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A Complete Guide for Visiting Bariloche in Argentina

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Welcome to one of the most stunning cities in South America. Bariloche in Argentina is paradise for those that love nature, and is definitely one of the top places to visit in the country.


Visiting Bariloche was on my bucket list for a long time, and Fede actually surprised me for my birthday with a week-long trip there! I had such high expectations for what it would be like, and I can say that this city didn't only meet my expectations, but it exceeded them in every way!


In this guide we are going to share everything you need to know for visiting Bariloche in Argentina, from the best places to see, to the best restaurants to eat at, where to stay, and so m much more.

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Where is Bariloche in Argentina?

Bariloche is located in the west of Argentina,in the middle of the country. It is  one of the most popular cities in the province of Rio Negro.


Is Bariloche Considered Patagonia?

Bariloche is considered a part of Patagonia, the biggest and most stunning region of Argentina. It is one of the most northern cities in Patagonia, and a great place to start if you plan on exploring the region.

where is Bariloche in Argentina

Bariloche is in the north west part of Patagonia.


How to Get to Bariloche in Argentina

The easiest way to get to Bariloche in Argentina is to take a flight, which is how we visited from Buenos Aires.


What is the Closest Airport to Bariloche?

The closest airport to Bariloche is Teniente Luis Candelaria Airport, which is also known as the San Carlos de Bariloche Airport. It is located just a half hour outside the center of Bariloche, and has regular flights from Buenos Aires, as well as domestic flights from Cordoba, Mendoza, Rosario, Tucuman, and Viedma. If you are coming from Chile or Brazil, Bariloche also has direct flights from Santiago and Sao Paulo.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for flying to Bariloche in Argentina.

Search for a flight to Bariloche in Argentina:

How to Get to Bariloche from Nearby Cities

If you are in Argentina, and are in the area of Patagonia already, you can also get to Bariloche by taking a bus. Argentina is a lot bigger than people think, so chances are your best option will be to fly. However, if you'd like to visit from another city in Argentina and not fly, there are bus options, some of them even being overnight buses (this will save you on accommodation for a night!).


Here are some popular bus routes that you can book to Bariloche:

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Entry Requirements for Argentina

When visiting a new country it's important to know what are the requirements for visas and vaccines. Here are the different entry requirements for visiting Bariloche in Argentina.


Argentina Visa Entry Requirements

Argentina is a very welcoming country when it comes to tourism, and there are a lot of nationalities which can visit visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. The countries from the Americas that can travel to Argentina without needing a visa include BoliviaBrazil, Canada, ColombiaCosta RicaChileEcuadorEl Salvador, Guatemala, GuyanaHondurasMexicoNicaraguaPanamaParaguayPeru, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, and the USA.


European countries which are able to visit Argentina visa-free include Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, BulgariaCroatia, Czech Republic, CyprusDenmarkEstonia, Finland, France, GeorgiaGermanyGreeceHungaryIrelandIcelandItaly, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, MontenegroNorway, Netherlands, Poland, PortugalRomaniaRussia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, SwitzerlandTurkeyUnited Kingdom, and Vatican City.


Other countries that are able to stay for up to 90 days in the country include Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. Venezuelans can stay for a period of up to 60 days, and those from Grenada, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, and Malaysia can stay for a period of up to 30 days.


Argentina Covid Entry Requirements

All previous covid-related requirements to travel to Argentina have now been taken away, so you can freely enter Argentina whether or not you are vaccinated. Masks are not required anywhere, nor does anyone wear them anymore.


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Local Adjustments for Visiting Bariloche in Argentina

Another important thing to keep in mind when traveling to new places is that things may change such as currency, language, and the tipping culture. Here are the local adjustments to keep in mind for when you visit Bariloche in Argentina.


What Language Do They Speak in Bariloche?

The official language in Bariloche, Argentina is Spanish.


Currency Used in Bariloche, Argentina

The currency used in Argentina is the Argentinian peso. One thing that makes the currency in Argentina very different than the rest of the world is that there are so many different exchange rates, and they are changing drastically every month! Currently the blue dollar rate is 550 pesos for every 1 USD, and the official exchange is 277 pesos for every dollar.


