When we first mentioned our plans to travel through Argentina, Bariloche was at the top of many of our friends’ lists as a good place to stop off. Mountains, chocolate, craft beer? I’m game.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in love with Bariloche itself. After a few weeks camping in Patagonia, and a few days in the very chill El Bolson, it was just too much for us. Trails closed due to weather. Very touristy. Expensive. Etc.
But that’s not to say we didn’t have some great experiences in the area – Despite a rude introduction to the region by a swindler. A story for another post.
We started with a couple nights right in town. By day, we sampled chocolates from all of the homemade chocolate factories. So good. We may have capped off our chocolate tour with an ice cream, too. Lay off! We’d just spent weeks working in the mountains!
On our second night in town, we took a tip from a fellow hostel goer in El Bolson, who told us that the world’s #1 Queen cover band was playing at a craft beer festival! We bought tix, rocked up to the firefighters’ gymnasium and stood around awkwardly sampling beers until some of our fellow travel companions arrived. Happy to see familiar (if still essentially strangers’) faces, we all enjoyed local craft brews and snacks until God Save The Queen came on stage.
Now, I’m not a huge Queen fan. Sure, I know the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody and Another Bites The Dust etc, but after this show – during which I felt like I saw the real Queen, the front-man doing a PERFECT Freddie Mercury – I’m a huge fan. So many hits! Funniest part though, was one acoustic song they played, sort of a ballad that I had never heard before… but Annie, me and the other American were in the minority. The entire audience was BELTING out the lyrics. Apparently it was a huge hit in Argentina. Go figure. Fun night.
Next day we tried to put on our least dirty clothes and headed to Hotel Llao Llao, an amazing resort where we had one night compliments of Annie’s “Uncle Chuck.” – THANK YOU CHUCK!
Llao Llao is beautifully situated on a lake (featured image at top) far outside of Bariloche itself. Stunning views, great atmosphere, clean!, large room to ourselves – not a tent, not a hostel! – such a welcome change of pace for a night. We headed out for a great hike overlooking a bunch of lakes, and yeah, we enjoyed our bathrobes in our room, too.
At a glance…
- Adventure up into the nearby mountains, hiking to the refugios.
- Eat chocolates at Rapanui and Mamuschka.
- Don’t feed the dogs. Like almost all of South America, there are stray dogs everywhere. They are cute. You may feel an urge to befriend one, and even save some bacon scraps for him because he waited outside the restaurant for you, but don’t do that! Unless of course you want him to then follow you to the grocery store, wait for you, follow you to the chocolate shop, wait for you, and then follow you a mile plus to your hostel, causing fights with other dogs that aren’t feral. Just eat the bacon or leave it on your plate.
- Don’t accept hospitality from anyone without asking if there’s a price.
- Tip All chocolate places hand out samples. Wait for them to offer before placing your order!