Things To Do In El Bolson
The town of El Bolson in Argentina is a haven for backpackers and mountain hikers. This quaint village is especially enjoyable after a tour of the nearby San Carlos de Bariloche. There are about 13 refuges here that offers a wide assortment of trekking courses for hikers of all skill levels. The refuges (Refugio) are situated within the tree lined and bordered jungles of El Bolson. Aside from a tour of its mountainous landscapes and top attractions, El Bolson is known for organic/vegetarian foods, the best tasting beer, delicacies, fruit jams and freshly harvested honey from the local farmers. Columns of poplar trees bring a Mediterranean charm to the neighborhood chacras (ranches). A large portion of them are committed to producing hops (El Bolsón creates about seventy-five percent of the nation's hops harvest) and agricultural products.
When To Go:
The city of El Bolson can be visited at any time throughout the year. The popular trekking season officially runs from November - March. The high season of January -February is the busiest time, particularly on weekends. Because of its low altitude, most of the shelters stay open all year. Due to an arrangement of valleys through the mountains of Chile up to the Pacific Ocean, it normally has a mild atmosphere although it is on the southern side of Argentina.
These are the favorite sites and things to do in El Bolson…
Rio Azul (The Blue River)
The Rio Azul or the Blue River can be easily accessed from the Cabeza del Indio. It offers dazzling views all across the valley. It is a river where you can swim, go fishing, and sunbathing on the banks. There are also worthwhile places to visit right on the river, especially at the confluence with the Rio Blanco. Additionally, there’s a friendly pub where you can spend the night drinking and dancing.
As a stop on Route 40, the Rio Azul is a beautiful place with astounding landscapes. It is beautiful, calm, and comes highly recommended. If you're a lover of photography of landscapes, this is the perfect place because it has a lot of colors and different tones to create an ideal composition for your capture of El Bolson.
Cajon del Azul
The Cajon del Azul is clearly the best and most comprehensive tour that can be done from El Bolson. The trek requires a hilly walk of about three hours, crossing forests that border the incomparable Rio Azul.
Upon arriving in El Bolson, you can seek out many activities. One is a trail where you can enjoy the Yangtze, an enchanting natural opening of the river with passages (wooden bridges, streams, wells) and wonderful scenery along the way. You’ll finish in a cozy and rustic Refuge, where you can make tea, a mug of coffee, make a nice snack with sweet wild fruit, and fresh breads removed from the oven. Stay overnight, meet people from all over the world, and take a well-deserved rest!
El Bosque Tallado
Arriving at the El Bosque Tallado is not easy and the road is usually poorly maintained. You can get a car, which moves very slowly. From there, you must undertake a hike uphill with very steep parts, but it’s all worth it. The reward for all your efforts is when you reach the forest and have a magnificent view of El Bolson and the surrounding mountain range. Browse the forest and take time to stroll around, it is very interesting. Do not miss climbing up to the shelter, it requires a little bit more walking, but there's an even better view from there.
From there, you can climb via car to a viewpoint, and from there walk about 1000 meters. The climb is difficult and you’ll need to stop a few times to rest. There are benches, picturesque views and no need to rush. Take your time! If you visit during the off-season, you do not have to pay for anything. There are even bathrooms along the way if nature calls. Surprisingly, there are sculptures to see here; some pretty, and some just pretty shocking. Each art comes with the title, date, artist, and nationality. You’ll also have the chance to do some skydiving and admire the valley over El Bolson.
This is a great place to experience both adventure and art as you walk in the woods and enjoy the sculptures made from dead trees by local and international artists. Don’t forget your camera! The site is a fantastic place to take lots of pictures. The history of the forest is interesting (a wildfire once burned this forest) and worth hearing from the guides, who are very knowledgeable. It’s definitely worth the climb (even if it is quite steep) to reach the so-called “Carved Forest” (Refugio Piltriquitrón). This is where you’ll see sculptures carved on tree trunks, all the way up to the crown of the tree. Many of the carvings here are actually quite cute. You can keep climbing higher up to reach other shelters.
