Getting Here and Around
The most efficient way to get here is by air from Buenos Aires or Calafate. The most scenic way to arrive is from Puerto Montt, Chile, by boat through the lakes. Buses are the new trains—fast, inexpensive, with varying degrees of luxury, including beds, meals, and attendants. A car or bus is the best way to travel between cities in the Lake District, and once you've settled in a destination, you can use local tours, buses, taxis, or a remis (a hired car with driver).
Aerolíneas Argentinas (www.aerolineas.com.ar) flies from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, Esquel, San Martín de los Andes, and Neuqúen; it also connects Bariloche and Calafate. LAN (www.lan.com) flies to Bariloche from Buenos Aires, as well as from Santiago, Chile.
Traveling between Bariloche and Puerto Montt, Chile, by boat is one of the most popular excursions in Argentina. It requires three lake crossings and various buses, and can be done in a day or overnight. Travel agents and tour operators in Bariloche and Buenos Aires can arrange this trip.
Buses arrive in Bariloche from every corner of Argentina—from Jujuy in the north, Ushuaia in the south, and everywhere in between.
Driving to the Lake District from Buenos Aires is a long haul: the trip takes at least three days, and the route—extending for more than 1,500 km (930 miles)—has interminable stretches with few hotels, gas stations, or restaurants. In Bariloche, unless you're on a tour or a ski-only vacation, renting a car gives you the freedom to stop when and where you want. The Ruta de los Siete Lagos closes when weather is bad; for winter travel, rent a 4X4. Hiring a remis is another option.