The blue dollar is what you can get if you exchange USD in an unofficial exchange place, and the official exchange is what your credit card will charge you.


Is Bariloche Expensive?

Bariloche is definitely more expensive than some other areas of Argentina, but is still. very affordable location to travel! The key is bringing US dollars with you, and exchanging them at the "blue dollar" rate. This is one country where you can put away your credit card, and rely solely on cash.


With the blue dollar rate, the exchange is so good that things end up being very affordable while you are in Bariloche, as they are practically 50% cheaper!


Plug Types in Bariloche

Bariloche in Argentina uses plug type I, which has three prongs- one on the bottom which is vertical, and two above it which are slanted towards one another. Argentina runs on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz. There are very few countries that use the same plug type, two of them which are Australia and New Zealand. If you are coming from any other country, you will need to get a travel adapter.


Can I Drink Water in Bariloche?

The water around Patagonia is some of the best in the world! It is perfectly safe to drink the water from the tap, so we suggest bringing a reusable water bottle and skipping the bottled water.


Tipping in Bariloche

The tipping culture throughout Argentina is similar to many other countries around the world. While it is never actually mandatory, it is customary to leave an extra 10% tip while out to eat.

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Things to Do in Bariloche, Argentina

Now that you know almost everything you need to know about visiting Bariloche in Argentina, here are the best things to do in and around the city.


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Things to Do in Bariloche #1: Explore the Center

Bariloche seriously took me by surprise by how cute it was. The architecture has a ton of German influence, so it actually feels like a European village rather than a South American one. Take some time to simply wander the streets, and don't miss out on the square where Centro Civico is.

Bariloche in Argentina

Bariloche has a beautiful German-inspired city center.

Things to Do in Bariloche #2: Visit the Bariloche Sign

While it's a pretty tacky tourist thing, the Bariloche sign is on platform right on the lake, and has stunning views around it! If you'd like a photo with no one around, we suggest going very early in the morning, as this is one of the busiest tourist spots in the city.

view of Bariloche from the Bariloche sign
Bariloche sign

The Bariloche sign has stunning natural landscapes behind it.

Things to Do in Bariloche #3: Check out the Chocolate Shops

Bariloche is known for its incredible chocolate, and you can actually find giant chocolate shops all over the center! These are no ordinary chocolate shops though- you can find everything from local jams and liqueurs to stations where you can actually watch them make the chocolates right in front of you.


We definitely suggest checking out a few different chocolate shops, and bringing some home as a souvenir!


Things to Do in Bariloche #4: Go Iceskating in a Chocolate Shop

When we said there are incredible chocolate shops, we meant it. One of the most famous of the chocolate shops is Rapa Nui, which has several sections of the store including handmade truffles, ice cream, local products, and even an ice rink! Rates for iceskating are 4,000 pesos/hour, and there is no need for reservation beforehand.


Things to Do in Bariloche #5: Tour the Havanna Chocolate Factory

Nope! We aren't done with the chocolate recommendations yet! Havanna is basically the Starbucks of Argentina, and they specialize in Argentina's most beloved dessert-the alfajor. All of the chocolate for these cookies actually comes from the factory in Bariloche, and there are tours you can take to learn about the history of chocolate, as well as the company Havanna itself.


Things to Do in Bariloche #6: Ride to the Best Viewpoints

The nature is just breathtaking in Bariloche, and what better way to see it then from a nice viewpoint? Well, there are a couple of great ones that you don't need to hike to get to, and can take a scenic chair lift or cable car ride instead!


Cerro Campanario

This chair lift brings you to one of the most stunning views of the area! The chairlift runs from 9 am to 5:30 pm, and brings you to cafe with big glass windows to appreciate the views from. There are also several balconies you can walk around to appreciate 360 degree views of the area.


