Dominating the surrounding area and visible from practically every corner of Bariloche, Lago Nahuel Huapi is a stunning stretch of crystalline water in the Lake District of Argentina.
While Bariloche makes for an excellent place to kick back, enjoy delicious food and Argentine craft beer for a few days, adventure enthusiasts can be satisfied in the knowledge that there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep them occupied.
Here are some of the top things to do in and around Lago Nahuel Huapi.
Sail on Lago Nahuel Huapi
From Puerto Pañuelo, 16-miles (25km) from the center of Bariloche, leisure boats depart for tours exploring Lago Nahuel Huapi.
These ferries sail to a number of places:
- Reach Puerto Blest, a tiny port with a small hotel and various hiking trails into the Valdivian temperate rainforest on the edge of Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, to destinations such as to the Cascada de los Cántaros, a stunning set of waterfalls. This excursion normally lasts around nine hours.
- Alternatively, head deeper into the park to a small mini protected area, Parque Nacional de los Arrayanes. Located on an island in the middle of the lake, this park has the last section of arrayán or myrtle woodland in the world, a very rare type of tree that can live for up to 650 years.
Cycle the Circuito Chico
Although you’ll likely see this as a minibus tour offered by agencies in Bariloche, the Circuito Chico is a far more enjoyable experience taken on two wheels.
Starting from the roundabout where Avenida Exequiel Bustillo joins the Circuito Chico, you can pick up a bike from a rental company and cycle through exquisite scenery.
Expect dense forests, hidden lakes (such as the charming Lago Escondido with its picnic perfect wooden platform overlooking the waters) and even uninterrupted vistas from various viewpoints across the spellbinding Lago Nahuel Huapi itself.
Ski or hike around Cerro Catedral
During the winter, the region’s biggest draw is Cerro Catedral ski resort, one of the largest and most modern ski centers in South America. What’s more, with its unparalleled views across the whole region of sky-blue lakes and verdant forests, it’s not just the quality of the skiing that makes this Argentina’s (if not South America’s) most popular resort.
40 lifts reach over 1,400 skiable areas, including extensive stretches of off-piste trails, reflect the millions of dollars of investment that the mountain has received over the past decade. At the base of Cerro Catedral, Villa Catedral is a ski village with an array of accommodations, restaurants and all the après-ski luxuries you need after a hard day’s skiing in the Argentine mountains.
In the summer, the runs become marked hiking trails and allow trekkers to reach Refugio Lynch (sitting at 6,135-ft. (1870m) of elevation), either on foot or by cable car. Continuing along the trail, you can also trek along the main ridge to camp at Refugio Frey, where the spires of Cerro Catedral are reflected in the clear waters of Laguna Tonche.
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