On the menu for the beginning of this year: hiking, breath-taking landscapes, (good) beer and a lot of nice moments with friends… how to start 2018 in a better way?
Feliz año nuevo
Sunday 31st December 2017
Leaving at the end of the day with Anne from Villa la Angostura we arrived at Bariloche’s bus terminal with our heavy bags (we had everything we needed to prepare a nice dinner for New Year’s Eve). It took us some time to get to the hostel, which was a bit far away from the city centre (impossible to charge the bus card as it was the 31st December, not very handy!). But we finally made it and the hostel was worth the effort. The house was small and friendly, with a big garden and located a few minutes from the big lake Nahuel Huapi.
We met up with Renaud at the hostel and immediately went together to the closest beach to share a nice aperitif with the sunset on the lake. The view over the mountains was amazing, the sun was reflecting into the water, there was only the sound of the waves… how could we finish the year in a better way?
We then prepared a very nice dinner that we shared with some glasses of Malbec (of course!). The hostel was full, the atmosphere cheerful and friendly; it was a simple New Year’s Eve, but a perfect one! We didn’t go to bed late (around 2 a.m.) as Renaud was leaving on the following morning with his bike and we all felt tired from our day (oops, am I getting old to write this? 😉 )
Monday 1st January 2018
We said goodbye to Renaud, who was leaving to El Bolsón and went with Anne to the Circuito Chico, a circuit in the west of Bariloche with many walks, lakes and panoramas.
We started with a walk in the forest along the lake Moreno Oeste, where we saw again arrayanes trees, and then went on to the lake Escondito, which was smaller but still very nice. We continued in the direction of the Mirador Del Tacul, which offered amazing views on the lake Nahuel Huapi and the surrounding summits. The colours of the lakes and the mountains were amazing, what an incredible region!
We finished our walk with the Cerro LLao-Llao (pronounce it “Chao-Chao”), a summit from which we had nice views on the region, even with the covered sky. It was windy (but there is always a lot of wind in Bariloche) but so beautiful! In the end we spent the whole day crossing forests with diverse vegetation (huge creaking trees, small clearings full of daisies and rosa musqueda, bamboo areas, arrayanes…) and were delighted from our first day of the year, which was a good omen for the rest!
Tuesday 2nd January 2017
Off to Cerro Catedral, the most famous summit in Bariloche, where it is possible to ski in winter. We had again some troubles to take the bus with Anne (for a change!) but finally made it to the beginning of the hike. We learnt there that the all park’s trails were closed for security reasons as there was some storm planned. But after talking with a guard, we decided to still do it. It was “at our own risk” (as trees and branches could fall) but the wind was not strong yet and the forecast planned on bad weather for the evening and the following day so the danger seemed to be limited.
What a good decision! This hike was superb and the weather much better than what was initially planned! We left from the lake Gutierréz and followed a trail along the lake, through diverse vegetation, full of flowers. We then started climbing up to the Refugio Frey, through a beautiful forest whose trees were impressively high. The last kilometre was steep and stony but the view during the ascension and at the arrival made it worth it. An unexpected lake was at the feet of snowy crests, which was a fantastic scenery.
We then went back via another trail that was going back to Villa Catedral and was on a higher part of the mountain, thus offering fantastic views on the lake Gutierréz. The sun was lighting up the mountains, the typical white trees of Patagonia were all around us… once again it really blew us away.
We managed to narrowly catch a bus (we would have had to wait for an hour more if we had not caught it!) and came back to the hostel tired but happy from this successful day. Even Anne, who didn’t really like hiking started to appreciate it!
Rain and rest
Wednesday 3rd January 2017
This time, the forecast was not wrong: it was raining for the whole day! Ideal to spend some time in front of the computer as I was getting very late on the blog, spending my time visiting places with so much to do!
We only went out at the end of the day as the rain stopped for a few hours. We went to the bus terminal to greet some friends of Anna, Alex and Marianne, who were arriving from Buenos Aires. We waited for more than hours at the terminal as Anne was mistaken on their arrival time and the bus itself was late… but her friends were delighted with the surprise and we spent a nice evening with them, sharing our traveling stories.
Cerro Campanario et Cerveceria Patagonia
Another quiet day. We just went for a short walk before the rain came back with Anne, Estefa – an adorable Argentinian girl from Mendoza -, Alex and Marianne towards the Cerro Campanario. This small summit can also be visited with a funicular but it requires less than 30 minutes to climb it and about fifteen minutes to get down… I don’t need to precise that I was far from feeling tired enough after this! The view at the top was nice but the sky was unfortunately a bit too much covered.
The rain came back as planned in the afternoon so we stayed at the hostel and only went out in the evening to go to the Cerveceria Patagonia with Anne, Estefa and Mickaela, an American girl helping at the hostel. Bariloche is full of craft beer breweries but this one is by far the most famous, as much for the quality of its beers as for the place itself. It has a fantastic view on the Lake Moreno, a trendy design and most of all, a nice selection of beers. It was a bit noisy and cheerful but we spent a nice evening there and it was delicious (I loved their dark beer and their homemade French fries to share with melted cheese are fantastic – even though I usually don’t like that. Highly recommended!).
Friday 5th January 2017
The sun was back for our last day in Bariloche so we went for a last hike with Anne, in the direction of the Cerro Lopéz. As I had to take the bus at the end of the afternoon, we didn’t have enough time to do the whole hike and could only get to a first refuge, but the view from there was already more than satisfying so we had no regret.
We managed to come back hitchhiking (almost from the first time!) with two nice Argentinian guys, which saved us a lot time and energy rather than struggling again with the local buses. Just some time to get my stuff ready and we left to the terminal, where I almost missed my bus because of the traffic in Bariloche. 2h of bus to go to El Bolsón while Anne was staying for the evening with her friends and would join me on the following day.
I really enjoyed Bariloche, not for the city itself, which is touristic and has nothing special, but for all its surroundings. I had been advised to spend a week there, which I can absolutely understand given all the hikes that are possible there. Once again, I could have stayed a few days more but I had to continue my trip more to the South of Patagonia so to be on time in Chile (but I won’t say more for now! #spoiler)
To be continued…
Tips & infos pratiques
Bus Villa la Angostura – Bariloche : $272 – 12€ with the compagny Via Bariloche
Local buses in Bariloche : Prices depending on the distances, to pay with the SUBE card (same card as in Buenos Aires), which can be charged in the kiosks.
Hostel La Casona : $450 – 20€ per night in a 2-bed dorm, with breakfast included. The hostel is out of the city centre (7 km), 2 min from a small beach along the lake. A small and family place with a big garden and a friendly common room, ideal to meet other travelers and share nice moments. Run by a lovely team, its the kind of hostels where you end up staying longer than expected !
Food & Beverage
Cerveceria Patagonia: Around $110 – 6€ the pint, $150 a place of homemade french fries (excellent !) to share with melted cheese. A bit noisy but the choice of beers, the view on the lake and the atmosphere make it worth it. A must-do !