If you’re looking for a good way to start the new year, I think driving 400 km of lakes and beautiful valleys is an idea!
So after desperately looking for a car to rent on the afternoon of 31st December (apparently all the cars in Bariloche wre already rented that day), we found the last one. So we had our new year’s eve dinner without any cares!
The next day, after collecting the car, we started our route to
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!
Argentinian food is not just asado! Despite you’ll find a grill in every restaurant around the country, you can also discover different specialities in every region. But there are two dishes you can be sure to meet in every place you visit: a dessert with dulche de leche and Empanadas.
It seems they arrived in Argentina with the Portuguese, but their origins can be found in Moorish Iberia and in India (like the samosa). They look like italian calzone also. So although it’s not very clear where they come from, I think it could be a mix of different cuisines. And a very good mix actually!
El Calafate (days 10-13)
2.761 km from Buenos Aires
Travel agencies: Huellas del Sur
You can reach the city by flying to the city airport, by bus or car (follow the Ruta 40)
When you arrive in the city you can’t avoid to say a big WOW: you’ll be in front of one of the biggest lakes of South America (Argentino Lake)… and it’s really impressive! I mean, I grew up in a town 70% surrounded by the sea. And now I live in Switzerland where you cann0t really miss lakes, but i had never seen such a big lake, so colourful and quiet.
El Calafate is a pretty town with the usual main road with nice little houses and lots of bar, restaurants and tourist shops.