San Carlos de Bariloche, often referred to simply as Bariloche, is considered the gateway to Argentina’s Patagonia region! Surrounded by mountains and lakes, this is one of the most accessible places to discover the natural beauty of the region.
There are also some great adventure activities and ski resorts located nearby.
As a small town stretched along a lake, it can be difficult to figure out where one area ends and the other area starts. Bariloche is a very safe city, but it is still recommended to know the different neighborhoods in the region before you arrive so you can easily navigate the city.
That’s where we come in! We’ve built this guide to the three best areas in Bariloche to help you figure out where to stay before you plan your trip. It is only a small city, but there are still some key differences between each neighborhood that are worth exploring.
So let’s just jump right into it!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Bariloche
- Where to stay in Bariloche for the first time – City Centre
- Where to stay in Bariloche on a budget – Lago Moreno
- Best neighborhood in Bariloche for families – Playa Bonita
- Take a walk along Miter Street – this is where you will find chocolate shops, tour agencies and souvenir stands amongst other retail delights
- The Museum of Patagonia is an excellent exhibition dedicated to the history of the region, including the indigenous cultures
- Ms Turismo is a highly rated tour guide service that provides trips around the lakes, mountains and elsewhere in Patagonia
Looking for a specific place to stay? Whether you’re looking for Bariloche’s best hostels, Airbnb’s, or hostels, there are numerous great accommodations where you can rest your head. These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Bariloche.
Best Hostel in Bariloche: Hospedaje Penthouse 1004
As the most famous accommodation in the city, Hospedaje Penthouse 1004 had to take our top spot for hostels! It is well known for the gorgeous, unspoiled views across the lake and surrounding mountains.
They also have excellent levels of service that will have you feeling like you’re in a luxury hotel.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Bariloche: Nature & Comfort
Airbnb Plus properties are specially chosen for their excellent design – and it’s clear to see why this house was included! It beautifully draws inspiration from the natural world just outside the front door, creating a calm and relaxing environment where you can experience the true beauty of Patagonia.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Bariloche: Charming Luxury Lodge
This sprawling five-star resort is certainly reserved for those willing to splurge – but is worth every penny! Not only do they have a large spa on-site, they also provide free access to a local ski lounge and outdoor activity classes.
Rooms come with their own private spa facilities and large televisions.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Bariloche
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Surrounded by the foothills of the Andes mountains and a series of lakes, Bariloche is often compared to villages in Switzerland. Indeed, with quaint cottages and abundant chocolate shops in the city centre, it can be hard to tell the two places apart!
It is also the second most visited ski destination in the world – and the most important in South America.
Thankfully, not only does it have similar aesthetic charms to Switzerland – it also has similar levels of safety! This makes it a great destination if you want a little break from some of the more notoriously dangerous cities in South America on your Argentina backpacking adventure.
It’s also fairly small – though because it is spread along the lake it is worth considering transport options in advance.
The City Centre is a natural starting point – and the perfect choice for first-time visitors that want to experience a bit of everything Bariloche has to offer! A little bit cheaper than the ski areas in the city, the main street running through the City Centre is where you will find the famous chocolate shops and souvenirs.
If you’re only in Bariloche for a few days, we recommend you stay here.
If you are on a strict budget you’ll likely be fine wherever you go in the city – though it is probably best to avoid the ski resorts. One area that is particularly great for budget travellers, especially those wanting to get out of the city, is the area surrounding Lago Moreno!
This small lake is to the west of Bariloche, and has quiet towns where you can experience the local culture and enjoy the scenery in peace.
Another excellent, though pricey, area for enjoying some peace and quiet is Playa Bonita! Roughly halfway between the city centre and Lago Moreno, this town is popular with families thanks to the laid-back atmosphere, excellent facilities and gorgeous lakeside beaches.
It is truly a highlight of the city in the summer.
Still need some help deciding? Check out our extended descriptions and recommendations on where to stay and what to do below!
3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bariloche
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the three best neighbourhoods in Bariloche. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
Located right on the waterfront, the City Centre is the heart of the city and the ideal destination for your first time in Patagonia! The views from this area are nothing short of incredible – with stunning lakes on one side and the Andean foothills on the other.
It is also the retail hub of the city, with many of the best shops located along the main street.
Aside from the natural beauty and shopping, the City Centre offers some interesting cultural attractions! The unique architecture, reminiscent of Swiss Alpine buildings, is an attraction in itself, and there are also some interesting museums and galleries showcasing the history and culture of Bariloche.
Things to See and Do in City Centre:
– Take a walk along Miter Street – this is where you will find chocolate shops, tour agencies and souvenir stands amongst other retail delights
– The Museum of Patagonia is an excellent exhibition dedicated to the history of the region, including the indigenous cultures
– Head on a short trek up to Mirador Bahia Lopez – this is where you will find some of the best views in the City Centre
– Ms Turismo is a highly rated tour guide service that provides trips around the lakes, mountains and elsewhere in Patagonia
– Many of the best restaurants are located close to Miter Street – we recommend La Marca Patagonia for their well-priced and delectable local dishes
Best Hostel City Centre: Hospedaje Penthouse 1004
Not only is this the best hostel in Bariloche – it might be one of the best hostels in the world! Excellent views aside, they provide a hearty breakfast every morning. They also run regular social events, including wine evenings and tours of the city.
