For a day out in nature, get outdoors and hit the hiking trail which runs along this gorgeous river. Experienced hikers can spend the night in a mountain shelter along the path, but amateurs ought not to worry; the 5 km trail makes for a good day hike, with a stop at a refugio for a bite to eat. Don’t forget a swimsuit for a dip in the clear blue water!
Spend a few hours wandering around the vibrant market for shopping, food, and live music. Local artisans sell everything from woodcarvings to natural perfumes and soaps to clothing, and the food available ranges from fresh fruit to beer to even vegan sandwiches. There is often live entertainment, like acrobats or jazz bands, to add to the atmosphere.
Feria Artesanal, Plaza Pagano, El Bolsón, Argentina, +54 294 449-2604
What better way to see the Rio Azul than from within a kayak or a whitewater raft? With highly experienced and friendly instructors and excellent equipment, this water-sports company is happy to make that happen. The best part? Enjoying coffee, mate, and a bite to eat afterwards courtesy of the company.
This geological museum explores the history of Patagonia through its collection of minerals and rocks. Don’t miss the section on meteorites, as well as the outdoor geological ‘theme park’, which mixes education with natural beauty.
For the most unique view of the region, book an aerial tour in a Cessna 182 with Aeroclub El Bolsón. Flights can be anywhere from 10 to 110 minutes, and encompass views of the lakes, glaciers, and parks. To avoid cloud cover, book a flight in the morning.
Everyone’s favourite confíteria in town is this authentic spot, renowned in these parts for its delicious and unusual ice cream. Don’t stick to boring old chocolate or vanilla helado here; Jauja specializes in incorporating local flavors in interesting ways. Go for a scoop of boysenberry, mate with sugar, or even beer-flavored ice cream.
Jauja, Av. San Martín 2867, El Bolsón, Argentina, +54 294 449-2448
At El Bosque Tallado, the ruined dead trees resultant of a 1980s forest fire have been carved into elaborate sculptures by an assortment of different South American artists, creating a striking and powerful art installation well worth the 40 peso admission charge.
Feeling worn out from the stresses or travel, or craving a break from hiking and swimming? For a relaxing day, head to Lumina, a holistic wellness center housed in a funky pink building, for anything from a massage to yoga to meditation classes.
The Cascada Escondida makes a perfect half-day adventure: hike along a marked trail, passing a smoothie and snack stall and picnic area, to the foot of these scenic waterfalls. After a quick swim, head uphill through the wooded trail for a glimpse of the Botanic Gardens and more waterfalls.
El Bolsón is known for its micro-brews, and this is the best place to relax after a day of activities and enjoy a drink. Guests can sample the six varieties of beer on offer before choosing one, perhaps to be accompanied by a dinner of Patagonian lamb or another Argentine delicacy.
Cervecería Otto Tipp, Roca y Islas Malvinas, El Bolsón, Argentina, +54 294 449-3700
By Madeleine Bazil