San Carlos de Bariloche is a small but striking Alpine city, provided
with all the services that a first-class tourist city can offer enabling
one to enjoy a deserved rest at any time of the year.
At the foot of Lake Nahuel Huapi and surrounded by a series of landscapes
which are absolutely irresistible, visiting the city of Bariloche
is in itself an adventure for the traveler.
city, one of the largest in Patagonia, has a varied infrastructure
for gastronomy, lodging and entertainment, including hotels, bungalows,
and even casinos and discos.
Besides being famous for its international ski slopes and its fine
chocolate, Bariloche is located in an unbeatable geographical setting:
it has a mild climate, unlike the rest of Southern Patagonia. There
are four well-marked seasons permitting one to take advantage of each
activity at the appropriate moment. Moreover, it affords one easy
access to the mountain heights, where there are a large number of
lodges enabling excursions that last several days.
The founding of San Carlos de Bariloche on May 3, 1902 can be considered
also as the starting point of receptive tourism in this region - the
watershed point signaling the transformation of a mountain village
into a top world-class mountain resort.
That year of 1902, the brand-new town growing in the shadow of the
"Sociedad Ganadera y Comercial Chile-Argentina" (which was formed
from the firm created by Mr. Carlos Wiederholdt), received a visit
from three VIP guests from the city of Chubut.
These were Aarón Anchorena, Esteban Lavallol and Carlos Lamarca, who
published their opinions in a travel booklet, thus signaling the start
of the interest in this area shown by the country's elite families.
Years later, in 1913, the US ex-president Theodore Roosevelt arrived
in Bariloche from Chile; in 1916 it was the turn of adventuress traveler
Ada M. Elflein, who visited the lakes with the sponsorship of the
La Prensa newspaper and published a book of her impressions; in 1930
the Prince of Wales visited the area.
Already in 1913 the firm "Andina del Sud", belonging to Ricardo Roth
Schutz (1883-1947), had opened up tourist traffic towards Chile. This
"world citizen" ten years before had brought a group of Frenchmen
from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche, and from there to Puerto
Roth Schutz was a real sponsor for Central Argentine Patagonian tourism.
He brought vessels to sail on the Nahuel Huapi, Frías and Todos los
Santos lakes; he also built hotels in Puerto Blest and Lake Frías
in Argentina, and on the Chilean side in Peulla and Ensenada.
THE CITY CLOSE AT HAND
In the "town" as it is familiarly known by its inhabitants, the tourism
area lies around the Centro Cívico. A main shopping road is Mitre,
to a lesser extent Moreno and the streets that intersect with them.
On these streets you will find a large number of chocolate factories,
places where you can buy smoked meats and fish, textiles, etc., as
well as restaurants, fast food eateries, travel agencies and theaters.
The area, internationally famous for its ski runs and its fine chocolate
possesses a highly developed hotel infrastructure for visitors' comfort,
ranging from hotels and bungalows to casinos and discotheques.
The Centro Cívico (Civic Center)
This is one of the most characteristic places in the city. It was
the first are to be built in the country, and is now a National Historical
Monument. It was officially inaugurated on March 17, 1940.
Its buildings are mediaeval in style, and cluster around the small
and picturesque "Expedicionarios del Desierto" Square. It was built
with cypress and larch wood and piedra toba stone (a dark greenish-gray
rock) that was quarried in Mt Carbón, on the south side of the current
Nahuel Huapi National Reserve.
At the center of the plaza stands the monument to Julio A. Roca. Around
it lie the following local government and public buildings: the Municipality,
the Municipal Tourism Secretariat, the Police Station, the Patagonian
Museum and the Sarmiento Public Library, the former Post Office building
(now an exhibition hall) and the former Customs building.
On the Municipality clock tower, twice a day at noon and 6 p.m. the
large theme clock displays a parade of four figures representing the
local pioneers: an Indian, a missionary, a "conquistador" and a farm
It starts from one of the arcades of the Centro Cívico. It is the
city's main business thoroughfare and is therefore the most popular
strolling area for tourists. It contains a wide variety of places
of interest and entertainment options. A number of regional crafts
stores and all kinds of shops are found along this important shopping
Port of San Carlos
In 1989 construction of the tourist pier and its adjacent building
was begun, in order to recover the port on the lake that was destroyed
by the Chilean earthquake in Valdivia in 1960. This is an embarkation
port for lake excursions. There is a restaurant and fast--food area
as well as children's games.
Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi has been declared a National Historical Monument.
Its construction was begun in 1946 but never finished. From the lakefront
its façade and main entrance can be seen. This is the only part of
the building that was finished, and it is now a chapel. It is a handsome
neo-Gothic building designed by architect Alejandro Bustillo. The
stone crafting is very interesting. Inside one finds over 45 stained-glass
windows or vitraux showing religious and historical events related
to Patagonia. Every year in December, the Christmas Choir Festival
is held here, featuring the "Coro de Niños y Jóvenes Cantores de Bariloche"
(Bariloche Youth Choir), accompanied by other choirs and local musicians
Bariloche Andean (Mountaineering) Club
This prestigious club was founded in 1935 by a group of pioneers including
Dr. Juan Neumeyer, Emilio Frey, and Otto Meiling. It is a reflection
of its Alpine Club counterparts. This is a landmark building in the
town, and a reference point in San Carlos de Bariloche.
La Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception Chapel)
Built of wood in 1905, this is one of the oldest surviving buildings
in the city. It is on Moreno street and was designed by Primo Capraro
at the request of Padre Zacarías Genghini. It is in beautiful surroundings,
including a lookout point with a view on downtown and the Cathedral.
In 1973 it was transported on rails to its present location. Its exterior
is covered with wooden tiles and the interior is lined with paneling.
exhibits include interesting samples of material from different geological
periods, as well as giant spiders and other curiosities.
"Francisco P. Moreno" Patagonian Museum
It was inaugurated by National Parks in 1940 and is house d in the
east wing of the Civic Center. It is named after the famous explorer
of the Andes and the Patagonian rivers, who donated the lands that
were later transformed by the government into the first National Park
in Argentina. It has halls specializing in natural science, ethnography,
pre-history and local and regional history. It also has a library
and a bookstore.
THE CITY FROM ITS LOOKOUT POINTS
San Carlos de Bariloche offers visitors the chance of admiring and
checking out its beautiful scenery from four strategically placed
First Lookout Point
You get to it by crossing the railway line. After passing the Escuela
de Suboficiales de Policía (Police Academy), you turn right on Cabo
Campos streets. After a 200 m or so upward walk, you are at the lookout
point. It has two separate viewing points.
From the first, you see the city from its eastern tip, the main areas
being the former municipal slaughterhouse, the gasworks and a stretch
of the Ñireco river. In the background the Mt Runge and Otto are profiled,
and behind them, the Mt Catedral, López and Capilla.
The second viewing point is located further along Campos street, turning
left up to Guido Spano street. You get to Covigas district and turn
left again. From this point you can look down on Ferrocarril General
Second Lookout Point
Going up Luelmo street, after passing the premises of Club Nahuel
Huapi, you turn toward the lake. Once you are facing School Nº 10,
you take a turn around the park to get there.
It offers a complete view of the lakeshore area of the city. One can
see the buildings housing the "Club de Caza y Pesca" (Hunting and
Fishing Club), the Casa de Deportes Municipal (Municipal Sports House),
San Carlos port and the Cathedral. In the background you will see
the road to Llao Llao, as well as Huemul Island, San Pedro Peninsula
and the López and Capilla mountains.
Third Lookout Point
If you go along Onelli up to 2 de Agosto street turning left at this
point, you will get there. It is a longish, winding road, but well
worth your trouble, because it affords you a complete panorama of
Fourth Lookout Point
To get here, you will have to return along Onelli, taking the turn
through La Cumbre Neighboring. At the crossroads with Diagonal Gutiérrez,
take the left up Lanín and continue along Los Muérdagos street.
This is the western tip of the city, next to the beginning of the
Patagonian Andean Forest. You will have a view of the premises of
the "Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche" (Bariloche Region University
Campus) and the Parques Nacionales neighborhood, as well as the Jardín