The cherry on top is, of course, the very affordable prices.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in City Centre: Perfect Space
This gorgeous studio is the perfect choice for couples visiting the city! It comes with a modern interior, and is only a stone’s throw away from the main attractions of the city centre.
The kitchen is well equipped with everything you need for a short stay. The television comes with streaming services.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in City Centre: Cacique Inacayal Lake Hotel & Spa
This luxurious four-star hotel is surprisingly affordable – especially given its desirable location right on the lakefront! They provide a complimentary buffet-style breakfast every morning, as well as high-speed WiFi throughout.
Ski storage is available on-site, and they also have great spa facilities so you can unwind after hitting the slopes.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
The area surrounding Lago Moreno is large – with the main town sharing its name with the lake, one of the best ways to explore this area is by car! Even for those without a car, there are reasonably reliable public transport links between Lago Moreno and the City Centre, as well as between the towns around the lake.
This area is often ignored by tourists visiting Bariloche, so the prices aren’t as inflated – perfect if you are on a strict budget! It still comes with the same amazing views as the city centre, as well as a great mix of activities – but hostels tend to be slightly cheaper, and the food is more local.
Things to See and Do in Lago Moreno:
– Take a trip to Wesley Brewery Fabrica – the largest brewery in the Bariloche region, they do regular tours and beer tasting sessions
– Unwind on Playa Munoz, a small beach about five minutes south of the beach that often doesn’t have any people – giving you some room to think
– Close to Playa Munoz is Teatro la Baita – a local theatre showcasing local drama, dance and live music performances
– Head up to Punto Panoramico where you can enjoy 360 views of Lago Moreno, the Andean Foothills and as far as the other side of the main lake
– Criadas Truchas Colonia Suiza is located right on the waterfront of Lago Moreno, and offers excellent Argentinian cuisine
Best Hostel Lago Moreno: Fortaleza Hostel Bariloche
This hostel is in the middle of nowhere – which is absolutely a plus if you’re looking for a true Patagonian adventure! They run regular buses to the city centre in case you ever need to escape to civilisation, and there are plenty of hiking trails that pass the hostel.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Lago Moreno: Nature & Comfort
This gorgeous Airbnb Plus property offers mesmerising views of the lake and mountains! It comes with a well-equipped kitchen, as well as a stylish bathroom.
The bedroom has a kingsize bed and great views of its own – perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway, or solo travellers that just need to unwind.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Lago Moreno: Peninsula Petit
Located a little bit further out from Lago Moreno on the neighboring peninsula, this hotel comes with unparalleled views of three separate lakes! During the summer the front desk organises regular bird watching and hiking excursions, and assistance with booking ski trips is also offered in the winter.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Playa Bonita is calmer in atmosphere than the City Centre – but this doesn’t mean it’s lacking in things to do! Named after the gorgeous pebble beach in the area, Playa Bonita has a family atmosphere that draws visitors not just from abroad but from nearby towns.
There are plenty of fantastic activities, including regular excursions on the lake.
Even if you aren’t visiting as a family group, Playa Bonita is an excellent option during the summer months. Many of the locals opt to spend time here to unwind, and it truly becomes a hub of life during the warmer weather.
The water is cold year-round, so be sure to bring an appropriate wetsuit before taking part in activities!
Things to See and Do in Playa Bonita
– Arum-Co Buceo not only offer regular boat tours on the lake, they also offer water sports activities – and basic equipment hire for more advanced users
– If you want to splurge on the ultimate Patagonia experience, hop on board a helicopter tour of the lakes and mountains with Helitronador
– K8 offer bike rental services on the edge of town – a great way to explore the surrounding area and even travel as far as the city centre
– Keen for a spot of golf? Llao Llao Golf is located close to the beach, offering a beautifully landscaped 18 hole course with views over the neighborhood
– Though a little upmarket, Stag is absolutely worth it if you’re willing to splurge on mouthwatering Argentinian cuisine on the lakefront
Best Hostel Playa Bonita: La Casona Hostel
La Casona Hostel is only a short walk away from the beach, and guests are given a discount at local tour and equipment hire services! They offer both private and shared rooms – and there is a large communal balcony where you can admire the view and mingle with other guests.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Playa Bonita: Mountain and Lake View
Surrounded by trees in the mountains, this two-bedroom house comes with a kingsize bed and two twin beds – perfect for families looking for a secluded getaway! It is a recently built accommodation, with modern design and furnishings inside.
There is also a gorgeous decked area with sunset views.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Playa Bonita: Charming Luxury Lodge
This stunning five-star hotel is easily the most expensive in this guide – but well worth splurging out on if you want next-level service! It comes with an extensive spa facility offering a wide range of holistic therapies.
Guests are also given free access to the ski lounge at a nearby ski and shopping centre.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Bariloche
San Carlos de Bariloche is a beautiful destination that perfectly epitomises everything that makes Patagonia such a desirable region for visitors to Argentina! The gorgeous mountain and lake views aside, it is also a quaint little city packed with chocolate shops, breweries and local boutiques.
Whether you want to enjoy some water sports, or simply unwind for a few days, Bariloche is a worthy destination.
We’re pretty stuck when it comes to picking the best neighborhood – but if we absolutely had to we would go with the City Centre! This might seem like the obvious choice, but it is the best connect neighborhood, allowing you to get out and explore.
Ultimately, our advice is to visit all of the areas mentioned in this guide! Regardless of where you choose to stay, they are no more than twenty minutes away from each other and each have their own charms.
We certainly hope this guide has helped you to narrow down your options.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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