This city contains almost 100,000 inhabitants. It is the most populated city of the Rio Negro Province. It was founded in 1895 and grew due to Italian, German, as well as heavy Swiss migration.
The predominant economy revolves around communications, service and commercial centers and a large handicraft industry (pottery, ice cream and chocolate). It has museums, libraries, research institutes and the Comahue University.
The National Park Nahuel Huapi Management is also located here. It is possible to distinguish two distinctly unique environments: To the west the mountainous and to the east the plains. The first being the setting of high mountain peaks, such as the Cerro Tronador at 3478 meters above sea level. It owes its name (tronar means thunder) to the sound that the snow and ice produce when they fall from the slopes.
Close to San Carlos de Bariloche one can witness two mountains: The Catedral and the Cerro López.
The action of the glaciers has formed valleys and lakes, with elongated arms and shapes.
The mountain range area is covered by an exuberant forest with interspersed perennial and old leaves, which produce a special coloring in Autumn.
This Patagonian area possesses incredible adaption potential and offers the adventurous varied possibilities for utilizing natural resources and characteristics.
We find two highly differentiated environments. One is the mountainous area of S.C. de Bariloche and El Bolsón. These are areas where there is a great deal of activity, with extra territorial and foreign population. Its transformation made it one of the most densely populated areas in the province. The first case is complemented by Villa Catedral, at the foot of the mountain with the same name. It is a winter sport center as well as the area where the Fiesta Nacional de la Nieve (National Snow Feast) takes place.
Between November and April is the fly salmon fishing season, and andinism (mountain climbing), lake and white water navigation. (rafting and kayaking)
Other activities that have been developed in the area are: wood exploitation, furniture industry, handicrafts and raising of milk producing cattle. The latter is for local consumption.
Near El Bolson exists many fine fruits (currant, raspberry and strawberry), which are used to make home style sweets. The “lúpulo” is also found in this area, its flower is used in the production of beer.
To the east, the plains area is characterized by the raising of sheep and its most populated towns are Pilcaniyeu and Ñorquinco.
The area has both land and air connections with the rest of the country.
The area’s location in the south of the country, close to the predominant Pacific Ocean winds, creates the regions humid cold weather, which becomes more intense to the east.
This change in climatic conditions is in essence the contrast between the plains and the mountains.
It is continental cold weather with a dry season, where we can have a range of 2º C temperature in the winter and 20º C in the summer. Rains are frequent and with greater intensity in the winter.