Bariloche: A Paradise for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Bariloche: A Paradise for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Bariloche, also known as San Carlos de Bariloche, is a city located in the province of Rio Negro in Argentina. It is situated in the foothills of the Andes mountains, within the Nahuel Huapi National Park, and is part of the Argentine Lake District. The city is known for its stunning natural scenery, including lakes, forests, and mountains, and is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing. Bariloche is also known for its chocolate production and craft beer scene, and is a hub for tourism in the region.

Short History

Bariloche was founded in 1902 as a small town in the Patagonian region of Argentina. It was named after General Julio Argentino Roca’s wife, who visited the area and was struck by its beauty. During the early 20th century, the town grew slowly as it became a center for farming and forestry.

In the 1930s, Bariloche began to attract more tourists, thanks in part to the construction of the Nahuel Huapi National Park and the opening of the Bariloche Airport. The city’s stunning natural scenery and outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking became popular attractions for visitors.

During World War II, Bariloche was the site of a Nazi hideout, and it is rumored that some high-ranking Nazi officials, including Adolf Eichmann, fled to the area after the war. However, these claims remain unverified.

Today, Bariloche is a thriving tourist destination and a hub for outdoor activities, chocolate production, and craft beer. Its stunning natural beauty and rich history make it a unique and fascinating place to visit.


The architecture of Bariloche reflects its history and natural surroundings. The city is known for its mix of traditional Alpine-style buildings, Art Deco structures, and modern architecture.

Many of the older buildings in Bariloche were constructed in the early 20th century and feature wooden facades, sloping roofs, and balconies with intricate carvings. These traditional Alpine-style buildings are a nod to the region’s European heritage and are often found in the city center and surrounding neighborhoods.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Bariloche saw a wave of Art Deco construction, with buildings featuring geometric shapes, streamlined designs, and decorative details. The Civic Center of Bariloche is a prime example of this style, with its sweeping lines, rounded corners, and intricate reliefs.

In recent years, Bariloche has seen a surge in modern architecture, with many new buildings featuring sleek lines, glass facades, and minimalist design. Some of these structures can be found in the city center, while others are located on the outskirts of town.

Overall, the architecture of Bariloche reflects the city’s unique blend of history, culture, and natural surroundings. Whether you’re admiring the traditional Alpine-style buildings, the Art Deco structures, or the modern designs, there is always something interesting and beautiful to see in Bariloche.

Museums and Galleries

Here are some of the most interesting museums and galleries in Bariloche:

  • Museo de la Patagonia: This natural history museum showcases the history and culture of the Patagonian region, including exhibits on the area’s geology, wildlife, and indigenous peoples.
  • Centro Cultural del Libro: This cultural center and bookstore is a great place to learn about local literature and art. It hosts regular exhibitions, events, and workshops on topics ranging from poetry to photography.
  • Museo del Chocolate: This museum celebrates the history and production of chocolate in Bariloche, with interactive exhibits and tastings of some of the city’s best chocolate.
  • Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bariloche (MACBA): This contemporary art museum features works by both local and international artists, with a focus on modern and abstract art.
  • Museo Paleontológico: This small museum houses a collection of fossils and prehistoric artifacts from the Patagonian region, including dinosaur bones, fossils of ancient plants, and ancient tools.
  • Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes: This art museum features a collection of Argentine art from the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by notable artists such as Xul Solar and Antonio Berni.
  • Galería de Arte Walichu: This gallery showcases the work of local artists, with a focus on contemporary art and photography. It also hosts regular exhibitions and events, including artist talks and workshops.

Overall, Bariloche offers a diverse range of museums and galleries, from natural history to contemporary art, and is a great place to explore the rich culture and history of the region.

Landmarks and Monuments

Here are some of the most interesting landmarks and monuments in Bariloche:

  • Cerro Catedral: This mountain is the most popular ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere, offering breathtaking views of the Andes and plenty of winter sports activities.
  • Lago Nahuel Huapi: This stunning lake is one of the most popular attractions in Bariloche, with crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and hiking.
  • Puerto Pañuelo: This picturesque port is the departure point for many boat tours on Lago Nahuel Huapi, including trips to Isla Victoria and Bosque de Arrayanes.
  • Cerro Otto: This mountain offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is home to a revolving restaurant that serves traditional Argentine cuisine.
  • Civic Center of Bariloche: This Art Deco-style building is the heart of Bariloche’s government and features a clock tower, large square, and a variety of sculptures and fountains.
  • Capilla de San Eduardo: This charming wooden chapel is located on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi and features a unique blend of Swiss and Argentine architectural styles.
  • Colonia Suiza: This historic Swiss-style village is located just outside Bariloche and is home to traditional handicrafts, chocolate shops, and restaurants serving Swiss and Argentine cuisine.

Bariloche is a stunning destination with a wide range of natural and cultural landmarks to explore. Whether you’re skiing on Cerro Catedral or enjoying the crystal-clear waters of Lago Nahuel Huapi, there is always something new and exciting to discover in Bariloche.

