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Argentina · Bariloche

Strung out along the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the middle of the national park of the same name, Bariloche (formally San Carlos de Bariloche) has one of the most gorgeous settings imaginable. This, combined with a wealth of summer and winter activities in the surrounding countryside, has helped it become, for better or worse, the Lake District’s principal destination.

Bariloche is in the Río Negro Province, near the Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina. It is a city situated on the foothills of the Andes, surrounded by lakes (Nahuel Huapi, Gutiérrez Lake, Moreno Lake and Mascardi Lake) and mountains (Tronador, Cerro Catedral, Cerro López). It is famous for skiing but also great for sight-seeing, water sports, trekking and climbing. Another claim to fame is its Swiss-like atmosphere and its chocolate boutiques and breweries.

The soaring peaks of Cerros Catedral, López, Nireco and Shaihuenque (to name just a few) – all well over 2000m high – ring the town, giving picture-postcard views in nearly every direction.

These mountains are not just for gazing, though – excellent snow coverage (sometimes exceeding 2m at the end of the season) makes this a winter wonderland, and a magnet for skiers and snowboarders.

In summertime the nature buffs take over, hitting the hills to climb, hike trails, fish for trout and ride mountain bikes and horses.

There is so much fun to be had that this has become the destination for Argentine high school students’ end of year celebrations. And if all this was not enough, Bariloche is also Argentina’s chocolate capital and the only thing that approaches the amount of storefront window space dedicated to fresh chocolate is the infinite number of peculiar gnomes of all sizes and demeanors sold in nearly every shop downtown.

Besides tourism and related services, Bariloche is home of advanced scientific and technological activities. The Centro Atómico Bariloche is a research center of the National Atomic Energy Commission, where basic and applied research in many areas of the physical sciences is carried out.