San Carlos de Bariloche, or simply “Bariloche” as the locals call it, also known as Argentina’s Little Switzerland. A mecca for visitors from around the world. Situated in the foothills of the Andes and on the banks of Lake Lago Nahuel Huapi, it’s a picture-perfect place for winter and summer activities.
As we landed at Bariloche’s airport, we immediately donned jackets and sneakers to ward off the chilly temperatures. It never seems to get warmer than 10 degrees Celsius in the summer.
The town is teeming with visitors from all around the world and Argentinians on vacation. The streets are tough to navigate without bumping into people. Looking around the town, you realize that this is a favourite spot for the end of year school celebrations. Masses of school children line the sidewalks as you wander.
Famous for its chocolate shops and cafes, no visit would be complete without taking a coffee and chocolate tasting at the famous Mamuschka’s artisan chocolate shop. Dulce de leche, a caramel treat, is the foundation of many sweets and is in abundant supply in Mamuschkas, further confirming Argentinian’s obsession with their sweets.
TIP: From late July to mid-September, Bariloche fills to the brim with tourists from the southern hemisphere and a large number of Brazilians.
Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapa
Spending a day in the magnificent Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapa and getting out of busy Bariloche, one can breathe the fresh crisp air. This park is a sports enthusiast’s paradise. Travelers can easily spend time hiking, biking, and gazing at the Andes Mountains ranges. In the distance, the Andes appear like a Cézanne painting coming to life.
Cerro Companario is the best lookout point in the region with exceptional views of Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno lakes and breathtaking views of the Llao Llao Peninsula. The chairlift takes visitors to the viewing areas for a small fee.
Victoria Island and Arrayanes Forest Boat Excursion
Taking a boat trip on Nahuel Huapi Lake and exploring Victoria Island with its rugged landscape, appreciation of plants and fauna is a must for anyone visiting this region. Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes, one of the stops on the trip, is a fascinating island with the protected Arrayanes Tree, which are cinnamon or brick-red in color – a byproduct of the tannin concentration.
This was one of our priciest excursions during the tour (costing around 500 pesos, approximately $100 US for the day*), but absolutely worth the experience.
*prices quoted in this post are as of first publication date in 2014.
Note: Bariloche, Argentina, was just one of the stops on the Best of Chile and Argentina tour with Intrepid Travel.
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