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SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE

This city is on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and surrounded by a wonderful landscape of mountains, hills and forests of cypress and coihues. It is considered the capital of the southern lakes, the main tourist center of the Province of Río Negro and a great attraction for foreign tourists, especially during the winter season, because it has several different ski slopes.
It is located 1640 kilometers southwest from the City of Buenos Aires and 845 km from Viedma, the capital of the Province of Río Negro.



Because of its strategic location, near the Nahuel Huapi National Park and surrounded by beautiful landscape, the attractions are endless, both for active and passive tourism. It also has a Casino.

The city's name refers to a mountain pass near Tronador, known as "Vuriloche" and the name of a German businessman who built the first house in 1895, "Don Carlos Wiederhold”.
Communication routes: National Road No. 40 (Cabo Vírgenes, Santa Cruz Province - La Quiaca,  Jujuy Province).
Ministry of Tourism: Civic Center, tel: 02944-429850 / 429896.
Bus Station: 2400  12 de Octubre Avenue
Provincial Directorate of Tourism: 605   12 de Octubre Avenue, tel.: 02944-423188.
Office of Río Negro in the City of Buenos Aires: 556 Reconquista Street, tel.: 011-4393-1298.


HOW TO TRAVEL:

CAR:The shortest route from the city of Buenos Aires is taking the Oeste Freeway, born at Gral Paz Av. and Juan B.  Av, which is the continuation of the 25 de Mayo Freeway that comes from the City Center. At km.62, take National Route No. 5 up to the City of Santa Rosa, La Pampa Province, from there, continue on National Route No. 35 until kilometer 681, where you have to turn off to take National Route No. 152, then connect with National Route No. 143 up to the town of Chacharramendi in La Pampa, from there continue on Route No. 20, known as "Conquista del Desierto" road, which is almost 200 kilometers long and with very little vegetation and without any services, except halfway in La Reforma.

In Colonia 25 de Mayo continue on National Route No. 151 and Provincial Route No. 7 to the city of Neuquén. From Neuquén Capital, continue on National Route No. 22, 237 and 40 to the city of Bariloche
Tolls: in Oeste Freeway, Castelar and Gral Rodriguez:  $ 4.20 each, on Route 5: Olivera, km.86: $ 2.10; 9 de Julio, km.244: $ 2.10 and Trenque Lauquen, km.429: $ 2 .-. In the city of Neuquén: $ 0.50.

COACH: Albus, Andesmar, El Valle,and Chevallier, among others leave from Retiro Bus Station.

AIRPLANE: It has an international airport, where the main national airlines arrive.
 
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

In 1620, the Spanish Captain Juan Fernandez, who came from Chile, discovered the lake, now called Nahuel Huapi. After 1872 the explorations  ordered by the Argentinian government began in the area and in 1876 the geographer Pascasio Francisco Moreno arrived in the area. Once the military actions of the Desert Campaign were consolidated, Moreno made a second trip in 1880 to reconnoiter the local rivers and lakes. In 1892, the first white settlers began to arrive, many of them were German immigrants. Locals remember Carlos Wiederhold, who set up a business in 1895 in what is now the city of Bariloche, as the founder of the town.
In 1896 Francisco P. Moreno had the idea of creating a national park to protect this beautiful area of lakes, valleys and mountains. Years later, rewarded by the government for his work on the demarcation of the frontier with Chile, the Perito Moreno donated the land he had received in the Nahuel Huapi region to be preserved as a national park. When he died in 1919, his remains were taken to the Centinela Island, on Lake Nahuel Huapi, across from the City of Bariloche.
The decree of the foundation of San Carlos de Bariloche was signed by the President Julio A. Roca in 1902.

PLACES TO VISIT:

CIVIC CENTER:
It is at the beginning of the Mitre street. It was opened on March 17, 1940, by Dr. Bustillo’s management who was at that time the President of National Parks. It is one of the most representative places of the City and it was declared National Historical Monument. The buildings that make it up are the City Hall, Tourism Department, Police Department, Sarmiento Library and Museum of the Patagonia. All of them have medieval style, with a construction typical of mountainous and forested regions of Europe, covered in volcanic stone and cypress wood, with slate roof, all built around a small square.

One of the attractions of the place, besides the famous "San Bernardo" dog, is the tower of the City Hall, which marks the hours between 12 pm and 6 pm, displaying images that summarize the history of the place.


MUSEUM OF THE PATAGONIA FRANCISCO P. MORENO:
The building occupies the east wing of the Civic Center. It consists of several rooms for Natural Sciences, Prehistory, Ethnography, History and Regional Temporary Exhibitions.


