“I’m sorry, there will be too much wind tomorrow so you can’t go kayaking. Maybe you want to do something else?” That’s what we heard when planning our free day in Bariloche. After two days of prime hiking up in the mountains, we came back to town and wanted to do something active that would not include walking. But as we feared and had already seen on the forecasts, the weather was about to turn. A tour on Circuito Chico (“small circuit”) seemed like a good alternative for our kayaking plans!
San Carlos de Bariloche is a city located on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi in the north of Patagonia. It’s a very touristic place and even though we were there after the high season, it was still quite busy, but not in an unpleasant way. In fact, it felt quite good to be surrounded by people again after being in the quiet for a while in Chilean Patagonia. Bariloche offers all conveniences you may wish for as a traveler and has some really fine restaurants.
After we spent our morning hiking around Cerro Catedral, we were picked up at 3.00 pm at our hotel for our Circuito Chico tour. We were pleasantly surprised that the phone in our room rang 10 minutes to 3 already, something we didn’t expect when you are in the part of the world where the saying is “mañana, mañana”… Our guide was already there and after we picked up some more people on the way we left the busy city behind. Officially, the city of Bariloche stretches out all over the Circuito Chico however, shortly after leaving downtown, you are right in the middle of nature already.
Our first stop was at Cerro Campanario, a 1.050 m. high mountain, where we were promised to get a great view of the lakes. The English receptionist in our hotel already told us that the view from up there would be one of the prettiest he’d ever seen in the whole world. Well, if a guy who traveled a lot said that, it had to be true, right? So we gladly paid the fee for the chairlift (90 Pesos or 9 USD each, not included in the tour) and began our ride up in the somewhat rickety aerosilla.
When we arrived at the top, we immediately felt an incredible gushing wind (leaving us glad that we didn’t go kayaking) and walked over to the right for the promised incredible view. Incredible it was indeed. Lakes and mountains reach as far as the eye can see and surround you for almost 360 degrees.
After about half an hour at the top we took the chairlift down again and continued our tour. By the time we got to the next stop, it was pouring with rain and many people in our group didn’t even bother to leave the van for a picture anymore. Such a shame, because at least the rain always brings something good, in our case it brought us a beautiful rainbow. Right at the edge of Perito Moreno Lake, it started to shine for us.
While driving further we reached Cerro López and the trailhead for the ascent, where we made a note to ourselves that sleeping at the refugio on the op the mountain would be really good for a next trip. We also passed the mountain climbers cemetery where climbers all over the world are buried. Not necessarily because they died in this area but because they think this is a great spot for their last rest. Beautiful thought, no?
We drove over to the Llao Llao hotel which is incredibly expensive and as we were told quite something for the rich and famous. The location is gorgeous and if we ever win the lottery, we’ll book a room there for the rest of our lives.
The last stop of our excursion was San Eduardo Chapel, a beautiful mostly wooden building. Even though we are not really into buildings, chapels and churches are always something we really enjoy visiting. If we possible we try to light a candle for our passed friends and family. Therefor we were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t see the chapel on the inside.
After the visit to the chapel we drove back to the city and our tour came to and end.
It was a pity that we didn’t have good weather but as Anto’s dad always used to say when she was complaining about the poor weather as a child: “just remember that most of the rain falls next to you anyway”.
We always try to see the positive side of things and even though some people in our tour group didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the things we saw, we believe that an important part of traveling is seeing things the way they are and appreciating the beauty of nature in their purest form. Rain or sun, cold or hot. We enjoyed Circuito Chico a lot, it was well arranged and the tourguide spoke excellent English.
One thing we still are wondering about is why all the trips at Circuito Chico don’t end with the chairlift to Cerro Campanario. Why not save the best for last and have a great overview of all the things you have seen during the day? Then the tour would really end “with a Bang!”
Our trip on Circuito Chico was organized by Class Adventure Travel who we have traveled with in the past for our Inca Trail experience in Peru. All opinions above are 100% our own as we do not work with organizations who want us to write in their favor. CAT offers tours all throughout Patagonia and Argentina and collaborating with them for Circuito Chico has been a pleasant experience.
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