Nestled among the lakes and mountains of Argentina’s Patagonian Lake District is the quaint city of San Carlos de Bariloche. Perched on the edge of spectacular Lake Nahuel Huapi and surrounded by snowy peaks, you can easily forgive the slightly messy growth of Bariloche from a small village to bustling town. The region has an alpine feel that goes beyond just the terrain. In the 1800s many German and Swiss immigrants arrived from Chile and settled in the region, bringing traditional cheeses, craft beers, and chocolates perfect to enjoy after a full day exploring the great outdoors. Whether you’re hiking, biking or on a boat ride, you’ll enjoy being surrounded by the beauty of the lakes and National Park.
Your adventure begins in the city of Bariloche and heads west from the city by the AV Bustillo bordering Lake Nahuel Huapi. At km 8 is Playa Bonita, from there you can see Huemul Island. At km 17 the foot of Cerro Campanario is reached, and a chairlift operates that moves people to the summit (1050m) from where you will see one of the most beautiful views of the region. Following Bustillo Avenue passing zone San Pedro Peninsula at Km 25 the Llao Llao area is reached. There is the Chapel St. Edward regional architectural jewel, and on Lake Nahuel Huapi Scarf port where sailing excursions leave from Lake Nahuel Huapi. To the south a stunning view of Llao Llao Hotel framed by the Capilla and Lopez Hills. Later you will arrive at Panoramic Point from where you can see the lovely view of the Llao Llao Peninsula and surrounding lakes. Then you will reach the bridge over Moreno Lake in their narrowness. Later at 2 km It is the junction with Av Bustillo where it returns to the city thus ending this excursion.
You will head northwards along National Route 237, crossing the outlet of Nahuel Huapi Lake and the spring of Limay River. Following the river, you’ll head into the ‘Enchanted Valley’ Valle Encantado and later Confluencia Traful, as you transition between the Patagonian steppe and Patagonian Andean forest. Leaving behind Route 237 towards Villa Traful, we’ll stop at the bordering Traful Lake to enjoy a natural balcony overlooking the lake from on high. The road continues bordering the lake, passing through Villa Traful towards Arrayanes Port. From there you’ll go on up, through a shady forest to El Portezuelo (940 m), where you will meet the Seven Lakes Road going southwards to lakes Correntoso, Bailey Willis, and Espejo. There is an optional sail to Arrayanes Wood, before continuing on to reach Nahuel Huapi Lake once again before heading back to Bariloche.
In this adventure you begin your travels to Lake Gutierrez, 15 minutes drive from town. Here the guides will be waiting for you to give instructions and all the gear and clothing needed for your exploration of the area. Before jumping into the kayaks, we’ll review the route and feasibility depending on weather conditions and fitness/needs of the group. We’ll spend around 2 hours on the lake, including a stop on a lonely and paradisiacal beach for a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa with regional alfajores. After a snack we paddle towards El Retorno inn, where you will have time to change and prepare for the drive back to Bariloche.
This is a full-day group tour from Bariloche across the Nahuel Huapi Lake to Puerto Varas. It’s a relaxing trip packed with jaw-dropping scenery. After being picked up from either your hotel or a central Bariloche location, you’ll drive to Puerto Pañuelo, perched on the edge of the lake. On the way, you can admire the quirky Swiss-style architecture that characterizes the region. At the port, you’ll board a catamaran and drift across Nahuel Huapi to Puerto Blest, a journey that takes around an hour. With Andean peaks set against the thick green rainforest, the backdrop is gorgeous. At Puerto Blest, you’ll board a bus nearby Felix Frías Lake and sail through its turquoise waters, with beautiful views of Tronador Mountain. Arriving at Puerto Frías and organizing your entry formalities in Peulla, you’ll find yourself in Chile, where you’ll stop for lunch. Next, you’ll set sail for Petrohué, navigating the Todos Los Santos Lake, surrounded by volcanoes and snow-peaked mountains. You’ll spend some time visiting the dramatic Petrohué waterfalls and soak up the scenery from the shores of Llanquihue Lake before sailing back to Puerto Varas and being transferred home to your hotel.
