Sunday, May 24, 2009

----San Carlos de Bariloche ..Argentina ----

If you want to have both adventure and relax holiday, this beautiful city in the province Rio Negra, Argentina is THAT place. Surrounded by lakes and mountains Bariloche serves as a base for many excursions in the region famous for spectacular scenery and for skiing, water sports, trekking, climbing, fishing. The city itself embodies a strange juxtaposition: an urban city plopped down in the middle of beautiful wilderness. Bariloche stands out for its architectural features influenced by German, Swiss, and English immigration. Compared with the crowded metropolis, Bariloche, with its hundred thousand or so inhabitants, still lives the life of a mountain village. This place offers its population panoramic vistas and a constant contact with natural beauty, you breathe fresh air in the streets, and the immense Nahuel Huapi Lake can be seen from any part of the town. Walking along the woodland trails is a marvelous experience of being by yourself and in harmony with nature, far away from the pollution and stress of large cities.

Bariloche is the gate to the Patagonian lakes - Nahuel Huapi, Gutiérrez Lake, Moreno Lake and Mascardi Lake. It is said that here starts the magnificent world of the Patagonia. The marvelous surroundings of the Nahuel Huapi will allow you to enjoy over 50 different excursions. Lake traditional and adventure promenades satisfy all kind of amusement during the whole year. Beaches by the lake such as Playa Bonita and Villa Tacul welcome sun-bathers and some brave lake swimmers (the waters, from melting snow, are always very cold). Lake Nahuel Huapi contains several islands, including Isla Huemul, which hosted the Huemul Project, the Argentinian secret research project on nuclear fusion in 1949-1952. San Carlos de Bariloche is actually in the midlle of area known as the oldest national park in Argentina - Nahuel Huapi National Park. The park covers approximately 7050 km² and is famous for its rich wildlife. It covers many biotopes, due to altitudes ranging from 700 to 3,000 m and precipitation ranging from rain forests with 4,000 mm/yr on the western slopes to steppes with less than 300 mm/yr on the eastern side. Its incomparable beauty extends through the polychromy of its flowers, gardens and lakes, the variety of trees and plants that ornament the mountains and valleys giving in this way a colorful spectacle with the species diversity of ñires, cipreses, lengas and pines among others.

The towering snowy peaks of the Andes to the west of the city allow you to have beautiful winter holiday. Located 12 miles from Bariloche, Cerro Catedral is one of the most important ski centers in South America with a skiable area of 2 km² (0.77 sq mi), over 100 km (62 miles) of ski runs, and a lift capacity of 22,200 skiers per hour. It offers variety of activities like skiing in all its modalities, alpine, nordic, snowboarding and adventure, motoskiing. July is the peak of season for skiing.

San Carlos de Bariloche is also famous for its chocolates and fine cuisine, mountain food prepared in a very characteristic way. The city hosts an amazing number of shops were they produce and sell all sorts of varieties of chocolate. Local fruits and licor make some of the fillings. The most renowned ones are Mamuschka, La Abuela Goye and Benroth. Bariloche offers a wealth of services, including the area’s largest and best-serviced airport. But if you’re looking for a quiet vacation, you’d be better off lodging outside the city center, on the road to the Llao Llao Peninsula or in the town of Villa La Angostura. Beautiful alpine style hotel Hotel Llao Llao built in 1939 (recently renovated), adds to the dramatic backdrop of the mountains. A classic resort: there’s a golf course, boating, and much for the wealthy to see and do.

There are few places in the world where the seasons are so well marked as in Bariloche. The snow changes the landscape abruptly in winter time, spring is full of colors, long and warm days in summer and spectacular color shades in the fall, and all these changes permanently accompanied by the welcoming friendliness of the people.

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