One of Argentina’s most-visited destinations is the beautiful Bariloche. A haven for nature lovers, this town couldn’t be more perfectly located between the picturesque Nahuel Huapi Lake and the Andes Mountains. With world-class trekking and water sports, there are endless ways to enjoy nature’s wonders. One of the best options for exploring the town’s outlying areas is by bicycle — it allows you to cover a lot of ground in little time and provides a unique way to experience the mountains.
The main bike trail which offers countless photo-ops is called the Circuito Chico, a circuit tour running about 60 kilometers. Sound daunting? You don’t have to do the whole thing. There’s a shorter route that still hits the best viewpoints.
If you choose to start your ride in town, there are several bike rental companies to choose from, some of which also offer guided cycling tours. I recommend taking the bus a bit out of town and starting your ride right in the middle of the hills. The best way to do this is to take the #20 bus from town to Kilometer 18. There are two companies located there, both of which offer mountain bike rental for 45-65 pesos. I went with Cordillera Bike Rentals & Tours, located at Avenida Bustillo, Km 18.6. They also operate a refugio (or hostel) if you’d like to spend a night outside of town.
The Circuito Chico is not hugely difficult, but there are several points that will have you huffing and puffing. You won’t be the only one if you have to walk your bike up a few hills. But if you can make it through the literal uphill battle, the downhill is easy breezy and offers fantastic views. Stop for a picnic lunch at a hillside lookout point, or park your bike on the beach and dip your toes in the crystal clear lago.
Don’t forget to ask your rental company for a bike lock before taking off — if you stop along the way you may want to leave your bike while you grab a bite or relax.