A seagull looks to take a rest on a Southern right whale off the coast of Puerto Pirámides on the Valdez Penisula in Patgonia. The best time to see the endangered whales is during the months of September and October, when they migrate to the region to mate.
Archives for September 2011
As its name suggests, ‘The Cave,’ is set inside the belly of a mountain — Princess Peak, which sits seven kilometers from the base of Cerro Catedral ski resort.
Getting To La Cueva is Half the Adventure
This 17-seat ‘destination dining’ spot, surrounded by Lenga Beech forest, can only be reached by snowmobile in the winter or quad bike in the summer. Kids can go to, but they ride on the back.
The cozy alpine interior of La Cueva lends itself to kicking things off with a glass of champagne and cheese fondue by the fireplace.
The smells of traditional Patagonic dishes prepared in an old style wood stove permeate the whole restaurant.
Some popular entrees are salmon canapés; chicken stuffed with smoked ham, apples and curried tomatoes; lamb sauteed in Malbec and forest berries; and beef tenderloin marinated in Dijon mustard and honey. On some nights there is live music and dancing.
A unique dining experience that combines adventure and gourmet cuisine, La Cueva is probably the only restaurant in Bariloche that recommends diners have travel insurance.
• Reservations required
*NOT a sponsored post! Thanks for purchasing travel and tours with us to keep content independent.
The number of people who live in Buenos Aires’ streets is surprisingly low for a city of its size. Due to government housing programs and growing villas — slums with provisional housing — there are less than 20,000 people turned out on Buenos Aires’ sidewalks.
Los Angeles, California, a U.S. city of similar size, has 48,000 homeless residents according to the 2009 census.
On the high profile corner of Scalabrini Ortiz and Santa Fe in the Palermo neighborhood, lives Alejandro ‘Pechito’ Ferreiro, a homeless man who has his own little living room complete with a mattress, lounge chair, and a working TV with cable, run by electricity taken from the bank next door. He has lived there for 11 years with his two dogs, Alberto ‘Pechi’ Cortés and Nino Bravo Pechin.
Editor’s Update: Pechito has died at 40 years old.
Cerro Catedral in the vast winter play land of Argentina’s Lakes District is the country’s largest ski destination.
Catedral Alta Patagonia, as it’s officially named, is popular both for its extensive terrain spread across three mountains and its 19 kilometer (12 mi.) proximity to Bariloche, Patagonia’s second largest city.
The 1030 meter (3379 ft.) high resort boasts 120 kilometers (75 mi.) of terrain on 50 different slopes served by 38 lifts, one tram and four-person gondolas.
South America’s oldest ski resort debuted in 1938 and today features a full-service village at its base, making Bariloche the only bona fide ‘ski town’ in Argentina.
New & Improved Slopes
In 2009 the aging Catedral resort underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. The revamp doubled the lift capacity to 22,000 and added four kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, a new terrain park, a tubing trail and a toboggan run.
Catedral’s modernization also included the purchase of snowmobiles and quadbikes for back-country tours and to reach the exclusive mountain restaurant, La Cueva.
The upgrades brought Cerro Catedral newfound international attention. In the same year Ski Rebel magazine dubbed Bariloche a ‘winter sports giant.’
The Toronto Star went so far as to call Cerro Catedral the world’s number two ski destination after Aspen, Colorado.
Due to the wet conditions and proximity to Lake Nahuel Huapí, Cathedral is actually best compared, not to Aspen, but Lake Tahoe.
The snow at the lakeside ski mecca is usually more like ‘California cement’ than light ‘champagne powder.’
The heavy snow and a few older lifts are the resort’s biggest drawback for spoiled snow hounds accustomed to skiing in the Rockies or the high Alps.
Still, Cerro Catedral is a favored destination for pro skiers and snowboarders from the Northern hemisphere for its deep powder and extensive off-piste terrain.
Only 17% of Cerro Catedral are novice runs, 35% are intermediate and the remaining 48% is advanced and expert terrain.
→ Book flights to Bariloche online
Spectacular Views and Rave Ski Reviews
Day passes at Catedral cost about half the price of the most well-known resorts in the western U.S., Europe and Canada.
Bariloche qualifies as an excellent candidate for ski junkies from the northern climes looking to ski during their summer, but be prepared for higher prices during the high season.
If you were going to move to South American to be a ski bum, Bariloche would probably be your best bet, but unless you hold local residency papers, the season’s pass costs a a couple of thousand dollars. A monthly pass costs nearly a thousand dollars in the high season.
This region of the Andes has some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes but if good skiing conditions are your main pursuit you may be more satisfied with Portillo resort in Chile or Las Leñas in the Mendoza province.
It is a trade-off though — visitors will find Portillo more expensive and the views, dining and services at isolated Las Leñas can’t compare to the activities offered at Cerro Catedral and around Bariloche.
Skiing in South America: When to Travel
Bariloche’s snowfall has been disappointing early in the season the last couple of years and the resort doesn’t make as much snow as it could at the base of the mountain.
The best time to go to Bariloche to ski is later in the season, even August. Travelers should keep in mind that the school holidays during the July/early August high season mean that Bariloche and the slopes of Catedral are crowded with relatively inexperienced skiers at that time.
There also seems to be a laissez-faire attitude toward slope grooming and a dearth of ski patrol to keep macho skiers in check.
Intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders will have the most fun if they head to the top of the mountain early and stay up there all day. The backside’s La Laguna area is not to be missed.
Beginner skiers will be happy to find that lower cost tickets are available for just the bunny slopes. Skiers 70-years-old and up get the rock star treatment they deserve all season — tickets for seniors are free.
So all 70-year-young ski bums should put Cerro Catedral on their bucket lists.
If you are serious about skiing, bring your own equipment and ski wear to save time and money, otherwise basic equipment rental is available at a reasonable price.
→ Read about the Andean Lakes crossing tour and book online
San Carlos de Bariloche
Río Negro Province
Tel: (02944) 420268
Summit: 7,152 ft. (2180m)
Base: 3,379 ft. (1130m)
•Open: Average of three months per year
•Season: Late June/Early July until Late September/Early October (depending on snow conditions)
• Childcare services offered
• Those 70+ ski free!
• Equipment rental available
• Heliski available
Getting there from central Bariloche:
• By car: Take Bustillo Avenue to kilometer 8, turn left to reach the parking area.
→ Read about driving in Argentina and renting a car
• By bus: a shuttle leaves for Cerro Cathedral every thirty minutes from the bus station and stops all along the main strip in downtown Bariloche and along Bustillo Avenue. You will need a special smart card to ride the bus. Ask your hotel to lend you one, and keep in mind you will probably need to put credit on it
-A reader recently contacted us to recommend car rental for skiers at Cerro Catedral. They informed us Bariloche shuttles are often full, so they had to wait an average of one hour and up to two hours for a bus. Thanks for the update Antonio!
A pair of dogs hang out on their French-style balcony on Balcarce Street in Buenos Aires’ historic San Telmo district.