The El Bosque Tallado is an ideal trek to go with family. In the winter /snowy season, it is more challenging, and be careful especially in the descents, where there are lots of slippery and icy parts. If it’s summer, bring lots of water!
The hidden waterfall or the Cascada Escondida is just one of the many excellent sites that surround the majestic landscape of El Bolson. It is situated about eight kilometers from the city and has convenient access by car. The place is very picturesque, even if it’s a little out of town. You need to tread carefully on the slippery rocks near the cascading falls. But the careful climb is worth the breathtaking sight and the comforting sound you hear as the water lands at the bottom. It’s simply part of the site’s natural charm. If you visit in autumn, there are colorful sprays and rainbow mist shots that are ideal for photography. The access is challenging but more convenient than other trail sites in El Bolson. It can be done through a walkway that leads to the base of the waterfall. The waterfall is resplendent and has several viewpoints to see it from different heights. Worth visiting in this place is the botanical garden, it is very informative and easy to understand.
The hike to find the waterfall is very nice, always downhill on a somewhat steep path. People with mobility problems might want to abstain or go carefully and slowly. Kids are also not allowed because of some slippery parts. It really lives up to the name as it is sufficiently hidden. Once you get there, steel yourself and keep walking. There are no signposts, and while the trail is messy, you should still be able to find it. You will quickly notice staggered spaces that will lead directly across the river to the jump off point. The waterfall is a drop of 50 meters. You will have to pay an entrance fee of $8. It’s worth it. The place is full of green, trees, birds and after walking the path the hidden waterfall appears. Do not miss the adventure and the adrenaline pushing trails of this superb place in El Bolson.
Museo de Piedras Patagonicas
The Circuito de Mallin Ahogado in El Bolson has many attractions and one of them is the Museo de Piedras Patagónicas. The museum is private and has an important heritage of carefully identified stones and minerals. The owners spent years of study, exploration, travel, and collection in their quest to enrich the world of geology. The place is very exciting and the forest access section is especially enticing. It is located in a dense forest with a comfortable environment. The couple organizing the museum spent much of their lives collecting and working hard for the acquisition of the stones that are all well ordered and arranged.
The museum contains collections of rocks from all over Argentina and some key points in El Bolson. The kind attention and patience of the couple is remarkable, as it is now one of premier sites for educational tourism in the area. Here you could spend a day observing, discovering shapes, colors and a whole new world of sensations. There is a handicraft shop inside this incredible museum so you can take home some keepsakes.
The museum is located in the middle of the Patagonian forest. Once you arrive, you will be received by Eduardo and his wife Isabel, the couple responsible for the collection. Their warmth and love for what they do best is evident at first meeting. The place has its certain charm and despite all the work that they’ve put in already, they are very attentive to guide everyone on a tour and answer their questions. Because of the experience, the Museo de Piedras Patagónicas an exquisite and pleasant place to visit while in the city of El Bolson.
Cascada Mallin Ahogado
The Cascada Mallin Ahogado is a striking locale with a stunning waterfall where you can spend a pleasant afternoon or a meal with friends, complete with tables and seats surrounded by rich vegetation. The access, near the Belenus Theme Forest, is smooth and easy to find. Here you’ll find life-size sculptures symbolizing the four seasons. They are represented by female images and mythological characters (the figure representing summer is particularly well made). Although the town is small, the natural charms are fantastic. It is another place in El Bolson where nature keeps surprising you. Just like the other attractions and trails you will see in the city it is very clean, maintained, and everything is clear and well labeled. It's a beautiful place to spend time, taking a few friends and soaking the feet. Access here is faster and the descent to the waterfall is correctly marked. There are hostels that sell all kinds of hiking supplies if you miss something, even food and drinks.