NATIONAL PARK BUILDING:
San Martin Avenue and Independencia.  It was opened on March 25, 1936. It is next to the Civic Center and it has the typical wooden construction.




OUR LADY OF NAHUEL HUAPI CATHEDRAL:
It is on O'Connor and Palacios. It was opened in 1946 and it was built by the architect Alejandro Bustillo. It was called the Templo Mayor for a long time. In 1993 the Diocese of San Carlos de Bariloche was created and it became a Cathedral for being the seat of bishop. It has a neo-Gothic style and a Latin cross plant with apse. Its facade was built with stones from the region, and it has a unique bell tower which is 69 meters high and it is observable from different points of the city and even from the lake.


In the interior there are several vitraux that reflect regional figures such as Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi, the Jesuit priest Mascardi, the General Roca and Ceferino Namuncurá, among others.
In the main altar, there is the image of Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi. The story tells that in 1672, the first Jesuit mission in the region in charge of Father Mascardi, brought an image of the Virgin, then known by this name.
On the left nave there is an image of Our Lady of the Snows, protector of the mountaineers and families in the mountain area.


It is also worth admiring the Way of the Cross, carved in stone by the Barilochense sculptor Alejandro Santana, the author of the Theme Park of the Way of The Cross in Junin de los Andes, which emphasizes the integration of Christian and Mapuche life.


THE INMACULATE CHAPEL:
Elflein and Bescht <edt. It was built in 1905 ad it was the first church in the City. It was declared Municipal Heritage Site.



LAKE NAHUEL HUAPI:
It has an area of 560 square meters, and it is the largest and main lake of a group of lakes along the River Limay which carry their waters to the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Nahuel Huapi bathes the shores of the city. Excursions to Victoria Island, Puerto Blest, Los Arrayanes, among other places leave from its Port San Carlos or Pañuelo (Handkerchief), across from the Llao-Llao.


Its winding coastline gives rise to different peninsulas such as the Quetrihué (Arrayanes Wood), the Llao-Llao and others. It also forms various arms such as the Blest, the Sadness, the Angostura, etc. 
The origin of the word "Nahuel Huapi" is Araucanian and it means "tiger island" in reference to the Victoria Island and the jaguars that used to live there.


CATEDRAL HILL:
It is approximately 20 kms. from the city center. You can go there by Bustillo Av until 8 km, then a road leads us to the base of the hill at 1030 meters above sea level. Its top has a height of 2388 meters, making it visible from the entrance to the city and also from the road which goes around Lake Gutiérrez. In winter it becomes the main attraction for tourists because of its well-known ski resort, one of the most important in the country and in South America. It has more than 30 means of elevation and 77 kilometers of slopes with different sectors to go skiing and snowboarding.
Apart from the winter season, this Hill is also a powerful attraction for tourists all year long, because on its peak there are cafés and viewpoints, which can be reached by cableways, cable lifts and chair lifts, where you can have an excellent view of the Andes, the city of Bariloche and Lake Nahuel Huapi. The needle-shaped figures that arise from its mountains, resembling a Gothic cathedral, give it the name.
At the base of the Hill, there is Catedral Village which offers accommodation, gastronomy and recreation facilities.


SALMON CENTER:
At 500 meters from the junction of the road to the Cerro Catedral (Cathedral Hill) and Route 82, there is a trout hatchery managed by the Universidad Nacional del Comahue. It offers guided tours and the opportunity to observe the different stages of growth of these fish. The entrance is not free.



VIRGEN DE LAS NIEVES CAVE:
At the junction of the road to Cerro Catedral and Route 82. She is the protector of the highlanders. Annually, during the month of October, pilgrimages are made from the city of Bariloche.


OTTO HILL:
It is 5 kilometers from the city, you must go along Pioneros Avenue. From the base at 800 meters above sea level, there are three possibilities to reach the top at 1405 meters: on foot, by car (there are 10 kilometers along a winding, narrow and dirt road) or by cableway (a comfortable journey of 12 minutes). When you reach the summit, not only the spectacular aerial view of the whole lake area will surprise you, but also a rotating café that turns 360 º in 20 minutes. You can enjoy the wonderful scenery, as well as an unusual art gallery which exhibits exact replica of some works of Michelangelo: "David", "Pietà" and "Moses" done by a gallery in Florence, Italy
. From the top you can take guided hikes through a lenga forest. In winter, you can go skiing. The name is in honor of the German pioneer Otto Meiling, who made valuable contributions in developing the practice of climbing in the region.

NAHUEL HUAPI NATIONAL PARK:
It was created in 1934 on land donated by Pascasio Francisco Perito Moreno, and it covers an area of 705,000 hectares. One of the characteristics of the area is the presence of lakes and plentiful rivers that carry their waters into the Atlantic or Pacific. The rains and the sun, which melt the snow from the mountains feed that flow. Because of their ecological importance and landscapes, this park protects an extensive area which is representative for the Andean region of northern Patagonia.

