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Argentina

Argentina - Puerto Iguazu

34 °C

Crossing into Argentina, Puerto Iguazu is a much smaller town and we stayed at Hostel Inn for a few days to bring in the new year. With a pool, bar and loads of other facilities it really is a backpackers resort! New Years Eve involved a big cook up, loads of travellers, music, dancing and some lounging in the pool thanks to the warm temperature. A great night. We did try to bring in the new year an hour early, wondering where the countdown was we discovered there is an hour time difference between Argentina and Brazil!

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We spent a full day exploring the falls from the Argentinian side and you could easily spend another. The facilities and walkways are much larger than the Brazil side and you can view the falls from all angles. Up close from the base, the side, and over the top! You can also take a boat that drives almost underneath a section of the falls, where you're garanteed to get soaking wet. The main attraction was reserved for the end, where we saw the 'Devils Throat' once more. Literally breathtaking as we stood surrounded by 260 degrees of pummeling water. A sight that won`t be forgotten!

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Argentina - Cafayate

27 °C

It was a bit of luck we were approved to do some WOOFING (Working on Organic Farms) just outside the town of Cafayate a couple of days before arriving. Ony a few hours drive from Salta the climate of Cafayate was so different, a lot drier with red dusty hillsides and cacti!

We were working on a gorgeous property that produces wines, and arriving just after the wine harvest, we were kept busy producing jams from all the left over grapes. The property consisted of a big farmhouse surrounded by many lush trees, 4 cats, a friendy dog, roosters, chickens, tiny chooks, some ducks and a pig! We also got to help out with all the animals as we learnt the daily routine of the farm.

We organised a sunset horse-ride with a local who took us through the fantastic countryside on our last night, which was a great way to end our time in this beautiful part of the world.

As we waited for our bus to leave we managed to sample some delicious organic wine at one of the many Bodegas (wineries) in Cafayate town centre, and enjoy some sunshine in the quaint plaza, before we jumped on the bus back to Salta to connect us through to San Pedro De Atacama in Chile.

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Argentina - Salta

18 °C

Salta has such a different feel about it to the rest of Argentina. It`s humid, gritty and has street food galore. It´s now starting to feel like we´re getting close to Bolivia!

With a gorgeous central plaza and an interesting Archelogica ¨mummy¨museum we filled in a couple of days here easily. The trip up to the mirador was a nice adventure on the cable car with great views across the valley and town. The lush surroundings and waterfalls made it even feel exotic!

After trying some local humitas (corn and maize snacks) at the central market we were geared up for a week of WWOOFING on a property in Cafayate....

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Argentina - Cordoba

After a fancy ´Cama´ night bus, we arrived in the second largest city in Argentina. We stayed 2 nights, so mainly explored the city centre.

Beautiful buildings, the countries oldest cathedral, some great pedestrian shopping streets and a cool plaza to relax in the afternoon. Cordoba is a great university city where we also experienced some of the cities nightlife and mingled with other travellers and locals.

A massive downpour on our last night resulted in us wading though water up to our knees as the streets in the city centre turned into rivers!!

With a fresh set of dry clothes on we made it onto our night bus heading north to Salta...

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Argentina - Mendoza

27 °C

Mendoza, Argentina´s wine capital, there was so much hype and it was nice, but not quite as amazing as we were hoping!

We enjoyed a day trip to Lujan, the quieter of the two wine regions nearby. We went with a great group we met through our hostel and hired some bikes to visit the wineries in the area. The experience was fantastic, including tours of gorgeous wineries, detailing the production of wine from grape pressing to bottling, including sampling some unfiltered wine, and many types of wines produced in the area. We also had lunch in a gorgeous vineyard and after a few more wineries swayed our bikes towards a Chocolateria to finish the day off!

Our trip into the Andes mountain range to view Mt Aconcagua (the highest mountain in all of the Americas!) was spectacular. As is was offseason, we were unable to hike or camp so we did a day trip up with a group stopping at various sights along the way reaching an altitude of about 3,000m where we walked a circuit (slowly!) and ate lunch whilst viewing the peak.

We stayed at Mendoza Backpackers which was a great social hostel and organized many excursions, including the trip we took to Aconcagua as well as a second winery day to the town of Maipu.

