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10 Epic Things to do in Bariloche, Argentina as a Family

10 Epic Things to do in Bariloche, Argentina as a Family

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There is plenty of fun to be had in the summer as the mountains around Bariloche offer stunning views, fun hikes, mountain biking trails, lake activities, and other fun things to do as a family in January, February, and March. 

Bariloche, Argentina is a popular destination all year. A resort town set on a lake in the middle of the Patagonian Andes mountains of Argentina, it boasts well-maintained ski and snowboarding trails in the winter which turn into Bariloche hikes and mountain biking trails in the summer.

A Bariloche vacation includes eating artisanal ice cream and chocolate, hiking in the mountains, kayaking and whitewater rafting in the lake, and soaring from tree to tree on a zip line. There are plenty of ways to fully enjoy the culture and adventure this unique town has to offer!

The town is tailor made for adventurists and nature lovers, but offers even more for families with young children or those uninterested in adrenaline-seeking. Follow this list of the best things to do in Bariloche in summer to find a great mix of relaxing and invigorating activites- all of which will help you fall in love with Patagonia and San Carlos de Bariloche!

Don’t hestitate to plan a family vacation to Bariloche in summer, as the sunshine and light breeze of January, February, and March in Argentina leads to some of the most fun and beautiful things to do outside!

 

Welcome to Bariloche, Argentina. Here’s what you need to know:

These Bariloche travel tips will help you make the most of your Patagonia vacation!

1. Book the perfect Bariloche Hotel before you arrive

The first thing to do is book the best family hotel in Bariloche before your trip begins. Read a full review of the NH Edelweiss Bariloche here, including the top 5 things that help it stand out from other hotels (spoiler alert, they have the largest indoor pool in Bariloche center! And you’ll want to be there every day of your trip.) 

When you’re planning a vacation to Patagonia your days will be packed full of fun and adventure. Give yourself a treat by coming home to a comfortable bed, great amenities, and delicious breakfast every day. You and your kids will thank you for allowing some time to rest and relax during your busy stay.

 

2. Begin with a sightseeing tour of Bariloche

The best way to get to know a new city is with a walking tour of the major sites with a knowledgable local. Book this cheap city tour to learn about the history of Bariloche, see some of it’s most important attractions, hear stories of past events and famous people, and find out the best places to go on your own.

 

3. Get around Bariloche by bus

Using the bus to get around Bariloche and the extended area is easier and cheaper than hiring a taxi or renting a private car. Ask your hotel for the closest store selling bus passes, then find the clear bus signs indicating each bus’s destination and departure time along the main road (bus information is also available on Google Maps). 

You can find rides through town, to the Swiss Village, Cerro Campanario, Cerro Otto, Cerro Catedral, and other main points of interest. Rides can fill up with tourists and backpackers, so we recommend arriving at your bus stop at least 10-30 minutes early. You don’t want to end up standing on a 45-minute trip on windy mountain roads!

 

Top 10 things to do in Bariloche in Summer:

Whether you’re looking for a thrill or to unwind, Bariloche fits the needs of everyone in your group. 

1. Cerro Campanario chair lift

 

Bariloche is surrounded by incredible mountains, each offering different fun things to do. The one best known for it’s stunning views, though, is Cerro Campanario. One of the highest recommended activities in Bariloche is a ride on the Cerro Campanario chair lift, which takes you past a plethora of Patagonia flora and fauna to a multi-level viewing platform overlooking the bays of Lake Nahuel Huapi and islands floating in it.

The view is truly stunning, which makes this one of the best things to do in Bariloche, especially for kids!

The Cerro Capanario chair lift costs $500 ARS/ adults and $250 ARS/ children. You have the options of hiking up and down to the viewing platform or buying a one-way ticket to hike up or down on direction. Book your tickets in advance here for a no-stress trip to Cerro Campanario. 

