Hostelworld Guide for Bariloche

By Colm Hanratty

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Nestled on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and gateway to Patagonia, Bariloche (or San Carlos de Bariloche if you want to make things formal) is a haven for those who like the great outdoors and activity sports. During the winter you can don skis or snowboards and tackle the slopes in the surrounding resorts such as Cerro Catedral, while in summer you can enjoy long horse rides and treks in the sunshine. Budding photographers will be in their element too due to the endless landscapes to take pictures of. Those who come alive at night are in for a treat too as, while this picturesque city looks like it's all goody two shoes, it also knows how to be bad.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Bariloche's airport is 16km from the city centre. It has regular connections with other major Argentinean cities and some international ones also, particularly during ski season.

By train: Those travelling to Bariloche by train will arrive at the bus station which is located across the Rio Nireco on RN 237.

By bus: Bariloche's bus station can also be found beside the city's train station on the RN 237.

Getting Around

On foot: While Bariloche is easily covered on foot, to get to some of its neighbouring attractions you will need to use either the city's bus service or take a taxi.

By bus: A local bus service runs through the city to some of the main attractions in the area.

By taxi: Picking up a taxi in the centre of Bariloche is easily done. Picking them up at nearby attractions can be more difficult though, so get a taxi number to save you getting stranded.

 Bariloche facts

Name: The name San Carlos de Bariloche derives from two sources. The name 'Bariloche' comes from the Mapudungun word 'Vuriloche' meaning 'people from behind the mountain', while the 'San Carlos' is after Carlos Wiederhold, one of its first European settlers.
Population: Bariloche is home to approximately 130,000 people.
Founded: The city was officially founded at the beginning of the 20th century in 1902.

The weather in Bariloche can vary greatly, so you should think about what you want to do there before going. Summers are hot and dry, making it perfect for activities such as hiking, horse riding and white water rafting, while winters are cold and wet (when it's not snowing) making it a great time to visit if you want to engage in alpine activities. The in between seasons of spring and autumn are completely transitional with a mix of all types of weather.

 Good to know...

Language: Spanish, English
Currency: Argentine Peso
Electricity: 220 volts, 50 cycles
Telephone Code: +54 (Argentina), 02944 (Bariloche)
Emergency Code: 911 (police), 100 (fire), 107 (ambulance)
Time Zone: GMT -3 hours
Central Post Office: In the Civic Centre (next to the tourist office)
Main Tourist Office: In the Civic Centre (next to the post office)

Embassies *

USA: +54 (0)11 5777 4354 (Mon-Fri 8am-5pm), +54 (0)11 5777 4873 (5pm-8am & weekends)
UK: +54 (0)11 4808 2200
Canada: +54 (0)11 4808 1000
Australia: +54 (0)11 4779 3500
South Africa: +54 (0)11 4317 2900
Ireland: +54 (0)11 5787 0801
Germany: +54 (0)11 4778 2500
Spain: +54 (0)11 4811 0070
Italy: +54 (0)11 4801 3232
New Zealand: +54 (0)11 4328 0747
France: +54 (0)11 4515 2930

*Embassies in Buenos Aires

Hostelworld Guide for Bariloche

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

La Esquina, Perito Moreno 10 Part bar, but mostly café/restaurant, there's always an extremely welcoming atmosphere in La Esquina. Staff are friendly and are happy to serve you drinks at the bar or well-priced omlettes, sandwiches or more in the café. Drop in for lunch then stay for a drink. Open daily 8am-11am; free WiFi.

Dias de Zapata, Morales 362 Unlike some Mexican restaurants, this eatery goes all out to give you the authentic Mexican experience. The décor everywhere is laid out to remind you of the cuisine you're eating and luckily the food is good too. Here you can get all the usual culprits - ritos, enchiladas and more. And the mixed nachos starter is a must. Open daily 12 noon-11pm.

The Map Room, Urquiza 28 In The Map Room you will find exactly that - maps. They're everywhere. Like many places where you can enjoy food at in Bariloche, it's a bar as well as a café. But their American breakfast is particularly popular and is what draws a hungry crowd here regularly. Open daily 9am-midnight.

 For the chocaholics out there

Mamuschka, Mitre 298 If you've got a sweet tooth then Bariloche's celebrated chocolate shop in the middle of the town centre should certainly be on your list of places to visit. Here you can pick up all sorts of niceties like cakes, sweets, fudges and more. They're also nicely presented in small boxes making them the perfect gift for, well, you. Open daily 9am-8pm.

