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I visited the 'Little Switzerland' of South America. Photos show what it's like to visit the charming town in Argentina.

View of the Llao Llao hotel in Bariloche (left); The reporter smiling at the lake (right).
Bariloche's soaring mountains and scenic lakes are part of what reminds its visitors of Switzerland.Francisco Ramos Mejia/Getty Images, Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider
  • This month, I visited Bariloche, an Argentine town that is often compared to Switzerland.

  • Located in Patagonia along the banks of the Nahuel Huapi lake, the town does have a Swiss feel to it.

  • Germans, Swiss, and Italians immigrated there in the 1800s, thus giving it its European vibe.

People love drawing comparisons between Switzerland and other places around the globe.

Take, for example, Jim Thorpe, a town in Pennsylvania that's been deemed the "Little Switzerland of America." There's also Uruguay, which in 1951 was declared the "Switzerland of South America" by a New York Times article because of its banking regulations at the time.

More recently, however, some in the travel industry have crowned another town the "Little Switzerland of South America" — this time for its scenic views, architecture, and European feel. I visited San Carlos de Bariloche, located in Argentina's Patagonia region, earlier this month.

Here's what it was like.

Bariloche is located in western Argentina, near its border with Chile. It's in the north of Patagonia, the geographical region that straddles the two countries.

A map with a pin on Bariloche in Argentina.
San Carlos de Bariloche is in the middle of Argentina, near its border with Chile.Google Maps

Tucked into Patagonia's Lake District and Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park, the city is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts.

Large lakes and mountains near Bariloche, Argentina.
A view of Argentina's Lake District, where Bariloche is located.Christine Phillips/Getty Images

I visited with family this month, and was blown away by how much it resembled Switzerland.

Business Insider's reporter at Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Business Insider's reporter at Nahuel Huapi Lake.Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider

From town, you can see Nahuel Huapi lake, the glacial body of water that Bariloche is situated on.

A view of Nahuel Huapi Lake from Bariloche.
A view of Nahuel Huapi Lake from Bariloche.Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider

The town's architecture was reminiscent of Europe. That's because Germans, Swiss, and Italians immigrated there in the 1800s, and again after World War II.

A building in Bariloche's city center.
A building in Bariloche's city center.Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider

Walking through Bariloche's main street felt like strolling through an alpine village.

A building in Bariloche's city center.
A building in Bariloche's city center.Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider

There were tons of quaint chocolate shops, another callback to the town's European roots.

Mamuschka, a Barilcohe-based chocolatier.
Mamuschka is a Barilcohe-based chocolatier.Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider

Though I didn't visit it myself, Bariloche is also home to the Llao Llao Resort, a massive estate that looks like it belongs in the Alps.

The Llao Llao Resort in Bariloche, Argentina.
The Llao Llao Resort in Bariloche, Argentina.Francisco Ramos Mejia/Getty

Instead, my family and I stayed at an Airbnb that felt like its own private Swiss retreat.

A view from an Airbnb outside of Bariloche, Argentina.
A view from an Airbnb outside of Bariloche, Argentina.Jordan Parker Erb/Business Insider

Between the architecture and scenery, I can totally see why Bariloche gets compared to Switzerland.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi, located in Bariloche, Argentina.
Cathedral of Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi, located in Bariloche, Argentina.Alex Joukowski

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