San Carlos de Bariloche is located only 3 hours north of El Bolson. It’s quite a pretty drive through the mountains.
In Bariloche I stayed at Green House Hostel which is 4.7km out of the city centre. I really didn’t mind being out of town because it is really quite touristy. Bariloche is situated on Lago Nahuel Huapi and is surrounded by mountains that are ski fields in the winter.
I ended up going up 2 of the mountains. Cerro Campanerio is about 17km from town gives the most amazing views. It took me about 45 minutes to walk up the mountain as I was stopping to take photos etc – it only took 20 minutes to get down. I wouldn’t call it a hard walk but there is a chairlift for those who don’t want to walk. From the top you can pretty much get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area including all the lakes.
The other mountain I went up was Certo Otto which was only a couple of blocks from my hostel. I took the cable car up this one as I had read it was a much harder walk that Campanerio . At the top there was a revolving restaurant where I had some lunch. Although you get 360 degree views from both mountains and Cerro Otto is higher, I preferred the view from Cerro Campanerio .
I also enjoyed some good food around Bariloche. One day I had lunch at Berlina Brewery located about 12km from town. I’ve really grown attached to ales rojas (red beer) and this brewery did a good one. I also had a pizza here which was so fresh it was amazing. When you don’t get good quality vege on a regular basis it gets very exciting when you do eventually get it.
Nikki had recommended to me a steak restaurant in Bariloche which I tried, twice! El Boliche de Alberto is unlike any other restaurant I’ve been to. For a start the only thing on the menu is steak besides the sides of fries, mash or a salad (if you can call a plate of sliced tomatoes a salad). The guy who takes the food order is the guy who cuts the meat and also cooks it and serves it – very handy if you have questions about cuts of meat etc. Like all asado in South America the meat is cooked over coals. In Alberto’s the cooking takes place in the middle of the restaurant so you can see them work. Alberto’s have 2 restaurants in town and another about 15km out of town. The first time I went I arrived at 8pm when the restaurant opens and had no problems getting a table. The second time I went it was 8.30pm when I arrived and the main restaurant was already completely full. Lucky I got a table around the corner easily but I was prepared to wait.
On both visits to Alberto’s I had Bife de Chorizio cooked medium/medium rare. Both times it was cooked to perfection. On my second visit I was sitting quite close to the cooking area so really got to watch them at work. It did pose the question if the guy who cooked my steak was good looking cos he was or if I thought he was a little bit cute because he cooked me what was probably the best piece of steak in my life….
Overall I thought Bariloche town was way too touristy for me even though the surroundings were amazingly beautiful and the food was fantastic!!
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Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air!