What are some mid-sized South American Cities with Great Connection to the Outdoors?

I’m hoping to get some suggestions from some outdoor enthusiasts who’ve spent time in South America. It’s important that the places I travel have mid-sized city amenities (public transportation, decent grocery stores, safety, fast internet, etc) but also be located a stone’s throw from the outdoors, preferably mountains or large parks. This is a tough combination to find because the two usually go hand in hand!

Elsewhere in the world, I’ve enjoyed destinations like Innsbruck, Austria, Cape Town, South Africa, and Bergen, Norway because you can be downtown having a beer one minute and then… boom… up the mountain in the middle of nowhere 15 minutes later. However, I’ve never been to South America and am looking for some advice from outdoor-minded travelers. I’m looking at Mendoza, Argentina and San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina and would love some advice from other people who’ve been to these places on whether or not they might fit the criteria I’m looking for.

Has anyone come across similar places they’d recommend? Thanks in advance for the help!

Cali, Medellín and Santa Marta in Colombia. Beautiful scenery, great people, amazing food, affordable prices. You won’t regret it.