Perched on the shores of the vast, blue Nahuel Huapi Lake, the alpine town of San Carlos de Bariloche is surrounded by stunning forests, mountains and lakes as far as the eye can see in the Argentinan Lake District. Bariloche is considered a year-round destination (unusual for Patagonia), with a range of winter activities such as skiing and snow shoeing at the Cerro Catedral resort from April to September.
During the summer months, you might spend a week or so in Bariloche, enjoying trekking, cycling and kayaking in the nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park (15 miles away in the north-eastern corner of the lake). You can also make the most of the white water rafting opportunities on the fast-flowing Rio Manso in Nahuel Huapi National Park. Take a look at our ideas for tours which include the Argentinian Lake District.
Often people find themselves with just a day or half day to spare in Bariloche itself in between treks or other activities, so Swoop have compiled this list of suggestions for things to do whilst you’re there.
1) Cycling The Circuito Chico
The Circuit Chico is a 25km undulating route that starts on the south shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and takes you all the way around the peninsula. You can stop for break en route at one of the many beaches, and take in the stunning views of the lakes, islands and mountains you will pass.
It is a really beautiful route, and we would recommend doing it anti-clockwise if possible. You can travel this route by bus, but if you’d prefer to be more active, it’s fantastic by bike too. There are a few places to hire bikes from, such as Circuito Chico Bikes , who will normally provide you with a map and directions for your trip.
If you have a little longer and are looking for a multi day cycling trip in the area then we have a variety of trips such as the Andes Crossing by Bike that we’d be delighted to tell you more about.
2) The Seven Lakes Circuit by Car
If you have only a day in Bariloche, then driving the road north known as the ‘Route of the 7 Lakes’ is a great way to spend it! The route takes you from Bariloche to Villa Angostura and on to San Martin de los Andes, through forests, along rivers, and along the shores of some of the most beautiful lakes in Argentina.
There are a few car hire companies in Bariloche, who rent cars just for the day. It is a long drive but really stunning if the weather is good.
The route can also be taken by bus, or if you have a little longer then you can also cycle it. Please get in touch with us if you’d like more information on longer cycle trips in/ around Bariloche.
3) Day Hikes
The Club Andino Bariloche have an information hut in the town centre, and can provide lots of information about hikes in the area. Their website is also quite helpful. The hike to Refugio Frey, set along the beautiful crystal clear green waters of Laguna Toncek, is a great option for a day hike. Here are the times of the Cerro Catedral bus for Refugio Frey.
If you have longer than a day then you might consider a multi day hike in/ around Bariloche, such as this Hut to Hut trip. Equally if you’re up for some more challenging mountaineering you might consider Mount Tronador or Lanin Volcano. Please get in touch with us for more information.
4) Cable Car to the Best Views
There are two cable cars in Bariloche that get you up to see some really great views. Cerro Campanario, at only 1050m above sea level, can be accessed via chair lift or short hike of 30-40 minutes, and once you reach the top you’ll be treated to some of the best views in Bariloche. There is also another cable car closer to the centre of Bariloche, which isn’t quite as high, but the views are still wonderful.
There are a number of micro breweries,in Bariloche, where you can sample some of the finest beer, lager and stout in South America. Cerveza Berlina is one of several that has received good reviews, but there are many to choose from!
Bariloche is knows as the chocolate capital of Argentina, and there are numerous artisan shops boasting exquisite home made chocolates to treat yourself to after a hard days hiking/ biking!
For those days when all you want to do is rest, you might like to take a casual stroll around town to admire the distinctive architecture of Bariloche.
Check out Sally’s blog post on top places to eat and drink in Patagonia. Her top picks in Bariloche are
-Alto el Fuego: Excellent quality meat, unusual wines and good value. (20 de Febrero 451)
-Holly Restobar: A good option is you’re looking for something other than steak; the ribs are excellent. Also has fabulous views out across the lake. (Avenida Juan M. de Rosas 435)
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Baricloche then look no further, Swoop has compiled a list of their most recommended Places to Stay in Bariloche for a variety of budgets.