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Bariloche | Argentina

Bariloche, our last destination with mum and dad before they flew back to New Zealand in October.

But before Bariloche we first passed through Gaston’s home town of Cinco Saltos, Rio Negro so that our families could meet for the first time and also to pick up Gaston’s mum so she could come with us on a mini trip. We didn’t stay too long as there is not much to do and see tourist wise in September in this area of Argentina.From Cinco Saltos the bus to Bariloche is around 300-350 pesos ($57 – $67 aud) per person one way and takes around 7 hours to get there. Although if you are going down this way you probably wouldn’t be stopping through Cinco Saltos, Neuquen is the closest big city.We decided to take an early morning bus so we could see the sites along the way, which are beautiful when arriving into Bariloche, im told by my parents… I was sleeping.
We arrived to snow capped mountains, a chilly looking lake and a frosty wind to greet us, and at least I wondered why we had chosen to spend 10 days here instead of having a few extra days in the warmer north.
Luckily Bariloche is well equipped for the cold with lots of comforting chocolate and cakes.
We had pre booked an apartment through airbnb for the first few days, but after that we had to find some new accommodation as it was all booked out after that.
When pre booking accommodation in Bariloche  make sure you question about the location, especially if you don’t plan on hiring a car. There are a lot of accommodation options a few kilometres away from the actual centre itself, closer to the mountains. And even when they are close to the centre it is good to realise that the area is quite hilly, so even if you are only 4 blocks away form the centre you may find your self climbing mountains to get back home. Which is fine if you’re young but if you’re  a bit older it may be something to consider.
Turista and Rapa Nui seem to be the two largest chocolate shop/cafes on Bariloche’s main street Mitre, but there are also plenty of other options Fenoglio (the original chocolate family of Bariloche), Franton, Abuela Goye and Mamushka to name a few.
I normally don’t drink anything but water but the rich, thick chocolate substance at both Rapa Nui and Turista tempted me to try. It’s almost like drinking pure melted chocolate.
Turista’s Hot chocolate was slightly thicker than Rapa Nui but for me Rapa Nui’s chocolate was a bit more bitter sweet and the environment a lot nicer, also coming with free chocolate to nibble on they won the favourite. They also have some delicious ice-cream as well.
Places to visit /  Things to do.
Fonoglio Chocolate Museum, (Avenida Exequiel Bustillo 1200)
The Fonoglio’s were the first family to open a chocolate factory in Bariloche and apparently Bariloche is where the chocolate en Rama or as we know it in Australia and NZ the Flake chocolate was invented, if you are there on a weekday you can watch the chocolate making in action, if you get there on the weekend you can walk through the museum with a complementary cup of hot chocolate and learn some interesting facts.
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El Tren de Bariloche City Tour.

This tour is 50 pesos each and takes you not only around the city itself but behind the city and into the suburbs, the last stop being at another chocolate factory with yet another hot chocolate to greet you with. The tour is guided in Spanish and leaves from the town centre, you can ask the information centre if you can’t find it.

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Asociación Paleontologica Bariloche (Waterfront of Lake Nahuel Huapi, Cnr 12 de Octubre ave and Calle Sarmiento)
This place doesn’t look like a traditional museum, more like a hobbyist’s back shed but it is full of treasures dating back to 300 million years ago. Mainly fossils from around the south of Argentina but also including some insect and flora fossils from other parts of the world. Worth a look.

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Hosteria Nogare (Elflein 62)
This is where we stayed for the next week after the place we found on airbnb, We had a bit of trouble finding a place as it happened we arrived again in the middle of student festivities and most of the hotels were booked out with students. We were lucky however with Hosteria Nogare, the workers there are AMAZING, friendly, helpful, the rooms are super clean and the breakfast is pretty good as well including regional jams with toasts. Highly 
Recommended.

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Covita, Cocina Natural (O’connor 511, in front of cathedral)

Yummy Vegetarian restaurant right opposite the cathedral, they have a daily menu which we all had which happened to be 35 pesos ($6.72 aud) each for a glass of either homemade raspberry or lemonade, vegetable pat tie, beetroot dip, roast vegetables and salad.