Rock Chicken, San Martin 234 While you won't find a pair of golden arches or Colonel Sanders ruling the roost when it comes to fast food in Bariloche, this is where to go for late night (and daytime) quick meals such as burgers, fries and more. Open daily 10am-4am.

Wilkenny, San Martín 435 While it might go a bit over the top on its 'Oirishness', it can't be denied that this is one of the livelier spots in Bariloche. Drawing backpackers in their droves who go to down shots, meet fellow travellers from across the globe, and get busy on the dancefloor, it's the place to go if you're looking for a big night. And leave your visit until after midnight. Open daily 12 noon-4am.

 Over on the south side

South Bar, Av. Juramento 30 Bariloche's other Irish bar is a far tamer affair. While the above is where to go to burn the midnight oil, this is where to get to know those you've met along the road or simply have a chat with whoever you're travelling with. It can get smoky, but there's a nice atmosphere and staff are friendly. It has a dart board too if you're sick of talking. Open daily 4pm-2am.

Malabar, Av. Juramento 83 Found directly across the road from South Bar, Malabar is a smaller venue, but considerably livelier. This is thanks to a soundtrack of classic rock and reggae tracks. They also try to make things a tad different and sometimes have photography exhibitions and other events. Open nightly 8pm-3am.

Pilgrim, Palacios 167 Over on the east side of Bariloche is Pilgrim, yet another Irish bar although one that doesn't have that much Irish-ness about it. It's a quiet place, so don't be surprised if you get speaking to the barman. If you don't the notes left from travellers across the globe will keep you occupied. Open daily 2pm-2am.

By Pass, Rolando 155 If you consider yourself to be a true 'clubber', then this is the place for you. Revellers in 'By Pass' go crazy to kicking house tunes and dazzling light shows every weekend in Bariloche. Open Thurs-Sun 11pm-4am.

 Don't Miss

 Budget Tips

Circuito Chico Meaning 'short circuit', this 60km loop boasts some of the most breathtaking views in Argentina. These range from those along Lake Nahuel Huapi to the ones from Cerro Campanario (see below). Another attraction along the way is Hotel Llao-Llao, arguably the most famous hotel in the country.

Go mountain biking While you can take a bus around Circuito Chico, the best way to take in this famous route is on a mountain bike. This way you can stop at will along the way and enjoy the scenery even more. It requires some endurance though, so if you're not feeling up for anything too strenuous there are also easier routes in the area.

 Hang on tight

White-water rafting Located 70km from Bariloche is the Rio Manso, a class III river with some class IV rapids thrown in for good measure. Beginning at the foot of Mount Tronador, day trips take in breathtaking scenery past rainforest and waterfalls on top of the white-knuckle rapids.

Cerro Campanario Due to its location in the middle of lakes and peninsulas, Cerro Campanario, a small mountain 20 minutes from Bariloche, boasts one of the most breathtaking views in the world. National Geographic went so far as to bill it as one of their top ten views worldwide. Make sure your camera is fully charged before going to the top...

Skiing / horseback riding Both of these activities are extremely popular activities in Bariloche. The former can be done in neighbouring resorts like Cerro Cathedral between June and October, while the latter can be done almost all-year-round.

Check with your hostel for tour info on the above activities.

Visit Catedral de San Carlos de Bariloche Located at the the intersection of O'Connor and Beschtedt Admiral, and surrounded by two squares with beautiful gardens, a visit to the city's main place of worship is a great way to spend a couple of hours without spending anything. Built primarily in Gothic style by the architect Alejandro Bustillo, showpieces of the beautiful interior include its stained-glass windows.

Enjoy breathtaking views of the lake Bariloche's stunning location is largely thanks to the lake it is located on - Lake Nahuel Huapi. One thing you simply must do on a visit here is take your camera down to the lake and become snap happy. With beautiful views at all angles, you'll get yourself unforgettable pictures and all it will cost you is the energy to walk there.

Go hiking Visit Bariloche's main tourist office in the Civic Center in the centre of town and explain to them you want to go hiking, they'll be able to give you a map detailing the walks in the area. Hikes are graded as easy, medium or difficult and are mapped out clearly. You may need to buy a permit if your hike is in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, but they're inexpensive.

 Worth the energy

Hike up to Cerro Campanario While the most conventional way to get to the top of Cerro Campanario is by cable car, you can save yourself some Pesos and hike instead. The climb takes an hour approximately and, as you can see, it's worth burning the energy.

Visit Museo de la Patagonia Occupying the east wing of the Civic Centre building in the middle of the city, this museum is full of stuffed animals and information on the city's urban development. It's well worth visiting and entrance isn't much. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm; admission 15P

Hostelworld Guide for Bariloche