Parks and Green Spaces

Bariloche is known for its stunning natural beauty and there are many parks and green spaces worth visiting. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi: This national park covers over 700,000 acres and is home to stunning landscapes, including mountains, forests, and lakes. There are many hiking trails, camping sites, and picnic areas to explore.
  • Cerro Campanario: This mountain offers one of the most breathtaking views of the region, with panoramic vistas of Lago Nahuel Huapi, Cerro Catedral, and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can reach the top by hiking or taking a chairlift.
  • Bosque de Arrayanes: This unique forest is home to a species of tree called the Arrayan, which features smooth, cinnamon-colored bark and distinctive white flowers. Visitors can explore the forest by hiking or taking a boat tour.
  • Lago Gutierrez: This lake is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. There are also several hiking trails around the lake, including a scenic trail to the top of Cerro Ventana.
  • Cerro Llao Llao: This mountain features stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is home to the iconic Llao Llao Hotel, which was built in the 1930s and features a unique blend of Swiss and Argentine architecture.
  • Parque Municipal Llao Llao: This park is located on the shores of Lago Moreno and features several hiking trails, picnic areas, and a small beach.
  • Parque Municipal Lago Gutiérrez: This park is located on the shores of Lago Gutierrez and features several hiking trails, a small beach, and picnic areas.

Bariloche is a nature lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of parks, forests, and lakes to explore. Whether you’re hiking to the top of Cerro Campanario or kayaking on Lago Gutierrez, there is always something new and exciting to discover in Bariloche’s great outdoors.

Shopping Districts

Bariloche is a popular destination for shopping, with a wide variety of stores and shopping districts to explore. Here are some of the most popular shopping districts in Bariloche:

  • Centro Cívico: This central square is the heart of Bariloche’s commercial district and features a variety of shops and boutiques selling everything from chocolate to outdoor gear.
  • Mitre Street: This pedestrian street is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and is a popular spot for tourists to stroll and browse.
  • Avenida San Martín: This main avenue runs through the center of Bariloche and features a variety of shops selling everything from souvenirs to high-end clothing.
  • Paseo de los Artesanos: This outdoor market is located near the Civic Center and features stalls selling traditional handicrafts, textiles, and jewelry.
  • Patagonia Chocolate: This artisanal chocolate shop is located in the city center and offers a wide variety of handcrafted chocolates and sweets.
  • Galería del Sol: This indoor shopping mall is located on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi and features a variety of shops selling clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs.
  • Catedral Alta Patagonia: This ski resort is located just outside of Bariloche and features a variety of shops selling ski equipment, clothing, and accessories.

Overall, Bariloche offers a diverse range of shopping experiences, from artisanal chocolate shops to high-end clothing boutiques. Whether you’re strolling through the Centro Cívico or browsing the stalls at Paseo de los Artesanos, there is always something new and interesting to discover in Bariloche’s shopping districts.

Food and Drink

Bariloche is a foodie’s paradise, offering a wide variety of delicious dishes and beverages that reflect the region’s unique mix of European and Argentinean influences. Here are some food and drink items to try in Bariloche:

  • Fondue: Bariloche is known for its delicious fondue, which is typically made with local cheeses such as Gruyere and Emmental, served with bread and potatoes.
  • Asado: This Argentinean-style barbecue is a must-try when visiting Bariloche. It typically consists of beef, sausages, and other meats cooked over an open flame and served with chimichurri sauce.
  • Chocolate: Bariloche is famous for its artisanal chocolate production. There are many chocolatiers in the city that offer a wide variety of chocolate treats, from classic milk chocolate bars to more unique flavors like rosemary or chili pepper.
  • Patagonian lamb: This succulent meat is a staple of Argentinean cuisine and is often served roasted or grilled with herbs and spices.
  • Craft beer: Bariloche is home to a thriving craft beer scene, with many breweries and brewpubs offering a variety of unique and flavorful beers.
  • Empanadas: These traditional Argentinean pastries are filled with a variety of ingredients, such as beef, cheese, chicken, or vegetables, and are perfect for a quick snack or lunch.
  • Trout: Bariloche is surrounded by lakes and rivers that are full of delicious trout. Many restaurants in the city serve this fish grilled or baked with herbs and spices.

Bariloche offers a wide range of delicious food and drink options that reflect the region’s unique cultural mix. From fondue and asado to artisanal chocolate and craft beer, there is always something new and delicious to discover in Bariloche’s culinary scene.


Bariloche is a relatively small city that is easy to navigate, and there are several ways to get around:

  • Walking: Many of the main attractions in Bariloche are located within walking distance of each other, so walking is a great way to explore the city and take in the stunning views.
  • Bus: Bariloche has a good public bus system that operates throughout the city and surrounding areas. There are several different bus lines that can take you to popular attractions such as Lago Nahuel Huapi and Cerro Catedral.
  • Taxi: Taxis are widely available in Bariloche and are a good option if you need to travel to a specific location or if you have heavy luggage.
  • Car rental: If you plan on exploring the surrounding areas or taking day trips outside of Bariloche, renting a car is a good option. There are several car rental companies in the city center.
  • Bicycle: Bariloche is a great city for cycling, with several bike rental shops and bike paths throughout the city. Biking is a fun and eco-friendly way to explore Bariloche and its surrounding areas.

