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Your Questions About Skiing In San Carlos De Bariloche Answered

After enjoying an exceptional 14-day ski vacation in San Carlos de Bariloche, commonly known as Bariloche among the locals, I’m thrilled to provide insights and answer frequently asked questions. Feel free to inquire about anything you’d like to know!

Bariloche is often referred to as “Argentina’s Little Switzerland” due to its picturesque alpine architecture, stunning mountainous landscapes, and similarities to the Swiss countryside. Like the charming chalet-style buildings, reminiscent of Swiss villages. While Bariloche has its own unique charm and identity, the nickname “Little Switzerland” captures the essence of its alpine beauty and has become a term of endearment for this Argentine gem.

Overview of Argentina

Argentina operates in a time zone 3 hours behind GMT/UTC. Spanish is the primary language, but English is commonly spoken, especially in tourist areas. Driving is on the right side, and most global citizens receive a 90-day visa upon arrival. To be on the safe side, check your visa requirements before you go.

San Carlos De Bariloche Civic Center Building, snow ski, best time to go, Argentina, travel and home
Bariloche is often referred to as Argentina's Little Switzerland due to its picturesque alpine architecture, stunning mountainous landscapes, and similarities to the Swiss countryside

Is Bariloche considered Patagonia?

Yes, Bariloche is considered part of the Patagonia region in Argentina. Patagonia is a vast and sparsely populated region that encompasses the southernmost parts of Argentina and Chile. Bariloche is located in the northern section of Argentine Patagonia, within the province of Río Negro, and is often referred to as the gateway to Patagonia.

The region is known for its stunning landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and forests. Bariloche, situated in the Andes mountain range and along the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, showcases the natural beauty that characterizes Patagonia. The area around Bariloche offers a mix of outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and exploring the picturesque surroundings that make Patagonia a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.

What is special about Bariloche?

Get ready for a natural wonder! Tronador Mountain, a once-fiery stratovolcano, now stands peacefully in the southern Andes near Bariloche.  Mother Nature’s artwork at its finest!

Double the beauty alert! Tronador Mountain doesn’t come alone – it shares the stage with the stunning Nahuel Huapi Lake near Bariloche.  It’s a postcard-perfect duo that’ll leave you in awe.

Award-Winning Destinations

San Carlos de Bariloche added a cherry on top by winning the World Travel Award in 2023 for being South America’s Leading Honeymoon Destination. This town knows how to collect accolades, having snagged the title of Argentina’s Leading Destination in 2021 as well!

San Carlos de Bariloche, snow ski, mountains, Argentina, travel and home
Things to do in Bariloche in winter, snow ski, walkable, chocolates, Argentina, travel and home

What is Bariloche Argentina known for?

Bariloche has hosted international skiing competitions, attracting top athletes and showcasing its prowess as a premier skiing destination. But there’s more that this beautiful ski town is known for…

Chocolate, chocolates and chocolates. And ice cream. Yes, in the winter! Their ice cream is the best and as for the chocolates… it’s a chocoholic’s dream. The sweet scent of chocolate fills the air. So, all you have to do is follow your nose and soon you will find yourself inside a chocolaterie. One of dozens.  

How do you get around Bariloche without a car?

In addition to walking, Bariloche offers various transportation options for getting around without a car (which is what we did):

  • Local Buses: Bariloche has an efficient and affordable local bus system that can take you to different parts of the town and its outskirts. It’s a convenient way to explore the area. But, here’s the catch: If the bus is bursting at the seams, it might just breeze past you! No worries, though. To save precious skiing minutes, we hopped into taxis most of the time. Because let’s be real, every minute on the slopes counts!

  • Taxis: Taxis (our preferred mode of transport) are readily available in Bariloche and can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands. They provide a more comfortable and private mode of transportation.

Things to do in Bariloche in winter, snow ski, ski in snow, Argentina, travel and home

What months can you ski in Bariloche?