From the town, the road is a gravel drive and quite rocky, and you cannot go over 30 km/h if you want to remain safe. At the entrance, you’ll be charged a reasonable ticket fee. Access to the waterfall is done in three minutes by a rather simple downhill trail. The waterfall area is safe and the trail has little difficulty, but you must hike up a slope to see the waterfall from the base, which is where it is most fascinating. A tree that was uprooted and swept away in the middle of the waterfall adds a rustic charm and appeal to this splendid tourist site. Apart from the trail to the waterfall site, it also includes an excellent meeting hub and games for children. Admission is $2 to access the property. For your convenience, access the site via Route 40 linking the El Bolson and Bariloche. The trekking adventure is highly recommended, a quiet place to take a break and admire the scenic charm of El Bolson.
Belenus Theme Forest
The Belenus Theme Forest is a beautiful place to visit with the kids. Here, they can see figures of elves, fairies, animals, birds, unicorns and other characters taken from fairy books. It is a forest with manicured figures and especially suited for little girls. The price is affordable and most definitely worth the visit. The journey will take about 40 minutes to explore, take pictures, and take in.
The walk is pleasant, you can breathe fresh air while surrounded by nature. The only tricky part is getting to the place. The gravel road complicates things if you do not own a vehicle.All in all, though, the staff gives a warm welcome, good service and easy access for all ages and conditions. If you had a childhood full of fairies, elves, and magical forests, this is an ideal place to commemorate that time in your lives and smile more than once as you identify with the characters presented.
At the Cerro Piltriquitron, there are two options to trek if you ascended on foot. One for the "street" where there are passing cars, which is less steep, but boring. The other is along the paths, which is much steeper, but the effort is enjoyable as it will take you on a winding journey through a beautiful forest - full of pine trees- and is a marvelous sight to behold while walking. When you reach the platform (it can also be reached by car), there’s about a kilometer of gravel road you need to pass by to reach the Carved Forest.
After that, you’ll have to climb about 300 meters to reach the Refugio of this cerro (hill). They will greet you with a warm welcome and very affordable prices. Most importantly, the mozzarella pizza here is to die for. The shelter is at 1500 meters above sea level and the view is divine. To reach the summit, you must climb about 800 more meters, but it is all worth the effort.
The Feria Artesanal in El Bolson is very picturesque square. There're lots of varieties to choose from as you shop; accessories, textiles, ornaments, bazaar,,, etc. After all that hiking, the most attractive offerings are the meals: there are many stalls and if you are with friends it is a good way to relax, sit down and eat something in the square. The most famous fair of Patagonia is open every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.
As the most traditional fair in southern Argentina, it is well equipped with hippies, colors, and an excellent crafts fair located in the Plaza Pagano. It receives thousands of tourists from all around the world. It also boasts a high-quality food court, where you can taste pies, waffles, and many other dishes, accompanied by the best craft beers in the area.
Fabrica de Dulces Cabana Mico
When you reach the Fabrica de Dulces Cabana Mico, you must make a guided tour of the sweets factory with the owner, who is very attentive and friendly. The view of the Mount Piltriquitrón on the background is unmatched. There is a long tasting table with jams to try and prices that are very affordable. They have a showroom, called Rich Find, where you can buy factory products (wines, liqueurs, jams , sauces, juices, fruit in syrup) and other typical agricultural products of the area (beer, tea, and malts), at a price that is 30-50% lower than most stores. It has two tables for tasting all the sweets. They also have a place for a quick snack or lunch. The fresh fruit juices are exquisite and major credit cards are accepted. Some of the cool things about this place is that most of the sweets do not have added sugar, and most of their products are preservatives free. It’s the best souvenir gift you can bring back home to your friends and family.
The outskirts of El Bolson offer innumerable ridges, waterfalls and timberlands for climbers to admire. With enough time, provisions and water, most of the natural beauty in El Bolson can be experienced on foot. Additionally, mountain biking is a fabulous approach or another option if you want to explore all the rugged corners and edges. El Bolson is one of the perfect places for outdoor adventures in Argentina. Don’t miss a tour of this enchanting city!
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