Chocolate Is Always The Answer - Bariloche
Bariloche, Argentina Day 5,6, & 7
Day 5: Lets Choco-bout it.
We caught another, and our last overnight bus to Bariloche. Which if you have limited time to travel I strongly suggest! You might as well sleep on the bus and get somewhere new instead of stay in a hostel or hotel and have to spend your time traveling during the day and wasting time. Two birds, one stone.
We got the “bed” reclining seats again. They were not as comfy and laid back as the last bus but enough to sleep and pass out well for ride one. At 6:30 am though we had to change buses and our bus had mechanical problems, so they combined us into another bus and took away our comfy seats. Boo. But the views were absolutely amazing from any seat.
When we arrived in Bariloche we grabbed a taxi out front as Uber again wasn’t working and headed to our hostel. A cute little place called Bariloche Hostel. Adorably set up with rustic relaxed decor mostly made of wood giving you the feeling you were in a log cabin.
The first thing we do every time we check in is ask the front desk what activities are around and how to book them. Most hostels are well informed and very helpful in planning. Bariloche Hostel is definitely one of the helpful ones. This entire trip this is basically what we did, relied on the hostel to suggest local places and help with the bookings and it went fantastic here in south Argentina. You could email them ahead like we did in Puerto Madryn, or book most on site upon arrive.
Pro Tip: During high seasons its better to write ahead to see which activities sell out, but during lower seasons like we were traveling it worked just fine to book most upon arrive and we absolutely loved the care free feeling of it.
Again, hungry AF we searched for food and found a great place to grab a full meal and a full glass… or two… of wine. After we searched around the absolutely charming town a bit, we settled on a cute Italian place.
Bariloche is known for the chocolate and WINE! We of course found some chocolate after we had already indulged on some wine and looked around town for a sweater for Mary Lou. We were worried it would be colder than the clothes she had brought with her as we headed further down south.
We went to a famous place called Rapanui. Thanks to the recommendation from my friend Christina!! She was not kidding about how delicious it was!! I gravitated towards the Nutella chocolates, of course, some mint, ginger and peanut butter! YUMMMM. (no pictures as they were eaten too fast)
We quickly grabbed some groceries, ate a little and passed out as our wake up call for our next adventure started bright and early.
Day 6: Just Horsin’ Around
Our early morning call involved some delicious local coffee, in my reusable to go mug, some yogurt and cornflakes for the road at El Molinito Cafe. We refused to get up any earlier than we had to so a quick grab and go breakfast was all we could squeeze in. And man did we squeeze it in. Just as we got back our van arrived!
Our adventure today was horseback riding with some real local Gouchos! We were driven out to the farm and given some information on the local wildlife and style of the Gouchos.
We learned so so much, more in Spanish actually so I was glad my Spanish kicked in and I could understand most of the info! Such as:
The condor can have a wingspan of a little over 3m, that is over 10 feet! How crazy is that! And a Red Horned Deer’s antlers can grow a little over 110cm, or 40 inches, and weigh around 5lbs, and they shed it each year! Meaning they grow that long and that much and then just drop it and do it all over again!
We mounted up and headed out for a nice calm ride through the land they call “stepa”, not quite desert, not quite green lands. The horses were very well behaved and mellow as we walked though rivers and great open land surrounded by mountains all around.
When we got back, we were welcomed by a clan of adorable dogs who I, of course, befriended right away. Walking back into the barn we were welcomed by the smells of a delicious authentic meal of Padilla, grilled, meats and potatoes. The Gouchos grilled right in front of use and served the food fresh and hot and with, of course, a side of wine. The meat was delicious, and the wine was even better. I’m pretty positive I drank half the bottle myself.
Heading back into town we decided to jet up to a lookout point to oversee most of Bariloche’s water line. It was absolutely beautiful. We did not make it up to the highest point as it was too late in the day to catch the Gondola but we snuck up to a point that was pretty damn close.
We ended the day again with some wine and a light dinner still being pretty full from a late lunch.
