Situated right next to the Lago Nahuel Huapi shoreline, Bariloche has one of the most picturesque and gorgeous settings imaginable. No matter the time of year, Bariloche has a plethora of activities for the most active or most wandering of tourists. The main town of Bariloche (formally known as San Carlos de Bariloche) actually resides inside a national park by the same name, and it has quickly become the prime destination for visitors looking to visit Argentina’s famed Lake District. There’s a lot of fun to be had in Bariloche without even stepping foot into the city. Head for the hills, the peaks, the valleys, or the lakes and get ready for the adventures and explorations that you are bound to have when staying in Bariloche, Argentina.
Originally, Bariloche was a very small town, but it was well-placed near the main ski slopes in the region and has since blossomed over the years as more and more people realize Bariloche is a prime winter holiday destination. True adventurers will love Bariloche for a few reasons. Namely, because the ski slopes of Cerro Chapelco and Cerro Catedral are relatively low, visitors are able to sleep by the waterside and ski the slopes during the day.
Cerro Catedral is located 30 minutes outside of Bariloche and offers the best skiing in the region with a wide range of slopes (47 of them!) from more challenging at the top to beginner slops further down. When you ski at Catedral, you’ll be treated to outstanding views of the Lake District’s shimmering lakes and valleys as you work your way down the hills skiing or snowboarding.
Cerro Chapelco is a little further north of Bariloche and is slightly smaller than Catedral and offers a great range of options for all levels of skiiers and snowboarders. They have 12 lifts at Chapelco, meaning there are few delays on the mountain. With the lower numbers of visitors to Chapelco, it’s the perfect spot for those looking for a quieter, less hectic skiing experience.
If you want to throw a line in the water to test your luck in Patagonian waters, then Bariloche has plenty of fish-filled ponds that are calling your name. The area is perhaps most famous for river trout fishing where fishermen can hook brown, rainbow and brook trout in the rivers and lakes found throughout the region. One thing about Argentina as a whole when it comes to fishing is there’s a mindset that “if you can get there, you can fish there.” Basically, all of the watercourses in Argentina are public land. While you still need to purchase a fishing permit, if you find a place that suits you, you’re allowed to fish there.
High-caliber fishing lodges are often found way off the beaten paths so visitors can enjoy the ultimate tranquility and peace while standing in the gentle stream with fish swimming all around. Newbies to the area can hire local guides to come with them and point out the best fishing spots if they don’t want to tackle the area on their own.
To try something a little out of the ordinary, try horseback riding through the region. Bariloche and the Lake District are generally known for their hiking opportunities, general scenery and to-die-for food, but there are one or two lodges that will take visitors looking to take a ride out in the area. Many packages offer differing lengths for the jaunts and different paths depending on levels of experience and what you want to see.
The lodges offer travellers the opportunity to be a part of their working estancias (farms) in the midst of the incredible views and experiences available in the Lake District. If you love riding, you can see the lakes and valleys of this striking area on horseback.
The hiking season in Bariloche runs mostly from December to March. In late November and even in early December there can be some snow on the paths making trekking a little more difficult. If you want to hike for more than a day, be sure you head to any of the refugios—they are all free for use, though some may ask for a donation.
If you are looking for a half-day trek, try the Cerro Llao Llao paths in Bariloche. It isn’t the most challenging of hikes, but should take between 2-3 hours to complete the whole path. The trail to the very top of Cerro Llao Llao takes about 25-30 minutes to complete and when you reach the top you’ll be treated to incredible views over the Nahuel Haupi Lake.
For longer hiking expeditions, try hiking from Laguna Negra to Regugio Lopez. There are sections of easy scrambling during the ascent and even a small section where ropes are available to help you traverse an especially rocky section of the path close to Laguna Negra. This is definitely a trek for more experienced hikers but if you are able to complete the 2-3 day path, you and your hiking companions will be treated to continuous and incredible mountain scenery with clear views across to the Cerro Tronador.
Home to some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, it is no wonder Bariloche is one of the prime destinations for travellers in Argentina. Come here to ski, fish, climb, trek and just take in the glorious landscapes and breathtaking views of the towering mountains and crystal clear glacier-fed-lakes. If you do take to the slopes, consider adding ski travel cover to your international travel insurance plan for added protection from the elements and from anything unexpected that may occur on your holiday to Argentina.
Image courtesy of Flickr user McKay Savage