You can also purchase a photo from the photographer at the top who captures everyone coming up! We typically don't go for this, but it was super cheap, and it was the only picture we were able to really get due to the harsh weather change once we arrived.

 

Cerro Otto

Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to experience Cerro Otto, as they are closed for May, and we were visiting the first week of May. However, this is beautiful cable car ride that gives sweeping views of the Lake Nahuel Huapi, and the outskirts of the city of Bariloche.


Things to Do in Bariloche #7: Do Circuito Chico

If there is one thing to do in Bariloche in Argentina, then definitely let Circuito Chico be it. This loop is just 20 km west of the city, and features incredible hikes, beaches, restaurants, and more! We spent one full day exploring Circuito Chico, and we definitely could have used two days if we had done it at a more relaxed pace.


Want to learn all about how to best explore the area and what things to see exactly? Make sure to read our Circuito Chico travel guide!


Circuito Chico, Bariloche in Argentina
Circuito Chico, Bariloche in Argentina
Circuito Chico, Bariloche in Argentina
Circuito Chico, Bariloche in Argentina

Circuito Chico is one of the top things to do in Bariloche.


Don't have a car? Here are some tours that take you around Circuito Chico:


Things to Do in Bariloche #8: Visit Colonia Suiza

Colonia Suiza is just under Circuito Chico, and we loved it so much we visited a few times! This Swiss-inspired town is colorful and perfectly placed right in front of a gorgeous set of mountains.


The town features an open market with kiosks for local crafts and snacks, as well as some great restaurants. Make sure to visit on with Wednesday or Sunday from mid morning to early afternoon, as this is when all of the kiosks open, and on Sundays you can experience curanto, which is a Chilean style barbecue where they cook the meat underground for hours!


Colonia Suiza, Bariloche in Argentina
Colonia Suiza, Bariloche in Argentina
Colonia Suiza, Bariloche in Argentina
Colonia Suiza, Bariloche in Argentina

Colonia Suiza is Swiss-inspired neighborhood outside the center of Bariloche.

In this part of the country there are no set hours for anything. They simply close when they feel like it, or when they run out of food. Make sure to go early in the day to get the full experience!


Things to Do in Bariloche #9: Go on a Hike

It's no secret that one of the best things to do in Bariloche, Argentina is to hike. There are an endless amount of hiking trails, some short, and others very long. While we didn't have the time to do the longer ones, they are definitely on the bucket list for next time we visit Bariloche in Argentina. Here are a few of the most popular ones to add to your list:


Laguna Toncek/ Refugio Frey: A challenging but extraordinary hike passing lakes and mountains which takes around 8 hours round-trip

Laguna Negra: A stunning lake that is about 7 hours round-trip

Cerro Lopez: A challenging hike that takes around 7 hours round-trip

hiking in Bariloche

Bariloche has a ton of great areas for hiking.

Things to Do in Bariloche #10: Experience Patagonia Brewery

One of Argentina's most popular beers comes from this very brewery! What started as a small project, has since blown up and become one of the most successful beer companies in the country! Not only is it a must to sample their beer, but the entire Patagonia brewery is an experience in itself. 


You'll find an outdoor gallery featuring local photographers' photos, a large picnic-style area, and local food & specialty craft beers served. Cervecería Patagonia was one of our favorite places we visited, and it made for the perfect end of our adventures through Circuito Chico in Bariloche.


Patagonia brewery, Bariloche in Argentina
Patagonia brewery, Bariloche in Argentina
Patagonia brewery, Bariloche in Argentina

Bariloche has the original Patagonia brewery.


Things to Do in Bariloche #11: Take a Tour to Los Arrayanes

Los Arrayanes are a type of special tree that you can find in Patagonia, and there is actually an entire protected forest of them that you can visit on a day tour from Bariloche.


The tours leave from the pier along Circuito Chico, and go from the morning into the late afternoon, with one departure in the winter, and two different departures in the summertime. 


If you'd like to learn more about this incredible tour, you can check out our full guide for visiting Los Arrayanes Forest.


