shores of a pristine lake and is backdropped by stunning views of Argentina’s share of the South American Andes. This quaint little town, known for its overwhelming amount of chocolate shops, is the perfect place to explore Northern Patagonia. Depending on the season in which you visit you will have the opportunity for some great hiking, boating, skiing, or maybe just chill out in town and sample the wide variety of chocolate.
Things to do in Bariloche
Hiking: Bariloche is the gateway to some absolutely fantastic hikes. For those who are looking to get away from it all it is quite easy to head to the hills for a multiple day hike. You can stay at one of the many refugios along the way, or pack your own tent (you can also rent equipment in town). If you’re just looking for a quick day trip, there are many options available. A quick bus trip up the lake will take you a variety of trail heads which lead to some fantastic sights including a number of waterfalls. It is also possible to book guided hikes through the hostels and many tour agencies in town.
Cycling: If you’re up for a bit of a challenge renting a bike in Barioche is a great option. The road that loops around the lake is possible to complete in a day for the hardcore athletes, but those who are looking for a calmer day can simply peddle along the lake well enjoying the great views.
Boat tour: The hostels and the travel agents in town all offer tours out on Nahuel Huapi lake. My recommendation is to take the speed boat that heads out to a nearby waterfall. Beyond the scenic views, zipping around the lake on the speed boat itself is worth the price of admission.
Kayaking: Although it is probably too cold and windy most of the year to take part in this, if the weather is behaving renting a kayak or a canoe to paddle the lake is a great option. Be careful, however, if the wind picks up a fairly substantial swell can develop and you wouldn’t want to spend too much time in the glacial waters of the lake.
Skiing: Obviously skiing is only available in the winter months. The ski season in Bariloche generally runs from around mid-June to around the end of October. The snow is dry and if the weather behaves the skiing is excellent.
Where to Eat
The two main streets in Bariloche are called Mitre and Moreno and it is here that you’ll find the majority of places to eat. The food in town is excellent and there are no shortages of choices. During my stay I had a great asado at Los Tehuelches on one night and I would highly recommend it. It was one of the better meals I had in all of Argentina, and at a budget price.
Where to Stay
There are more hostels in town than you would ever imagine the majority of which are clustered along Calle Salta. I stayed at the Marcopolo Inn during my stay and was very impressed. The staff was amazing, the common areas were great, and the kitchen was absolutely huge. One of the better hostels in South America.