Friday, November 8, 2013

#755 Bariloche, Argentina

On the edge of the Andes on a beautiful tree-ringed lake, with superb bays and inlets, and spectacular snow capped peaks peering down on the town, is the capital of Argentina's Lake District: San Carlos de Bariloche.
A popular destination for groups of Argentinian teenagers in summer celebrating their end of year, and the most famous ski destination in the region in winter, it is an outdoorsy place, whether for fishing, hiking, climbing or generally enjoying the scenery. The town itself is dotted along the shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi, with the elite Llao Llao resort at one end and the airport at the other. 2000m high peaks flank the town's back slopes with a beautiful funicular/gondola ride up Cerro Cathedral to more rolling hills and trails and spectacular views over the lake.
The main square has a Swiss-Patagonian vibe that is enhanced by the amazing chocolate for sale on every corner. The Civic Center buildings of local stone were built in 1940 and are now a national monument. The town was only founded as recently as 1902 (1250 inhabitants by 1909)and made accessible with the arrival of the Ferrocarril Roca train in 1934.
The name of the town comes from Mapudungen for 'people behind the mountain' and it has grown to be an important Argentinian center although it previously had closer ties to Chile than Buenos Aires.
Source: Lonely Planet Argentina 8th Edition 2012

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