Perched on the shores of the vast blue Nahuel Huapi Lake, the alpine town of San Carlos de Bariloche is surrounded by stunning forests, mountains and lakes as far as the eye can see in the Argentinian Lake District. Bariloche is considered a year-round destination (unusual for Patagonia), with a range of winter activities such as skiing and snow shoeing at the Cerro Catedral resort from April to September.
During the summer months, you might spend a week or so in Bariloche, enjoying trekking, cycling and kayaking in the nearby Nahuel Huapi National Park (15 miles away in the north-eastern corner of the lake). You can also make the most of the white water rafting opportunities on the fast-flowing Rio Manso in Nahuel Huapi National Park.
If you find yourself with just a day or half day to spare in Bariloche itself in between treks or other activities, you might like to take a look at our blog post about Things to do in Bariloche.
If you want to get a taste of everything the Lake District has to offer, then a multi-activity trip from Bariloche could be right for you.
To see the lakes both on foot and from the water, you could include a day's trekking and kayaking in your itinerary. Starting from a base in Bariloche, spend the morning kayaking in the hidden bays of Lago Nahuel Huapi and Lago Moreno. After a relaxing lunch on the lake shore, swap your kayak for hiking boots and trek up to a panoramic viewpoint of Nahuel Huapi lake and the glaciers and peak of Mount Tronador.
For those wanting a longer itinerary with time to really immerse yourself in the Lake District's beautiful surroundings, you can hike, bike and kayak on either a 5 day or 8 day trip.
In the winter months, you can use Bariloche as a base for ski touring on the mountains and volcanoes of the Lake District, and the nearby ski resort of Cerro Catedral is ever popular with visitors between April and September. Or try snowshoeing and winter trekking.
Trekking: Day hikes
Mount Bella Vista
Be rewarded with spectacular views of the Argentinian Lake District from the summit of Mount Bella Vista on this off-the-beaten-track day hike. You'll begin climbing through transition forest, which gives way to bamboo-like trees and then to lengas. Whenever the cover of these trees breaks, you can enjoy far-reaching vistas. The latter part of the ascent is quite steep and on the way back down, you follow the same path.
After a short drive from Bariloche along the shore of the Mascardi Lake, hike the valley under the shadow of the mighty Mount Tronador with its cracking glaciers and cascading waterfalls. This is an easy day hike to allow yourself to be absorbed in the verdant landscapes of this region of Argentina.
Trekking: Multi-day treks
Hike Hut to Hut in Bariloche
Stay in mountain lodges surrounded by granite spires, trek through lagoons, forests and valleys, all the time having a fantastic view of the mountains around…
Nahuel Huapi Traverse to Pampa Linda
A more challenging trek in the Argentine Lake District, you will discover high mountain Lagoons and have spectacular views of Mount Tronador and Chilean Volcanoes. 3 Nights will be spent camping in the Andean mountains on route to Pampa Linda…
Cycling: Day rides
Manso River Valley
Mountain bike along the best single track in the Argentinian Lake District on this day ride near Bariloche. Cross hanging bridges over Rio Manso, ride along the the river's bank and ford streams as you appreciate the clear green-blue water, spectacular waterfalls and plentiful flora of this valley.
Cycling: Multi-day rides
The Northern Lakes Ride
Experience the Argentinian Lake District in the saddle, you will pedal a total of 240km on this challenging ride from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes. While you're out riding, you will spend your nights under the stars enjoying…
Andes Crossing by Bike
A great way to explore both the Argentinian and Chilean lake district in just 8 days, averaging around 30 miles a day on rough tracks. You'll see some of the regions most dramatic volcanoes and most beautiful lakes, and sleep…
Kayaking from Bariloche
The lakes around Bariloche make for fantastic kayaking opportunities, whatever your experience and appetite for adventure. Spend a day on the clear blue waters to get a taste for the Lake District's verdant landscapes, or embark on a longer trip to fully explore this beautiful region.
Horse Riding from Bariloche
Exploring the Argentinian Lake District on horseback is a great way to enjoy the region's wide open spaces and discover the many lakes and mountains. Set out from Bariloche on a day's ride, base yourself at a working estancia for an authentic gaucho experience or ride across the Andes into Chile.
Explore from a Luxury Lodge
Just 25 mins from downtown Bariloche, stay at a lovely lake-side lodge in the heart of the Argentinean Lake District. This is our favourite full-board property in the region, offering a multi-activity holiday against a backdrop of relaxing lakes and forested mountainsides.
Where to Stay?
Accommodation in Bariloche ranges from inexpensive city-centre hotels, to cosy lakeside bases, to luxurious lodges. Whether you want a fully-inclusive service or just a comfortable bed at the end of a long day of adventure, you'll find something to meet your needs in this region.
Take a look at our guide to places to stay in the Argentinian Lake District for more information.
Main landmarks around Bariloche
Example Itineraries including Bariloche
The itineraries below are our suggestions for visiting the Argentinian Lake District as well as other regions of Patagonia. We can fully tailor these to suit your timeframe, budget and interests. Take a look at our other inspirational itineraries for exploring Patagonia.
If you'd prefer to join small group of like-minded travellers, you can choose from our group tours of Patagonia.
Argentina: Landscapes, Culture & Cuisine
17 nights, from USD $4,500 to $6,000
Experience the very best of Argentina. Drive through the multi-coloured mountains of the north, enjoy sun-drenched vineyards, hike, kayak and ride from an estancia in the lake district, and experience the dramatic wilds of Tierra del Fuego. Ideal for those wanting to experience the highlights of Argentina yet with time to delve a little deeper.
Trekking Northern Patagonia
20 nights, from USD $4,400 to $5,450
Northern Patagonia is home to snow-capped volcanoes and the vast, empty mountain ranges of the southern Andes. Take on three demanding treks through landscapes where you're unlikely to see any other tourists. This trip is aimed at experienced trekkers looking for a wild and remote Patagonian experience and ideal for someone's second visit to Patagonia.