Like neighboring Chile ski resorts, the ski season in Argentina generally runs from mid-June until October. The best time for resort skiing and snowboarding is mid-July until mid-September. We had plenty of snow end of August/beginning of September. The first week (end of August) was cloudy and rainy, but the second week (beginning of September) made up for it with plenty of sunshine.

What is the coldest month in Bariloche?

July, taking the crown as the coldest month, lives up to its chilly reputation. Brace yourselves for an average temperature of 2.6 °C (37 °F), dancing between a frosty minimum of -2.2 °C (28 °F) and a modest maximum of 7.3 °C (45.1 °F). When the coldest nights hit, expect the mercury to dip to around -11 °C (12 °F).

How long should you stay in Bariloche?

The ideal duration for a snow ski holiday in Bariloche depends on various factors, including your preferences, skiing proficiency, and the activities you want to explore. However, a general recommendation for a satisfying ski trip in Bariloche would be around 5 to 7 days. Here’s a breakdown:

Skiing Time: For avid skiers, spending at least 4 to 5 days on the slopes allows ample time to explore the various runs, improve skills, and fully enjoy the winter sports experience.

Exploration and Relaxation: Bariloche offers more than just skiing. If you want to explore the charming town, engage in other winter activities like snowshoeing or take scenic boat tours, consider extending your stay to a week. This allows a balance between skiing and experiencing the local culture and surroundings.

Weather Considerations: Be mindful of weather conditions, especially if you want to catch the best snow conditions for skiing. Planning a slightly longer stay provides flexibility in case of unexpected weather changes.

As I said before, the duration of your stay depends on your personal preferences. For example contrary to the recommended 5 to 7 days in Bariloche, we stayed for two weeks. It took us about 20 hours from our point of departure to Bariloche. The lengthy journey motivated us to maximize our time in this scenic haven; a decision we don’t regret.

Snowboarding at Cerro Catedral, snow
Snowboarding at Cerro Catedral

Is it expensive to ski in Argentina?

The cost of skiing in Argentina can vary based on factors such as the resort you choose, the time of year, and your preferences. Here’s a breakdown to give you an idea:

Lessons and Guided Tours: If you’re a beginner or looking for guided experiences, factor in the cost of lessons or tours. Ski schools often offer packages for different skill levels.

Food and Extras: Dining and additional activities can contribute to expenses. Eating at on-mountain restaurants may be pricier than bringing your own snacks.

Currency Exchange: Keep in mind that exchange rates can influence costs for international visitors. Be aware of the current exchange rate and plan accordingly.

Travel Tip(s)

In Bariloche, Argentina, the official currency is the Argentine Peso (ARS). It’s advisable to have some local currency on hand for small purchases, as not all places may accept credit cards, especially in more remote areas. You can exchange money at banks, currency exchange offices, or use ATMs to withdraw Argentine Pesos. Usually, USDs are a good backup.

Time of Year: The peak ski season in Argentina typically runs from July to August. During this time, prices for accommodations, lift tickets, and other services might be higher. Choosing to ski during the shoulder seasons may offer more budget-friendly options.

Accommodation: Accommodation costs can vary significantly. Opting for budget-friendly options or considering hotel accommodations can impact overall expenses.  Use these links to compare your options:

Travel Tip(s)

Equipment Rental

Renting skiing equipment can add to the overall cost. Look for package deals that include lift tickets and equipment rental, potentially saving you money. And you want to pre-order so you are guaranteed the best equipment before they’re taken.

Bariloche, Book Cerro Catedral Ski Passes and hire Equipment, skis. ski poles
Pre-order and get your Cerro Catedral Ski Passes and hire equipment at the same time.
Travel Tip(s)

Scan for seasonal deals before booking your stay.

If you have a bar fridge in your hotel room, check with reception whether the content is on the house, or pay as you use.

Snow ski vacation in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

What is the name of a popular ski station in Bariloche Argentina?

Cerro Catedral is the star of the show in Bariloche, Argentina. This popular ski station is nestled in the Andes, offering breathtaking slopes and stunning views. 

How big is Bariloche ski resort?

Cerro Catedral’s skiable terrain of over 3,000 acres is approximately 12.14 square kilometers. This vast area provides plenty of space for a variety of slopes and winter activities.

