Things to do in El Bolson

THE 15 BEST Things to Do in El Bolson

Things to Do in El Bolson

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Top Attractions in El Bolson

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What travellers are saying

  • Francis M
    Isle of Skye, UK98 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    After a dusty walk from El Bolsón I felt like a bite to eat and a sit down. I could see Kelly's across the river so made for the chain bridge and was delighted to see a Pied Kingfisher on a branch close by - but the sun was so bright that I couldn't tell if my smartphone had taken a picture (and I later found out it hadn't, never mind.) A barbequed chorizon and a drink restored me and three Upland Geese came to investigate how many crumbs I had left (not many.) I wish I had brought my swimming trunks to complete the Rio Azul experience.
    Written February 6, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Nicola F
    8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing afternoon spent by Cajon del Azul. Caught the bus to Wharton from El Bolson at 8am. We hiked from Wharton which took 2 and a half hours (we are fast walkers). We decided to continue hiking to Refugio El Retamal to get a spot for the night. We then hiked back down to Refugio Cajon del Azul for lunch. After this we took the long way round to reach the swimming areas - exiting the refugio uphill, turning left along the trail and following the red dots along the edge of the Cajon until eventually reaching a stone beach/swimming area. Because we wanted to return via the main easier route we waded across with shoes and pack in the air. We sat for several hours enjoying the sun and cooling off in the very cold water.

    There are plenty of rocks to relax on and spots to get into the crystal clear water. There is the easy option to just return to the bridge from Refugio Cajon del Azul and find a spot to the left or right after crossing back over the bridge. Alternatively there is the more exciting but challenging longer hike to more secluded spots and views of the Cajon.

    Some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and it remains relatively quiet and untouched. Definitely try to go in good weather.
    Written February 10, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Stefan D
    Arlon, Belgium32 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The hike to the summit gets very steep in the last km, and the trail is very slippery because of the mud/gravel mixture. Go there with good hiking shoes and good physical condition. The view is breathtaking, and people with vertigo could feel uncomfortable given the cliffs and very steep sections (DO NOT FORGET to register at the refugio before climbing. DO NOT FORGET to go and tell the refugio manager when you are back from the summit, otherwise he will have to go up there to look for you...).

    The refugio is a wonderful place to get some excellent home-made food and beer. You can also sleep in a dorm for a reasonable price (around 300 pesos a night). The guy (Rodolpho if I remember well) who manages the refugio is very nice and you can have a chat with him about life in the mountains. He knows it all about the place and will be happy to inform you. The place has a great athmosphere, so do not miss the opportunity to stop there.

    Access: if you have a car, you can drive up to the "plataforma" 1 km under the Bosque Tallado. Be warned that the road to get there is in terrible condition and very steep. We have seen some guys with Renault Clio and similar 2WD drive up there, but we felt way safer in our 4WD. Have a wonderful hike!
    Written May 16, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • geraldine A A
    Buenos Aires, Argentina31 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    it's ok to spend a few hours on a saturday afternoon, it's hasn't have the hippy vibe one would expect, but still good food and some music around. recomend the WAFFLES and any of the local fruit juice
    Written March 19, 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sam O
    Antibes, France120 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    If walking from El Bolson town the path is not very clear at all to find this waterfall - we got lost 3 times. But people are super friendly here so we found our way and it was worth the walk! There's a very dodgy looking bridge full of holes we crossed to get there but locals cross it all the time to get to the cemetry so it's fine (i think!!). Stunning place with three cascades of water. Really lovely and worth a visit
    Written November 23, 2015
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jill S
    Marburg, Germany172 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    I hiked up to Hielo Azul Refugio alone and was floored by the atmosphere of both the hike and the refugio. It took me around 7 hours to hike up from Dona Rosa; I'm in moderate shape but walk vveerryy slowly uphill! The hike from the refugio to the glacier is a knee-burner with very uneven footing and scrambling over loose rock; I recommend having your hands free and taking some warm clothing if you plan to hang out near the glacier. As far as glaciers go it's pretty tiny, but the lagoon is beautiful and the views from the top made the hike worth it.

