Bariloche is an attractive and vibrant city of about 100,000 people in the part of northern Argentine Patagonia known as the Lake District. Formally known as San Carlos de Bariloche, it sits like a gleaming jewel on the sunlit shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, with mountains (many of them towering over 2000m) ringing the horizon.
Bariloche hostels are popular with tourists in both summer and winter because of their proximity to abundant hiking and other outdoor opportunities it offers in warmer weather, and for the excellent snow coverage in winter that makes Bariloche a prime skiing destination. Along with hiking and skiing, Bariloche is famous for its chocolate – chocolaterias can be found all along the main street of the city, offering a perfect way to indulge after a day of strenuous physical activity.
Cerro Lopez, Cerro Catedral, Cerro Otto, and other high vantage points offer spectacular views of the town, lake, and the Andes; on a clear day, you can even see as far as Chile. The Circuito Chico – a 60 km route that loops out of town and back – travels past these sights and more, wending its way through Colonia Suiza, Bahia Lopez and Llao Llao before returning to Bariloche. Nearby Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi is one of Argentina’s finest and most visited national parks.
Bariloche’s bus terminal is about a 45-minute walk outside of town, making it a long trek with a heavy backpack. Frequent and cheap city buses run from the terminal into the centre though, so it’s easy to get into town and find your Bariloche hostel.
Bariloche hostels are clustered in the downtown core, the heart of which is the Centro Civico; its pleasing Swiss-style architecture and sunny plaza provide a agreeable place to hang out for an afternoon to watch the world go by, or snap a picture of the gorgeous St. Bernard dogs posing for photo ops. You’ll begin to understand why so many backpackers stay for a while Bariloche hostels soaking in the atmosphere.