Is Bariloche good for skiing?

What altitude is Bariloche?

The snow in Bariloche is often lighter and drier than in many other ski destinations, offering excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the ski resorts in Bariloche feature terrain parks with jumps, rails, and obstacles for freestyle enthusiasts.

For Beginners: New to the slopes? Fear not! Cerro Catedral provides gentle, wide slopes designed specifically for beginners. The Bunny Hill, nestled near the base, is the perfect starting point. It offers a gradual descent, allowing novices to build confidence and master the basics of skiing.

Intermediate Magic: If you’ve conquered the beginner slopes and are ready for more challenges, intermediate skiers can revel in the joy of diverse terrain. Explore the Del Bosque run, weaving through enchanting wooded areas, providing an immersive experience in the heart of nature. The varied terrain ensures an exciting journey with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.

For the Advanced Adventurer: For the thrill-seekers and seasoned skiers, Cerro Catedral presents a plethora of advanced runs that will get your adrenaline pumping. The Nubes and Condor runs are steep and demanding, offering a thrilling descent with panoramic views of the Andes as your backdrop. These challenging slopes are designed to test your skills and provide an exhilarating experience for the most daring skiers.

Travel Tip(s)

Download the Catedral piste map in PDF (document) or jpeg (image) format.

Personal Recommendations for Must-Try Runs:

“Cóndor” – Expert’s Delight: Located at the summit, Cóndor is a black diamond run that offers a challenging descent with breathtaking views. It’s a must-try for advanced skiers seeking an adrenaline rush.

“Amancay” – Scenic Intermediacy: Intermediates will find joy in Amancay, a trail that winds through picturesque landscapes, combining the thrill of skiing with the beauty of Bariloche’s natural surroundings.

“Pista Uno” – Beginner’s Confidence Builder: For beginners looking to hone their skills, Pista Uno provides a gentle slope near the base, allowing newcomers to progress at their own pace and gain confidence on the snow.

Travel Tip(s)
  • Take advantage of ski school programs for personalized lessons based on your skill level.
  • Explore the mountain progressively, gradually moving from easier to more challenging slopes.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy the breathtaking scenery – take a moment to pause and absorb the beauty of the Andes Mountains.
The best month to go to Bariloche, Argentina, travel and home
Things to do in Bariloche in winter, snow ski, best time to go, Argentina, travel and home
View from the top of Cerro Catedral sky station near San Carlos de Bariloche, overlooking Lake Gutiérrez in the Argentinian Andes
View from the top of Cerro Catedral sky station near San Carlos de Bariloche, overlooking Lake Gutiérrez in the Argentinian Andes

What can non-skiers do in Bariloche?

Plenty of exploring awaits…

Isla Victoria: Embark on a boat trip to Isla Victoria on Lake Nahuel Huapi. This island sanctuary offers serene landscapes, indigenous flora, and fauna, providing a peaceful escape from the winter hustle.

Colonia Suiza’s Winter Fair: For a truly authentic experience, venture to Colonia Suiza during the winter fair. This charming village hosts a market where you can relish traditional foods, handmade crafts, and lively music, immersing yourself in the local culture.

Civic Center’s Swiss Clock: Stroll through Bariloche’s Civic Center on the town square and discover the Swiss-style architecture. The iconic Swiss Clock adds a touch of Old World charm to the town.

Artisanal Beer Tasting: Bariloche is renowned for its craft beers. Visit local breweries for a taste of unique flavors, each brew capturing the essence of the region. It’s a delightful way to unwind after a day of winter activities.

Snow activities beyond skiing: Bariloche offers diverse winter activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Julio A. Roca Statue: In the heart of Bariloche, Argentina, you’ll find the Julio A. Roca Statue holding court in the town square. This statue isn’t just a piece of bronze; it’s a heartfelt dedication to Julio Argentino Roca, a bigwig in Argentine politics and military history. Back in the late 19th century, Roca donned the hat of the President of Argentina, leaving an indelible mark on the country’s development.