After it was time to explore a little more and check out a small artisan crafts area designated for local artists to set up and sell their crafts! It is right in the town square and had all sorts of things! Jewelry, hand knitted hats, hand carved wood or potted mugs and other clay creations. It was very quaint and lively, and everyone was friendly. I resisted buying things straight away and told myself I had to resist till tomorrow. If I still wanted things tomorrow then we could come back ha! (trust me I came back for a mug and some cute earrings)
Day 7: Hidden Lakes and not so hidden wine
Today’s adventure was a boat trip to see some breathtakingly clear water and some waterfalls surrounding Argentina and Chile.
We had to catch a bus from downtown.
Travelers note: you need a bus pass to pay for the bus, something no one told us. But some people were nice enough to let us charge it on their card and we just payed them the money.
Our directions were to take the bus to the very last stop, which was one too many. With the help of some nice locals we figured out we needed to walked back to the stop before. Everything was still closed when we got there as we planned our arrival a bit too early just in case. So we grabbed some tea and snacks and hung out till the ticket booth opened.
Travelers Tip: We bought the trip ahead of time with the hostel but you still must register with the ticket office AND buy an entrance fee onto the boat and into the National Reserve. No one told us this either.
The boat trip is along the Andes river headed towards Chile, this is even a very popular route for people to take to cross over into Chile! The Nahuel Huapi National Park Reserve leads to mountains topped with snow and scattered waterfalls here and there with water clear and gorgeous from the melted glaciers.
Our first stop was at a little hotel out in the middle of no where along the river where we stopped for lunch and drank a bit too much wine. (#wheninargentina) The food was delicious and the staff was very friendly. The hotel spot serves as a stopping point for many travelers to catch their bus to Chile, go on a bike tour, take a hike, or head to Lagos Frios. We were headed to Lagos Frios, beautiful lakes that on one end have a long river flowing into it from another higher up lake creating many gorgeous waterfalls along the way.
The boat trip was lovey and calm and we met an Australian Dutch man on the way back and talked to him and his wife who were traveling for 6 months during retirement all over North America all the way down to Antarctica! He showed us some amazing photos of his travels including a tree house hotel in Colombia my friend Brian had showed me before! It must be pretty cool and if that many people are talking about it, hmmmm. Maybe I should put it on my list!
And then, of course, we ended the day with more wine and chocolate. We grabbed chocolate ice cream from another place called Mamuschka which is highly recommended by Lonely Planet and it was pretty delicious. We went back to Rapanui in search of more chocolate but were distracted by savory treats and grabbed some local GF treats…. Then a second round of chocolates. Haha
That night we sat around the cozy common area as the sun colorfully set and chatted with more people traveling from all over the world! It seems to be a very common theme on our trip. Many more people than you would think quit their jobs and travel the world for extended periods of time. I was in awe! Most are from foreign countries where this type of action is not so frowned upon. Or many just can take off a month or more at a time from their job, as unlike the US, they get more than a measly 10 days of vacation. It was fascinating.
And now off to El Calafate….
QUICK TIPS AND NAMES OF TRANSPORT USED, HOUSING STAYED IN AND SITES TO SEE:
Address: Salta 528, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
Phone: +54 294 442-5460
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (not super responsive. but can book on hostel world)
AR$ 3203 (US$85, EU€75)
Includes: Hotel Pick up and drop off, Air-conditioned vehicle, Professional guides (English and Spanish), All necessary equipment, Light breakfast of sweets, coffee, juice and mate tea, Lunch of Traditional Argentine asado, Open bar of wine, sodas and mineral water.
AR$2300 ((US$60, EU€54)
Includes: Guided Day Tour (English and Spanish)
Puerto Blest Views and Boat Tour
Cascada de los Cántaros
Cordillera de los Andes
TAXI! Uber barely works if at all. It is just not popular in a small town. Not as cheap as Puerto Madryn but reasonable. There is a taxi station at the bus stop, and your hostel or hotel will gladly call you one for anything you need as well. They were professional here.