This full day lake tour to Victoria Island and Arranyanes Forest leaves from Puerto Pañuelo at Llao Llao. Here, you’ll pay the entrance fee and port tax before hopping on the ferry for the beautiful half-hour journey to Puerto Anchorea on Victoria Island. When you arrive, you’ll set off on a hike across the island, exploring a beautiful former conifer nursery. Next, you’ll take the chairlift up to the dizzying summit of Mount Bella Vista at a whopping 900m high. Walking back down, you’ll follow a narrow path between ancient coihues and local cypresses, passing several viewpoints along the way. Afterward, you’ll board the boat again and sail over to Puerto Querihue, where you’ll find the world-famous Bosque de Arrayanes (myrtle forest). This ancient forest is spectacular and unique, the area having been declared a natural monument. The myrtle bark is cold, silky smooth and cinnamon-colored, with white flowers resembling orange blossom and delicious purple fruit.
During this tour, you’ll set out along a winding, wooded path that runs along the north shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi, towards the beautiful Villa La Angostura. From here, you’ll follow the scenic Seven Lakes Trail, passing by the Mirror Lakes, Correntoso, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner, and Machónico. Next, you’ll enter San Martin de Los Andes bordering Lake Lacar, where you can visit the sweeping beaches, the resort of Chapelco and Quila Quina. Heading out on the Catrite Myrtles circuit, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the city and lake, before stopping for a breather and a bite to eat. After lunch you’ll return by road, swinging by picturesque Lake Meliquina and its twisting river along the way. You’ll then arrive at Casa de Piedra to visit the atmospheric rock caves before making your way back to Bariloche.
This little adventure begins in Bariloche and after a 25 km ride along Ezequiel Bustillo Avenue where you’ll arrive at Pañuelo Port. There you’ll board the El Condor catamaran and set sail on Nahuel Huapi Lake to Puerto Blest. Along the way you’ll visit the Centinela islet, where Francisco P. Moreno is buried, and after arriving at Blest, you’ll have time to explore the area. The sailing will continue onto Cantaros Port, where a path of steps leads up to the lake Lago Los Cantaros. Along the way, you can admire several waterfalls along Cantaros River that flow down to Nahuel Huapi Lake. The day coming to and end, we’ll walk down and sail back to Pañuelo Port.
The Lake District around Bariloche is possible to visit year round, but really depends on your interests in exploring the region. Spring, summer, and fall are the domain of the hikers when blue skies, sunshine and mountain breezes make the whole area perfect for exploring. Be it an easy summer stroll or a full-on hike, the best time to visit is between September and May. If you love walking through a winter wonderland and snuggling up to a warm cup of artisan hot chocolate, then the Southern Hemisphere’s winter is from June to August. If you’re planning to travel to Bariloche during the winter, you should keep in mind that a number of activities are not available during this time of year.
Daily flights run from Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza and Jorge Newbery airports to Bariloche’s Teniente Luis Candelaria airport. You can also fly from other local cities, such as Esquel, El Calafate, Trelew and Mendoza City depending on the time of year. There are also direct flights also that connect Bariloche with Santiago de Chile and seasonal flights to Ushuaia, Mendoza, Salta, Iguazu and Sao Paulo. We recommend flying to and from Bariloche to save time in your itinerary as the buses from Buenos Aires to Bariloche take 20 and 24 hours. If you decide to travel by bus there are a range of prices and service levels including lie-flat seats with food service. It’s also possible to travel by boat and bus to Chile aboard the Lake Crossing tour.
From quaint B&B’s on the banks of the lake, to stunning five-star hotels located on lake peninsulas, Bariloche has a wide range of accommodation options. If you’re looking to stay outside of the town, Villa La Angostura has a number of remote cabins, aparthotels, and B&Bs where you can soak up the village’s peaceful atmosphere. The best way to explore this region is by car or 4×4 vans, especially along the Seven Lakes Route. Having a car in Bariloche allows you to choose your own routes and stop off to admire the views when and wherever you wish. Several car rental outlets are available in Bariloche, San Martín, and La Angostura. Within the towns and villages, walking is the best way to get around and browse the various cafes, local bars and restaurants.