a guide to Bariloche, Argentina

Patagonia had been the number one spot on my bucket list since I had watched '180 Degrees South.' When Tash and I decided to start our South American journey in Argentina, I knew I needed to get down to that mountain paradise. We found cheap tickets to Bariloche near the northern part of Patagonia. Ballin' on a budget, we knew it was our chance. Here's a guide for those of you traveling to Bariloche in Patagonia! 

Where to stay?

We had a dorm in the Los Troncos Hostel just off the main road of Bariloche city. We went during off-peak season, and thus had the entire hostel to ourselves. It was amazing. Twinkly lights lit up the entire patio area. Breakfast is included in your stay and let me tell you it was the best hostel breakfast we had in South America. Full stop. Lockers are provided in-room but, like most anywhere, you need to provide your own lock. We also had a nice bathroom en suite {none of that communal business}. There was a tv upstairs and books, but who wants to be inside when you're in Patagonia?! Wifi is also complimentary at Los Troncos. The hostel owner hooked us up with the best 'what to do' information and booked our white-water rafting trip for us so there wouldn't be any language obstacles. 

What and where to eat? 

There is an entire chocolate street in Bariloche. And it is very important that you go into every chocolate shop and seek out their free samples. Because free chocolate, guys! When you're backpacking on a budget free is the sexiest word in the English language. While you are wandering for free chocolate, stop into Mamuschka for their hot chocolate, especially if it's a cold day. It's literally melted chocolate in its most pure form. It's out of this world, though I probably have diabetes now. 

If you are looking for an actual meal, there are many restaurants in the area. We hit up a very 'locals-only,' family-owned establishment called La Fonda. It was so filling and remains the best food I ate in Argentina. The place was so 'locals-only', the menus were completely in Spanish and the waitstaff didn't speak English. I used what little I could remember from 8th-grade Spanish club, was quick to learn the word for 'vegetarian', and hoped for the best. I would recommend bringing a translation book or utilizing your phone apps! 

*Note: you have to pay for water everywhere in South America, like much of Europe. 

What to do? 

If you aren't the outdoorsy/adventure type there isn't much to do and you are in the wrong place! Bariloche is a dream for those who want to take in gorgeous landscapes and the beauty of untouched surroundings. For a panoramic view of lakes and mountains, you can take the gondola up Cerro Campanario. Tickets can be purchased for cheap at the gate. You can also hike up to the top, though we were warned it was a steep trek up! 

Go hike around! You can take a quick bus from Bariloche city center to Cero Campanario. From there you'll find heaps of trailheads all around. If you're at all appreciative of nature, this is your heaven. 

See the orange trees! Los Arrayanes National Park is just a short bus ride away from the city center of Bariloche, near all the other hiking trailheads. The trees are famously orange-coloured. 

Go white-water rafting! The company we went with, booked by our hostel owner, picked us up and dropped us off at the hostel. They drove us out farther into the wild of Patagonia and revealed to us that we would be rafting over the Argentina-Chile border! I wanted to cry tears of bliss. If you know me, you know this was right up my alley. Rapids were level-4 and the water was the coldest I've ever felt in my life. But I was so happy that anytime we were allowed to jump over the edge of the raft and into the water, I did so without hesitation. The water was so crystal clear you could see every stone in the river. It was mesmerising! 

at the end of the most wonderful day

at the end of the most wonderful day

straddling the Argentina/Chile border

straddling the Argentina/Chile border

don't let my face fool you, just unimpressed with Tash as usual

don't let my face fool you, just unimpressed with Tash as usual

Explore the town! Bariloche is filled with cobblestone streets, clock towers and benches to sit on and take in views of the mountains. There are lost of shops if you've forgotten any outdoor gear for your adventures and a cathedral you can peruse. Like the rest of Argentina, Bariloche has a serious wine tasting scene for those with the palette. 

I seriously cannot wait to return to that blue water paradise! It was the ultimate highlight of Argentina for me, without question. 

Happy exploring!