"Colonia Suiza is an ideal option for vacations or travel in a day in family, enjoying their meals and customs," said Don Victor Goye, pioneer and benchmark for the residents of Colonia Suiza. The small mountain village is located at 25 kilometers from Bariloche at Lopez mountain's foot and each summer gathers a lot of backpackers and campers.
Several campings, hostels and family accommodation house visitors. From there tourists can go to the andean trails, either by foot or horseback. The most frequent trips are Lake Negra, López Hill and Jakob shelter.
However, the food calls the highest number of visitors every weekend. On Sunday the "curanto" takes place, and also there is "asado", "empanadas" and a delicious homemade desserts.
The Swiss village was established in the late nineteenth century, when the brothers Felix and Maria Camilo Goye settled there. Natives of the canton of Valais, on the Swiss-French, they crossed the mountain range after passing through Chile.
Since 1902 with the enactment of the "Ley Hogar", which favored the establishment of immigrants, other Swiss families settled at the López hill's foot: the Cretton, the Mermoud and Neu. Tireless workers in agriculture, grinded grain by hand and carried the goods to and from southern Chile and the andean lakes on ships built by themselves. They also cultivated cherries, plums, peaches, apples and pears, which produced homemade jams and preserves that gained popularity in the region. They built their houses, the first school and the chapel with wood from the area.
Nowadays, the descendants of those pioneers preserve family traditions oriented to agricultural activities which are complemented by tourism. In the colony you can find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, homemade cheese, sweet berries.
The tradition of wood construction is maintained in most buildings. From some cafes or pubs' windows you can appreciate the beautiful mountain scenery with the López in the background, while you test the culinary delights and enjoy musical performances. A visit to be unforgettable.
During their trips to Chile, the Goye met the "curanto chilote" with seafood, which then began to prepare with meat and vegetables here. Today is one of the main attractions of the village, to the point of having to "double the number of servings, since a lot of people go to eat," said Victor Goye.
Also, from there, 4x4 trucks goes to the shelter of López Hill, with daily departures and a night hike.
Several tea houses offer everyday a variety household products, farm's fruits and vegetables, delicious strudel and cakes with berries, natural raspberries and goat cheeses, which are just some of the delicacies.
To spend the night you can choose campings as Goye, Meli Hué and Huenei Ruca or inns or hotels that are there.
Elena Goye, a descendant of pioneers, personally attends the site's museum, where you can see old farm items and tools, kitchen utensils, clothing or even vehicle's license from the beginning of the century.
It is also very interesting to visit the nursery Meli Hué, where lavender is grown and perfumes and soaps are produced. The pisciculture, devoted to raising trout, and craft fair nearby school are two others options.