The Lake District: Places to Explore

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Bariloche

Bariloche is the gateway to all the recreational and scenic splendors of the Northern Lake District and headquarters for 2-million-acre Nahuel Huapi National Park. Although planes, boats, and buses arrive daily, you can escape on land or water—or just by looking out a window—into a dazzling wilderness of lakes, waterfalls, mountain glaciers, forests, and meadows.

The town of Bariloche hugs the southeastern shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, expanding rapidly east toward the airport and west along the lake toward Llao Llao, as Argentines and foreigners buy and build without any apparent zoning plan. Being the most popular vacation destination in Patagonia has not been kind to the town once called the "Switzerland of the Andes." Traffic barely moves on streets and sidewalks during holidays and the busy months of January-March, July, and August.

Nevertheless, the Centro Cívico (Civic Center), with its gray-green stone-and-log buildings, has not lost its architectural integrity. Designed by Alejandro Bustillo, this landmark square, with its view of the lake and mountains, is a good place to begin exploring Bariloche.

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