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Argentina - Bariloche

24 °C

The Swiss like town of Bariloche was very cool, loads of chocolate shops, fondue and swiss style wooden buildings. We scored a with a great hostel too. There was loads to do so we ended up staying longer than we thought.

A nearby town called Colonia Suiza was a stunner with swiss style chalets set in the mountains. It was completely quiet, but we were still able to enjoy some apple strudel, hot chocolates and hot chips to top it off.

The next day was an utter highlight at Villa Catedral, a ski mountain and resort in winter...mountain bike heaven in summer. A day pass on the cable car gave me unlimited rides for the day and after going up to 2000m I was was treated to masses of downhill mountain bike tracks back down varying in difficulty. It was incredible fun..especially racing the cable car down...8 times.

Llao Llao park wss also nice, we hiked by lakes and saw ancient Arrayan forests then we went to Cerro Campanario...a lookout nearby which National Geographic says is one of the top 10 views on the plant. We agreed, lakes and mountains surrounded usin every direction, stunning.

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Argentina - El Bolson

24 °C

We decided to check out El Bolson as a day trip from Bariloche and arrived at 11:30am, just in time for the 'hippy' market. It was cool, locals of the hippy variety with arts, crafts, street performers, food and more. Again the town is set in a perfect place, surrounded by mountains.

After cramming our stomachs with local goodies, we walked up to the nearby lookout for a squiz, nice. On the way back we ate blackberries by the dozen on the side of the road. A relaxing day...we then took the scenic road back to Bariloche.

After a brief sleep we woke early and took the bus back into Chile via Osorno once more and we arrived in one of Chile's outdoor capitals, Pucon. Driving in, Volcano Villarica dominated the skyline...couldn't wait to tackle it...

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Argentina - Los Antiguos

19 °C

Decision time...heading north from deep south in Argentina we had a couple of options, proceed up Argentinia's Route 40 or the Chile's Carretera Austral.

The famous Route 40 is a huge journey on a mainly dirt straight road, with little wildlife or anything interesting along the way...the less travelled and less touristy Carretera Austral on the other hand, winds north along the mountains with rivers, waterfalls, lakes and small towns...Despite transport strikes and threats of more, we decided on the Carretera Austral.

To get there, we took a bus from El Chalten to Los Antiguos in Argentina, a small town with loads of fruit farms. In search of a fruit farm, we wandered up a long drive without sign posts hoping we found one, reached a house and was greeted by an older couple who took us around their farm and loaded us up with apples, pears, raspberries, peaches and more. Delicious and they refused to accept any payment.

Fresh fruit with cheese and crackers for dinner went down a treat...

Los Antiguos is an entry point into Chile, so we stayed here for 2 nights to link up with the ferry in Chile Chico and start the Carretera Austral.

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Argentina - El Chalten

20 °C

In contrast to El Calafate, Chalten is a small town nestled in a valley surrounded by magnificent hills and mountains including Mt Fitzroy. We stayed in town and did day walks from the town, which was a nice relief after camping at Torres Del Paine! There were various viewpoints we walked to for magnificent views over the town and across over Mt Fitzroy range, and multiple surrounding glaciers.

And the 8hr day hike (with lots of photo taking) to Mt Fitzroy was a definite highlight. It was one of the most breathtaking views we have ever seen. There were great views of the mountain throughout the walk, and the surprise of two pristine sky blue lakes at the top miradore were a great reward!

Apart from sharing our dorm with some crazy Russians, we also bumped into some English and US guys we had met earlier in the trip who were good fun, so that gave us something to do in the quite town most evenings!

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Argentina - El Calafate

16 °C

A great setting, small town with wooden buildings, we checked into our hostel which turned out to be a bit of a dive and walked the town. A lot of touristy shops but with the surrounding glaciers, no wonder!

As it turns out, the famous Perito Moreno Glacier had just had its biggest ice fall in 4 years the day before us, so we were in for a treat (the news even made it to Australian news sites). The largest fall meant the whole glacier was unstable so from the moment we arrived we witnessed massive chunks falling off into the water creating huge waves.

The glacier was is incredible, massive, jaw dropping and we sat in awe for hours. The maze of raised wooden pathways allowed us to see it from different angles and all were breathtaking. An experience we won't forget...