Lunch at Confitería Giratoria: Buy a day ticket for the cable car and meet up with friends and family in the rotating restaurant. Once you’ve reached the top via the cable car at 1,405 meters, treat yourself to magnificent panoramic views. Art lovers will enjoy the life-size casts of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s masterpieces—The David, The Moses, and La Piedad. Also, check out the small cinema and disco at Otto House Music. 

Go on a day-trip adventure: Join a small group tour and let Mother Nature be your host as you explore the breathtaking scenic landscapes around Bariloche. The Seven Lakes tour unveils a natural masterpiece featuring the stunning Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner, Hermoso, and Machonico lakes. 

Is it walkable in Bariloche?

Bariloche is a walkable town, especially in the central areas where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and attractions. Walking allows you to explore the picturesque surroundings, and the town’s layout is conducive to pedestrian exploration.

San Carlos de Bariloche, Julio Argentino statue, town square, history, Argentina, travel and home
Julio Argentino Roca statue on town square.

Explore scenic landscapes around Bariloche

Pack your sense of wonder and let the exploration begin!

Bariloche Lakes & San Martin de Los Andes Road Trip
Bariloche Lakes & San Martin de Los Andes Road Trip
Travel Tip(s)

Lunch at the rotating cafeteria

You don’t have to ski to enjoy a meal at the 360-degree rotating cafeteria. Buying a day ticket will get you there via a 4-seater cable car.

Enjoy a meal and a hot beverage at the Rotating Cafeteria, unique to South America
Enjoy a meal and a hot beverage at the Rotating Cafeteria, unique to South America.

What food and drinks is Bariloche known for?

Explore the diverse local cuisine, from Argentine steaks to traditional stews. And if you’re into a great glass of red wine, try Malbec from the Mendoza region. Mendoza, located to the northeast, is renowned for its Malbec vineyards and is considered the heart of Argentina’s wine country.

Iconic revolving restaurant, “Confitería Giratoria.”

One noteworthy attraction is the Cerro Catedral cable car, which provides not only breathtaking views but also convenient access to the iconic revolving restaurant, “Confitería Giratoria.” The cable car ascent to the summit at a cool 1,405 meters above sea level. 

Situated atop Cerro Catedral, this rotating restaurant offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Nahuel Huapi. It’s a unique experience where you can savor delicious cuisine while the restaurant slowly turns, giving you a 360-degree perspective of the stunning landscape.

So, after a day of snow-filled adventures, you can hop on the cable car for a scenic ride and treat yourself to a delightful meal at this one-of-a-kind restaurant. It’s a perfect way to top off your winter excursion in Bariloche.

Apres-Ski Delights

After hitting the slopes, indulge in the vibrant apres-ski scene. 

The apres-ski magic in Bariloche truly comes to life in the town rather than on the slopes. Picture this: charming streets adorned with cozy cafes, bustling restaurants, and lively bars. The town of Bariloche itself becomes a hub for post-skiing delights.

After a day on the slopes, you’ll find a diverse range of restaurants serving up local delicacies. From hearty Argentine steaks to comforting stews, the culinary scene is a treat for your taste buds.

The town’s bars and pubs are where the real apres-ski spirit thrives. Live music, friendly locals, and a warm mountain vibe make for unforgettable evenings. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the renowned local craft beers and, of course, indulge in Bariloche’s world-famous chocolates.

So, while the slopes offer breathtaking views and thrilling runs, it’s in the town of Bariloche where the apres-ski memories are truly made.

Can I drink tap water in Bariloche?

Yes, it is generally safe to drink tap water in Bariloche. Argentina, including Bariloche, often has good water quality standards, and tap water is considered safe for consumption. However, individual preferences may vary, and some people may choose to drink bottled water for convenience or personal reasons.

If you have any concerns or if you’re particularly sensitive to changes in water sources, you can always opt for bottled water, which is widely available in stores and supermarkets in Bariloche.

It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated, especially when engaging in activities like skiing or exploring the beautiful surroundings.

