The lake district in Patagonia is one of the most beautiful places in the world for any nature lover. After arriving, we originally planned to drive the route of the Seven Lakes. Yet, we didn’t realize one of the best things to do in Bariloche is biking the Circuito Chico loop! Being avid bike riders this was such a nice surprise for us. Circuito Chico is located just outside of town on a main paved road, and you can even add on a mountain biking adventure through the forest. Here you’ll experience rolling hills, lake views, diverse wildlife, and even a stop at the world renowned Patagonia Brewery.
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7 Tips for the Circuito Chico Loop in Bariloche
1. Rent a Bike from Circuito Chico Adventure: There’s no need to go with a guided tour here. The route runs in a circle and there are many other bikers out if you have any questions. Also, in the summer they offer kayaks and paddle boards!
2. Feel Your Best For the Ride: It was Jake’s birthday the night before and we might’ve had a little too much Malbec with our fondue dinner! Needless to say, these hills are hard but may have been harder than they needed to be for us.
3. Bring Snacks and Water: There are a select few places to stop for food and drinks while biking Circuito Chico Bariloche. However, you’re going to want to bring something to munch on and as much water as you can carry. Our water consumption honestly saved us, and there’s nothing like fruits and nuts to hold you over until dinner!
4. Spend Extra Time at the Views: Despite our obvious handicap from the night before there is still some massive hills on this loop. That means by the time you get to each viewpoint you’ll likely have earned it! Take your time to enjoy each panoramic view of the lake and the mountains in the distance. Each one has a wooden platform, benches, and some fun facts about the Patagonia wildlife.
5. Stop at the Patagonia Brewery: If you take one stop that isn’t at a lookout make it the Patagonia Brewery. Hands down this is one of the most awesome Breweries we’ve ever been to!
6. Weather Warning: Try to plan out biking the Circuito Chico in Bariloche based on the best weather, but also come prepared. The winds can be strong with unexpected rain, and even snow in the spring and fall.
7. Late Morning Start: We would recommend starting around 11am if you plan to stop at Patagonia Brewery which opens at noon. It will take 2.5 to 3 hours to complete the loop without long stops. However, since you have the bike until 5pm there’s more than enough time to go slow and explore.
Circuito Chico Bike Rental
Number: +54 9 (294) 4361917
Hours: Rental Available Until 2pm
Time Needed: 3-6 Hours
As the official rental shop for the bike route, Circuito Chico Adventure is the spot to get set up for your ride. Plus if you rent a bike from town you’re adding several miles and hills to the already long trip!
The cost changes depending on the time of year so it’s best to check online or call ahead and ask. Whatever the price it’s well worth it to experience this amazing journey. Also, when we visited there was a discount if you paid in cash instead of a credit card.
Getting to Circuito Chico Adventure
Bus: From the Nahuel Huapi National Park office in the center of Bariloche jump on the #20 bus heading towards Llao Llao hotel. To use the bus make sure to have a prepaid SUBE card. You can ask the bus driver when you get on to stop at Circuito Chico Adventure as well as track it on a map to know when you’re getting close.
Taxi: A taxi from the center of town to this part of Bariloche will cost around $600-650 pesos. This is obviously much more than the bus, but saves time and can be a good option if you’re splitting with several people.
First Stop on the Bridge
The epic scenery while biking the Circuito Chico in Bariloche starts when you cross the first bridge on the loop. When we rode over it we couldn’t help but pull over and start taking photos. T
his was also the first time in Bariloche that we realized how clear and beautifully blue the water was, but it would not be the last! Grab a photo here and prepare for the next section which is a little more difficult.
The Long Uphill Climb
After starting our day with a relaxing coast downhill, the first monster hill hit us square in the face. Not gonna lie… When we saw the road start to intensely curve upwards we were intimidated.
We did our best to make it to the top without walking, and had to jump off about 3/4 of the way up. I’d say out of all the people biking Circuito Chico only half of them made it without walking.
Still, if you can do it more power to you! Note that is the hardest hill on the trail so don’t let it stop you from enjoying the rest of the ride.
Circuito Chico Punto Panorámico
At the top of the first giant hill you’ll get to an unreal view of Lago Moreno Este and the famous Llao Llao hotel. The first view is on a dirt path. Yet, if you keep going you’ll get to an actual platform. Stop here and grab a picture because this is actually one of the best lookouts on the entire Circuito Chico.
If you’ve never been to Argentina before then you should know there is a thriving craft beer scene! Lucky for you, the countries most popular brand is produced right on the Circuito Chico.
Serving up great food and views, the Patagonia Brewery is easily one of the best things to do in Bariloche. They have a wonderful outdoor seating area, and endless freshly brewed beers for you to choose from.
It’s important to say again that the Patagonia Brewery doesn’t open until noon! We got there at 11:30am and decided we would come back later in the week rather than wait.
It’s at the very beginning of the Circuito Chico bike route and most people start in the morning so you’ll have to make a judgement call. Either way it’s 1000% worth visiting!
Mirador Cerro Capilla Lookout Point
About two thirds of the way into biking Circuito Chico Bariloche you will cross over a small bridge then start to head up a hill. It’s not as large as the first one, but still it’s pretty steep!
On your left there will be a small overlook that you can pull into for a gorgeous view. After you’ve taken some photos walk your bike up the road just a short distance to the long wooden bridge that jets out into the trees. At the end you’ll find another stunning view of the lake and mountains!
Llao Llao Hotel
Once you cruise by the ferry port you’re in for a surprise if you look up! Llao Llao is known as one of the most exclusive in all of Patagonia, and for good reason. The 162 room luxury hotel is perched high above the main road and has incredible views of the lakes and surrounding mountains.
You may not be able to afford the hefty price tag for the Llao Llao Hotel but go up and see it at the very least. Also, when leaving this area make sure to keep an eye out for the famous San Eduardo Chapel on your right.
Final Push Biking The Circuito Chico
After seeing such attractions as the Patagonia Brewery and Llao Llao Hotel you’re almost done mountain biking Bariloche! And yes, you guessed it… There’s one final climb.
Now if you can make it to the top of this one you’ll truly feel accomplished. The Circuito Chico Adventure shop is right at the top of the last hill and serves as your finish line.
Two Mountain Biking in Bariloche Add Ons
- Colonia Suiza (+6km) – Visit the historical town of Colonia Suiza.
- Villa Tacul (+3km) – This dirt bike paths leads to a beautiful picnic area and panoramic view.
Have any questions about Circuito Chico Bariloche or want to share your own tips for the bike ride with us? Feel free to comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Bariloche Argentina
Ultra Luxury – Llao Llao Resort – One of the most famous luxury hotels in all of Patagonia! This exclusive resort features a full spa, golf course, and one of a kind mountain and lake views.
Fun Vacation – Cacique Inacayal Lake Hotel & Spa – This amazing hotel is just 5 minutes from the main walking street and set right on the lake. After a long day of mountain biking in Bariloche the heated pool and lake view rooms are the perfect place to relax.
Budget Travel – Peninsula Petit – Located just outside of Bariloche near the beginning of the Circuito Chico. Nice rooms with lake views, a great breakfast, and beautiful beach to relax at for sunset.
Hostel Life – Selina Hotel – We’ve stayed at Selina’s all over South America now and Bariloche is no different! These hostels offer private rooms, dorms, a swanky bar, and awesome co-working lounge space for you to enjoy.
For more places to stay in San Carlos de Bariloche you can explore the latest prices here!
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Argentina Travel Planning
Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Remember that a lot of the time it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Argentina than driving or taking the bus!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling in Argentina. It is especially fun to have a car in scenic regions like Patagonia.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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