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Bariloche - Las Grutas - Villa La Angostura - El Bolson

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Llao Llao hotel in BarilocheMap of Rio Negro in Argentina From mineral tourism to warm water beaches, Rio Negro offers visitors an outstanding array of possibilities not to mention having some of the most developed towns and cities in Patagonia, such as Bariloche - the second most important touristic destination within Argentina- and smaller gems like Villa La Angostura only 80 kms away. For the green enthusiasts there is also agrotourism along its valley region known as "Alto valle de Rio Negro' where 9 small towns constitute the heart of Argentina's horticultural industry (pears and apples leading the list of produce and fruits that comes out of this region). The southwestern part of the province, with Nauhel Huapi national park and Puelo lake as main attractions, is a world class destination visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year and is home for the #1 ski resort in the country: Cerro Catedral.

Bariloche downtown - Tours and circuits

Nahuel Huapi lakeSan Carlos de Bariloche is today the 2nd biggest destination in Argentina. Just 1500 visitors in 1935 evolved into 500,000 annually at present. Activities all year round and a well developed infraestructure have been key to Bariloche's becoming a top vacation spot. Over 220 places to stay with more than 15,000 beds (1999 stats) to satisfy every taste. By 1930, federal laws protecting national parks and the arrival of the railroad ignited the development of the whole region. Bariloche's downtown is of incredible beauty, however, the real treat are the many short escapades and tours that can be arranged from here -some of which may take an entire day-.

Cerro Tronador, close to BarilocheCerro Catedral, cerro Otto, cerro Tronador, Puerto Blest, the seven lakes area and the Arrayanes forest are without a doubt some of the most popular attractions when in town. At the same time there are a myriad of activities that can keep even the most demanding visitor busy. Rafting, trekking, parachuting, climbing, dirt bikes, ecotourism and skiing (winter time) are a few examples. Bariloche is also known for its chocolate industry and chocolate specialties which in the beginning were marketed as a treat for the ski enthusiast. Today, the chocolate industry has gone beyond this image and has become and important part of the local commerce.

Originally, the area of the Nahuel Huapi was conceived as a settlement for Jesuit missions. There are factual records of the 'Mision de nahuel Huapi' founded by the jesuit College of Castro de Chiloe in the year 1670. But after many natives attacks this post was abandoned in 1717 when the last of the missionaries was assasinated. The order of the Fransiscans followed their steps but it was not until 1856 that german immigrants arrived to the area from Chile. Much later, once railroads connected the region and federal laws protecting national parks were signed, Bariloche caught the attention of some of the richest families in Buenos Aires. The rest is history.

Civic center in downtown Bariloche
Rion Negro coastal region - Las Grutas

Warm beaches at Las GrutasVisitors are amazed by the extraordinary beauty of the beaches in Las Grutas located along the Gulf of San Matias, south of Viedma - Rio Negro's capital city-. Its warm waters are an open invitation for the most pleasant of dives. About 400 km of coastal lands, covered with fine sand at the foot of rock formations are making of Las Grutas a favorite destination for argentines. New developments are taking place and the humble lodgings from late 60's are being recycled into mediterranean style houses. During January, the Festival of Golfo Azul takes place with campings, casino activity and great food. But there is more to Rio Negro than warm water beaches.

Las Grutas - Rio NegroThe fertile valley of "Alto Valle" may not be of interest to every visitor but those who are into agrotourism are in for a treat. A group of several towns along RN22 -a stretch of 130 kms - are at the core of the production of apples and pears, supplying as much as 70+ % of the domestic market. Such output places Argentina as the 10th producer worldwide. The two most important cities in this corridor: Villa Regina (24,000 habitants) and General Roca (65,000 habitants). The cultivation of fruits got started around the year 1930, after the artificial water channel system for irrigating the land was in place. This system of irrigation was initiated in 1910 and it took almost 2 decades to complete.

As many other industries in Argentina, this one too has its roots tied to british interests. Two key developments took place back in the 30's that helped distribute apples and pears internationally. The varieties were reduced to only a few by the "Argentine Fruit Distributor" company and the production was gathered along railroad stations where it was categorized inside warehouses. This allowed for rapid shipment to the ports of Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires. In 1948, the government nationalized all railroads and british influence started to dwindle. By mid 60's argentine capital was injected into this industry converting it in what it is today, expanding the cold chain locally which allowed for packing in origin.

Alto valle de Rio Negro - agrotourism

El Bolson

El Bolson - magical and laid backHome for artists and bohemians - El BolsonAn agricultural town of 10,000 people, El Bolson is where most of the national production of berries takes place. By the end of the 60's it developed a reputation as a 'hippie' enclave and the chosen place to live for those who were after a dream for a better world. The song 'El bolson de los Cerros 5' has kept that spirit alive. The Botanical Garden in the village, Cerro Piltriquitron, rainbow trout fishing from mid november through mid april (requires a permit), are some activities that locals and visitors can engage in. The artisan craft market that opens at Pagano Park on Saturdays at 10 am (also Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer months) is specially attractive. The first settlers came from Chile through el paso Cochamo but El Bolson remained pretty much isolated until the railroad to El Maiten (53 km away) was completed. This event together with some urbanization that was started at the same time was a driving force that push a small group of immigrants with spanish, german, russian and libanes descent to settle here.

Map of Bariloche, Argentina

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We have shown you some of the most interesting aspects to be explored in this State. If you have in mind some argentina travel plans and in particular to this region we recommend that you fill out our 'no commitment' vacation planner so that we can provide you with a more precise idea on the cost of a trip.  It is possible to combine circuits and tours in this State with circuits in other States as well as neighboring countries, like Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and even Bolivia for prolonged stays. Trips may range from just a few days to many weeks. Upon reception of the reservation form we will be in a better position to let you know detailed scheduling for a trip as well as specific activities that can be arranged in the area, plus all the information regarding how to get your air tickets, payments, travel insurances, transfers from where you are and the cost of the tour or vacation as per your choices. Please do not hesitate to contact us.