From El Chalten to Bariloche on Route 40

Bariloche Travel Blog

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Route 40, 35 Hours bus ride to Bariloche

Ok, getting on the bus was not as bad as I expected it to be. On a Tuesday it was very rainy, so all I did was stay in the Refugio at El Chalten, just reading a book and listening to my ipod, seating by the window, next to the kitchen hubs to warm up a bit. It was very cold, but was part of the adventure. A very ralaxing day. In the evening me and Olivier, after tyhe Cerveceria went to the bus stop. 40 minutes of delay, although it was not that cold anymore.. 
Got on the bus, and slept all the way to Bajo Caracoles, where we stopped to have Breakfast. A small ghost town, just in the middle of nowhere, with one bar, a camping site and a few houses.. But an amazing view, as it was all the way up to Los Antiguos, where we stopped to have lunch.

Route 40 has got pros and conts. The bus is not any Cama or Semi Cama service, but the seats are confortable anyway, and the views are breathtaking. Ther are so many diffeent rock formations on the way, it looks like a natural painting. Colours go from Green to Brown, to Orange and Yellow...just any kind of combination, with some llittle streams on the way. Really worth it the money.

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Bariloche and National Park Nahuel Huapi

Bariloche is probably one of the most beautiful destinations in Argentina, and this is due tomany reasons, being Chocolate the first of all!!
In fact, you will probably find a chocolate shop at every corner of the street, although a couple I can recommend are Mammuska and Del Turista, and another not to be missed is the Chocolate Museum, where a guided tour will take you around the museum for about 40 minutes explaining you the origins of chocolate from the Mayas civilization!!

Bariloche is also part of the National Park Nahuel Huapi, one of the most beautiful in Argentina, and there are several trekking options; one of them is the Circuito Chico, which very chico is not, as it is a 17 Km walk between lakes, maountains and also some bits of highway, but there is no other option than walk or hire a Bycicle. From the town centre tho, this is the itinerary I would recommend:

Get bus N 20 to Cerro Campanario and then go Up the Campanario Hill via Cable Car. Here is where you will have the National Geographic's most spectacular view( price for cable car is $25), and spend a good couple of hours there, it is really worth it!!!

After get the 20 again going in the same direction as before until you get to Puerto PaƱuelo, a 10mins ride from Campanario. Here is where your Circuit starts. Take the street on your right and then go up left until you reach Bosque de Arayanes. Walk in, it is about 20 mins walk through the forest with amazing views and trees. When you reach the paved street again, just walk 600 meters to Lago Escondido( Hidden Lake). Here you can also bath if is not too cold, but even just seating in the little dock will be a unique and relaxing experience. Do not go to see the Roman Bridge, is crap.

Right, from here on, the only way you have to get back to town following the circuit is the paved road, although the views are breathtaking. Past Bahia Lopez, the street goes up for a couple of hundred meters, and when you get to Colonia Suiza you will be able to get the bus number 10. Just make sure you ask at the tourist office for the right times, cause there is one every 2 hours!!!!

What can I say about this town...Amazing. I was planning to stay for only 2 nights, but loved it sdo much that I stayed 5 in the end.. Probably also because I was staying at 1004 hostel. When you read it on Lonely Planet it looks like nothing special...and still when you see the building from outside you will get may not even want to go up...but trust me, it is amazing!!! Just get the lift to the 10th floor and look for the 1004 flat number, you will be impressed!!! Not just that, also the staff there is so cool! Annie, Gladis and Javier are really amazing people, and so friendly you will feel at home from the first time you walk in. In fact the hostel looks like a penthouse, with a spacious living room and dining area, a huge kitchen and a good size terrace with amazing views over the Nahuel Huapi Lake.   And if you get thereover the weekend, you are likely to find something going the amazing wine tasting party I had!!

There are a lot of other trekking route that can be done, but honestly, after El Chalten and 32 hours on the bus through Ruta 40...I did not feel like doing any..

Headintg to San Martin De Los Andes...


photo by: Amandaamaral1