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9 Perfect Day Trips From Bariloche (Maps, Routes & Highlights)

San Carlos de Bariloche is extremely beautiful. We stayed in this beautiful area for 2 weeks on our trip through South America and loved every day. We explored some incredible places and in this post, I want to give you the best day trips to help you enjoy your time in Bariloche.

9 perfect day trips from San Carlos de Bariloche

Here are the highlights of our stay in Bariloche! Of course, it’s up to you to decide what trips to include during your stay!

1. Visit the stunning Ventisquero Negro glacier

Day trip type: Viewpoint(s)⛰️

This is a big day with a capital B. But driving South to the Ventisquero Negro was one of the highlights of our time in Argentina.

The Ventisquero Negro is an amazing glacier sitting on some of the most beautiful mountain peaks of the Andes. But this day trip has more to offer besides the glacier. The drive takes you past stunning lakes and dense forests and took us ~3 hours.

Tip: It’s a bumpy ride but we managed just fine with a cheap 2WD rental car.

ventisquero negro glacier views

There are some nice hikes around here, but we decided to just take it easy and enjoy the views.

ventisquero negro glacier views hugo

At the end of the road, you can find a hike that takes you a little uphill to some beautiful waterfalls. If you see signs for Cascada Garganta del Diablo, make sure you follow them because you don’t want to miss out on this view!

Cascada Garganta del Diablo views

Tip: Either bring your own food or stop along the way at the beautiful Hostería Pampa Linda and enjoy a nice meal.

2. Visit Villa Lao Lao and hike in the Sendero de los Arrayanes

Day trip type: Hiking🚶🏿

While Bariloche is a beautiful city on its own, the surrounding area makes it such a magnet for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

A must-do day trip from Bariloche is to visit Villa Lao Lao and hike in the nearby Sendero de los Arrayanes. This is a lush green forest with beautiful pathways that offer views of the surrounding lakes and mountains.

Tip: We really found that this area captured the essence of Bariloche: serenity, beautiful lakes, and dense forests, with a backdrop of some of Argentina’s best mountains.

Sendero de los Arrayanes hiking beautiful views

To get here, you can either rent a car, or take the local bus. Rachel and I decided to take the bus there, since it’s cheap and the bus takes you straight from Bariloche to Villa Lao Lao. It doesn’t get any easier.

Sendero de los Arrayanes hiking

After a beautiful hike through the forest, we sat down at the golf court in Villa Lao Lao. While an afternoon of golf was outside our budget, we did enjoy a nice cup of coffee and a little snack at the Bechamel Club House!

Seriously, if you want a perfect, easy-going day trip from Bariloche, don’t skip this one!

villa lao lao golfcourse view at lunch

3. Enjoy the lovely views at Aerosilla Cerro Campanario

Day trip type: Viewpoint(s)⛰️

Bariloche is a popular hot spot for Argentinians who want to hit the snowy slopes in winter. However, there are also dedicated gondolas for those who want to enjoy the views from atop a mountain in the summer.

You can actually choose between multiple cable carts, but we opted for the Aerosilla Cerro Campanario. It’s right by the most popular road so it’s easily accessible both by bus, car and bicycle!

Tip: We actually cycled here on the day we rented a bike, more on that later.

The views from the top are stunning. The gondola takes you to an altitude of 1,049 meters above sea level, and you’ll get a 360-degree view of the lakes, mountains, and forests.

Cerro Campanario view

4. Adventure hike from Cerro Catedral to Refugio Frey

Day trip type: Hiking🚶🏿

Just like the Ventisquero Negro, this day trip is for those who are a bit more adventurous.

Cerro Catedral lies to the Southwest of Bariloche, and it’s not just the largest ski resort in Argentina, but of the entire southern hemisphere.

But since we were here in January (the middle of the Argentinian summer), we weren’t here to ski. Instead, we were here to hike ~20 km across some of the most beautiful mountains in Argentina.

In short, this hike starts at the top of the cable cart ride here. From here, you’ll hike along a beautiful mountain ridge, before crossing a mountain and descending a beautiful valley to a mountain cabin called Refugio Frey. You’re going to enjoy your lunch here, before further descending back down to where you parked your car!

It’s a long and demanding hike, so you really should take the cable cart ride at the start.

Tip: You actually need to use 2 lifts up the mountain, so make sure you don’t start hiking after the first one!

views over cerro catedral ski slopes in summer

From the top of the cable cart ride, you’re going to need to follow signs to Refugio Frey. It starts with a steep climb away from the ski slopes and into the rugged rocky ridge of the Cerro Catedral.

As soon as you complete your first climb, you’ll have an epic view over an uninhabited mountain range. A beautiful reward for your first victorious climb!

cerro catedral with views over ventisquero negro

That snowy mountaintop in the distance? That’s actually the same one that we visited before: the Ventisquero Negro is part of this mountain!

At this part of the hike, you’ll be scrambling across rocks and finding your way along the path. The path is a bit sketchy in some places, and you’re gonna have to find the best route across the rocks yourself.

When we were here, we simply followed other hikers and enjoyed the challenge of climbing the occasional boulder. It was never too tricky, though, and we didn’t worry for a single moment about our safety!

After a while, you’ll cross the mountain ridge and enter a new valley. The Refugio Frey mountain cabin is at the bottom of this valley.

mountain views from refugio frey

After a lovely lunch and some well-earned rest, you’ll continue your way down to the lovely mountains. After a long descent, you’ll be back at the car park and you can make your way back to Bariloche!

Tip: If you want a more detailed guide, here’s an excellent guide with lots of photos to help you plan this trip.

