Current Travel Options to Bariloche, Airport Update – September 6, 2011

Current Travel Options to Bariloche, Airport Update – September 6, 2011

Please view our latest post for updated information on the status of the Bariloche Airport

At the moment, the Bariloche Airport is not yet operating normally. Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN have cancelled all flights to Bariloche until at least September 15. This will likely be extended until the end of the month. That does not mean that the area is inaccessible. Several options exist for reaching your vacation destination in Patagonia, including air travel.

Both Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN are offering a special flight to Esquel (Airport code: EQS) with a bus transfer up to Bariloche, a distance of 283 km/176 miles – about a 4 hour drive. There are also several overland options, including bus travel, from Buenos Aires. Our preferred carrier is Via Bariloche. Many of our guests and guides have been using this option for years now. As listed in a previous post, it can be quite a nice ride, if you’ve got the time. The Puyehue Volcano continues to erupt, but it did not pose a problem to our ski tours in August. Thanks to the recent arrival of the Santa Rosa storm, the snow is deep and white, and it’s a great time to be in Bariloche. Please view our previous posts for a detailed report of the skiing and snowboarding conditions we experienced during our ski tours in Patagonia this past August.

Below, we have a first person account of the flight + bus transfer option offered by LAN. Thank you to our friend, Jon, for offering this information.

“… I booked a round trip ticket on flying LAN to Esquel at a cost of about $400 plus tax. This option includes a 4 1/2-hour bus ride to Bariloche Airport – closed because of the Volcano.

Boarding LAN flight to Esquel from Jorge Newberry Airport (Aeroparque) in Buenos Aires
Boarding LAN flight to Esquel from Jorge Newberry Airport (Aeroparque) in Buenos Aires

All domestic flights in Argentina depart from and arrive into Jorge Newberry airport (Aeroparque?). I stayed one night in the Palermo section of B.A. and had an early flight to Esquel the next morning. Transportation to the airport from the AWAA Suites and Spa cost about 40 pesos and took roughly 15 minutes. I cut things a little close as far as arrival time at the airport. It’s a little more hectic at the domestic airport compared to B.A.’s Intl airport… I’d suggest arriving 90 minutes before departure. Flight time to Esquel is about 130 minutes.

Esquel Airport
Esquel Airport

Esquel is a TINY airport, lacking the amenities and security infrastructure of other airports. However, they make it work. Upon arriving, you collect your bags and load onto buses for the scenic drive to Bariloche. Advice: try to wait to load your stuff on a bus until after everyone else has… the buses fill up quickly and if you wait, you can get on a 1/2-full bus. For me, there was only about 10 people on the bus I rode on, which allowed me to move around freely and take pics.

The buses stop in El Bolson for 30 minutes after about two hours of driving time. After the stop, it’s about 2 hours to Bariloche Airport. From Bariloche Airport to the center of Bariloche via Remises it’s about 25 Pesos and takes 15 minutes.To Hostel Alaska it’s about 80 pesos and takes 30 minutes.

For my return to the states, I had the MEGA travel day +6, as I reversed my journey to Bariloche over roughly 30 hours, including a 7-hour layover in B.A. I will not do this again if I can help it and recommend staying a night in B.A.

I had roughly 7 hours to burn before my flight to Houston after arriving in B.A. from Esquel… not enough time to do anything. First, I had to get from Jorge Newberry Airport to the intl airport. I chose the bus option… yes, another bus. It took about 70 minutes on the bus (like a charter), which was EMPTY and very comfortable, at a cost of 60 Pesos. Much cheaper than the taxi or private car option, which can cost upwards of 200 Pesos.

All together, my airfare ran about 1,100 plus tax. It can be tricky finding the flight to Esquel from B.A. after arriving at a different airport… that’s why I recommend a night’s stay in B.A. on both legs of the trip.

— Jon K Rule

We will continue to keep you all updated on the status of the airports in Patagonia, including San Carlos de Bariloche and San Martin de Los Andes. As experts in the area, we can help with any and all travel and accommodation needs. Please feel free to contact us with any inquiries.

About Author

<p>Professional Outdoor Guide, specializing in backcountry skiing, heliskiing</p> <p>Stomping grounds: Wasatch Range, Andes Mountains</p>