2. Swiss Village Duende Parque

 

Colonia Suiza, the Swiss Village, isn’t as grand as you may be picturing. It is a small place well outside of Bariloche center consisting of one main dirt road flanked by small restaurants and cafes and a few tourist centers. The buildings are overly European, and you won’t find a lot of European goods or foods, but a trip here is a must while in Bariloche, nonetheless, so you should feel obligated to check it out.

The most interesting thing we found to do in Bariloche’s Swiss Village was Duende Parque- a small “theme park” dedicated to hunting the gnomes which overload European storytelling. Explore a set of trails set behind the commercial road with a tour guide and see the various ways gnomes are sneaking around their own little town. Kids will love the fun and whimsy of searching these make believe characters, and adults will be charmed at the creativity of the park.

Entrance to the Duende Parque trails is $400 ARS/ adult and $150 ARS/ child. Guided tours are offered every hour. 

3. Cerro Catedral mountain bike riding

 

While mountain biking can sound overwhelming, Cerro Catedral has the perfect fun-for-beginners mountain bike trail from the chair lift to the lake.

Rent mountain bikes for riders of all ages (including bikes with baby seats and trailers) and follow one direct dirt road down to the lake. The road is covered by large and big stones and loose dirt, which adds to the difficulty, and changes from an initial incline to gradual include as you near the lake, but with a little control on the brakes it’s fun for all ages and leads to a beautiful section of lake which you can further enjoy with kayaks or swimming.

You can take a private car or public bus from Bariloche center to Cerro Catedral. Once there you’ll find many bike shops offering rentals. Prices should be around $550 ARS/hr or $1100 ARS/ half day which includes helmet and pads.

4. Hike at Cerro Otto

 

Cerro Otto is the closest mountain to Bariloche town center, and popular for a number of reasons. You can find an epic swip with views of the city here, a ropes course (more on that later), ski and snowboarding, a chair lift, funicular, rotating restaurant, mountain tubing in summer, and hiking.
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of Bariloche is Cerro Otto’s free hike from the cable car entrance near the top of the mountain. It follows the edge of the mountain with incredible views of the city, lake Nahuel Huapi, islands, and surrouding mountains. The views are stunning, and the free hike only takes 20 minutes to climb via a wide, flat dirt path.
The hike ends with stairs to the free Cerro Otto viewing platform. You can hike back down if you choose, or pay to enter Cerro Otto’s observation building, where you’ll find a mini art museum, gift shop, movie theater, and -best of all- a 360-degree rotating restaurant with surprisingly reasonable prices. (This restaurant experience is so much fun!)

If you choose to ride up Cerro Otto, it’s $600 ARS for roundtrip tickets on Funicular near the mountain top or $900 ARS for roundtrip tickets on the cable car from Bariloche into Cerro Otto to access their revolving restaurant. Meal prices are reasonable between 250-750/person, and the experience is mesmerizing. Book your cable car tickets from Bariloche in advance here for stress-free travel. 

5. EUCA Ropes Course

 

EUCA is an organization offering fun ropes courses around Argentina. Their station in Bariloche is located on Cerro Otto, and offers 5 different adventure routes. Entrance gives you a tutorial, equipment, and access to whichever of the 5 routes you choose for a 2-hour timeframe. The routes include short zip lines, balancing, tunnels, and other maneuvers set among pillars in the trees. It is perfectly safe and really fun!
Costs $900 ARS/adult for all 5 routes, and $800 ARS/child to access beginning 3 routes only.

6. Havanna Chocolate museum

Bariloche, as with most resort mountain towns, is known for having excellent chocolate. This reputation is further enhanced by Bariloche’s European roots, making it the #1 town for artisanal chocolate and ice cream in Argentina (or all of Patagonia, for that matter.) 
Bariloche’s chocolate reputation makes it the perfect town to host Havanna’s chocolate museum. The large building on the outskirts of town (within walking distance from most downtown hotels and hostels) is part museum, part manufacturing, and part cafe. It’s the perfect place to learn more about the history of chocolate, the modern age of chocolate in Bariloche, see their warehouse at work, and sample some goods in their store!
Guided museum tours are led every half hour and discuss the process of making chocolate, the history of  chocolate from the Aztec nation around the world over time, and modern chocolate innovation. Although it’s in Spanish, the tour includes impressive displays that anyone can appreciate. Entrance also includes a complimentary cup of delicious hot chocolate and a room of chocolate carvings which overlook the factory floor and a discount to the adjoining chocolate shop! We recommend using your 50% off coupon for the famous Havana alfajores. They come in a variety of flavoru us and are some of the best in all of Argentina!
Chocolate museum entrance tickets are $100 ARS/ person and include a cup of hot chocolate and cafe discounts. Tours only take 30 minutes. 

