San Carlos de Bariloche, or simply Bariloche, is known as Argentina’s “Little Switzerland”, and with good reason. The city sits in the foothills of the snow-capped Andes Mountains, and expatriates in Bariloche will find the local architecture has a distinctly Alpine feel. On a clear day, gazing over the glassy water of Nahuel Huapi Lake with the mountains in the distance, you could easily imagine you were in Geneva. Bariloche is extremely popular with tourists for its picturesque landscape and easy access to winter sports such as skiing, trekking and mountaineering. However, expats living in Bariloche should not expect to be shivering in the snow all year round. The city is located in the south west of Argentina, keeping it cold enough for high altitude snow, but warm enough for t-shirts in the summer.
Get trustworthy advice and local insights from fellow members in our Argentina expat forums.
It is probably easier to enter San Carlos de Bariloche from Chile than from Argentina. The city is just a few miles east of the Chilean border, and the Cardenal Antonio Samore Pass is an excellent mountain road which traverses the Andes. The city also has its own international airport, operating flights around the whole of South America. Any expatriate moving to Bariloche should pack a full winter wardrobe – although the city sees mild and sunny summers, winter can be a very snowy affair. Don’t forget that Bariloche is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so winter takes place from around May to October. If you don’t have much experience of living in South America, or in colder climates, ask experienced expatriates for advice on the InterNations forums and discussion groups.
While it may look like a picture-perfect parochial town, San Carlos de Bariloche is actually a busy city. During ski season, the population seems to double with the arrival of tourists and seasonal workers. Residents are well used to visitors and expats living in Bariloche, but if you want to fit in as well as possible, brush up on your Spanish before you arrive in the city. If you are planning on working in Bariloche during peak seasons, be sure to prepare your accommodation well ahead of time, to avoid having to pay expensive hotel tourist rates when you arrive. For more information on working life abroad, check out the InterNations Expat Magazine, which offers a range of articles on various expatriation related topics, from working abroad to coping with culture shock.