Bariloche and the Nahuel Huapi region are among Argentina’s most important outdoor recreation areas, and numerous operators offer a variety of activities, particularly horseback riding, mountain biking and white-water rafting.
Mountaineering & Trekking
The Nahuel Huapi national park office distributes a brochure with a simple map, adequate for initial planning, that rates hikes as easy, medium or difficult and suggests possible loops. Many of these hikes are detailed in Lonely Planet’s Trekking in the Patagonian Andes.
Nahuel Huapi’s ski resort, Cerro Catedral, was once South America’s trendiest, and has been superseded only by Las Leñas (near Mendoza) and resorts in Chile. Las Leñas has far superior snow (dry powder), but it lacks Catedral’s strong point: views. There’s nothing like looking over the shimmering lakes of Nahuel Huapi from its snowy slopes.
Day passes run between AR$750 and AR$980, depending on the season. If you need lessons, stop into the ski schools at Cerro Catedral or Club Andino Bariloche. Two-hour private lessons are about AR$2000. For rental equipment, try Martín Pescador. Equipment is also available on-site. Sets of skis, boots and poles rent for around AR$350, and snowboarding gear about AR$400 per day.
Bicycles are ideal for the Circuito Chico (though this 60km loop demands endurance) and other trips near Bariloche; most roads are paved and even the gravel roads are good.
Fly fishing draws visitors from around the world to Argentina’s accessible Andean-Patagonian parks, from Lago Puelo and Los Alerces in the south to Lanín in the north.
On larger lakes, such as Nahuel Huapi, trolling is the preferred method, while fly fishing is the rule on most rivers. The season runs from mid-November to mid-April. For more information, contact the Asociación de Pesca y Caza Nahuel Huapi. For rental equipment and guide hire, try Martín Pescador. It offers guided fishing trips for about AR$7500 per day for one or two people (price is the same either way and includes all equipment, lunch, transportation and guide). Fishing licenses (AR$480/1280/1670 per day/week/season) are required and are available at this shop.
Most travel agencies along Av Bartolomé Mitre offer horseback-riding trips.
Rafting & Kayaking
Rafting and kayaking on the Río Limay and the Río Manso have become increasingly popular in recent years. The best time to be on the rivers is November through February, though you can raft October through Easter.