Visit Argentina: Bariloche, a Song of Lakes, Hills and Snow

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Located next to the Andes Mountains, the city represents the ideal destination for mountain culture fans. Considered the National Capital of Adventure Tourism, Bariloche receives thousands of tourists a year, who are attracted by the hills and the ancient forests, the crystal clear lakes and snow sports.

Life in Bariloche has all that and more to captivate the traveler in any season, especially those looking to connect with an authentic mountain culture, according to Visit Argentina. Lured by these natural wonders, tourists flock to Bariloche every year and during any season, for recreational excursions and intense sports activities.

The city is located within the renowned Nahuel Huapi National Park, near the Andes Mountains, the backbone of South America, and 1680 kilometers from the City of Buenos Aires. Due to the fascinating geographical and geological characteristics that provide the area with a unique shape, Bariloche represents the ideal tourist base from where to carry out captivating recreational excursions and intense sports activities in the surrounding lakes and hills. In recognition of these unique attributes of the area, in 2012 the city was declared the National Capital of Adventure Tourism.

Bariloche lies on the clear shore of Nahuel Huapi lake, one of the most renowned and dazzling glacial lakes in Patagonia. Its intense blue color, the islands it possesses and the endless arms that extend from it, make the lake a real magical spell for tourists from all over the world who approach its beaches, giving rise to an intense tourist activity.

Among the beaches closest to the urban center is Playa del Centenario, located at the entrance of the city and meters from the mouth of the meandering Ñireco river. The intense mountain winds that reach the place allow windsurfing and kitesurfing, among other water sports that summon hundreds of tourists every year.

Eight kilometers from the city, you can find the popular Playa Bonita, a long beach with small pebbles, where you can rent diving and kayak equipment to enjoy the best experience of the lake during any season.

Its Civic Center, on the other hand, is the heart of the urban center and the most important architectural point of interest in the city. It is made up of a series of buildings that surround three sides of the central square, open on the north side to offer a charming view of the Nahuel Huapi lake. The floor is completely covered with stone slab, a typical stone found on the southern mountains.

Leaving along the west, travelers who decide to visit the square can cross the two arches under the museum building, in order to connect with the vibrant Bartolomé Mitre Street, ideal for a delicious hot chocolate or to take an exquisite delicacy as a gift, a city specialty that attracts the sweet toothed every year.

The world-renowned Llao Llao hotel is located on a small hill to the west of the city. It is a Canadian-style construction of the early twentieth century, made of wood, stone and Norman tiles, located inside the Nahuel Huapi National Park. Surrounded by crystal clear lakes, majestic mountains and forests, it offers an unparalleled view of the region, which earned it the honor of receiving important figures in the political and business world.

Now, any traveler approaching the city cannot miss one of the emblems that makes Bariloche one of the world-renowned sites for its winter activities. We refer to the great Cerro Catedral.

Those who have the opportunity to visit the city during the winter season, will find on this imposing hill one of the most spectacular circuits for mountain sports. Located 19 kilometers from the urban center and at a dizzying 1000 meters above sea level, Cerro Catedral is world famous for being the largest ski center in the southern hemisphere, with 120 kilometers of slopes distributed along 600 hectares.

The northeast slope of the mountain was developed as a ski center, with numerous ski lifts, service areas and hotels. The southern slope, meanwhile, stands out for the stone needles that give its name to the mountain, and is used as a setting for rock climbing activities, mainly during the summer, with incredible views of the Nahuel Huapi lake, the Andes Mountains and the surrounding hills.

The forests, lakes and mountains that surround the city invite the traveler to explore the landscape through dream excursions. The 60-kilometer tour of the Circuito Chico is known as one of the traditional Bariloche routes for those travelers who do not want to miss anything of what the Argentine south has to offer.

The route starts from the center of the city, borders the Nahuel Huapi lake, goes inside the landscape of peninsulas and islets of the lake’s numerous arms and finally climbs different elevations to reach Cerro Campanario’s viewpoint.

This circuit represents the perfect excuse to be amazed by the natural charm of Patagonia. Extended along National Route No. 40, in the Province of Neuquén, this section joins the towns of San Martín de los Andes and Villa la Angostura and owes its name to the seven crystal-like lakes that can be seen along its 107 kilometers of extension.

The lakes that give the road its name are: Lácar, Machónico, Falkner, Villarino, Escondido, Correntoso and Espejo. Due to its proximity to this road, Nahuel Huapi lake is considered the eighth lake of this fabulous path. When driving along it, it is possible to appreciate the typical characteristics of the Patagonian Andes region: extensive and deep forests from which snowy hills loom, which in turn feed numerous lakes and lagoons.

Upon completing the journey from Lácar to Nahuel Huapi, two of the most legendary National Parks in the region will have been traveled: the Lanín National Park, known for the iconic and snowy Lanín volcano, and the Nahuel Huapi National Park.

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Marie Sturm
Finn Partners
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