San Carlos de Bariloche, usually known as Bariloche, is a city in the province of Río Negro, Argentina, situated in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. After development of extensive public works and Alpine-styled architecture, the city emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as a major tourism centre with ski, trekking and mountaineering facilities. In addition, it has numerous restaurants, cafés, and chocolate shops. The city has a permanent population of 108,205 according to the 2010 census.
|San Carlos de Bariloche
The name Bariloche comes from the Mapudungun word Vuriloche meaning "people from behind the mountain" (vuri = behind, che = people). The Poya people used the Vuriloche pass to cross the Andes, keeping it secret from the Spanish priests for a long time.
Nahuel Huapi lake was known to Spaniards since the times of the Conquest of Chile. In the summer of 1552–1553, the Governor of Chile Pedro de Valdivia sent Francisco de Villagra to explore the area east of the Andes at the latitudes of the city of Valdivia. Francisco de Villagra crossed the Andes trough Mamuil Malal Pass and headed south until reaching Limay River in the vicinity of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Another early Spaniard to visit the zone of Nahuel Huapi Lake was the Jesuit priest Diego de Rosales. He had been ordered to the area by the Governor of Chile Francisco Antonio de Acuña Cabrera y Bayona, who was concerned about the unrest of the native Puelche and Poya after the slave-hunting expeditions carried out by Luis Ponce de León in 1649, who captured Indians and sold them into slavery. Diego de Rosales started his journey at the ruins of Villarica in Chile, crossed the Andes through Mamuil Malal Pass, and traveled further south along the eastern Andean valleys, reaching Nahuel Huapi Lake in 1650.
In 1670 Jesuit father Nicolás Mascardi, based in Chiloé Archipelago, entered the area through the Reloncaví Estuary and Todos los Santos Lake to found a mission at the Nahuel Huapi Lake, which lasted until 1673. A new mission at the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake was established in 1703, backed financially from Potosí, thanks to orders from the viceroy of Peru. Historians disagree if the mission belonged to the jurisdiction of Valdivia or Chiloé. According to historic documents, the Poya of Nahuelhuapi requested the mission to be reestablished, apparently to forge an alliance with the Spaniards against the Puelche.
The mission was destroyed in 1717 by the Poya following their disagreement with the superior of the mission. He had refused to give them a cow. Soon thereafter authorities learned that four or five people travelling to Concepción had been killed by the Poya. The colonists assembled a punitive expedition in Calbuco and Chiloé. Composed of both Spaniards and indios reyunos, the expedition did not find any Poya.
In 1766 the head of the Mission of Ralún tried to reestablish the mission at Nahuel Huapi, but the following year, the Crownsuppressed the Society of Jesus, ordering them out of the colonies in the Americas.
Bariloche has a cool Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb) with dry, windy summers and rainy winters, which grades to an alpine subpolar oceanic climate at higher altitudes. Generally speaking, the summer season (mid-December to early March) is characterized by long stretches of windy, sunny weather, with pleasant afternoons of 18 to 26 °C (64 to 79 °F) and cold nights of 2 to 9 °C (36 to 48 °F). Autumn brings colder temperatures in March, then stormier weather in April and May. By mid-May the first snows fall, and winter lasts until early September, bringing stormy weather with mixed precipitation (snow, rain, sleet), occasional snowstorms and highs between 0 and 12 °C (32 and 54 °F), lows between −12 and 4 °C (10 and 39 °F). Spring is very windy and variable; temperatures may reach 25 °C (77 °F) in October and then plummet to −6 °C (21 °F) following a late-season snowfall. On average, there are a handful of snowy days between 5 and 15 centimetres (2 and 6 in) every year, and many more days with mixed precipitation. However, there have been extreme snow events in the past that have brought well over a foot of snow (30 cm) to the entire city, and well over a meter in some higher areas.
Within the city limits, several geographic features have an impact on the weather, creating several micro-climates. Generally, the city follows, for over 15 km from east to west, the shores of Nahuel Huapi lake, which is over 10 km wide in front of the city centre and extends over more than 70 km to the northwest, toward Villa La Angostura. West of the city, the fjord known as Brazo Blest extends for another 50 km, and these two features allow strong westerly and northwesterly winds to reach the city. Most central areas and almost all tourist areas are located along the shoreline; they are thus "sandwiched" between higher elevations on the south and the extensive lake at 765 meters above sea level on the north. This position, on a north-facing slope next to open water, creates a moderate micro-climate: during the summer, daytime temperatures very rarely reach over 30 °C, staying most often in the 18 °C to 25 °C range, with nights usually between 2 and 9 °C (36 and 48 °F). During the winter, most days reach between 3 and 9 °C (37 and 48 °F), whilst nights are often between −5 and 4 °C (23 and 39 °F), depending mostly on cloud cover. Snowfall is usually light, and although snow depth can often reach 0.1 metres (4 in) after a snowstorm, it will usually not last more than two or three days. Extreme low temperatures rarely fall below −10 °C (14 °F), although −15 °C (5 °F) may be reached on occasion. The main feature of this area is the strong, westerly winds that sometimes reach over 100 km/h, especially between September and December. Precipitation ranges from over 1,800 millimetres (70 in) at the western end of the city (Llao Llao) to only 600 millimetres (24 in) at the eastern end (Airport).
Right behind the city centre, the area known as "El Alto" forms a plateau at about 900 m of altitude. Being far away from the lake and at a higher altitude, the weather tends to be more extreme, especially in the winter: it is not uncommon to see sleet storms hit the downtown area while El Alto is covered in snow. It is also not unusual to have more extended periods of snow cover (up to one or two weeks at a time), with depths sometimes exceeding 0.2 metres (8 in), and temperatures of −10 °C (14 °F) are frequent. On occasion, temperatures below −18 °C (0 °F) will also be recorded.
The slopes of Cerro Otto (1405 meters above sea level), right west of the city centre, often have deep snow cover: cross-country skiing and dog sledding can be practiced for a few months every year. The neighbourhood of Villa Catedral, at about 990 meters above sea level, sees colder temperatures and increased snowfall: on the coldest winters, this hub, which serves as the base of a ski resort, can be snow-covered through the winter, sometimes with over 50 cm snow (in 2007, accumulations reached 100 cm). However, on most winters, this condition is only met above 1200 meters, where most of the slopes of the resort are located.
Higher elevations see much colder conditions; the top of Cerro Catedral, 30 km from the city centre, sees snow cover from late April to at least December, with a maximum in early September that usually reaches well over 150 cm (in 2007, over 400 cm were recorded). The tree line is located between 1,600 m (southerly slope) and 1,800 m (northerly slope). Snowstorms occur in the summer as well.
Water temperatures at the Nahuel Huapi lake vary from a high of 14 °C in late summer and a low of 7 °C in early spring. Alpine streams and ponds often have much lower temperatures, and can be frozen for months.