Bariloche came up in conversation multiple times when we were planning and preparing for our trip, mostly with Luis’ family. When the date of going there actually came closer, we were told the Argentinans also call it ‘Brasiloche’, because of all the Brazilians that supposedly come there. So that matched up, haha.
While it was a lot more touristy and busier than Esquel, we had a great time in Bariloche!
Our initial plan for the day was to go to Cerro Cathedral, but at the bus stop we were told that you actually get the best views from Cerro Campanario. So, we went there instead. Hopped on a different bus than planned, and vamos.
From the edge of town, it takes about 40 minutes to get to the aerosilla (chairlift) that takes you up the Cerro Campanario. It’s a popular thing to go to in Bariloche, so most of the people on our bus got off with us. But, we only stood in line for our tickets for a couple of minutes before jumping on to the chairlift, so it all went pretty smooth!
We hopped of the chairlift, and it became very clear what the people at the bus stop meant about ‘the best view of Bariloche’. Damn! You can see all the surrounding lakes and mountains, and the view goes as far as Chile! The weather was also fantastic this day, we had clear blue skies, which definitely added to the experience.
Besides the view, there is a confiteria on the Cerro Campanario, so you can enjoy the view with a nice pastry or cake, or simply a cold beer. We did both :).
Sendero de los Arrayanes
After Cerro Campanario we figured we’d do another one, Cerro Otto, which would be in the direction of town again. We took the bus, only to arrive to a closed teleferico due to strong winds. Bummer. But better safe than sorry, of course.
So once again, we hopped on a bus that took us further away from town again, all the way to the end of the line to Villa Llau Llau. The bus dropped us just before it went in to the village, and we continued in the other direction to find the trail. Once we made it to the park entrance, there was green all around us and you could smell the pine trees everywhere. It was an easy walk, with several miradors on the way. The view from the lake was mind blowing!
Sometimes, you need to treat yo’self…
After all the hiking we’d done at this point, we were ready for a day of relaxing. My first proper spa experience had only been in the past 2 years, in the Black Forest in Germany, and I thought it was time for another one.
Bariloche is well known for its spas, so it was just a matter of finding one that would fit in our budget. A little bit of googling gave us many options, but none of them showed prices on their websites (annoying, lol), so when we found one that did, and the price was good, we just decided to go with that one.
It was a tiny spa, with one pool, one jacuzzi, and 2 saunas, but it did the job. We even got a drink and snacks at the end! And that for the price of approximately €20 per person. Worth it!
Sendero Frey to Playa Muñoz
We had no idea we were going to do this hike until the evening before. We went out for drinks with our roommate and 2 German girls he’d met in the hostel that day. They just arrived in Bariloche and were planning on doing the hike to Refugio Frey on the next day, a popular trail up on Cerro Cathedral. As we had no plans yet, and they suggested we should join (that’s how it goes in hostels), we did.
As agreed, we met in front of the hostel in the morning so we could walk to the busstop together. We all loaded some more money on our SUBE cards (public transport cards), and after that the waiting game began at the busstop. Unfortunately this game took a lot longer than we hoped, because our bus never showed. Shit happens, but we still wanted to go somewhere to do a hike, so we came up with a plan B on the spot.
Based on the buses that had been passing by, we decided to go to Lago Gutiérrez, and do part of the other Refugio Frey hike. It started off with a climb to a mirador, and then on to Playa Muñoz.
The middle part of the hike was relatively flat and we had a good pace, and accompanied by some music, we made it to the lake in good time. Another beautiful spot in Bariloche.
Of course this is just a glimpse of what there is to do in Bariloche. We tried working with a smaller budget and only took local buses to get to where we wanted to go, but with a rental car or by going on tours you’ll get to see more difficult to reach places.
But whatever you do, don’t skip Bariloche 😉
*All prices mentioned above are converted using the Blue Dollar rate.