Heading South (Part 3)

Bariloche Travel Blog

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The road between Neuquen and Bariloche is a beautiful one. The terrain transitions from dusty, well eroded plains (perfect for the preservation and excavation of dinosaur bones) to lush green river valleys crowned with craggy mountains. We arrived in Bariloche around 8pm (because of Argentina´s daylight savings it is light until nearly 11pm but the sun doesn´t rise until 7 30 am). After 5 months in South America on my own, I was feeling quite frustrated with the pace and strategy of my parents in finding accomodation for the night but luckily, within a few hours we had managed to acquire the last campsite at the Selva Negra Campground and put up our tents (the first time my tent had been put up since I left Vancouver in August). The campsite was nice enough, if a bit dusty, but had the advantage of being close to town.

Bariloche is very similar in function and feeling to Banff in the Canadian Rockies. The mountains in Bariloche are a bit further away and it is situated on a large lake, but it, like Banff, is filled with trendy shops, restaurants and excursion companies and is inhabited by
wealthy vacationers and shoestring backpackers. The setting was undeniably beautiful and the trekking oportunities seemed plentiful, but as soon as the parallel to Banff had been made Dad declared that he ¨was more of a Jasper kind of guy¨and that ¨Bariloche was not his style¨. We spent our one day in Bariloche researching the rest of our trip through Patagonia. We had decided that we wanted to travel south down the famous Ruta 40, a gravel road that hugs the eastern edge of the Argentinian Andes for 3000km, but it seemed that our only travel options were a two day excursion or to rent a car of our own both of which were prohibitively expensive. We were fortunate enough to discover a third option, a small bus company which runs buses the length of the road for a fraction of the price.
The next morning we packed up our tents, ran around town to buy a new pair of hiking shoes (mine had finally become unusable after 3 months in the Bolivian jungle), and took the bus two hours south to El Bolson.
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photo by: Amandaamaral1