On a month-long trip to Argentina, we took a weekend to explore San Carlos de Bariloche (commonly known as “Bariloche”). As is frequently the case, we really didn’t know at all what we were doing – we tend toward “winging it” a lot of the time. But we selected our hotel (Nido Del Condor) as though we know one from another (we didn’t) and it was beautiful! The room was spacious with a beautiful corner fireplace and lots of cypress wood polished to a high shine; a small balcony looked out over the roof of the spa to the lake and mountains beyond. We enjoyed breakfast in the dining room that also overlooks the lake.
Our time in Bariloche was limited, so we elected to take one tour and spend the rest of the time exploring on our own. We chose the small circuit tour (Circuito Chico), which makes a loop around the lake and offers numerous beautiful panoramic views. One stop included a chair lift to the top of the mountain for 360-degree views. The stunning beauty of these mountains is hard to explain – they are rugged, snow-capped, and surrounded by water, and they seem to pull you in and warn you away all at once.
We ended the tour in the center of town where we spent some time in the Museum of the Patagonia; this is a small museum but gives an interesting look at the natural history and culture of the region. The exhibits are in Spanish, but there are comprehensive printed guides available in many languages including English. We explored the downtown shops – surprisingly, fancy chocolate shops are plentiful – and came across an artisan’s market set up in the park. It’s always fun to stumble across the unexpected, and I found several handmade gifts to take back home.
Bariloche has a pretty waterfront and a nice, walkable downtown. We were there in May, and it was cold but sunny and pleasant for exploring. The flight from Buenos Aires is short, so it’s a very easy trip for a weekend. The town itself appears to cater equally to backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as to affluent shoppers and spa lovers – in other words, I think anyone would find a way to enjoy a few days there.
Written by guest writer Laura Atkins.
For more check out her review of the Patagonia Cerveceria at Feed the Passport