Reasons to go to Bariloche
- Located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi, surrounded by the national park of the same name
- Offers a range of day hikes and multi-day treks between mountain huts on the edge of the Andes
- A base for mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and horse-riding in the Argentine Lake District, as well as a host of winter activities
- Home to the best chocolate and microbreweries in Argentina.
San Carlos de Bariloche (or Bariloche as it's universally known) is the largest city in Argentina's Río Negro province, and as the gateway to the Lake District is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The town was founded at the turn of 20th century, but didn't explode into life until the arrival of the railway in the 1930s. It's rustic European-Patagonian alpine buildings have charmed visitors every since, and the population now exceeds 110,000 as Bariloche has slowly spread along the shores of Nahuel Huapi's Llao Llao peninsula.
During the summer months (November-March), you might spend a week or so in Bariloche; enjoying trekking, cycling, and kayaking in the nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park, or white water rafting opportunities on the fast-flowing Rio Manso in Nahuel Huapi National Park.
Between excursions, take time to enjoy the rustic charm of the Centro Civico plaza, while getting an energy boost from one of the city's many famed chocolaterias – a gift to the city from the Italian immigrants who settled here after the Second World War. Bariloche is also particularly well known for its beer, and has a thriving microbrewery scene that rewards extensive sampling.
What to see & do in Bariloche
Be rewarded with spectacular views of the Argentinian Lake District from the summit of Mount Bella Vista on this off-the-beaten-track day hike. You'll begin climbing through transition forest, which gives way to bamboo-like trees and then to lengas. Whenever the cover of these trees breaks, you can enjoy far-reaching vistas. The latter part of the ascent is quite steep and on the way back down, you follow the same path.
Another rewarding day hike starts a short drive from Bariloche along the shore of the Mascardi Lake, hiking the valley under the shadow of the mighty Mount Tronador with its cracking glaciers and cascading waterfalls. This is an easy day hike to allow yourself to be absorbed in the verdant landscapes of this region of Argentina.
Mountain bike along the best single track in the Argentinian Lake District on this day ride near Bariloche. Cross hanging bridges over the Manso River, ride along the river's bank and ford streams as you appreciate the clear green-blue water, spectacular waterfalls and plentiful flora of this valley.
A fun (if very touristy) option is the exploring the Circuito Chico around the southern peninsula of Lake Nahuel Huapi to Colonia Suiza, and the hiking trailhead for Cerro Lopez. Those short on time enjoy the Aerosille Campanario near Llao Llao that whisks passengers up to Cerro Campanario for amazing views over the lake, or simply stop at one of the many microbreweries along the way.
What our customers think of Bariloche
Every time we got to the top of a ridge or peak and had amazing 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. It was breathtaking!! Read the full review
Travelled: January 2023
Elizabeth Tedford - USA
Kayaking & Rafting
The lakes around Bariloche make for fantastic kayaking opportunities, whatever your experience and appetite for adventure. Spend a day on the clear blue waters to get a taste for the Lake District's verdant landscapes, or embark on a longer trip to fully explore this beautiful region.
If you're after something with more adrenaline, take a rafting trip on the fast-flowing Manso River, which offers a range of Class 2 to 4 whitewater rapids as it squeezes through the Terciopelo ravine as it descends toward the Chilean border.
Bariloche is one of the most popular places to embrace Patagonia's colder months with many winter sports available from June to October. The mountains provide the perfect conditions for skiing, sledding, snow-mobiling and snow-shoeing, while the snow-dense valleys lend to mesmerising horseback riding opportunities.
Skiing at Cerro Catedral is the biggest draw. Less than 20km from Bariloche, it offers smooth slopes and woods surrounded by phenomenal views of the granite peaks of Mount Tronador, and Nahuel Huapi National Park. Smaller resorts are Cerro Chapelco and Espacio Neumeyer, where you can practice cross-country skiing, off-piste, snow-shoeing and sledding. Skiers of all levels will be able to take to the mountains at each resort and also take lessons at ski/snowboarding schools.
The heart of the Argentine lake district is Bariloche. It's the best place to hang out after after a few days trekking or climbing in the nearby peaks and the city is also home to the best chocolaterias (chocolate factories) and microbreweries in the country.
David Hilton Patagonia Product & Partnership Manager
Where to stay in Bariloche
There are plenty of good accommodation options in and around Bariloche, either in the town itself or slightly outside on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The latter can make a better place to stay, as traffic means that the centre of Bariloche can sometimes be very slow to cross. . We have access to a variety of hotels, boutique hotels and cabins according to your requirements and budget.
Explore from a Luxury Lodge in Bariloche
Just 25 mins from downtown Bariloche, stay at a lovely lake-side lodge in the heart of the Argentinean Lake District. This is our favourite full-board property in the region, offering a multi-activity holiday against a backdrop of relaxing lakes and forested mountainsides.
How to get to Bariloche
San Carlos de Bariloche airport (code BRC) is 15km east of the city, and has excellent daily connections to Buenos Aires (two hours). In high season there are up a dozen flights a day to the capital as well as three flights a week to El Calafate, the gateway city for Los Glaciares National Park.
By road, San Martín de los Andes is nearly 200km north, a scenic drive of just under four hours via Villa la Angostura, where the road is dubbed the Route of the Seven Lakes. Sleeper buses take 22 hours to travel between Bariloche and Buenos Aires: it's a long route, but if you're travelling form the capital, the approaches to Bariloche as the road climbs out of the steppe towards the Andes is particularly dramatic.
The cross-border Cruce Andino combined bus and ferry route to Chile departs from Bariloche, with boats leaving from Puerto Pañuelo on the Llao Llao peninsula on Lake Nahuel Huapi, to Puerto Varas and on to Puerto Montt. The whole trip takes a long half-day.
Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
Why not let us do the hard work for you? Our team of experts will work with you to design an adventure to your exact requirements, from hiking and horse-riding trips to wine-tasting tours and undiscovered lodges.
We’ll work around your budget and arrange flights, transfers and buses, to create your perfect trip.
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We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.
Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.
We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.