El Bolsón has quality accommodations for every budget except the luxury category (though what lacks in luxury often compensates with character). Some of the best values are not in town but scattered around the outskirts.
At the north end, directly on the Bariloche highway, Camping El Bolsón (RN 258 s/n, tel. 02944/49-2595, cervezaselbolson [at] elbolson [dot] com, US$4–5 pp) operates its own brewery and beer garden and has a pool as well; it’s open November–April.
Hospedaje Piltri (Saavedra 2729, tel. 02944/45-5305, lucas_breidel7 [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$26 d) is a quiet family-run place whose spacious but sparsely furnished rooms have firm beds. Its main drawback is the insufficient number of shared baths (which are, however, immaculate) when it’s crowded.
About four kilometers north of town, HI affiliate El Pueblito Hostel (Barrio Luján s/n, tel. 02944/49-3560, www.elpueblitohostel.com.ar, US$10–13 pp in dorms, US$26–32 d) is a comfortable, sociable place on a large property, with 40 beds but also separate cabañas, some with shared baths and others with private baths. From downtown Bolsón there are hourly buses between 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 p.m. except at 7:45 p.m.
On secluded grounds in Barrio Turismo just off the road to Cerro Piltriquitrón, HI affiliate Hostal Altos del Sur (tel. 02944/49-8730, www.altosdelsur.bolsonweb.com, US$13 pp dorm, US$46 d, with breakfast) has four- and six-beds dorms, plus a couple of doubles, all with private baths. The first transfer is free because it’s a little isolated and hard to find, but its pristine facilities and amenities, which include a library, satellite TV, and Wi-Fi, make it Bolsón’s best hostel.
Other moderate choices include Hospedaje Unelén (Azcuénaga 134, tel. 02944/48-3728, hospedaje hostel unelen [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$40 s, US$50 d), which stays open all year, and Residencial Valle Nuevo (25 de Mayo 2329, tel. 02944/49-2087, albahube [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$55 d).
West of the highway on Bolsón’s northern outskirts, Hostería del Campo (RN 258 s/n, tel. 02944/49-2297, www.cabaniasdelcampo.com.ar, US$53 s or d) has quiet motel-style rooms with covered parking, set among spacious gardens, but breakfast is extra and there’s a credit-card surcharge.
The four-room La Posada de Hamelin (Granollers 2179, tel. 02944/49-2030, www.posadadehamelin.com.ar, US$41 s, US$61 d) is one of El Bolsón’s best B&Bs.
Six kilometers north of town, by a signed dirt road that diverges from the Bariloche highway, the riverside La Casona de Odile (Barrio Luján s/n, tel. 02944/49-2753, odile [at] elbolson [dot] com, www.interpatagonia.com/odile, US$32 pp with breakfast, US$53 pp with half board) offers home-cooked French dinners (nonguests may partake of dinner with reservations), but Odile is a heavy smoker. It’s open October or November to late April and can accommodate disabled individuals.
New in late 2008, in a quiet eastside location, Hostería La Escampada (Azcuénaga and 25 de Mayo, tel. 02944/48-3905, laescampada.com.ar, US$37 s, US$66 d) is a cozy B&B with friendly management and regional style—possibly the best new place in town.
The Amancay Hotel (Avenida San Martín 3217, tel. 02944/49-2222, www.hotelamancaybolson.com.ar, US$39 s, US$66 d) is an aging but still serviceable hotel showing wear but not tear.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition