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Covering more than 60 kilometers, Circuito Chico is a popular and scenic half-day excursion that follows a winding road through one of the most picturesque regions in the world. Enjoy stunning views, scenic vistas, magnificent mountains and serene forests as you make your way along this breathtaking four-hour circuit. From the shores of lakes Nahuel Huapi and Moreno to the peak of Cerro Campanario and Villa Tacul, through forests and along the Llao Llao peninsula, the Circuito Chico is a must-see for anyone visiting Patagonia.
|Start/end location:||Ave. Bustillo on the outskirts of Bariloche|
|Duration:||To drive the route should take approximately four hours to complete, including stops for food and photos along the way.|
|Best time to go:||Summer (December to February) is the best time to go. The weather is nice and warm, and the water is cool for swims and other activities around the many beaches. However, there is no need to halt Circuito Chico out of this time frame. Different weathers offer different views and experiences.|
Start on Ave. Bustillo on the outskirts of Bariloche. Head west and make your way long the winding shore of the majestic Lake Nahuel Huapi, the largest lake in the region.
Continue on to Playa Bonita. Located around at kilometer 8, Bonita is a serene beach, perfect for a relaxing break. Stop over to enjoy water sports, including kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Swim in the clear waters or soak in the sunshine and enjoy stunning views of Huemul Island, a small island located just 1,200 meters off shore.
Travel west to Cerro Campanario, just ten kilometers from Playa Bonita. Make the relatively easy hike or let the chairlift whisk you 1,050 meters to the top of the mountain. From the many viewing platforms, enjoy stunning 360-degree panoramic views of Patagonia, including lake Nahuel Huapi and the Perito Moreno, the Llao Llao Peninsula, El Trebor lagoon, Victoria Island, and the Otto, Catedral and Lopez mountains.
Head north to the Llao Llao Hotel. Located at kilometer 25 marker in the foothills of the Andes, the Llao Llao Hotel is a five-star hotel surrounded by stunning nature. With several viewpoints, the Llao Llao Hotel is the perfect place to take in Patagonia's natural environment, serene forests, and stunning vistas.
Take a short walk and visit San Eduardo Chapel. Built in 1938, this neo-gothic style church is a regional architectural gem. Constructed with stone and cypress logs, the chapel features magnificent stained glass windows and offers beautiful views of the region. From the front of the church, enjoy views of the forest, Mount Tronador as well as lakes Nahuel Huapi and Moreno Oeste.
Drive past Puerto Panuelo. At kilometer 25 on the Llao Llao peninsula, Puerto Panuelo is a passenger port at the base of Cerro Llao Llao. From here, visitors who wish to explore more of the region can organize excursions by boat, including crossing Lake Nahuel Huapi, venturing into Chile through the Perez Rosales Pass, traveling to Victoria Island, or visiting Myrtle Forest.
Continue on the route to Villa Tacul. Playa Villa Tacul is an expansive pebble beach perfect for a lunchtime picnic. Take a few photos from the beach or take an hour to hike up to the top of the mountain. Standing more than 850 meters above sea level, the top of Villa Tacul offers impressive views of Bahia Llao Llao below.
Continue passed Muelle Lago Escondido and cross Puente Arroyo La Angostura. Puente Arroya La Angostura is a small bridge crossing the turquoise blue waters of the Angostura stream and connecting lakes Nahuel Huapi and Moreno. From the bridge, enjoy amazing views of Bahia Lopez to the west and Moreno Lake to the east. Time bearing, walk down to the rocky beaches of each lake and take in the moment.
Drive along the winding road and stop at Cerveceria Patagonia. This rustic brewery, Cerveceria Patagonia, sits on the shores of Lake Moreno and offers dazzling views. Enjoy an afternoon on the outdoor patio as you sip on a beer and sample local fares while looking out at the lakes, forests, and Llao Llao mountain in the distance.
Travel along the shores of Lake Moreno to Lagune El Trebol. The small glacial lake sits between Lake Nahuel Huapi to the northeast and Lake Moreno to the southwest, and in the shadows of Cerro Campanario. Stop by the lake and snap a few photos of the amazing Cerro Campanario.
Drive another 2km and re-join Avenida Bustillo around kilometer 18. From here you will travel back to the city of Bariloche completing your Circuito Chico tour.
- The Circuito Chico can be completed by car, on foot, on bike, or via bus route 20 from Bariloche.
- Bikes can be rented in Bariloche, or from a shop near the base of Cerro Campanario.
- If you choose to bike the route, be sure to wear a helmet and reflective vest so you are highly visible to oncoming traffic.
- A tourist information centre is located in the middle of the circuit, between Villa Tacul and Muelle Lago Escondido, just in case you need some help.
- There are no petrol stations on the route. Fill up before you depart from Bariloche.
- Guesthouses, hotels, and restaurants can be found all along the route, should you need a place to stop, stay or pick up snacks.
- The Llao LLao peninsula section of the circuit is known for heavy traffic. Take caution when navigating this section of the route. After this section, the roads are generally quite empty.
If an Argentina tour is on your bucket-list, try and add Bariloche to it. Once there, you do not want to miss a Circuito Chico tour. This half-day trip takes visitors to the regions most stunning and famous locations and attractions. From the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi to the top of Cerro Campanario through forests and valleys, the Circuito Chico is a feast for the eyes, breath of fresh air for the soul and a magnificent experience you won't soon forget.
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