With it’s glacial lakes and soaring mountains, Argentina’s Lake District is spectacular. Let’s explore it through this Bariloche photo essay.

It was October 2017 and I was planning my first trip to Argentina. Looking for ideas of places I should visit, I quizzed Sandra, an Argentinian ex-pat. Without hesitation, she replied, “Bariloche. It is so beautiful!”

It was sound advice. The town of Bariloche is the gateway to northern Patagonia’s glacial lakes, pine forests and volcanic mountains. Here are few photos from my short stay here, and some tips for seeking out these Instagrammable locations. See if you agree with Sandra.

Reaching new heights: taking the chairlift to the top of Cerro Campanario

Cerro Campanario is the first stop on the Circuito Chico, a 65 km circular route from Bariloche to the resort of Llao Llao. With a cool breeze brushing my face, the chairlift whisks me through the forest to its summit.

At an elevation of just over 1,000 metres, Lake Gutiérrez & Lake Perito Moreno, encircled by pine forests, are clearly visible, as are Cerro Catedral and Llao Llao in the distance.

The view from the top of Cerro Campanilo Bariloche Argentina

Llao Llao

The next stop is the famed resort of Llao Llao, located between Perito Moreno and Nahuel Huapi lakes. Built in 1940, it resembles an oversized ski lodge.

Llao Llao Patagonia

A walk in the woods: Bosque de Arrayanes

Around 1 km from Llao Llao is the Bosque de Arrayanes. I feel very small as I walk between its 300-year-old arryan trees to reach Playa Moreno on the shores of Lake Perito Moreno.

Bariloche Patagonia

Back to Bariloche

Retracing my steps, I take the bus back to Bariloche. Before hitting its many chocolate shops, I stop in the main square to admire the statue of General Roca astride his horse. This celebrates his victory in the 1870s, the Conquest of the Desert, which resulted in the death of more than a thousand indigenous peoples and the displacement of a further 15,000  from their traditional lands. No wonder his horse is looking embarrassed.

Statue in mina square Bariloche Argentina

Time for a refreshing Patagonian craft beer I think. Cheers Sandra!

The practical stuff

  • My route is easy to do by bus. I took bus #20 from outside my Bariloche hotel to Cerro Camapanario, which is around 11 miles from the city centre. The journey took 25 minutes.
  • To get to Llao LLao, I hopped back on the #20. The journey took 15  minutes; the bus terminates at the hotel.
  • Buses accept Sube cards (no cash). For further information on these contactless payment cards, check out my post on Getting Around Buenos Aires. If you have not picked up a Sube card earlier on your trip, many hotels and hostels will lend you one.
  • I stayed at the intimate and friendly Hotel Antu Kuyen by the lakeside (hotel website currently in Spanish only). Highly recommended.

Do you have any top tips for doing the Circuit Chico without a car? Or what did you do whilst in Bariloche?


Bariloche photo



Share your thoughts here!