A hour or two south of San Carlos de Bariloche is a small town called El Bolsón. It is known for its chilled, hippie-like lifestyle, handcraft market and beautiful hikes into the mountains that surround it.
It was the very first town I have known in Argentina on my visa run from Chile and I was full of first impressions. I liked the fact that everyone, but really everyone was drinking Yerba Maté! People in shops, people waiting for buses, in bus terminals you could even find small tanks with hot water to fill up your maté cup. The Argentine side of the Andes range has rocky type of mountains, it rains very little and the land is dry.
The handcraft market is a must-do thing while in El Bolsón. You can find, all kinds of macrame bracelets, hand-made kitchen utensils, earrings and rings or even maté cups with the possibility to have your name carved on. The area is also known for a good variety of handcraft beer.
A little more quiet than profound Bariloche, El Bolsón offers a good variety of adventure activities, such as horseback riding, trekking, rock climbing, rafting and mountain bike through various circuits such as the Camino de los Nogales, la cascada Nahuelpan, río Azul, cerrito Amigo and “Cabeza del Indio”.
Longer hikes can take you to refugios del cerro Lindo, Hielo Azul, cerro Piltriquitrón or Cajón del Azul. On the way, you sure some pretty views.
In addition, El Bolsón is considered to be a privileged place for paragliding. 🙂