In the surroundings of the town there are a wide range of tourist circuits to enjoy the hills of the area. Due to their proximity, El Bolsón, Villa La Angostura and San Martín de los Andes towns can also be visited, all of them preceded by the natural beauty of the Seven Lakes Route (Camino de los Siete Lagos).
The following is a list of suggestions:
This is one of the most traditional excursions in Bariloche and includes a long tour. "Circuito Chico" is a trip to be repeated regularly because it offers multiple options: walking along paths through the woods, horse riding, climbing slopes, beaches and campfires, restaurants and tearooms, as well as elevation means to get to spectacular places.
Visitors are sure to thoroughly enjoy this tour.
In springtime you wind along narrow paved roads lined by walls of broom in full flower. In summer time Playa Bonita, Playa Serena, Villa Tacul, Arroyo Angostura or Lake Moreno may be enjoyed: their offer include beaches, fishing, windsurfing and water sports.
During the fall, golden poplars are reflected mirror-like in the water of the lakes, and the red hues of lengas are seen on the hills. In winter, to the majestic backdrop of mounts Millaqueo, Capilla, López, Tronador, Catedral, Ventana or Otto, you may enjoy the spectacular snow-capped peaks against the blue sky.
Besides all these options, you may also enjoy walking along the paths of Cerro Otto on a night with a full moon, getting a beautiful view of the town.
The trip starts at Exequiel Bustillo avenue, that skirts Nahuel Huapi lake. At km 8 of this road you arrive at Playa Bonita, where you may admire the view of Huemul island.
Ten kilometers from here, after enjoying different types of landscape, you get to the bottom of Cerro Campanario. From its base you can take the chairlift reaching 1,050 meters above sea level. From this place you get one of the most beautiful and fascinating views of the region: Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno lakes, El Trébol lagoon, San Pedro and Llao Llao peninsulas and Victoria island.
On top of the hill there is a tearoom where you can sample traditional European confectionery, including a balcony from which you can admire one of the most complete and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Returning to Bustillo avenue, at km 20, in front of the Regatas Club, you enter San Pedro peninsula to access the vantage point. From this place you can also visit the "Gruta de la Virgen" (Our Lady's Groot) and Puerto Bueno.
After touring San Pedro peninsula, at km 24, you get to Llao Llao villa, where San Eduardo chapel and Llao Llao hotel can be viewed, the latter a symbolic building by the great architect Alejandro Bustillo in 1939.
Once on the lake, at km 25, you can see the important and picturesque Puerto Pañuelo. Among different excursions, you can board catamarans and motorboats to visit Victoria Island and Puerto Blest.
From this point the road goes into Llao Llao peninsula and at km 30 a new road starts that leads you to Villa Tacul, over Llao Llao bay.
After going past Lake Escondido and leaving the peninsula behind, at km 33, the road goes over the bridge of Angostura stream where the waters of Moreno Oeste and Este lakes join Nahuel Huapi lake.
If you keep on traveling, you will cross Puente Angostura, over the river of the same name, that joins Moreno lakes and Llao Llao Peninsula. You get to "Punto Panorámico" (Panoramic Point), at km 40, 945 meters above sea level, from which place you can admire the majestic scenery offered by Moreno lake and Llao Llao peninsula.
If you go around Moreno Oeste lake, at km 42 there is a bridge that lets you cross the lake to get to the shore of the El Trebol lagoon. Three kilometers further on you get back to the starting point of your trip, Bariloche.
This is one of the longest and most complete excursions (250 kilometers) and takes the whole day long.
The trip starts at National Route Nº237, you skirt Limay river and after 35 kilometers you get to the Auditorium, Roman circus-shaped. At this point there is a vantage point ("La Platea") from which you can see the picturesque river.
The trip continues to Valle Encantado, where you can see strange rock figures known as Dedo de Dios (God´s finger), Centinela (guard), Tren Expreso (Express Train) Los Siameses (The Siamese) and others.
Before getting to Villa Traful, at one bend in the road you will find El Mirador (The Vantage Point) and from 70 meters height above the lake you will have an incomparable view. The villa has small hotels, cottages, camping grounds and cafés.
Fifteen kilometers away from Villa Traful you get to Puerto Arrayán and to El Portezuelo (26 kilometers away from Villa Traful and 61 kilometers from Confluencia). Then you take National Route Nº234 or the Seven Lakes Route and you get to Villa La Angostura, skirting Lake Correntoso.
After going through a place called Quintupuray you get to Ruca Malén. If you keep on travelling to the south you will circle the marvelous Lake Espejo.
Twenty two kilometers away from El Portezuelo and leaving Espejo lake behind you, you will get to National Route Nº231, that leads to the west to Cardenal Samoré (Peyehue) Pass, Chile.
To the south, taking the same route, you will get to Villa La Angostura, at the entrance of Quetrihue peninsula. In this charming mountain villa, surrounded by spectacular scenery, you may visit Cerro Bayo with its skiing slopes, the superb Manzano Bay, the fall at Bonito River as well being able to enjoy excellent gastronomy. If you keep on traveling you will get back again to National Route Nº237, taking you back to San Carlos de Bariloche.
Taking De Los Pioneros avenue and Sara María Furman avenue, only 5 kilometers away from Bariloche you get to the base of Cerro Otto. At this point there is a cable car, that takes tourists to the revolving tearoom/café.
The top offers varied activities: guided walks through the woods, cycling excursions on mountain bikes, rock climbing, sled trips and Nordic skiing in winter time.
Along the road you can admire thick lenga woods and many chalets built with the typical regional architecture. You will also find Piedras Blancas Center, with café and skiing slopes, among many other typical local activities that take place all year round.