There are several activities that can be done in the area such as tourism and recreational activities, navigation in all its forms: kayaking, rafting, rafting and scuba diving, trekking, horseback riding, bicycle tours, rock climbing, ice climbing and sport fishing and hunting. In the Park there are areas in the public domain that are occupied by settlers or native descendants who do rural activities; other areas have important facilities for visitors and there are also private properties that existed before the creation of the park. Simultaneously, there are strict conservation areas where human activity is limited to scientific research.

The entrance is not free. It is important to consult with the park ranger about the activities that can be done in each area and walk on marked trails. Fishing requires a permit granted by National Parks that comes with a regulation which specifies the locations and method of fishing. Among the most widespread species, the rainbow trout is found before and after the fast waters, looking for clear water, while the brown trout is found in almost all the rivers and lakes in the area.

VICTORIA ISLAND:
Together with the trip to Puerto Blest, these are the two lake excursions that can be done from Bariloche. These places can only be reached by boats leaving from Port Pañuelo in Llao.Llao. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes. The island has an area of 3,700 hectares and it is the largest of Lake Nahuel Huapi. You arrive at Port Anchorena from which you can take a guided tour or a self-guided tour on marked trails through its lovely forests. You can also enjoy spectacular views from its natural balconies and see a colony of freshwater cormorants, peacocks and woodpeckers among other species. There is also a brand new chair lift that will take you to the summit of Bella Vista Hill which is 900 meters above sea level. The island is an important natural reserve which also contains cave paintings that are more than 500 years old.

ARRAYAN FOREST:
The previous lake trip is complemented with a visit to this particular forest on the peninsula Quetrihué, which can also be reached on foot or by bicycle from Villa La Angostura by a footpath of 12 miles. The bark of these trees are thin layers of cinnamon color with white spots that make them unique in the world, so the forest has been declared a Natural Monument and National Park in 1971. It has  an area of 1793 hectares. There are trees that are 18 meters high and between 150 and 250 years old. Through elevated wooden paths you can recognize the different stages of growth of the trees. The place has infrastructure and several viewpoints on Lake Nahuel Huapi.

TRONADOR HILL:
It is a little over 100 kilometers from Bariloche. You can get there going along  Onelli street up to the National Road No. 40, former No. 258. You go around the LAKE GUTIERREZ, then Lake Mascardi, when it finishes, there is a gravel road on the right that leads to the Office of National Parks, where admission is charged. A few kilometers further the road has two timetables, one to enter and another one to leave, with only one way, due to the narrowness of it. You must cross the River Manso  and continue around Lake Mascardi again and then along River Manso until you reach the bottom of Tronador Hill. The road crosses a forest of Coihues (Mapuche word meaning "place of water") that are up to nearly 60 meters high. Before the hill you can see Ventisquero Negro (Black Snowdrift), covered with earth and sandstone.
The Tronador is the highest mountain in the region with 3554 meters above sea level, observable from afar, and it has three peaks, the Argentinian, the Chilean and the International that is a boundary between the two countries. Thousands of years ago much of the place was covered with glaciers, due to climate changes these glaciers only occupy the summit of this hill. Its name, Tronador, refers to thunders caused by the collapse of heavy blocks of ice. From the bottom, there is a path that leads to the Garganta del Diablo, a rock amphitheater.

RIVER MANSO :
It is born in the Ventisquero Negro, at the foot of Tronador Hill and after traveling over 100 kilometers, it flows into the Pacific Ocean, during its path it receives the waters of numerous lakes: Mascardi, Los Moscos, Hess and Steffen, among others. It was named Manso (gently-flowing) by its discoverers, due to the stillness at its birth. But then it becomes fast-flowing (in some stretches, rafting is practised) between broad valleys and narrow ravines, creating rapids and waterfalls like Cascada Alerces.
The river is divided into three sections: the Superior, at its birth; the Middle from Lake Mascardi and the Lower form Lake Steffen. As a result of sediments carried by the glacier, where it is born, it has a dark color at the beginning, then it turns into different shades blue such as the ones you can see in Lake Mascardi.


ALERCES WAERFALL:

An excellent alternative for those who visit the Tronador. Before crossing the Rio Manso, you have to take a very rough road that goes around Lake Los Moscos, the River Manso and Lake Hess, and finally reaches the waterfall, where the Rio Manso, falls from 15 meters. It is a beautiful place surrounded by a forest of larches and moss.

You reach the viewpoint of the waterfall along a wooden path that makes the place even more beautiful.

LODGING.