Bariloche is located in the Patagonia region, in south-west Argentina. It is situated by the Nahuel Huapi Lake, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, and is in the Nahuel Huapi National park. Bariloche has a population of about 108,205. The city - from the 1930’s onwards - has grown to become a popular spot for skiing, mountain hiking and trekking. It is popular year-round, as there are activities to be enjoyed in both summer and winter. Students also flock here for the parties once school’s out.
The city has some beautiful architecture, and one of the most interesting buildings is the city’s civic centre. It is known for its Swiss-style buildings, and delicious chocolate. Bariloche’s popularity has led to sudden growth, and many high-rise buildings have taken over the picturesque city-scape. There is no shortage of amazing things to do in Bariloche. Below is our Bariloche travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
CENTRO CIVICO – The city centre is a great place to visit: it has a unique design, as it was built using logs and stones, and has a great view over the lake. There is also a tourist office and the city’s museum.
MUSEO DE LA PATAGONIA – Contained here in this museum are archaeological exhibits and ethnographic materials. There are also life-like stuffed animals, and historical evaluations on the Mapuche resistance to the conquest of the desert.
PARQUE NACIONAL NAHUEL HUAPI – This national park covers 750,000 hectares in the Andes Mountains, in parts of the Rio Negro province and the Neuquen Province.
VOLCAN LANIN – Rising up 3776 metres, this volcano dominates the sky. Volcan Lanin lies in the Lanin National park which is North of Nahuel Huapi National park. This is one of the better spots to go if you are into hiking and mountain climbing. For those wishing to do the latter, you need to ask at Lanin National park if it is open for climbing, and you must show all of your required climbing equipment.
MOUNTAIN EXPLORATION – Bariloche is one of the best starting points to find many companies that will take you up into the mountains, as well as enjoy some of the adventures on the mountainside. In some of the places in the mountains you can even go ziplining. You can also be taken to some of the best views that are offered from the mountain sides. These trips are all great opportunities to really experience and see the Andes Mountains up close.
SKIING – The mountain hikes and trips make for an exciting time, but if you are someone who enjoys skiing then you are in luck, as skiing is one of the most amazing things to do in Bariloche. Here in Bariloche you can also find tours that will take you to the best ski spots. One of the nicest places is located on Cerro Catedral, which is about 11 km from Bariloche. There is a beautiful ski resort located on this part of the mountain, considered one of the more innovative ski resorts in Argentina.
BOAT CRUISES – With Bariloche lying on the shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, there are many different boat tours that can be taken, and on some boat trips you’ll get to see beautiful waterfalls. This is one of the more scenic tours that offers a great view of nature in the area.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
Get out and explore the abundance of places that nature has to offer. There are so many different adventures available in Bariloche that most of your time should be spent outside of the main area of the city. From the Andes Mountains to the Nahuel Huapi National park and the amazing Volcan Lanin, there is so much to see.
Bariloche has numerous cafes and restaurants. Located throughout most of the city you can find many different styles of cuisine. Many of the restaurants specialize in meat, so if you are looking for a good slice of beef or pork then you will be in luck in Bariloche. You can also find some of the local game such as venison and wild boar.
One place for good meat is Alto el Fuego (20 de Febrero 451). Make a reservation in advance or you’ll end up waiting for a table – this restaurant has a famous reputation. Another place to check out is Familia Weiss Restaurant (Valte O`Connor 401), which offers Argentinian dishes with a European twist, and the Swiss-style building has a cosy atmosphere. If you’re out hiking, don’t miss Punto Panoramico (Ruta Provincial 77 Km 23,000) – here you can enjoy spectacular views over the lake and national park. For a casual pub lunch and a few beers, go to Cerveceria Gilbert Bariloche (C/ Ada Maria Elfein 56), which has very hospitable owners, and a nice setting, in a quaint barn-style building.
In Bariloche you can find laid-back bars and pubs where you can finish off your night with a nice relaxing beer and some good music. There are also dance clubs and big parties: Calle Moreno has many upbeat and exciting clubs that are attractive to the younger crowds.
For clubs, go to Grisu (Juan Manuel de Rosas 574), a giant club which has plenty of areas to dance, as well as places to sit down and enjoy a drink. You can also see a nice view of the lake, and the interior décor and architecture creates a cool atmosphere. They even have nights for retro 80’s and 90’s music. Another great clubbing option is Roket Disco (Juan Manuel de Rosas 424), which has several floors playing a variety of music, and an impressive lighting and sound system. If you’re after a unique experience, check out IceBariloche (C/ Espana 476) – here you enjoy a drink in an ice-bar, and get some great photos. There is no shortage of places to go out and have fun in Bariloche!
In the summer months (between December and March), the temperature is normally between 18 – 15 degrees Celsius, and the weather can be windy. In the winter months (from May to September) the temperature is much colder and can feature snow storms. The temperature ranges from about 5 – 8 degrees Celsius, but can get below freezing, especially at night time. There is a mix of snowfall and precipitation during this time of the year.
There is an international airport that serves Argentina as well as most places around South America. It does have limited airlines that fly out so it can get booked up quite fast. Both LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas operate between Bariloche and Buenos Aires, and flights last 2 hours. If you’re coming from Chile, you’ll have to fly via Buenos Aires. The airport in Bariloche is around 25 minutes from the city centre.
There is also the option of taking buses. From Buenos Aires to Bariloche it’s about 18 hours by bus, and there are many companies which do this route, including Crucero del Norte and Andesmar. The bus terminal is around 10 minutes from the city centre of Bariloche.
There are many accommodation options to choose from in Bariloche. The lower budget hostels do tend to fill up quickly so it is best to book in advance. There are quite a few mid-range places that are nice and not overly expensive. In Bariloche you can also find more expensive, beautiful places, offering great views of the surrounding area. Choose between staying in the city centre, or heading out to the lakes and mountains and finding a place there.
Peninsula Petit Hotel (Avenida Del Campanario 493) is found outside of the city centre, and here you can enjoy wonderful scenery and fantastic service from the helpful staff. If you’re looking for somewhere more central to stay, go to Hotel Tirol Bariloche (Calle Libertad 175). Here you’ll be within walking distance of many attractions and close to a bus stop. The hotel staff are friendly and helpful, and you’ll also get to enjoy a great view of the lake.
Always be careful when going hiking and climbing in the mountains. Make sure that the tour guides are professionals and know what they are doing, and check the gear beforehand.
Also, be aware of petty crimes in the city, and at night-time try not to walk alone in the city.