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Which one would you choose: Bariloche or El Calafete?

Hi pals, it's the first time I post on a forum like this one, but I really could use some help. I'm going to Buenos Aires for work at the end of July, but the Company I work for didn't book a return flight until August 5th. I plan to fly to Bariloche OR El Calafete from August 1st - to August 4th, that's all I have. Based on your knowledge/experience which destination would you recommend to someone with no car at disposal but who LOVES great sightings? I don't have problems with taking the bus or other means of transportation, I just want to know which one is better based on the little time I have and the season.

Every little piece of advice is welcomed. Thanks.

Posted by
971 posts

You are aware that August is in the dead of winter in Patagonia? With that said, Bariloche has some nearby ski resorts if that has your interest. Bariloche also has more of a swiss style vibe to it, with lots of shops selling chocolate etc.

El Calafate is more of a trekking destination, but I think options are limited in the winter. The main draw near El Calafate is the Perito Moreno Glacier, which is absolutely stunning. Watching huge chunks of ice break of the glacier into the turquoise lake is truly mesmerizing!

Posted by
31530 posts


You might also post this question on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum, as the group there is probably more familiar with more offbeat destinations. As previously mentioned, that will be winter in that area, so be sure to research the typical temp's and take appropriate clothing.

From what I've seen on news reports, Bariloche also resembles a Bavarian or Austrian city. There are some interesting stories about some of the former residents there (one of whom was prosecuted for war crimes).

Posted by
16941 posts

I've been to Bariloche in July (OK, 20 years ago). It was for skiing at the nearby Cerro Catedral resort. General impression, South America's Lake Tahoe, minus the casinos. Lots of bars and restaurants, fairly lively if the Brazilian economy is doing well. There are shuttle buses to the ski resort.