San Carlos de Bariloche, known for chocolates and craft beer, Argentina, travel and home
San Carlos de Bariloche, restaurant in downtown, apre ski, Argentina, travel and home
San Carlos de Bariloche, restaurant in the mountains, Argentina, travel and home

How do you get to Bariloche Argentina?

Getting to Bariloche, Argentina, usually involves air travel or bus journeys, as it’s a city located in the Andean region of Patagonia. 

Travel Tip(s)

If you are traveling from Buenos Aires, consider both flights and overnight buses as options. Flights are quicker, but bus journeys allow you to enjoy the scenic landscapes of Patagonia.

  • Make reservations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure better prices and availability.

  • Check for seasonal variations in flight and bus schedules, as they may be influenced by weather conditions.

  • If you plan to explore other parts of Patagonia, you can also consider combining your visit to Bariloche with nearby destinations like El Calafate or San Martin de los Andes.

Here are the primary ways to reach Bariloche:

By Bus: Long-distance buses are another option for reaching Bariloche. Bus services operate from various cities, including Buenos Aires, El Calafate, and Mendoza. The journey time can vary depending on the starting point.

By Air:  Bariloche City has an international airport, San Carlos de Bariloche Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Teniente Luis Candelaria), with domestic and limited international flights. You can fly directly to Bariloche from Buenos Aires, El Calafate, and other major cities.

From Buenos Aires: Direct flights are available from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche Airport. The flight duration is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.

From Other Cities: Some flights connect Bariloche with cities like El Calafate, Mendoza, and Cordoba.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for suggested links to get the cheapest flight tickets.

Travel Tip(s)

Pre-plan your arrival or departure airport transfer

Transfer to/from BRC Bariloche Airport with a hassle-free 1-way or round-trip transfer in a comfy, air-conditioned vehicle whisking you to or from your city center hotel. Say goodbye to travel stress!

Bariloche Way or Round Trip to from Bariloche Airport, BRC, Airport Transfer
Bariloche: 1-Way or Round-Trip BRC Airport Transfer.

Is it worth going to Bariloche?

Bariloche has hosted international skiing competitions, attracting top athletes and showcasing its prowess as a premier skiing destination.

Bariloche is unquestionably worth a visit for its stunning Andean landscapes, renowned ski resorts, and charming town with Swiss-inspired architecture along the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The city offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, from skiing and hiking to boat tours, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. Bariloche’s unique culinary experiences, friendly local culture, and the opportunity for both adventure and relaxation further contribute to its appeal. With vibrant festivals and events adding a cultural touch, Bariloche promises a well-rounded and captivating travel experience for those seeking the beauty of Patagonia and the warmth of Argentine hospitality.

Things to do in Bariloche in winter, snow ski, ski resort, Argentina, travel and home
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Travel Tip(s)

Layer up with insulating and waterproof outerwear to stay warm and protected in extreme cold.

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Stay at Argentina's Best Ski Boutique Hotel

Award-Winning Hotels & Resorts

This place is an absolute gem nestled in the heart of the stunning Patagonian landscape. It’s no surprise it snagged Argentina’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel award, in 2020 and kept it until 2023, by the prestigious World Travel Awards.

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Andes Mountains and overlooking the pristine Nahuel Huapi Lake, the views from this lodge are nothing short of mesmerizing.

With access to some of the best slopes in South America, you’ll be carving down the powder like a pro in no time. And when you’re ready to take a break, the lodge offers top-notch ski services and equipment rentals to ensure you have everything you need for an epic day on the mountain.

Extend your trip

Travel Tip(s)

Maximize your Buenos Aires and Bariloche experience! After flying into Buenos Aires, we dove into the city’s vibrancy, fueled by a determination to explore every corner. Limited sleep didn’t deter us. Soon after, we jetted off to hit the slopes in Bariloche. Post-skiing, our return to Buenos Aires was a second act waiting to unfold – a story for another day. Yet, I’ll leave you with a nugget of wisdom: consider spending time in Buenos Aires before or after Bariloche. Trust me, it’s worth seizing the opportunity!