El Bolson is situated about 130kms (70 miles) south of San Carlos de Bariloche and is largely overlooked as a trekking area but has many great options and is a lot quieter than Bariloche. There are a total of 13 refuges offering a wide variety of trekking routes for all abilities. The refuges are mainly within the tree line/forested mountains but there are options for treks to access the mountain tops and knock off some summits!
From Bariloche in the North there are about 10 daily bus services. The journey time is about 2 hours 15 mins and cost around AR$ 47 (Oct 2012). Timetables and booking info can be found here: Via Bariloche. In a car the trip can be comleted in about 90 minutes.
From Esquel in the South it is about 2 hours by bus: Via Bariloche
The staff/volunteers from the old C.A.P Mountain info centre have been transferred to the tourist info office.
Telephone: (0294) 4455336 / 4492604
The Tourist Info Office should be your first port of call in El Bolson. You should register your trek intentions there. They offers free information & advice about all treks in the area, guidance on what refuges are open, the best trails. It is NOT possible to make reservations for the refuges as they have no phone connections; just turn up and they will always find room for you. Weather condition can be found here.
Monday - Sunday: 9am - 6pm (summer)
You must register here before you head into the mountains. If closed then register at the tourist info office.
Aoneker 1:50,000 El Bolson
(covers the following refuges: Co.Lindo, Hielo Azul, Natacion, Atillio & El Reramal)
Aoneker 1:120,000 Comarca Andina del Paralelo 42°
(covers all the refuges in the El Bolson region)
These maps can be purchased in El Bolson & Bariloche for about AR$40
The trekking season is November - March. The high season of January and February will be busiest, especially at weekends.
There is a public bus service from the Center to Wharton costing about AR$ 12 one way. It runs twice a day 3 times a week in the low season and on a daily basis during the school holidays. The service leaves from the main Plaza. For timetable enquire at the tourist info center.
Bolson Experience 4x4 offers an 8am transfer service from the center of El Bolson to Warthon (AR$15 one way) and Confluencia (AR$40 one way). Call Fernando on (02944) 498 307 or Cell: (02944) 15 70 71 33 (Note: he only speaks Spanish). In the winter he offers daily services to The Perito Moreno ski resort and Pitriquitron.
Who is this information aimed at: This information is aimed at experienced trekkers who have route finding and map reading skills. The routes are not explained in detail, this information is to inform you of the existence of the trek and provide you with the basic information you need in order to start planning the trek yourself.
Note: this information is no substitute for a proper Mountain Guide and accepts no responsibility for inaccurate information or any accident or injury sustained in carrying out any of the treks described in these pages.
Due to a recent incident, the tourist information office recommends you trek in at least a group of 3.
Enjoy your trek !