San Carlos de Bariloche, known as Bariloche for short, is a city in the Río Negro province in the central part of Argentina. The city is close to the border with Chile and is just a few miles east of the Andes, helping to make it popular with visitors looking to visit one of the world’s most iconic mountain ranges. Despite being close to the foot of South America, Bariloche could easily be mistaken in parts for a Swiss mountain town, being close to a number of lakes and having a number of chocolatiers and brewers within the city. Bariloche is a good place to take part in water sports as well as skiing and hiking too, while the weather is uncharacteristically cold in winter.
A larger vehicle, preferably fitted with winter tyres, would be the best possible thing to drive here, especially when going up and down some of the more mountainous routes.
Driving in Bariloche
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
A drive from Buenos Aires, the capital, to Bariloche typically takes around 22 hours. Stopping off along the way is ideal.
Some of the major routes in and out of the city are toll roads, so you can expect to pay a small fee when arriving at the toll booths.
The city’s roads are laid out in grids, although some routes do have the odd crack or pothole in a few of the outlying suburbs.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Museum of Patagonia is the best place to learn about the city and region’s long history. Learn about how Patagonian life was like before Hispanic colonisation, while there are artworks, stuffed animals and other indigenous artefacts.
Skiing is a must here. A good place to start is Cerro Catedral, home to the continent’s biggest ski centre. Ski lifts to the top of the mountain are available, while there are nearby walking trails to enjoy when the snow melts.
One of the more intriguing walking routes near the city is Circuito Chico, which goes around the lake just to the north of the city. Lasting for 35 miles, the route is best explored during the summer when the climate is a little friendlier.
Throughout the city centre, you’re likely to come across a number of St Bernard dogs. They’re native to this part of the world and are pretty friendly when approached. They’re also found near some of the mountains overlooking Bariloche.
San Carlos de Bariloche Airport is just over eight miles east of the city centre. It has local, regional and international flights, all of which are served from its one main passenger terminal. Flights come here from Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
The airport is connected to the main roads by a link road, which goes north to the 237 highway. This road goes straight towards the centre of Bariloche.