7. Zip line on Cerro Lopez

 

Gain a fresh perspective of the scenery of Bariloche with a zip line canopy tour from Cerro Lopez. A 4-hour zip line tour begins with a pickup in Bariloche, 30-minute drive to Cerro Lopez, equipment outfitting, 4WD drive up the mountain, and 10 zip lines leading to stunning views of Cerro Lopez and Cerro Otto as well as Nahuel Huapi Lake, Bariloche, Victoria Island, and more before heading back to your Bariloche hotel.

After hiking and driving around the same trails, you’ll love the birds-eye-view of this spectacular place!

Costs $4,000 ARS/ person for those 4 years old and up. This activity is fun and exciting for all without any special skills required. Children 4-8 can zip line with a guide. 

8. Visit Chocolate Shops

 

As mentioned already, Bariloche is a hotbed of sweets. There is a lively debate among locals and tourists as to their favorite chocolate shops and ice cream parlors, and a trip to as many as possible is one of the most authentic things to do in Bariloche. Once you find your personal favorite shop and flavors you’ll want to go again and again!
The two most popular chocolate shops are Mamushka and Rapnui (only recently started by the son of the Bariloche family which behind Del Turista, another popular chocolate shop in Argentina). We recommend starting your trip with a visit to Mamushka’s main chocolate shop, as they offer free samples of a variety of tasty bonbons!
Rapanui and Mamushka both have separate ice cream shops around town, as well, so you are free to mix and match your favorite sweets from a variety of sources.

9. See the Cerro Turnador Glacier

 

Cerro Turnador is a mountain nearly 3 hours away from Bariloche, but worth the trip for one reason: it’s a national park full of gorgeous scenery and an almost deserted glacier.
An organized day trip to Cerro Turnador with a Bariloche tourism company is easy to arrange, as is renting your own car to make the drive on your own. The scenery around the mountain is breathtaking, and it’s refreshing and relaxing to see such beautiful lake, mountain, and glacier views without the hoardes of people which inevitably surround some of Patagonia’s more famouse glaciers.
A trip here is a peaceful way to appreciate a different side of nature than you’re likely to see in other spots of this crowded tourist area. Pack a picnic lunch and a light jacket and plan to spend a few hours at the glacier viewing area or on a quick Bariloche hike to a large waterfall, both easily found inside the park. Just be prepared for a long time on a bouncy dirt road!
Book a no-stress group tour to Cerro Tronador from Bariloche with this highly-rated tour service if you aren’t interested in renting your own car. Tickets include all transportation, box lunch, the best sites at the park, and a bilingual tour guide.

10. Whitewater Rafting in Bariloche

Mountains get the most attention in Patagonia, but Bariloche is also known for being surrounded by beautiful lakes. Though some foresake the water for hiking and mountain biking, the adventure down below can be just as exciting and eye-opening as from mountain peaks.

Take the opportunity to go whitewater rafting in Bariloche in summer to see the grand spectacle of rising cliffs from the water!

A whitewater rafting trip with Rafting Adventure (located in Bariloche) includes hotel shuttle, all equipment (including wetsuit to combat the chilly weather), and a fun ride on the water roller coaster. Children over the age of 5 are welcome to join the activity, and a family can choose which type of whitewater rafting adventure they want: easy, difficult, full day, or half day.

 


 

You are bound to fall in love with all the Bariloche has to offer by following this travel guide. Find great things to do in the mountains, lakes, sky, and town then come back and report on your favorite Bariloche activities!