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San Carlos de Bariloche: gateway to the Patagonian Lake District

Trekking in the Lake District

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Kayaking in the Lake District

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Argentinian Lake District & Bariloche

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 Argentinan 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. Take a look at our ideas for tours which include the Argentinian Lake District.

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.

Adventure activities in the Lake District

Trekking in the Argentinian Lake District

The verdant Argentine Lakes in the north of Patagonia is arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the region. Outdoor enthusiasts flock here to take advantage of the outdoor ...

Kayaking in the Lake District

See the Lake District like you should - from the water! Paddle on the region's pristine, blue lakes and see waterfalls, mountain sides covered in lenga forests and snow capped ...

Winter Activities in Bariloche

Bariloche Backcountry ski

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10 days


Example Itineraries including the Lake District

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.

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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.

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Adventure Holidays in Bariloche - your questions answered

Where is the best place to stay?

Bariloche offers some truly stunning mountain lodges & hotels, in its surrounding mountains & hills, that give you great views over the huge Nahuel Huapi Lake. The Llao Llao hotel is perhaps the oldest and most luxurious spa resort, with its own golf course and 5 restaurants. Certainly a lovely place if you're on a honeymoon, or looking to relax in style. Opened at the same time as the creation of the Nahuel Huapi National Park in 1937, Hotel Llao Llao was created to help develop the turistic potential of the area together with the foundation of towns and establishment of communications.

You may want to try simpler and less pricey hotel, the majority of which can be found in Bariloche town and they provide a comfortable place to stay before you start your adventure into the Nahuel Huapi Park. A good example of this type of hotel is Hotel Milan, in a central location in Bariloche. It's a 5 minute walk from the Lago Nahuel Huapi pier & provides a good breakfast and television & air conditioning in each room.

How do I get there?

Getting to Bariloche is pretty simple as there are regular and direct flights from Buenos Aires and sourthern Patagonian towns such as El Calafate and Ushuaia. Bariloche is served by the San Carlos de Bariloche Airport (BRC), only 10 miles from the city, and a taxi ride there costs about $18 USD. It is also possible to travel to Bariloche from Buenos Aires by bus with Via Bariloche. This journey lasts nearly 21 hours with daily departures at a cost of around $619 Argentinian Pesos (approximately £91). Although it's a long way, the buses are comfortable and air conditioned, and it's a great way to experience the vastness of the Patagonian Steppe.

You could also use Esquel airport (4 hours south) or Neuquen (5 hours north east). More info on flights to Patagonia.

When should I go?

You can visit Bariloche all year round but to take advantage of summer activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking you should go during the season from October to early April. The weather tends to be best in December and January but this also when many tourists visit, so you may find the town itself a little bit busy. If you go early or late on during the season you'll find fewer people on the trails and in the town.

For skiing, you can visit when it's cold and snowy - during late April, May, June, July, August & September. Local operators offer exciting off the beaten track, back country skiing and hut-to-hut ski touring as camping outdoors is a no-no during the winter months.

Where else should I visit?

If you have 3 weeks, the best way to make the most of your adventure holiday would be to fly to Bariloche from Buenos Aires and spend a week hiking in the mountains or enjoying a multiactivty adventure with trekking, mountain biking & kayaking on the turquoise blue Nahuel Huapi Lake. You could then fly to Calafate, see the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier & take the bus to El Chalten, the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park. Chalten offers some truly stunning hikes with views of Mount Fitz Roy, Laguna de los Tres & the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap

During your third week, make sure to cross the border into Chile to Trek the W Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park. Here you'll be surrounded by guanacos (llamas), trek through 3 valleys and peer out at the granite 'Torres' from which the park gets its name. Don't forget to catch the boat across Lago Grey and sail upto its glacier whilst sipping a Pisco Sour kept cold by a piece of glacial ice.

For more info see our suggested itineraries in Patagonia

Main landmarks around Bariloche

Google Map

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Guide to Patagonia

Patagonia spans over 1,000 miles north to south and landscapes ranging from forests, to glaciers, to volcanoes and deserts. Read our Patagonia Guide to find out: how to get there, when to go, what to see and how to find the best trip. Or find out about:


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Tours of Patagonia

One way to see the very best that Patagonia offers is to book a tour that takes you to 2 or more different destinations in one trip. With these tours you'll be able to spend time in a few areas and have all the logistics, transport and accommodation organised for you as you move around Patagonia. See all of our Patagonia Tours, or consider:

How can we help you?

We are Patagonian specialists, and have helped all sorts of different people arrange their perfect adventure holiday in Patagonia. Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure we're here to help you.

  • Join a group trek or tour
  • Plan an independent day by day itinerary
  • Organise your group's trek, expedition or multi-sport adventure
  • Tailor-made luxury holidays


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About Swoop

We've spent 15 years exploring Patagonia, and arranged holidays for over a thousand customers. We have a network of trusted guides, lodges, and local operators across the region and delight in helping people plan and arrange a great holiday.

You can book directly with our local partners in Chile and Argentina, or with our ATOL certified company here in the UK.

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