I had heard people saying “Bariloche is the Switzerland of Argentina”. I thought it was because of the mountains and lakes that make the landscape of this area so beautiful. We spent 4 days in Bariloche, and now I understand why they call it that.
The city has a strong German and Swiss influence dating from 1890’s. Carlos Wiederhold, a German immigrant who was already settled in Chile, crossed the Andes to establish a little shop called “La Alemana” which soon became the city’s centre with a strong German-speaking immigrant population. Therefore, additionally to the amazing natural landscape and the architecture,
the city centre counts with many bars offering craft beer and shops specialising in chocolate.
A 40 minutes hike to Cerro Campanario offered us the greatest view on the area: Lago Nahuel Huapi, Lago Moreno Este, Lago Moreno Oeste and the mountains surrounding, Cerro Catedral, Tres Reyes, Lopez… Despite the slightly clouded weather and cold air, the 360º view was absolutely breathtaking.
We rented bikes and gave an attempt to cycle around Circuito Chico despite being limited in time.
The circuit goes around Lago Moreno Oeste on strong up and down hills. We took a detour to Colonia Suiza where every Wednesday, there is a food and beer festival. We rewarded our first 10km with a delicious Hamburgesa de Cordero Patagonico, Papas Fritas, a not so Swiss bratwurst hot dog and a very nice craft beer. We continued another 5km before turning back as I had to step down from my bike and push it in every up hill despite all the effort I was putting into the cycling.
We went for a walk around Lago Guitérrez and walked to the “Cascada de los Duendes” waterfall despite the path being closed for strong winds. A nice soft walk to recover from the cycling.
On our 4th day, we did something slightly different and visited the Estancia San Ramon. It is a 25 hectare ranch, one of the oldest of the region, about 40 minutes drive from Bariloche centre. After a talk about the Estancia, their work and struggles they encounter with wild animals, we went for a 2 hours horse ride with Jesus an authentic Gaucho who continued explaining his work and passion for the area. We came back to a ready to eat Asado (barbecue) of delicious meat and red wine. The people working there were incredibly nice and welcoming. Although they open up to tourism and it seems a bit of an attraction, you can tell these people are truly passionated by their work with animals and engaged with maintaining the nature surrounding them.