Our trip to Bariloche was just the fourth city we traveled to on our ‘Round the World journey (after Montevideo, Punta del Diablo and Buenos Aires). We had two weeks in the city in the month of May – which was too early for the ski season, but a fantastic time for hiking in Bariloche (and, in our opinion, the best time to visit Bariloche). During our time in the small town, we found plenty of things to do in Bariloche – both in the city and in nature.
What To Do in Bariloche
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina is located in the Argentina Lakes District and is surrounded by Nahuel Huapi National Park (Parque Nacional Nahuel). The region boasts stunning nature and city sights.
Things to do in Bariloche
Whether you have one day in Bariloche, Argentina or an entire week to explore, you can use our travel tips to help plan your trip!
#1 Cerro Campanario
Going to the top of Cerro Campanario should be at the top of every Bariloche Things To Do list. The mountain sits at 1,049 meters and can be accessed via a chairlift or by hiking up a 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.
#2 Playa Bonita
Playa Bonita – or Beautiful Beach – is just a short bus ride (8km) west of the Bariloche city center. The pebbly beach is on the southern shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi (the main Bariloche lake) – and is one of the top places to visit in Bariloche during the summer. As we were there in the autumn when the weather was brisk, we had the beach to ourselves to enjoy the stunning scenery.
#3 Colonia Suiza
Colonia Suiza is a small village that was settled in the year 1895 by families from Switzerland and Germany…and some of the original families still occupy the land. Visiting Colonia Suiza is one of the fun things to do in Bariloche to experience the local culture and cuisine. The village hosts a craft fair, complete with a traditional feast cooked underground, twice a week (Sundays and Wednesdays – so make sure to add it to your Bariloche itinerary!).
#4 Llao Llao Park
Llao Llao Park is the place to go for hiking in Bariloche. The park has three main trails that lead to seven amazing viewpoints (which resulted in some of our best Bariloche photos!). The Bariloche hiking trails at Llao Llao Park ranged from easy to moderate. Spend some time on the trails at Llao Llao Park – and, if you are a novice hiker, consider joining a guide to lead you on a Bariloche, Argentina hiking trip at Llao LLao Park.
#5 Cerro Catedral
Skiing in Bariloche is a popular wintertime activity (and a main force in Bariloche tourism) – and Cerro Catedral is the most popular Bariloche ski resort. Although our visit was in the fall, we ventured to Cerro Catedral to see the village and surrounding mountains. Only one gondola and a few restaurants were open, but the views of the Bariloche mountains were stunning. Top Tip: The popular 8-hour Refugio Frey hike begins at Cerro Catedral.
#6 Catedral de San Carlos de Bariloche
Near the center of the city is the hard-to-miss Catedral de San Carlos de Bariloche. The church sits close to the shoreline of the lake on a slight hill and the tall steeple rises into the sky. The cathedral is dedicated to the Patron Saint of the city, Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi, and features a rustic, natural interior. Visiting the church should be a part of any Bariloche trip.
#7 Patagonia Museum in Bariloche
The Patagonia Museum is one of the few Bariloche tourist attractions that isn’t outdoors, which makes a visit to the museum an ideal option of what to do in Bariloche when it rains. Located in the heart of the city next to the Centro Civico building, the Patagonia Museum features both the natural history of the region and South America, as well as the cultural history.
#8 Gruta Virgin de las Nieves
Visiting the Gruta Virgin de las Nieves might not make many Bariloche to-do lists, but we were glad we made the stop on the way from Cerro Catedral back to Bariloche. The small cave is dedicated the Virgin of the Snow. A staircase leads to a statue of the Virgin Mary where hundreds of plaques have been bolted to the rocks giving thanks for answered prayers.
#9 City Tour Bariloche
One of the best things to do in Bariloche, Argentina is sightseeing. Set out on foot and tour Bariloche on a walk around town. While there are many interesting Bariloche attractions, these are the ones not to miss!
- Steeple in the Water: An exact replica of the Bariloche Cathedral steeple sits in the water, just off shore from the church.
- Chemamules: Carved wooden statues stand on the banks of Lago Nahuel Huapi…all facing the same direction.
- Chocolate: Chocolate shops are everywhere! Many of the shops are found on the main street – but smaller shops are located on side streets.
#10 Craft Beer
We had no idea that the city was home to so many small craft breweries, but sampling the brews became one of our favorite Bariloche things to do. 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. We made an “Ale Trail” around town over the course of our stay to sample the great variety of beers. Although we preferred visiting during happy hour, these fun little bars would be a great way to experience Bariloche nightlife.
Bariloche, Argentina Map
Our top tips for your trip to Bariloche
Before you go, we have a few more tips for your trip!
Getting to Bariloche
The city can be reached by plane, bus, boat or car.
The Bariloche Airport (also called the San Carlos de Bariloche Airport or the Teniente Luis Candelaria Airport) is the international airport that services the city and region. We flew in from Buenos Aires and you can search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner or Flight Hub.
How to get to Bariloche from the airport? Take a taxi or book a shared transfer ahead of time.
The main bus station (Terminal de Omnibus Bariloche) is inconveniently located 3.5km east of town (12 de Octubre 2400, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina).
A scenic tourist boat can be used to travel between Bariloche and Puerto Varas. While the scenery is spectacular and considered one of the top things to do in Bariloche, it is an expensive way to travel. Budget Tip: Take the bus between the two cities and enjoy the scenic ride through the mountains.
Where to stay in Bariloche
During our visit to Bariloche, we stayed in an Airbnb Apartment. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. Bariloche holiday apartments can also be searched on FlipKey (which is part of TripAdvisor) or on VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner.
However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many San Carlos Bariloche hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Start your search on Booking.com – or check to see if there are rooms available in the city center at the highly-rated Hotel Tres Reyes or Design Suites Bariloche.
If you don’t want to stay in the city, check out the presitgious Llao Llao Resort. Originally built in 1938, the Llao Llao Hotel burnt to the ground within a year, but was rebuilt and reopened in 1940. It was practically left to squatters in the late 70s and it wasn’t until the mid-90s that it finally became the highly awarded hotel it is today. The pristine golf course, crystal clear lakes and snow-capped mountain peaks certainly aid in making the Llao-Llao Hotel the remarkable place that it is.
Budget travelers can search for Bariloche Hostels – like Periko’s Youth Hostel or Hostel Los Troncos. For a true bargain – and a unique experience – search for hosts on Couchsurfing, where travelers stay with locals for free.
Bariloche Tips and Tours
Like many Argentina tourist attractions, most activities are outdoors – and there are many organized tours to help you plan your time so you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful nature.
- If you plan on trekking in Bariloche, there are a range of hiking tours you can join. The day trips for trekking Bariloche navigate into some of the most scenic parts of the region.
- If you are heading to Bariloche in winter and it’s a Bariloche ski vacation you are looking for, there are multi-day ski packages that include skiing and accommodations. Beginner skiers can start the trip with a ski lesson.
- If you are interested in typical Bariloche food and regional cuisine, follow your guide to a local family’s house for a traditional meal.
Looking for other activities? Find other tours and things to do in San Carlos de Bariloche on Viator.
Bariloche, Argentina Weather
When you visit Bariloche, check the weather to make sure you pack appropriate clothing and gear. Take a look at our Packing List. There are some things to do in Bariloche, Argentina when it rains, but our favorite activities were outdoors…so make sure you are prepared for all types of weather.
What You Will Need
- In addition to your hiking shoes, don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your time off the trails. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
- Make sure to have a good city map before arriving.
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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