This section covers the area between Bariloche and the lakes region up to the city of Neuquen. While definitely part of Patagonia, this section is on a separate transit route than Southern Patagonia. If were to drive to Buenos Aires to say, El Calafate, you would take a very different route than if you were going to Bariloche. And although El Calafate is almost directly South of Bariloche, if you are not flying or have a good 4×4, from Bariloche you would have to significantly to the east, almost to the Atlantic Ocean, to get to El Calafate.
Bariloche and the surrounding national park, Nahuel Huapi, are popular in both the summer and winter and for good reason. The hiking and huts in the mountains are second to none in the world. And the trails at nearby cerro Catederal offer skiing and snowboarding for all levels. Argentines, Chileans, Brazilians, Europeans and North Americans all vacation here.
Getting to the lakes region
There are a few international flights to Bariloche, but unless you are coming from Chile or Brazil chances are you will not be on one. The best bet for most travelers is to fly into Buenos Aires and take a quick flight from there.
It’s a two hour flight from the Aeroparque aiport in Palermo, Buenos Aires to Barliloche or San Martin de Los Andes. With LADE you can fly to Esquel, but not directly.
The bus ride from BsAs is 20 to 24 hours depending on the weather.
It used to be possible, if not tedious, to travel via train from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. This requiered a 6 day layover in the windswept town of Carmen de Patagones and then a quick taxi ride to the neighboring town of Viedma. In short, it wasn’t worth the hassle unless you were a die-hard train fanatic.
These days the train only makes it as far as Bahia Blanca, and one must then take a bus to Viedma. Since the train Viedma -> Bariloche leaves on Friday afternoon it would be necesary to travel from BA to Bahia Blanca on Thursday in order to arrive to Viedma on Friday afternoon. But this would require all flawless connections and no delays so in reality it would be better to leave a day earlier and spend a night in Bahia Blanca or Viedma.
Trying to arrive to Bariloche by (mostly) train would be quite a hassle and only of interest to train buffs.