Patagonia is known primarily for its spectacular trekking trails, but that’s not all there is in this bucket list destination. Beautiful lakeside beaches and sports like rafting, kayaking, and canyoning are easily accessible. Beyond that, there are also plenty of less physically intensive activities that still allow you to explore this spectacular region.
I recently spent a week in Bariloche, Argentina, a key gateway to Patagonia. I stayed at the Hampton by Hilton Bariloche and used it as a base to explore the bucolic surroundings.
Here are five ideas for day trips (or even half-day trips) that are largely accessible for almost every traveler, regardless of fitness level.
Hike Cerro Llao Llao and Relax at Villa Tacul
If you’re looking to do some serious trekking, there are a multitude of options around Bariloche in Patagonia. This isn’t one of them but the view could compete with the best hikes.
It’s a flat 30-minute hike through a beautiful forest before you need to zig-zag your way up to the rocky top of the mountain (about 30 minutes as well). The view of Nahuel Huapi Lake from the top is one of the most incredible you can see in Patagonia. You’ll find people picnicking or drinking wine on the rock while enjoying the fantastic view.
On your way down, head to Villa Tacul and enjoy the beach. Then, take a leisurely stroll around towards Lago Moreno to other viewpoints or “Miradors” to make a day of it.
This easy day hike is located about 40 minutes by taxi from the center of Bariloche (head towards Hotel Llao Llao). You can also take the bus (although it will be crowded). The trail starts about a 10-minute walk from the hotel on the right.
Colonia Suiza, Cerveceria Berlina, and Ziplining
Visiting Colonia Suiza (translates to Swiss Colony) is like going back in time. It was settled in the late 19th century by Swiss immigrants who resettled from Chile. They brought their architectural styles (and chocolates) with them as they built chalets on the southern short of Lago Perito Moreno. The village is known for its crafts and for its signature food, El Curanto, meat and vegetables prepared on hot stones in a hole in the ground.
A short walk from the fair is Cerveceria Berlina, a microbrewery featuring hourly factory tours. Located at the foot of the Andes Mountains, the award-winning brewery claims to use the purest water in the planet. You can stop in their on-site taproom to try over a dozen varieties of their craft beer.
Also located near Colonia Suiza is the Canopy Adventure Tour, a ziplining course. After a bumpy ride up the mountain in a 4WD, the actual zip lines course took about an hour but can make for a fun adventure as you zip through the forest down the mountain.
Take the Chairlift Up Cerro Campanario
Cerro Campanario is a must-do when visiting Bariloche for its 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and lakes (including the Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno lakes and Llao Llao).
You can also hike up the mountain, I’m told it’s a steep hike that takes about 45 minutes long.
In contrast, the chairlift will get you up the roughly 3,500 feet quickly. More time to enjoy the views and the cafe at the summit. Win!
Splash In The Sun At Playa Bonita
Translated into English as “beach beautiful,” Playa Bonita is located just 10 minutes from the center of Bariloche. With its clear glacial water, it certainly lives up to its name. When I visited, it was full (but not uncomfortably so) of people sunbathing, swimming, enjoying water sports or kayaking, or even drinking matte, Argentina’s national drink.
The clean, cold water was cold and refreshing. But be sure to pack (strong) sunscreen or an umbrella or you’ll end up like I did with a sunburn the next day. But it was worth it to enjoy the sun and spectacular views across Nahuel Huapi lake and Huemul Island, about 4,000 feet away. Stop by one of many restaurants and pubs lining the street or stop by Kunstmann for a beer made on-site.
Playa Bonita is a perfect place to spend a morning, afternoon, or whole day relaxing in the sunshine. ☀️
Have A Cold One On Juramento Street
Bariloche isn’t just nature. There’s also a thriving nightlife scene. And Juramento Street, located just steps away from the Hampton by Hilton Bariloche where I stayed, is the center of it all. Patagonia is known for its beer, and this street is lined by pubs serving up the local favorites.
My first stop was Manush, which came highly recommended for both food and drinks. With well over a dozen choices, and a delicious food menu (including vegetarian and vegan options), I was not disappointed.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the street is blocked off from cars. Groups of revelers drinking beer take over the street as live bands perform outside the bars lining the street. After a day of adventure, Juramento Street is the place to go to meet locals and travelers enjoying the night.
If you’re planning a trip to Patagonia but don’t feel up for a lot of advanced trekking, Bariloche is the perfect place to stay. There are plenty of adventures accessible to visitors with various levels of fitness. Best of all, many of them are just a short distance from Bariloche.
Many destinations feel overrated. After visiting Patagonia, I’d argue it’s underrated. With stunning nature, world-class beers, delicious chocolate, and so much more, there’s something for everyone.
Have you been to Patagonia or is it on your list? What’s your favorite activity near Bariloche?
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