San Carlos de Bariloche was the last stop on the Packed Perfectly Patagonia Trek beginning in Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Torres Del Paine, El Calafate, then to finalize our tour eating all the chocolate we could find in Bariloche. Bariloche is famous for making chocolate.
The city of San Carlos de Bariloche was founded on May 3, 1902. The origins of San Carlos has to do with Don Carlos Wiederhold, a Chilean immigrant of German ancestry who settled in 1895 in the city center, as such, many German-speaking immigrants from Austria, Slovenia, Germany chose Bariloche to settle in. It is not surprising Nazi’s labeled war criminals fled here after World War II, some of who were found 50 years later. besides The President of Argentina was a Nazi sympathizer.
The city center is packed full of chocolate shops, breweries, and coffee shops all living inside the Alpine-style architecture that is present all over the city. The people are lively and fun, showcased in the summer months with live music and dancing in the street. The natural beauty of this region is its lake district where people come to ski, fish, climb, trek and generally bask in the cool, fresh landscapes created by the huge forests and glacier-fed lakes of Argentina’s largest national park.
A lot of the chocolate shops in double as cafes. Here is a list of Packed Perfectly’s favorite
Mamuschka is full of every type of chocolate imaginable. For the full experience, take a seat in the cafe at the back and order one of the thickest hot chocolates you will ever taste.
Another serious contender for the top spot of Bariloche’s chocolate kingdom is Rapa Nui, an art-deco inspired half ice-cream shop. Rapa Nui’s also has an indoor ice-skating rink.
El Reino de los Chocolates
This chocolate emporium is a combination of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The staff are dressed in quirky little outfits and the white and turquoise branding is reminiscent of fantastical candy stores.
Bariloche, in German fashion, is home to many small craft breweries. Most of the Bariloche craft beer, called Cerveza artesanal, is produced on a small scale using fresh, natural and local ingredients (most importantly the mountain water) and is available in the brewpub from which it’s named. A popular thing to do here is going on a pub crawl.
Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi
The highlight of Bariloche is its national park, Nahuel Huapi. You can simply drive through and admire the scenery from the car, or park stroll up one of the many hiking routes. The more adventurous visitor can raft or kayak on the Lago Nahuel Huapi, a lake that was formed from melted glaciers and is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains.
Take A day trip to El Bolsón
Two hours from Bariloche is the small town of El Bolsón. Its first non-native inhabitants came from Germany, and consequently, it has become famous for its production of cheeses and beer. It prides itself on its focus on ecological living and organic farming and has become a popular destination for the liberal-minded.
There are a number of hiking routes in El Bolsón. The most popular is the hike up to Cajón de Azul, a small vibrant blue lake where it is possible to swim.
Llao Llao Park
Llao Llao Park is Packed Perfectly’s favorite hike in Bariloche. The park has three main trails that lead to seven amazing viewpoints The Bariloche hiking trails at Llao Llao Park ranged from easy to moderate. You can take a swim in the lakes. Pack a picnic.
The Top of Cerro Campanario
The mountain sits at 1,049 meters and can be accessed via a chairlift or short trail. Either way, at the top of Cerro Campanario, are several platforms that offer 360-degree views of the surrounding mountain peaks and Rio Negro Province of Patagonia.
Further out from the city of Bariloche itself is the volcano Lanín. Not in Nahuel Huapi, rather in bordering national park Lanín, it can be seen from all around the area. It is possible to climb, but by experts only and even then it is not recommended for the faint-hearted. While the volcano has not thought to have erupted for around 10,000 years, it has not officially been declared extinct, due to the occasional tremor. The crater itself is not visible and is thought to be underneath the glacier found at the peak of the mountain.
A day trip to Villa La Angostura
Another small town possible to visit in a day trip from Bariloche is Villa La Angostura, high in the mountains and home to the Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes. An arrayán is a species of tree that is native to the Argentinian-Chilean border and was important to the native Mapuche people as a source of medicine.
Cerro Tronador in Nahuel Huapi National Park is the highest mountain in the lake region of Argentina. At the foot of the mountain, you can see glaciers, which can be heard creaking – especially when huge chunks of ice drop off. It has three distinct peaks, called Argentino, Internacional, and Chileno.
Llao Llao Resort, Golf-Spa is the most exclusive hotel in Argentine Patagonia, set amidst the crystal blue lakes, snow-capped peaks and unexplored larch and cypress forests of Argentina’s Lake District. The studios and suites offer incredible views of lakes, forests, and mountains. Other amenities include a magnificent indoor/outdoor pool, 18 holes of golf, a helicopter and landing pad, an amazing Spa and activities for adults and children. If you are not staying at the resort come for afternoon tea or a hike around the surrounding area.