Cerro campaniro

I had one more day to spend in bariloche before proceeding onto el calafete. I had considered the longer haul options during my planning phase of the trip. But the town of Neuquén was a few hours away by bus and I wasn’t feeling the urge to travel so far out to checkout some dinosaur bones.

A French traveller I’d met in llao llao the previous day had suggested a hike up cerro campaniro which was on the same llao llao bus route I’d taken before. It apparently had a better panoramic view than cerro llao llao and could be covered in half a day.

Getting there

I took bus 10 from the civic centre of bariloche and used by subte card as before. Buses in this region require that you state your destination and tap the card to pay, unlike the ezLink tap-on/tap-off card used on Singapore’s public transport. The bus was pretty crowded on this day but I was able to get a window seat. I attempted to cross-reference the landmarks outside with my offline Nokia HERE map on my phone. Due to my lack of Spanish & unstable GPS I almost got off too early and finally got off a bit beyond the target bus stop.

After a short hike up the road I reached the ski-lift station at the bottom of the mountain. I could cheat by taking a ski lift up and down for a nominal fee but felt that the hike was worth the sweat. I was directed to the start of the trail and was greeted by a very steep ascent which got my heart pumping. It did ease up but the trail varied in challenge through out the 3 hour ascent.

Apart from some wooden markers and some trodden down footpaths there was little in the form of infrastructure on this trail. I had to dodge some bees on this route as I did on llao llao but I didn’t encounter any dense thorn bushes to navigate through which made this hike an easier one.


The vista

The summit had a ski-lift station with a small café, toilet & lookout adjacent to it.

The lookout had a 360 degree panoramic view of the llao llao penisular and various smaller islands of lago victoria.

For the sake of comparison I’ll lay the llao llao panaromic photo from the day before.

llao llao panaromic

After taking some more photos and using some of the facilities I briefly considered taking the ski-lift down. Though given the limited harnessing and exposed nature of ski-lifts I decided to just hike down.

The challenge of coming down a steep hill is controlling your speed. You’re constantly fighting gravity and its urge to send you rolling down the hill or hurtling towards a tree.

I encountered a fair number of local hikers (including people with dogs) on this trail but the numbers were a lot less than llao llao. The only interaction being the typical greeting of Hola! or Buenos días.

After reaching the base of the hill I walked over to the bus stop and waited for bus 10 to take me back to Bariloche. While waiting at the bus stop I encountred a young local couple who spoke reasonably well in english. The knew of Singapore (which surprised me) and remarked that I’d find Salta to be a very humid place in comparison to Bariloche.

We chatted a bit more on the bus before parting ways at Bariloche. I had something eat In town before returning to my room to pack.

Settling accounts

I had settled my room bill with the proprietor’s son (who spoke better english than the old lady who checked me in). But those checking into cheaper hostels/small hotels of bariloche should note a few things:

• They're mostly cash-only  (USD is usually accepted aswell)
• Don’t expect staff to speak much english as they cater to a mostly domestic crowd but the younger ones use google-translate apps actively.

Google translate was a valuable aid in my trip though it wasn’t problem-free. A humours instance was when I asked for the bill the app gave me:

lost in translation

Which puzzled Martin, the owner’s son. He then realized the error and laughed that proyecto de ley meant a bill of parliament not a receipt.


The only words I can use to describe the difference between the cerro llao llao & cerro campaniro would be in terms of:

• Zoomed out view angle
• Greater accessibility

If you want a challenging hike in terms of dense foilage and uneven ground then llao llao probably wins. Campaniro is easier to get to (if you’re looking for a quick hike) but possibly steeper in areas.

My overall evaluation of Bariloche was quite favourable. It has a number of things working for it:

  • Well-kept town with well-provisioned shops
  • Solo trekkers will find Public buses cover most of the popular trails
  • Surrounding hills & mountains offer a great many more hiking options
  • Hardcore mountain ice trekking available (in season) provided you have the skills!

A few words of caution though, I visited during Autumn which the off-peak season. I’ve heard that it’s near impossible to get a room for a decent price during Summer or Winter when hordes of domestic tourists (mainly high school students) flock to the regions Ski resorts (in winter) and Lakes for Water Sports (in summer).

The next day at 5am I would say goodbye to the lake district and brace myself for the frigid Antarctic winds of El Calafete.