5. Drive the Route of the Seven Lakes to Villa la Angostura

Day trip type: Roadtrip🚗

We were in Bariloche in January 2022, and unfortunately, it rained for a couple of days. On a rainy day, we headed out to the beautiful town Villa la Angostura. This drive also takes you along the Route of the Seven Lakes.

route of the seven lakes map bariloche

The Route of the Seven Lakes drive is a journey through postcard-perfect scenery. Each lake has its own unique charm, and the drive offers numerous spots to stop and enjoy the view.

roads of seven lakes views and clouds

We started super early and ended our day in Villa la Angostura, a quaint village with lovely cafes and artisan shops. We enjoyed a nice brunch here.

And even though we had lots of rain on this day, it was still nice to just drive around in the car and enjoy the scenery (including this rainbow!)

roads of seven lakes views

6. Roadtrip south to El bolson

Day trip type: Roadtrip🚗

Another great road trip from Bariloche is to head down South on the Ruta 40 and head to El Bolsón. While not big, El Bolsón is a nice little town surrounded by typical Patagonian mountains.

el bolson views in town

We sat down in the sun to enjoy lunch and a coffee at a cute cafe, before heading out to explore the surroundings. A nice and easy hike here leads to the ‘Cabeza del Indio‘, a natural rock formation resembling the head of an indigenous person. The trail is relatively easy, making it great for families or those looking for a leisurely hike with rewarding views.

We ventured a little further South to the Rio Azul, where we found beautiful views over the snowy Andes peaks in the distance!

el bolson views over river

There are other nice little trails out here, for example to the Cascada Escondida, or you can drive up to the Mirador Plataforma Piltriquitron for more views and hiking!

7. Visit the Swiss origins at Colonia Suiza

Day trip type: Leisure🏊‍♀️

On the day we rented a bike, we cycled all the way to Colonia Suiza where we had a lovely lunch. But we wish we could have stayed longer, because this turned out to be a lovely area that not a lot of others visit.

It was busy with locals, but we didn’t see (or hear) many other tourists!

The name of this little town actually means Swiss Colony, and it was clear to us why. As we strolled through the streets, we were enchanted by the Swiss-style wooden architecture, reminiscent of a small European village. The gardens around the homes were blooming with colorful flowers, adding to the village’s charm.

Tip: The heart of Colonia Suiza is its weekly artisan market, where we found an array of handcrafted goods, from woven textiles to wooden carvings. We stumbled upon this village without knowing about its existence, and luckily for us, we were there on the day of the market! Make sure you check ahead and visit on the day of the market.

8. Rent a bike and cycle the Circuito Chico

Day trip type: Activity🚴

Our cycling adventure around the Circuito Chico was a great way to get to know the area. Renting bikes was a breeze, with several rental shops offering a range of bicycles to suit all abilities. We opted for mountain bikes, ideal for the varied terrain of the route.

Be aware: you should be comfortable on a bike, as we cycled over 50 (>30 miles) km on this day!

This is more than just a bike ride, though; it’s a journey through some of the most stunning landscapes Bariloche has to offer. The path took us along the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, with its crystal-clear waters and mountain backdrop.

riding a bike circuito chico bariloche

This is where we passed number 3 on this list: the Aerosilla Cerro Campanario. Since the weather was great, we decided to make a brief stop here to enjoy the views!

As you cycle back to Bariloche, keep an eye out for the cool graffiti on the bus stops!

beautiful bus stop art in bariloche

9. Boat ride to Puerto Blest

Day trip type: Viewpoint(s)⛰️

The boat ride to Puerto Blest is more than just a means of transportation; it’s a scenic tour that showcases the untouched beauty of the region. You’ll pass by Centinela Island, the resting place of Francisco P. Moreno, the founder of the Nahuel Huapi National Park. The boat also navigates close to the Cascada de los Cántaros, a stunning waterfall that can be viewed directly from the deck.

Upon arriving at Puerto Blest, you’ll be greeted by the beauty of this secluded area. One of the first things to do is to visit the Cascada de los Cántaros. A well-marked trail with wooden walkways will lead you through dense, rainforest-like vegetation to the base of the waterfall.

Another highlight of Puerto Blest is the Lago Frías, a short walk from the port. This smaller, emerald-green lake is surrounded by high peaks, creating a serene and picturesque setting.

Best time to visit San Carlos de Bariloche

Short Answer: The best time to visit San Carlos de Bariloche is from December to March. These summer months in the Southern Hemisphere offer warm weather and clear skies, ideal for enjoying the outdoor activities and stunning landscapes that Bariloche is famous for.

Why? Summer in Bariloche is a delight. The weather is comfortably warm but not too hot, making it perfect for hiking, cycling, and exploring the lakes. This is also the time when the days are longest, allowing more time for activities and exploration. The town and surrounding areas are vibrant and full of life, with various cultural and outdoor events to enjoy.

February Bonus: February stands out as the best month. It’s right in the middle of the summer, with generally stable weather and fewer crowds than December and January, which are peak tourist months due to school holidays. February also offers a great balance between lively cultural activities and the opportunity to enjoy nature in relative tranquility.

Off-Season Tip: For those looking to avoid the crowds, visiting in the shoulder seasons, particularly during the fall (April and May) or spring (October and November), can be highly rewarding. The fall brings stunning autumnal foliage, especially beautiful around the lakes and mountains, while spring sees the region bloom with wildflowers. Be aware that some attractions and trails might be less accessible, and the weather can be more unpredictable during these seasons. However, you’ll benefit from lower prices and a more relaxed pace.

Wrapping up

Bariloche is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited. I hope this list of day trips has given you some inspiration for your travels!

Did I miss anything important? Do you have anything to add to these day trips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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