    About the refugio: You need to take a sleeping bag if you're staying in a refugio; they have decent mattresses, but no bedding. They will always make room for you if you don't have a tent, and they don't take reservations. Everything is obviously cash-only. At time of writing it was 800 pesos to sleep in the refugio, 700 pesos for a homecooked dinner (order it in the afternoon so they have time to make it), and they have various homebrewed beer, wine, soft drinks, sandwich-type things, and yogurt in the morning for sale. Hot showers are included in the refugio price, but only run from 6-8 pm, and if it's busy you'll have to get in line at 6 or you won't get a shower. There is also running water and full toilets, and limited power at night. Camping is cheaper, but not free. The "campground" is enormous, and the refugio can handle a truly impressive amount of guests. The cabin itself is the best refugio I've seen, all handcut local wood! Stays pretty warm at night too.

    Some logistics information that I had a hard time finding before my trip:

    About registering for hiking: go to the ANPRALE website to register your trek online. Registration is theoretically mandatory, though I've never had anyone check for it. They'll also send an email on your last day to make sure you made it out alive!

    About the bus: The pickup point in El Bolson is on the same side of the street as the feria/pond (i.e. northbound side of the street), near the southern entrance to the feria from Av San Martin. It's near the small cutesy shack where you can have pictures taken. Unfortunately there are no signs saying which buses stop where, but look for the crowd with backpacks and picnic gear. Payment is cash to the driver, fare was 30 pesos to Dona Rosa and 50 from Wharton at time of writing. If you're going to Dona Rosa, you'll have about a 10 minute walk down from the bus stop to the trail beginning. If you're going to Wharton, it's about a 30 minute walk (2 km) from the bus stop (154 m descent from Wharton to the river; also keep this in mind if you're returning via Wharton)

    About the routes: I started from Dona Rosa, stayed one night at the Hielo Azul Refugio, and returned via Natacion and Wharton. The bottom half of both of these trails is a pretty boring slog uphill/downhill, unidirectional and pretty difficult. The Dona Rosa trail is much more scenic (coihue forest, marshes, good panoramic viewpoints and boulders) and much less trafficked, although it's slightly longer. If you continue from Hielo Azul towards Wharton, be aware the first hour is VERY STEEP UPHILL towards the Natacion Refugio, then it's flat for one hour through an amazing lenga forest, and then steep downhill for two hours in a dusty river bed with loose rocks and no shade (but great views over the Bolson valley). If you want novelty, do the loop. If you want scenic, stick to the Dona Rosa trail, but also pay close attention to the bus schedules. It's easy to hitchhike from Wharton back to El Bolson if you miss the bus, but Dona Rosa is more remote and there are fewer people out there.

    For more information, there's a separate room in the eastern half of the tourist information building that's dedicated to trekking. They have basic maps and can answer all your questions for free.
    Written February 27, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • globaltrotter_carol
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands179 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    It is a nice hike for 1/2 Hours, if you do this hike from out of town. A lott of people also take the car. You have 3 look outs. It is handy to take some water with you. It is on some places dusty. Normal,shoes are ok. You will some other people but the place is big enough to still have a feeling that you are the only one.
    Written April 6, 2016
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • idoz_62
    Modiin, Israel80 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    While walking to the Refujio, suddenly You find yourself in a very special place; more than 50 wooden statues, all hand made
    Very impressive
    And a small kiosk for drinks and snacks and
    Written March 8, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Louise T
    London, UK28 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely relaxed atmosphere at the heladeria. Sit in the sunny garden overlooking the rows of berries and enjoy the home made ice cream. There’s also great organic cheese and fresh fruit in the shop.
    Apart from that not much going on! It’s a short drive from the centre of town, aliong a track.

    If you’re hoping for a tour of the farm, check the times first as these seem to be infrequent.
    Written January 5, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • richard s
    Newcastle, Canada2 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The museum features items gathered by a husband and wife team of geologists over their 30-year exploration of Patagonia. Many beautiful items on display in artful outdoor arrangements as well as an indoor area. (The specimen containing an 18-inch fossilized fish was eye-popping.) Items for sale are located at the exit of the indoor area. We were privileged to be spend several hours talking with Isabelle about the collection as well as her personal experiences. Her deep knowledge of, and love for, geology was abundantly clear and she never tired of our tourist-level questions. The opportunity to talk with such an expert, for so long, and in such a setting felt magical. This kind of personal interaction is unheard of in a more commercial museum.
    Written March 29, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Frank v
    Medellin, Colombia241 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    It is better than escada econdido and there is more shadow. And thete are more thinks to do around here.
    Written December 1, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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