From personal experience here are the places to lie down and chow down in Bariloche, Argentina’s version of Switzerland.
Prices are in Argentinean pesos. For current exchange rates, check out http://www.xe.com/
HOSTELS in Bariloche
Periko’s, Morales Street
Dorms from 40 pesos per night
A cute hostel with helpful staff. The communal area is cosy and there’s a great selection of DVDs in both English and Spanish. The dorms are clean and the six-bed rooms have an en suite bathroom. The hostel could do with more shared bathrooms though, I imagine in high season it’s a bit manic.
In May, it wasn’t as quiet as other hostels in Bariloche but there weren’t huge numbers of guests. Still, it’s easy to get chatting to people.
Breakfast included. Centrally located on Morales Street (3-min walk to Mitre Street).
Marco Polo Inn, Salta Street
Dorms from 37 pesos per night (with HI card)
A big hostel but in the low season you can guarantee you’ll meet people here. There’s a bar which isn’t too noisy (I was on the third floor so I couldn’t hear it at all) and pool table. Great offer in the low season – breakfast and dinner included, and it’s all perfectly edible! There’s cereal as well as the obligatory bread.
Dorms are cleaned every day and not a bunk bed in sight. The reception staff are OK but one guy is a bit arrogant.
Pudu’s, Salta Street
Dorms from 45 pesos per night
Run by an uber-friendly Irish couple (fluent in Spanish), they’ll make you feel at home right away. The hostel isn’t as modern as others but the vibe here makes up for it. There’s a bar downstairs and great views overlooking the lake. If you’re allergic to dogs you might want to opt for somewhere else.
Mara’s, Perito Moreno 1674
(02944) 420386; firstname.lastname@example.org
Prices from 50 pesos for bed and breakfast, 70 pesos including dinner
If you’re looking to get a hospitable welcome and escape the crowds, Mara’s home is the place to stay in Bariloche. There are a few rooms with double or triple beds and amazing views over the mountains and lakes. She’s one hell of a cook and you certainly won’t be hungry after eating her hearty meals.
It’s a 25-min walk into the centre of the town but has views of mountains all around. Only Spanish is spoken here but it’s great to practise your skills and Mara has the patience of saint with beginner speakers. Bookings essential.
Hotel Llao Llao for afternoon tea
A must-try when in Bariloche is Llao Llao, Argentina’s premier resort. The hotel is perched above a lake with 360 degree views of mountains. They serve afternoon tea with a lengthy selection of loose leaf options (I’d recommend the Travellers’ Tea) and a great ‘high tea’ buffet. Fresh smoked salmon, apple and pork, tuna are some of the delicate sandwiches on offer. The cakes are to die for, and the selection is huge.
Oh, and you can eat as much as you like. There’s no fancy dress code, so don’t worry about getting dolled up.
Llao Llao Tea is 90 pesos per person from 5-7.30pm, but look out for the two-for-one offers.
Get bus 20 from Moreno Street or San Martin Street (every 20 min).
Mamushka, Mitre Street
Do not miss this chocolate shop/cafe. It’s Bariloche’s finest and the hot chocolate is fantastic.
Rapa Nui, Mitre Street
Chocolate fondue awaits, not a huge serving but if it’s a rainy day it’s a good option to while the time away. Avoid too much of the white chocolate, it can be quite sickly. Check out the ice creams – divine and the Rapa Nui hot chocolate is the best in Bariloche (even beating Mamushka’s).
Chocolate Museum, San Martin Street
It’s exactly what is says on the wrapper with a free hot chocolate and inexpensive chocolate store. It’s worth a visit to find out the history of Bariloche.
Jauja Ice Cream, Moreno Street
There are a million different ice cream flavours to choose from. OK, that’s a complete exaggeration but there’s a massive choice. It also has sheep and goats’ milk for those with an allergy to cows’ milk.
NOTE: ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COPYRIGHT OF JANE BATCHELOR