Bariloche is a relatively easy city to get around, with several transportation options that can take you to all the best attractions and activities.

City Safety

Bariloche is generally considered a safe city for tourists. However, as with any destination, it is important to exercise common sense and take certain precautions to ensure your safety.

For example, it is recommended to avoid walking alone at night, especially in areas that are not well-lit or that you are not familiar with. It is also recommended to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas such as markets or on public transportation.

In addition, it is important to follow any safety guidelines provided by tour operators or guides when participating in outdoor activities such as hiking or skiing. This may include wearing appropriate gear, staying on designated trails, and avoiding certain areas or activities during bad weather.

Bariloche is a safe destination for tourists, and taking some basic precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Expensive or Cheap

Bariloche can be considered a relatively expensive city compared to other destinations in Argentina. However, the cost of living and travel expenses can vary depending on the type of accommodation, food, and activities you choose.

For example, staying in a luxury hotel or eating at high-end restaurants can be quite expensive, while staying in a budget hostel or eating at local street vendors can be more affordable. Outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and boat tours can also vary in price depending on the operator and the time of year.

Overall, Bariloche is a popular tourist destination, and prices can be higher during peak travel seasons such as the winter ski season or the summer holidays. However, with some research and budget planning, it is possible to enjoy all that Bariloche has to offer without breaking the bank.

Best Time to Travel

The best time to travel to Bariloche is during the summer months of December to February when the weather is warm and the outdoor activities are abundant. This is also the peak tourist season, so prices may be higher and crowds may be larger. However, if you are interested in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, then the winter months of June to August are the best time to visit. Just keep in mind that temperatures can drop below freezing during this time, and snow can make transportation and activities more difficult.

Date Ideas

Bariloche is a beautiful destination that offers many romantic date ideas. Here are some ideas for a memorable date in Bariloche:

  • Sunset at Cerro Campanario: Take a chairlift to the top of Cerro Campanario and watch the sunset over Lago Nahuel Huapi. This stunning viewpoint offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lake.
  • Dinner at a Swiss-style restaurant: Bariloche has a strong Swiss influence, and there are many restaurants that offer a romantic atmosphere and delicious Swiss and Argentinean cuisine.
  • Chocolate tasting: Bariloche is known for its artisanal chocolate production, and a chocolate tasting is a great way to enjoy the city’s sweetest treats. Visit one of the many chocolate shops in the city center and sample a variety of flavors and styles.
  • Horseback riding: Take a horseback ride through the stunning Patagonian landscape. There are many companies that offer guided horseback tours, with options ranging from short rides to full-day adventures.
  • Picnic in Parque Municipal Llao Llao: Pack a picnic basket and enjoy a romantic lunch or dinner in the beautiful Parque Municipal Llao Llao. This park offers stunning views of Lago Moreno and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
  • Wine tasting: Take a wine tour of the nearby vineyards and sample some of the region’s best wines. Many tours also offer a delicious lunch or dinner and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Spa day: Enjoy a relaxing day at one of Bariloche’s many spas. Many spas offer a variety of treatments, such as massages, facials, and hot springs, and are a great way to unwind and rejuvenate.

Bariloche offers a wide range of romantic date ideas, from stunning viewpoints to delicious dining experiences. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors or enjoying a spa day, there is always something new and romantic to discover in this beautiful destination.

Fun and Interesting Facts

Here are some fun and interesting facts about Bariloche:

  • Bariloche is known as the “Switzerland of Argentina” due to its strong Swiss influence, including its architecture, cuisine, and cultural traditions.
  • The city is located in the province of Río Negro in Patagonia, a region known for its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities.
  • Bariloche is home to one of the oldest ski resorts in South America, Cerro Catedral, which attracts visitors from all over the world during the winter months.
  • The city is also known for its artisanal chocolate production, with many chocolatiers offering unique flavors and styles, such as chocolate with rosemary or chili pepper.
  • Bariloche is surrounded by several stunning lakes, including Lago Nahuel Huapi and Lago Moreno, which offer opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and other water sports.
  • The area around Bariloche is also home to several national parks, including Nahuel Huapi National Park, which is one of the largest protected areas in Argentina and offers a variety of hiking trails, camping sites, and picnic areas.
  • Bariloche is a popular destination for wine enthusiasts, with several vineyards in the surrounding areas that offer wine tours and tastings.

In conclusion, Bariloche is a beautiful and unique destination that offers a blend of Swiss and Argentinean cultures, stunning natural landscapes, and a wide range of outdoor activities and culinary experiences. Whether you’re skiing on Cerro Catedral or sampling artisanal chocolate in the city center, there is always something new and interesting to discover in Bariloche.