The remainder of our time in Bariloche was filled with more outdoor outings. There are so many cerros (mountains) to climb and Refugios to check out in Bariloche it was hard to choose, but we paced ourselves and ended up trekking a handful of the top rated trails/peaks.
- Cerro Llao Llao – We trekked up this short dusty trail when we were biking the Circuito Chico earlier in our stay. It took us about 30 minutes and the view of a couple different lakes was beautiful on the clear day. A quick jog down and we jumped back on our bikes.
- Cerro Campanario – This short (25 minute), steep hike we did together the first time and Will hiked it again in the early morning in 18 minutes a few days later to do some photography of the sunrise. He didn’t get the shot he was hoping for but saw the sun rise in all its glory. This Cerro is popular because one can take a chair lift to the top… We call that cheating (unless your elderly or have a decent excuse).
- Cerro Otto – This one we hiked on a whim and were unprepared. I was feeling anxious all day and needed to do something like go running, but instead we jogged 3k to the Otto trailhead and started up the steep unclearly marked path. The midday temps were high so we drank the one water bottle we brought quickly. An hour and twenty minutes later we reached the top so tired and in need of fuel. Little did we know the rotating restaurant at the top cost $130 pesos each (just to get in) and then we’d have to pay for food. Yeah right! Fortunately we remembered passing a Refugio with a happy hour sign. We used the little energy we had to walk 15 mins down to this small wooden cabin on the side of the mountain with a view of the lake. We quickly ordered some stuffed trout and a pizza. This food was amazing and fresh and I’m not just saying that because we were starved. They make pizza like Italians — enough said. The pizza fueled the jog back.
- Cerro Cathedral (to Refugio Frey) – we told you about in our last post. It was the longest trek and most popular trail since the rock climbing is great and it is the most popular winter mountain.
- Cerro Bella Vista – We joined our British Airbnb host for this very steep, dusty hike to the very top of Bella Vista. The three of us carried on
talking about travels (she traveled the world solo a little over 10 years ago) for the beginning of the hike then we all went our own pace for the rest. We rested at the false summit and prepped ourselves for a bit of a scramble to the peak. This view topped all the views. It was the highest at ft elevation and provided us with a 360 view of lakes, Tronador (with it’s glacier to the west) and surrounding mountains. We ate lunch at the top before the wind picked up then headed down. Our knees didn’t appreciate the steep decent, but the four hour trek was well worth a bit of pain. A trek that long called for a cervesa so our host took us to the oldest and most popular Cervasaria in Bariloche, Blest, and we cheers our ciders/beers to a successful day outdoors.
- Cerro Lopez (to Refugio Lopez) – on our last full day we woke up early to hike to the Refugio on Lopez. We rode the bus to the trailhead with a bunch of niños who where headed to school further down the bus
line. We couldn’t help laugh at the sleepy eyed kids being put on the bus by mom, who fist bumped the bus driver as they boarded and instantly spotted their group of friends to sit by. When we began up the trail we noticed two playful black dogs following in march. We thought nothing of it because around every corner a begging dog is bound to appear in AR. But after 20 minutes of hiking they were in front of us checking to make sure we were coming or they were going the right way. An hour and a half later we reached the Refugio with our hiking dogs (newly named Bob-rah and Marley, both female) in tow. As usual, the view was spectacular with the sun rising in the cloudless sky. The Refugio was a pink three story house with a giant porch. We headed back down, and I insisted we have the homeless dogs join us and didn’t want to leave them up a mountain. I know, I’m a sap and got attached to our new friends :). So the four of us trekked down. We passed some German men who asked us if they were our dogs, when we said no they told us a dog had joined them on a different hike previously. Maybe it’s a fun thing that dogs do here or a begging tactic. We parted ways at the end; Will and I ate lunch and took the bus back.
Aside from the cerros and trekking we took a day trip to Villa La Angostura which is about an hour northwest of Bariloche to see it’s National Park. While there we took a boat cruise along to the end of the peninsula where the Arrayanes forest was. We walked through the forest admiring the dense, tangled trees. We decided to walk back to town, yet by kilometer 10 we regretted that decision. We pushed through to the end of the walk and decided to hitchhike the last 3k into town along the road. The two guys that gave us ride looked like fishermen and offered us Matè but we didn’t take (too bitter for me). In the tiny town we immediately bought more water, bananas, Will splurged on ice cream and I entered into a Dietetica for the first time. Dieteticas are mini health food stores that have bulk natural foods, so, naturally, I bought a load of trail mix, tortilla chips (first time we found them) and green tea. I’ll be finding a Dietetica again.
Along with our adventures we did have to eat and drink. Well, we didn’t have to drink, but Will did. We were happy to find the grocery store and verdularia within walking distance, and we did a fair amount of cooking in our Air BnB. It was simple stuff like beets, carrots, batatas (sweet potatoes) along with chicken and steak. In the mornings we cooked eggs, downed a banana, and we often took cans of tuna and crackers plus apples on our treks. I made a few smoothies with the local fruit and veggies, too (bummer blenders are compact or easily portable! We ate at few of the local restaurants. One of our favorite meals was an amazing dish of locally caught trout with a tasty, tangy orange citrus sauce and a side of roasted veggies.
Bariloche is also well known for it’s cervecerias, or breweries which was great for Will. Here’s his take on the beer scene:
All right, beer, one of my specialties. There were a lot of cervecerias in Bariloche, and while I didn’t try them all, I did get a taste of what they had to offer. The first one I tried was on our Circuito Chico at Gilbert’s. I enjoyed a really tasty IPA. It was smooth and creamy, and it tasted like it may have been on a nitro keg, but I couldn’t be sure. Next up I was at Dagda Beerhouse, where they had 5 local breweries on tap, and I tried 3 of them. The scene there was very cool, I was listening to some alternative american rock eating shelled, unsalted peanuts. Most all windows and doors were wide open, and I was sitting in a nice corner underneath an open window. It was happy hour and I ordered 3 “media pintas” or half pints in total, my first one was the Roja Amber by Pilker. It was a smooth and golden amber ale with a sweet nose and a malty taste. I then moved on to a Pale Ale by Murrayana. It had a familiar ale nose, but a soft, golden taste. A little malty and not much bite, and overall a pretty weak pale ale. It was finally time for an IPA. The one I tried was the Pestrébola Roja IPA. Not too much of a nose, but a delicious taste. It was softer than the IPAs back home, but hit the spot. The best beer out of all 3.
I had a beer with dinner at Kuntsmann (no snickering, Daddio), and had an incredibly refreshing pilsner from Blest (mentioned above) after our hike — man was that a tasty beverage. I finished off my beers in Bariloche with 2 for 1 happy hour at La Cruz. This had the ambiance of a brew pub from Portland or Bend. I “tested” (drank) their Scotch Roble, English Pale, and then had 2 pints of their IPA. The IPA was the cream of the crop! Life’s too short to drink Stella in Bariloche, go for the cervecerias!
The last days were spent relaxing and prepping for the next leg of our journey. I enjoyed some paddle boarding, went running with our British host, and Will cooked us some delicious steak with veggies. Our Bariloche visit was unforgettable and will likely one of our favorites on this trip since it’s “like Bend, Oregon on steroids”, said a new Bariloche resident we met, originally from Bend.
Now we’re off to Posadas (the very top of Argentina, across a river from Paraguay) and Iguazu to see the all mighty falls!