3 super-active days in Bariloche, Argentina
I left Cordoba in a rush, partly because my host locked me in the house haha, partly because I couldn’t take another night on a less-than-comfy sofa with a baby kitten who wanted love and attention at 4 am. But hey, Bariloche was there, waiting for me, I just had to go through a 24 h bus ride.
Said 24 hour bus ride quickly turned into a 31 h ride (which I completely shared on my instagram – go follow me for more fun random travel moments) after the bus broke in the freaking middle of nowhere – the pampa. The pampa is a little more than the dessert, just a bit over 1000 km of plain landscape and tiny little dry vegetation.
I really enjoyed Bariloche, the weather was fabulous, the crowds were small and the overall tourist-vibe of the city was low-key. For reference, the staff from the hostel I stayed in told me the prices are 60% higher in high season so choose wisely when to go. Anyways, once you got to Bariloche, hopefully incident-free, here’s my top choice for some fun and active 3 full days in the northern part of Patagonia.
Day 1 in Bariloche
Check-in, get a map and get going. Circuito Chico is a lovely route you can hike or bike.
It can be a long day and it will take you through beautiful forests, great viewpoints and give you plenty of awesome photo opportunities. Put your hiking boots on if you want but you can easily do it in your runners as well. I’d put some sunscreen on and would definitely bring some snacks along. Mhm, snacks.
Tip: as you start walking the circuit, stop at the info point at the beginning and get a new map. It’s very likely that your hostel map won’t be very accurate. And if you go hiking by yourself in low season, you wanna have a more-or-less correct map in case you don’t meet anybody else on the map.
Day 2 in Bariloche
Cascada Escondida, the rocky beach and the mirador
Go a bit out of the normal route and go check out the Cascada Escondida. If you divert a bit to the left of the road you’ll find a beautiful deserted rock beach that goes on forever, a way more fun way to make it to the waterfall than walking on the dirt road. Once you made it to the camping at the end of the beach and climbed over all the fallen trees on the way, you’ll find the entrance to the waterfall area. It’s an easy 20 min walk to the waterfall, but you can continue for another 40-50 min on the steep way up to the mirador, a beautiful viewpoint which gives great views of the lake and the mountains around.
Alternatively, you can start earlier than me and continue the hike after the waterfall to reach the Frey Refugio. It’s a 3-4 hike of medium difficulty that most people I met really enjoyed doing it.
Day 3 in Bariloche
Chocolate, ice cream and Chao Chao Mirador
Sleep in, have breakfast and go for a walk in the city center. If you’re a chocolate person, go around and taste all the flavors, Bariloche is big on chocolates. If you’re more of an ice cream person like I am then head to Jauja, it has plenty of rich flavors to try out.
When you’re ready for a bit of exercise, take the bus to Chao Chao stop and hike up to the mirador there. It’s a 40 min steep hike, but the views are completely worth it. There’s a nice cafe up there where you can have a cup of tea but you can also do it the Argentinian way and take a thermos with you to enjoy a nice mate with the best view in Bariloche. If you can’t or won’t hike, there’s a car cable that will take up there within 5 minutes. But really, suffer a little, your glutes will be thankful. *insert wink*
Tip: bring a wind-jacket, it’s windy up there.
If you could chill for a day or two after all these hikes, take some time to stroll around the waterfront of the city, it’s an absolutely lovely walk to enjoy any time of the day.
Have fun and enjoy the very tip of Northern Patagonia!