Feliz Navidad! (A few weeks late…) I decided I wanted to spend Christmas in Bariloche so I could hopefully have some colder weather and see some snow on the mountains. Obviously, it’s summertime here in the southern hemisphere and it is my first time experiencing Christmas somewhere warm versus being in sweaters snuggled next to a fire. On my journey to Bariloche on Christmas Eve, I had one of the best experiences of my travels so far. When I boarded the bus from General Roca to Bariloche I had a little problem with my bus ticket and ended up chatting with the bus driver. After we got everything fixed with my tickets, he asked if I liked mate and of course the answer was yes. (For those who don’t know, mate is a very strong tea that is EXTREMELY popular in Argentina.) He then proceeded to say that during our trip, I could come down and drink a mate when him and the other bus driver. About 30 minutes into our journey, the driver came and signaled me down from my seat. I then proceeded to drink multiple mates and talk with the two bus drivers for 6 hours….It is these types of experiences, for me, that make a journey memorable and it also makes me very grateful that I can now speak Spanish.
After my afternoon of buses and mate, I finally arrived to Bariloche around 9pm and I proceeded to walk 30 minutes from the bus terminal to La Justina Hostel. Upon walking into the hostel, there was a surge of energy and good vibes because everyone was sitting down eating a Christmas Eve meal together. While I unfortunately missed dinner, I did get free wine and some dessert 🙂 For Christmas day, I walked along the lake, went to lunch with a couple from Buenos Aires and took a siesta. While it was very different being away from family for Christmas this year, I was reminded that the importance of the day doesn’t change and I am so grateful for the opportunities I currently have to travel. The day after Christmas, I went into the mountains for several days of hiking and camping but more about that adventure will come later! As for Bariloche, I found the town charming and the main street (Mitre) looks like something out of a movie with cobblestone streets, tons of chocolate shops, and street artists. Here are some of my recommendations on where to go in Bariloche.
Best Ice Cream: Rappa Nui. Rappa Nui is world famous for this chocolate but I would also give their ice cream five stars.
Best Happy Hour/Burgers: Manush. Manush has a great happy hour, wonderful craft beers, and a really good atmosphere for sitting around with friends.
Travel Tip: La Justina was an amazing hostel in Bariloche. The hostel cost $200 pesos per night and had to be one of the cleanest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. The owner, Leo, is so friendly and makes homemade bread for breakfast every morning which was wonderful!