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Visit Bariloche

How to Spend Your Downtime in Bariloche

If you enjoy the great outdoors then Bariloche might just be your paradise on earth. This city snuggled into the mountainous terrain of Southern Argentina, provides the perfect setting for outdoor activities like skiing, trekking, mountain biking and horse ring, not to mention rafting and fishing on the Nahuel Huapi Lake, and all with a beautiful backdrop of snow capped (or often covered) mountains, a glistening lake and truly beautiful countryside and scenery. If you are also thinking that you might like to learn Spanish while you are visiting Bariloche then what better way to do it than to combine your Spanish studies with the opportunity to take part in some of your favourite activities or simply to study Spanish in a unique place of outstanding natural beauty.

Powder Perfect

Cerro Catedral

So, what exactly is on offer in Bariloche when you have some free time? The short answer is: A lot!
When you consider the location of Bariloche, on the shores of Nahuel Huapi lake, nestled in between mountains such as Cerro Otto and Cerro Catedral and the El Alto plateau, it should come as no surprise that this is a city of activity and adventure. Skiing is the main activity carried out here and probably what attracts the most tourists every year. Cerro Catedral is about 20 kilometers outside of the city and and is home to South America's largest lift-accessed ski terrain, with over 100 kilometers of ski runs to try out and a capacity to ski-lift around 30,000 skiers every hour. Powder seekers should find themselves fully satisfied at this high quality resort, complete with downhill runs, jumps, ramps and rails and there are lessons every day. If skiing doesn't tickle your fancy then this ski centre also offers quad biking in the snow, exploring the forest on a snow mobile and also having a go on the downhill snow bikes.

Wonder Walks

Bariloche and the whole area of the Nahuel Huapi National Park provide seemingly endless options when it comes to walking and trekking. Cerro Campanario, Circuito Chico, Cerro Otto and Cerro López, to name but a few, are all highly recommended spots for it, with guaranteed impressive views of the surrounding natural beauty of the area. Cerro Otto also has a cable car you can take up if you are not feeling so energetic. Be sure to check out the revolving restaurant at the top for a drink and a nibble with a spectacular view. At Cerro Tronador there is a particularly impressive black glacier and waterfall to be seen Cruce de Lagos offers you an all day tour where you can see a lot of the sights in and around the Nahuel Huapi Lake from the comfort of your seat on board.

If you fancy doing something a bit different on your day off from your Spanish school in Bariloche, then check out the historic stream train ride, originally started up in 1912 and with all of its original features restored. It takes you on a day long ride to Perito Moreno's Los Juncos station, stopping for two scenic walks along the way and with on board entertainment in the form of a tango show provided. You can save your pennies and bring your own lunch or else chow down on some delicious Patagonian roast lamb.

Alfajores

Speaking of mouth-watering food, you may have heard a small rumour that Argentina knows how to produce and cook a mean steak. Well, you heard right, and on top of that, the best steak restaurant or 'Parrilla' in Argentina is said to be one that is located just 8 kilometers outside of town, called El Boliche de Alberto. Expect queues but also expect huge, juice, delicious steaks. Worth the trip out, even if just to judge for yourself. Whilst Argentina as a whole may be renowned for its mouth watering steaks, the specialty in Bariloche is for those with a bit of a sweeter tooth. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate is the order of the day here. You will see artesanal chocolate shops galore as you walk the streets, and even a chocolate museum, perhaps no surprise when you consider the 'Little Switzerland' nickname often given to the city. However, the origins of chocolate making in Bariloche lie not with a Swiss immigrant, but an Italian gentleman, who came to Bariloche with his wife in 1947, and started making chocolate with another Italian whom he met there. A shop selling chocolate, established by one of these men, still stands today. It is called 'Chocolates de la Turista', quite appropriate when you consider that very few tourists leave Bariloche without a bar or two of chocolate in their suitcase or backpack. Calle Mitre is the street you need to head to in order to get your chocolate fix. It is lined with chocolate shops of every size, shape and decor imaginable, as if out of a fairy tale. Try everything from Argentina's traditional alfajores bathed in creamy milk chocolate to double chocolate coated raspberries to dulce de leche filled chocolate tablets as you walk around this Willy Wonka wonderland in the mountains of Argentina.

Back on the very Argentinian topic of meat, there is another local delicacy you should not miss out on if you get the chance to try it.The practice originates in the Chiloé Archipelago . It is called a 'Curanto' and consists of digging a large pit, heating some river stones on a roaring fire and then placing them in the bottom of the pit, covering them and then placing lots of lovely meat and local vegetables on top, such as lamb, steak, rabbit, chorizo, sweet potatoes, pumpkin stuffed with cheese and even some apples. These are then covered with large leaves and left for an hour or two. As you can probably imagine, the effect is something like a pressure cooker and the end result is some delicious smokey, earthy, filling grub! Nothing could be better than returning from a hard day on the slopes or trekking in the mountains to find one of these going on.

So, should you find yourself with a lot or even a little bit of free time in between Spanish lessons, Bariloche will fill it up for you without a problem, be it with chocolate, a hiking pole or ski boots, there is something here for everyone.