The winding road continues to the top, from where a view of Nahuel Huapi and Gutierrez lakes and the Tronador and Catedral mounts can be enjoyed, as well as the San Pedro and Llao Llao peninsulas.
The ascent can also be done on foot or by bike, in which case it will take about two hours. You come back to the town taking the same road.
Cerro Otto Cable Car
The cable car transports 500 people an hour and travels 2,100 kilometers from "Estación Superior", at a regular speed of 3 meters/second, both in descent and ascent.
The tourist enjoys the trip completely protected against weather conditions, as the 42 compartments are closed and built on a steel frame, covered with polyester fiber and glazed with Plexiglas.
After a twelve-minute ascent you get to Estación Superior, at 1,405 meters above sea level. After walking a few meters along the large gallery, you get to the top of Cerro Otto, where there is a nice chapel: El Jardin de la Oración (Garden of Prayer). This panoramic spot exhibits artistic images of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Virgin Mary.
You can also get to the large balconies offering views of the surrounding landscape. If the weather is nice, from the revolving tearoom/café you can see these majestic views. The floating platform revolves smoothly and with clockwork synchronization. The rotating speed of the café may be set between 20 and 40 minutes per revolution.
The Perfect End
As close to heaven as the superb inspiration of their Italian creator Michelangelo, his three masterworks are exhibited here: David, The Pietá and Moses.
They are three life-size copies, made of marble powder and acrylic resin according to exact replicas and moulds taken from the original sculptures. They were acquired in Florence, Italy, and the task was supervised by the Italian State.
It is worth mentioning that 100 per cent of company profits is distributed among the regional hospitals of Bariloche and Israeli Ez Rah in Buenos Aires.
VICTORIA ISLAND AND ARRAYANES FOREST
With a surface of 3,700 hectares and 20 kilometers length, this island is the largest in the lake. You get here from Puerto San Carlos or Puerto Pañuelo, at Llao Llao. From San Carlos you need to travel 11 kilometers (30 minutes by boat), and from Puerto Pañuelo, at km 225 in Ezequiel Bustillo avenue, it takes 1 hour 40 minutes.
In both cases you get to Puerto Anchorena at Isla Victoria. Once there, you may visit the ex-pine nursery. You can also take the chairlift that will take you to the top of Bella Vista hill, at 900 meters, along a narrow lane of hundred year-old coíhues and native cypresses, returning from the hill along the "blue walkways" with a series of spectacular natural vantage points.
With a first-class gastronomy center, the island represents an important natural reserve that also has cave paintings over 500 years old.
Once the excursion is over, the tourist boards the ship to sail to Puerto Quetrihué, in the peninsula by the same name, where you can visit the internationally famous Arrayanes Forest. It is an area of woodland, unique in its species in the world, with hundred year-old trees. The bark of this tree forms thin cinnamon-colored flakes with white spots. It has white flowers similar to orange blossom and purplish tasty fruit. The Arrayanes Forest has been declared an "untouchable" area and a natural monument.
SEVEN LAKES IN BARILOCHE
This excursion includes all the variety of landscapes that may be enjoyed in this privileged region. The trip to San Martín along a wooded road crosses rivers and streams and skirts several lakes (Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner and Machónico) on whose shores there are beaches and several panoramic lookout points.
Going round Lacar lake you arrive at San Martín de los Andes to have lunch and visit the town. On your return through Cordoba Pass the landscape is different. After going round Meliquina lake, the wood disappears and is replaced by strange but beautiful rocky formations. When you arrive at Confluencia, the winding blue Limay river adds its touch to a magical view of the Valle Encantado and the "Anfiteatro" (Amphitheater). To get back to Bariloche, you just have to follow the river bank up to its starting point at Nahuel Huapi lake.
MANSO RIVER - BARILOCHE
It is fed by the Manso, Castaño, Overo and Los Alerces glaciers, all of them located on the eastern slope of Tronador hill. For a total of 100 kilometers, this impressive river flows through the Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner and Machónico lakes which form the Manso basin, one of the five basins protected by the Nahuel Huapi National Park.
CERRO CAMPANARIO - BARILOCHE
The trip starts at Bustillo avenue, skirting Nahuel Huapi lake. At km 8 you will find Playa Bonita and after that there is a road known as "Cruce Catedral" leading to "Virgen de las Nieves", Cerro Catedral and Gutierrez lake.
Remaining on National Route Nº237, and skirting Nahuel Huapi lake, you go past Puerto Moreno, Playa Serena, the Jockey Club racetrack and at km 17, you get to the Cerro Campanario chairlift. You can go to the top of the hill, at 1,050 meters altitude. There is a cross in memory of the first mass celebrated by Msgr De Andrea on February 2, 1930.
The beautiful tearoom at the top offers a chance to admire one of the most fascinating and exciting views in the region: Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno lakes, El Trebol lagoon, San Pedro and Llao Llao peninsulas, Isla Victoria, Otto, López, Goye, Catedral and Capilla mounts and the wonderful mountain range surrounding San Carlos de Bariloche.
In winter, the chairlift runs up to around 6 p.m. and in summer time, when nightfall is later, till 7:30 p.m.
Cerro Campanario Chairlift
The new chairlift manufactured by Doppelmayer is high-tech. It is safer than previous models and has a variable speed. The ascent trip takes 7 minutes at a speed of 1.5 meters per second. With its 8 towers and 40 chairs (maximum capacity 60 chairs), it is 640 meters long and can transport up to 450 people an hour.
The top station is at 1,050 meters and the bottom station at 770 meters. At the top of the hill there is a panoramic tearoom seating 80, with two balconies and a lookout point.