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January 8, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

Bariloche: Land of Wind and Beautiful Views

San Carlos de Bariloche, the next stop on our adventures, in known as the jumping off point for the Lake District in Argentina. The Lake District is in Northern Patagonia; a region full of crystal clear blue lakes, deep green forests, rocky beaches, white puffy clouds, and wind. Lots and lots of wind! Actually, we got pretty lucky with the weather our first few days in Bariloche: the sun was out, the temperatures pleasant, and the wind kept at bay.

We arrived pretty late, so after we found our lodging and had our “orientation” to Bariloche and its surroundings, we ordered food to go and ate in our lovely, lake view apartment. For the three nights we stays in Bariloche, we rented an apartment complete with a kitchen, living space, full bathroom, and bedroom. After the tiny rooms of southern Patagonia, we reveled in the luxury! And to top it all off, the massive picture window in the living room has a gorgeous view of Lago Nahuel Huapi, the largest lake in the Lake District. Over empanadas and Malbec, we admired the view, watched the sky change from blue to pink to black, and planned our activities for Bariloche.

The view from our apartment

Side note: we are slowly becoming OBSESSED with empanadas. My New Years resolution is to learn how to make them.

The next day, we set off on foot to the nearby beach on Lago Nahuel Huapi, Playa Bonita. The beach was only about 1.5 km from our apartment, but we quickly learned that Bariloche is not nearly as pedestrian friendly as Calafate and Chalten. We reached the beach and found a cute cafe, sheltered from the wind with great views, and stopped in for a beer and salad (probably the first greens we've had the whole trip; Argentina is definitely and meat and potatoes kind of country!). We sipped and admired, watching the blue waters become lighter and greener as they arrived gently at the rocky beach. Behind our plexiglass wind shield, it was absolutely lovely.

Playa Bonita

Buzzed and well-nourished, we set off on the second adventure of the day. Despite our previously mentioned experience with the not-so-pedestrian-friendly streets of Bariloche, we decided to walk from Playa Bonita to the Cerro Otto gondola. Cerro Otto is a mid-size mountain situated in the middle of town: this translates to the views from Cerro Otto are amazing, because you can see the entire lake and town, but it doesn't take two hours to get there. The ride to get to the top of Cerro Otto was worth the views, but the hike from the top was even better. From the top of Cerro Otto, a trail winds along a ridge through beech forests with views of the lakes and mountains surrounding Lago Nahuel Huapi. We reached Piedra de Habsburgo, a large rock with wonderful views that reminds me of hamburgers (sound it out…). From the Piedra, we had stunning views of Lago Gutierrez and the surrounding hoity-toity houses, golf courses, and polo fields. The trail back to Cerro Otto wound around the opposite side of the ridge line, providing constant views of Lago Nahuel Huapi.

Justin in the gondola

View of Lago Nahuel Huapi from Cerro Otto

Kay with Lago Gutierrez

It seems that you can find a beautiful view from anywhere you go in Bariloche, and the town is almost built around this fact. There are numerous chair lifts to the tops of mountains and hills (some ski mountains in the winter season, some purely touristy) to enjoy the views. It would be difficult and take some serious determination (and maybe some lying) for anyone to say that this area is not beautiful. We were both reminded of Lake Tahoe. It may be best to describe Lago Nahual Huapi and the surrounding area as Tahoe on steroids: the lakes are bigger and more numerous, the mountains taller and steeper, the beaches more rocky, the weather more unstable, the wind stronger. The common factor, other than the gorgeous alpine landscape, is the color scheme. It's almost like everything is hyper-saturated: the blues bluer, the greens greener. I highly recommend the Lake District, just don't go into town if you can avoid it! (More on this in a later post…)


One Comment

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  1. Kimmi / Jan 8 2013 1:16 pm

    Wowzer love your new years resolution. My favorite empanadas in Spain were made by two Argentinian men hahaha. Xoxo

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