Los Arrayanes National Park, Bariloche in Argentina
Los Arrayanes, Bariloche in Argentina
Los Arrayanes National Park, Bariloche in Argentina

Los Arrayanes is a great day excursion to take from Bariloche in Argentina.


Things to Do in Bariloche #12: Do the Route of the Seven Lakes

The route of the seven lakes is a section of the highway 40 that goes from Villa La Angostura up to San Martin de los Andes, and is known for its several beautiful lakes along the way. You can either take a tour from Bariloche as a day trip, or rent a car and do it yourself. We liked doing the route of the seven lakes our own, as we were able to spend time in both Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes, as well as stop in other cool areas along the way.


Route of the seven lakes in Argentina
Route of the seven lakes in Argentina
Route of the seven lakes in Argentina
Route of the seven lakes in Argentina

The route of the seven lakes is the prettiest road in Patagonia.


Things to Do in Bariloche #13: Visit San Martin de los Andes

San Martin de los Andes may just be the most underrated city in Patagonia, and is definitely one of the top destination to check out in Argentina.


If you are planning on doing the route of the seven lakes, this is actually where it finishes. While some people go as a day trip from Bariloche, we actually spent a night there, and found that it was so worth it! Honestly, we would suggest spending 2 nights in San Martin de los Andes in order to experience all of the stunning nature around it.


Want to learn more about exactly what to do there? Check out our San Martin de los Andes travel guide with all of the details.


San Martin de los Andes in Argentina
San Martin de los Andes in Argentina
San Martin de los Andes in Argentina


Things to Do in Bariloche #14: Take a Trip to Villa Traful

Villa Traful is a true hidden gem of Patagonia. We visited here while doing the route of the seven lakes, as the highway to get there is right off the main road. Villa Traful is a beautiful town located on Lake Traful which is surrounded by the mountains. You can easily do a day trip there from Bariloche, and pair it with a trip to Villa La Angostura.

Villa Traful, the route of the seven lakes in Argentina

Villa Traful is a great day trip from Bariloche in Argentina.

Things to Do in Bariloche #15: Check Out Las Buitreras

Looking for some otherworld landscapes? Las Buitreras is the perfect day trip from Bariloche, just an hour west of the city. The incredible rock formations are similar to those in Cappadocia, and hiking here is definitely something we plan on going back for.


Things to Do in Bariloche #16: Explore the National Park Nahuel Huapi

Nahuel Huapi is a huge National Park in Bariloche, and there are several areas to visit. The area we are specifically talking about is near Villa Mascardi. Route 82 goes right into the park, and there is a ton to see and do! The one tricky part though is that the road is only open towards Pampa Linda (the road that goes through the park) until 2 pm and the road coming back opens up at 4 pm. Here are a few things you can see in this area:

  • Lake Mascardi: As soon as you enter the lake will be on your right, and it goes for several km. There are small beach areas to enjoy the lake, and you can also find a heart shaped island there as well.
  • Cerro Tronador: One of Bariloche's best hikes, taking 9-12 hours roundtrip
  • Glaciar Castaño Overo: views of a beautiful glacier with waterfalls
Flying dress, Bariloche in Argentina

Things to Do in Bariloche #17: Take a Ride to Puerto Blest

Looking for some of the most stunning waters in the area? Puerto Blest is the place to go, and the best way is by tour. The port is located at the end of the Blest arm of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, and many of the tours are boat rides that go down to it, and many also allow you to visit Cascada Cantaros, a beautiful waterfall nearby.


Book a tour to Puerto Blest:

Things to Do in Bariloche #18: Swim in Rio el Manso y el Pileton

Just an hour south of Bariloche is a stunning area to hike and swim, Rio Manso y el Pileton. The Manso River is surrounded by greenery, and has crystal clear waters. If you walk about 10-15 minutes on the trail going down the river, you'll find El Pileton, which is a perfect natural pool with a stunning turquoise color. This is the perfect place to cool off if you are visiting in summertime.


Rio Manso, Bariloche in Argentina
Rio Manso, Bariloche in Argentina