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With 2011 winding down , we start presenting a series of budget themed, fun trip ideas for your 2012 bucket list.
Today’s inspiration is for those looking for an alternative value for money ski destination to the usual haunts in Europe.
Why not consider a Winter in Barlioche, Patagonia next year?
Regular guest contributor, Andrew McHarg gives us the lowdown of how to enjoy winter in Patagonia on a budget.
Winter in Patagonia offers great snow sports, excellent food and stunning vistas everywhere you look at an affordable and value-for-money prices.
Once you overlook the relatively high flight costs (on average between £600-800 from London to Buenos Aires, via Madrid) you can get an arguably superior experience to European winter destinations at fractional costs.
Bariloche is the best ski centre in South America, and attracts people from all over the continent. Situated in the province of Rio Negro in the foothills of the Andes, getting there will take a while.
Be prepared to take on a 20 hour bus journey from Buenos Aires.
However, I saw this as more of an event, as for £90 each way, one can relax in a fully reclining seat/bed complimented by 3 meals, a personal video screen and headphones topped off with a glass of Champagne!
Once arrived in Bariloche, accommodation can be had for dirt cheap prices, with a double room 300m from the ski lifts at £30 per night at the MarcoPolo Inn.
There is an endless array of thing to do in Bariloche, from hiking through the Nuahel National Park, skiing or snowboarding (£200 for a 7-day pass, £120 for weekly rentals) or just feasting on food.
Chocolate is a surprising speciality of the city, and steaks are in no shortage. El Boliche de Alberto is a renowned steak house, where 4 people can gorge on steak, sausages, wine and dessert for £70 total, not per head.
Be sure to sample the Provelone Mista (melted Provelone cheese mixed with roasted vegetables) an Argentinian favourite.
On the pricey end of the spectrum is El Refugio de Aerlauqen, where for £100 per person you can dine on cheese and chocolate fondue. This is not your typical fondue dinner though; you will be enjoying it 1,300 metres up a mountain with panoramic views all around. It starts off with a platter of Argentian cured meats at the base of the mountain with champagne, wine, beer or a soft drink.
You then get on a snow mobile (one per couple) and drive to the top to enjoy your fondue, whilst heated by the enormous fireplace, and inebriated by unlimited Champagne, wine and beer, before descending the mountain on the snow mobile.
I personally ensured that all alcohol is unlimited and despite being met with an astonished “more?” it was never denied.
So there you have it, winter in Bariloche provides an opportunity to save money, but also splash out at the same time, with very little difference between “budget” and “luxurious”.
Definitely a value destination when compared to luxury European destinations.