Patagonia: The Best of Bariloche

We’ve learned over the last ten months that it’s always more fun when you see, smell, feel, and experience a place for the first time with your very own senses. As a result, we often try to avoid looking at pictures of our next destination prior to our arrival or listen to lengthy descriptions about a place from fellow travelers. It’s obviously sometimes easier said than done but we did our best not to take too many sneak peaks when it came to Bariloche, a city in northern Patagonia.

After a twelve hour night bus ride from Trelew, we were groggy eyed and half asleep when we arrived in Bariloche. The weather matched our physical state as we were welcomed with grey skies, gusty winds, bone chilling temperatures and a wintery mix of both rain and snow. I started having flashbacks to dreary winters in Cincinnati and I panicked thinking, “Where are we and what are we doing here?” This wasn’t what I had envisioned when it came to Bariloche…

Thankfully, the dismal weather wasn’t looking to stay for long and once those initial grey clouds parted, the most breathtaking and picturesque scenery that I’ve been lucky enough to lay my eyes on was revealed. The city itself sits along a vibrant blue lake and is surrounded by towering mountains with glistening snowy peaks in almost every direction! Within seconds of taking in the amazing view from our hostel, Penthouse 1004, I was already enamored with the city!

View overlooking the lake

View overlooking the lake

View from our bedroom

View from our bedroom

We had originally planned to do some longer day hikes and potentially a multi-day trek as we had heard it’s a great spot to get your heart rate up with views along the way that don’t disappoint. However, we found that a lot of the trails were closed due to not yet ideal trekking conditions as it wasn’t quite summer. We then moved to plan B which ended up being so much fun that it could have easily have made for an excellent plan A.

Here is what our “plan B” in Bariloche looked like…

A 30-45 minute hike up to Cerro Campanero

We were told by someone at our hostel that at the top we’ll enjoy “one of the best panoramic views in the world.” It’s an awfully bold statement if you ask me but she couldn’t have been more right! Cerro Campanero is a short bus ride from the center of town making it very accessible. Once we arrived up top, we warmed up and reward ourselves with hot chocolate at the small restaurant.

Mother Nature's gym doesn't come with any membership fees!

Mother Nature’s gym doesn’t come with any membership fees!

As soon as we arrived at the top the winds picked up!

As soon as we arrived at the top the winds picked up!

Cerro Campanero

You can't find views like this everywhere!

You can’t find views like this everywhere!

A walk (or bike ride) around the Chico Circuit

We were told that there is a bike rental shop to the right of the entrance to Cerro Campanero so if you start your day early enough you can enjoy a bike ride in the afternoon after your hike. We decided against the bikes and opted to go for a stroll by foot!

One of the many gorgeous homes lining the lake.

One of the many gorgeous homes lining the lake.

Do you see the color of the water?! Absolutely beautiful!

Do you see the color of the water?!?

Brian spotted this course from a mile away...

Brian spotted this course from a mile away…

If you’re in the area, stop and check out Llao Llao Hotel & Resort which boasts a whopping five stars.

llao llao resort

This is what happens when you let a backpacker near a five star resort...

This is what happens when you let a backpacker near a five star resort…

A hike up to the top of Cerro Llao Llao

Here we found more breathtaking views of the many lakes and mountains in a slightly more natural environment. Sorry, no cafés selling hot beverages up here!

cerro llao llao

As you can see, there were windy weather conditions!

The views from the top were more than rewarding!

Only real mountain men use walking sticks!

Only real mountain men use walking sticks!

Truly spectacular - we couldn't take our eyes off of this view.

Truly spectacular – we couldn’t take our eyes off of this view.

You can never go wrong with a little bird watching!

You can never go wrong with a little bird watching!

Cerro Llao Llao

A climb up to Cerro Otto for more breathtaking views but from a different perspective

We strapped our hiking boots on and made the rather steep climb up to the top of Cerro Otto. If you’re feeling less ambitious or just short on time, take the gondola up to the top. Be sure to check out the revolving restaurant for constant 360 degree views and of course, some hot chocolate!

Around and around we go at the revolving restaurant!

Around and around we went at the revolving restaurant!

There are also a few different hikes that you can do once you arrive at the top of Cerro Otto. We struck out with these hikes though because the area was closed the day we went due to the condition of the trails. It’s probably for the best though. It was rather windy and our calves were still feeling the burn from our hike up!

These views never get old!

These views never get old!

Next stop, Alaska?

Next stop, Alaska?

So we found the kid's play area and teeter totter happened...

So we found the kid’s play area and teeter-tottering definitely happened…

Last but certainly not least, channel the professional taste tester in you and try an assortment of chocolates!

It’s no secret that Bariloche is the chocolate capital of Argentina! There are chocolate shops lining the main streets in town and you could honestly spend the better part of a day sampling various forms of chocolate at each place – candies, ice creams, cakes as well as hot chocolate. Rapa Nui came recommended to us by our Argentinean friends so that’s where we put our taste testing skills to work!

You can get it all here!

You can get it all here!

10 out of 10 from this judge!

Perfect 10 out of 10 from this judge!

Whether it be your plan A or your plan B, you are bound to enjoy every second of your time in Bariloche! The fun starts but certainly doesn’t end with hiking, fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, boating… and the list goes on and on!

Cerro Campanero

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13 thoughts on “Patagonia: The Best of Bariloche

  1. How did the ice cream rate with graeters?
    I can’t imagine what is your favorite place. Everywhere you have been seems amazing.
    Also, what are your followers going to do without your beautiful, interesting, informative blogs now that the new year is around the corner? Larry just isn’t that good! Viki

    • The ice cream was absolutely incredible but it doesn’t beat Graeter’s (of course, we’re a little bias)! As you know traveling helps you realize just how big and beautiful this world of ours is and while we have seen so much, there is so much more to see! As for Larry, there is certainly never a dull moment!!

  2. Just found your blog (thanks to girlaboutcolumbus) and your photos are amazing! My husband and I have been hiking several places in the US (and just recently Switzerland) so your photos take me back to my own breathtaking moments. Hope you’ll have a post recapping and ranking your adventures because we’re always looking for our next one.

    • Hey Alley! Where have you most recently been hiking in the States? We would love to hear all about those places and hikes that topped your list! I have no doubt that your recent travels to Switzerland were absolutely spectacular! A recap post ranking our top countries or areas that we enjoyed is a great idea – we’ll make it happen!!

      • Hi Alison! Can’t believe you’re in Antarctica right now! I really thought your picture of the penguins in my instagram feed was a natgeo post. 🙂

        My favorite US hike so far was hiking up Yosemite Falls (maybe one day we’ll go back and do Half Dome). And then we’ve done some great hikes in Rocky Mountain NP and Olympic NP. We live in Ohio, so while there is a good amount of hiking nearby, nothing really breathtaking. We’re looking into a hiking roadtrip this summer starting at Yellowstone and ending in Glacier.

        Looking forward to hear about Antarctica and your adventure rankings!

  3. Pingback: Top Five Reasons to Avoid Mendoza, Argentina | Beaches & Backpacks

  4. Pingback: Antarctica: Whales, Penguins, Icebergs and So Much More! | Beaches & Backpacks

  5. Pingback: Bariloche, Argentina – The Packed Passport

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