San Carlos de Bariloche (days 14-17)
1574 km from Buenos Aires
Travel agency: Bariloche Select
13 km from the airport, Bariloche is just about 70 km from the pacific ocean (vs the 1500 from the Atlantic) with stronger connections to Chile than the distant city of Buenos Aires. It takes its name from the Mapuche language (the indigenous people) meaning “people who live behind the mountain” being situated surrounded by the mountains, with one side overlooking the massive Nahuel Huapí lake. This peculiar position gives to Bariloche unique climatic condition, allowing snow over the mountains during the winter.
That’s why Bariloche is one of the most important ski resorts of the South America and it has also been inhabited by middle europeans such as Austrians, Germans and even the Swiss (there still a Colonia Suiza a few km from the city centre) over the centuries and now the city is well known as the Argentinian Swiss!
Before travelling to Bariloche I had been fascinated by an article about the Huemul project: the secret project of a German/Austrian scientist who in the 50s convinced Peron that he could produce nuclear energy in some strange way, different from the others. The project was very expensive but it has never been finished and now the Huemul island has been abandoned with all its facilities, mysteries and secrets! Unfortunately it’s not possible to reach the island unless you know someone with a boat around there!