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Teleferico Cerro Otto
You can buy a ticket from the centre of town for this trip, they are situated in a little wooden cabin on the street opposite Aerolineas Argentinas. The ticket is 100 pesos ($19.20 aud) per person and includes the bus trip there and back, and the return teleferico ride to the top of the mountain and back. At the top there is an amazing view, a gallery with life sized reproductions of a few of Michelangelo’s statues including ‘David’ and a rotating restaurant which is nice enough but the food not that great, and pretty expensive.

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Hotel Llao Llao
This place is pretty amazing! It was a bit out of our price range to stay at being a luxury Hotel and Golf Resort, but you can always pretend. The Restaurant is open to the public so we decided to take a bus and have lunch there, Silver plater service for toasted sandwiches, hot chocolate once again and a look around the hotel and grounds. The buses too and from the town run every 20 minutes and there is a stop right outside the hotel.

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Colonia Suiza
Colonia Suiza is 1 hour by public bus from Bariloche centre. It’s a good idea to line up at the station well in advance of the bus leaving as from experience its pretty uncomfortable to stand for an hour in a crowded bus, especially when it goes on to dirt road.
It is a pretty, secluded little village with a few artisan shops and restaurants and also 2-3 times a week there is an artisan fair, It pays to find out when this is on as it could be quite boring here coming on a day when nothing is happening and the bus’s don’t run so often. You can buy jewellery, chocolate, beers and there is a traditional swiss underground roast as well on certain days which you can try. Because this isn’t vegetarian we decided on lunch at the elaborately wood carved restaurant of ‘Las Siete Cabritas’ where the vegetarians enjoyed wok vegetables and the non vege’s Guiso of lentils and fish.
If you walk to the end of the town and past the camping grounds you will get to the lake which is Beautiful and peaceful seen as it isn’t that visible to see how to get to it.

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Villa La Angostura
Villa La Angostura is another pretty little town only 1 hour 15 minutes from Bariloche 36 pesos ($7 aud) per person by bus each way. At the end of November 2011 the area was covered in ash when the Chilean volcano ‘Puyehue’ exploded, but the tourism is starting to come back and they have made the most of a bad situation by crafting the ash in to collectables and souvenirs.
All the people in the restaurants and shops seemed to be super friendly, the man in the chocolate shop we went to said that the motto of Villa La Angostura was that you can try anything without compromise, so he fed us lots of free chocolate and of course we bought a box to share too.
We asked a local shopkeeper to recommend a good place for lunch and she pointed us towards ‘Nicoletto, restaurant de pastas caseras’ If you are just visiting for the day it can be easily missed as it is not on the main road, but the extra effort is well worth it. We all agreed it was the best pasta we had ever had. All made fresh and beautifully presented. If you are staying in Villa La Angostura for a while you can also get the pasta to takeaway and make at home. It was rainy and cold the day we visited so didn’t get to walk around too much, but I have heard there are some nice walks and lake views when it is a nice day.

 

El Boliche de Alberto, Pastas (Corner     Villegas and Elfein)

Also another amazingly good pasta place, you can actually view the pasta being freshly rolled out and filled while you are waiting. They also do delicious stuffed gnocchi’s and massive lasagne portions that are plenty enough for 2 people. It is also really reasonably priced. They have a few different El Boliche de Alberto’s 2 specialising in Parilla or BBQ and the other specialising in Pasta which is the one I am talking about here.
Overall Bariloche is a pretty amazing place, for someone like me to enjoy a place that is cold is a pretty big thing. After our 10 days Mum and Dad took a flight form Bariloche direct to Buenos Aires the same day as their flight so they wouldn’t have to deal with Buenos Aires hustle and bustle again… They had made it 6 weeks without anything bad happening and didn’t want to risk it with a night in BA. The national flights only fly to the Jorge Newberry Airport which is around 40 minutes from Ezeiza, the international airport but you can use Manuel Tienda Leon’s service from Aeroparque to Aeropuerto Ezeiza for 85 pesos ($16.32 aud) per person and can book online before hand for the time you want.
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twotontosBariloche | Argentina