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Argentina - Ushuaia

8 °C

What a contrast Ushuaia is to the rest of Argentina! Cutting over the Chilean border twice to reach Ushuaia by land, the marathon 12hr bus ride finished by swinging through the windy roads at night and pulling into a town that sits as the gateway to Antarctica. Ushuaia really had a ski village feel to it, and we were there in summer! Although there was no snow on the ground it was frequently snowing amoungst bursts of sunshine.

Ushuaia sits above the Beagle Channel, populated with many colourful buildings there are great views from most corners of the hilly town. The warmth of our ski-lodge style hostel, Freestlye, was a comfort to us, as well as the brown bread (yay!) and eggs they supplied for breakfast. Day trips included a walk up to the San Martel glacier in town, not a great glacier but the walk and views were great. Our boat trip on the Beagle Channel was fantastic, magical views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, sealions and penguins.

Two days camping in the Tierra Del Fuego National Park bordering Ushuaia was a highlight, although bitterly cold it felt like we had walked into a scene off The Lord of The Rings! Beautiful moss covered trees and pristine lakes. The view from Mt Guanaco was breath taking but the 4 hour climb up in itself was a mission!

We had our first experience of couch surfing for the next 3 days which was a nice taste of a locals way of life and a welcome break from hostels.

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Argentina - Rio Gallegos

14 °C

Rio Gallegos was a mandatory stopover for us, and most people heading down this route, unless you are willing to connect an overnight bus with another 12hr day bus. Being the middle of February we were visiting the town in the height of summer, which included bitterly cold winds, grey bleak skies and the star attraction...the new brid watching centre!

A big change from the warmth we just left behind. 24 hours is plenty long enough to experience the joys of this bleak fishing town which lives in eternal winter!

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Argentina - Puerto Madryn

29 °C

As our night bus swung around the first few corners we had encountered all night, travelling down the straight route 3 in eastern Argentina, we knew we must be getting close to civilisation again. The sun was just climing up and in complete contrast to the dry desert landscape which we had been surrounded by for the last 12 hours, there was a town lining a glimpse of ocean.

Walking to our hostel (yes our one bit of training for upcoming national parks!) we saw a car fly by and on a second look realised that there was a dog standing on the roof surfing along! Hi Patagonia Hostel prepared us fully for all the tourist options in the area, and we opted to hire a car with some other tourists to see the nearby sights to have a bit more independance and save some Pesos.

We visited Peninsula Valdes, a full day excursion, where we patiently waited to see a glimpse of a killer whale, but it was not our day. However there was plenty of other wildlife as the shores were lined with seals and sea lions with their pups.

Punta Ninfas was another big drive on a search for some Sea Elephants (hiding in the water!) where we were told not to leave the car unoccupied, otherwise it would most likely be missing a wheel or more when we returned! Despite the lack of wildlife there was a gorgeous view of the sea and coastline.

Our visit to the new penguin reserve in Punta Tombo was a definite highlight. We saw thousands of penguins in their natural habitat, and as they kept crossing the path we really had to be on the lookout to avoid stepping on one! We also swung though the Welsh town of Gaiman, founded by the welsh settlers who migrated to Argentina.

We clocked up about 1200kms over 3 days, most of this on gravel roads, so it was a sigh of relief to return the car in one piece!

The town itself had more than we expected for what seemed like an isolated community, including the usual Argentinian chains and Paniderias where Paul was pleased to find the biggest pancho ever! We had a tasty Parilla (Argentinian BBQ) with our great hostel on our last night before jumping on another overnight bus heading further south...

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Argentina - Mar Del Plata

28 °C

We arrived in Mar De Plata to find half of Buenos Aires laid out on the beach with their multi-coloured umbrellas and g-string bikinis!

It is a nice place for a beach holiday with many restaurants selling the infamous Argentina pizza, and licuados stands lining the beach. One of the highlights was our hostel, Che Legarto, which was more like a hotel, crisp white bed sheets, private bathrooms and great breakfast!

We took a bus along the coast which was well worth it to get to a much quiter beach where we could actually see the sand! Apart from being completely windswept by the strong winds, which are part and parcle of Mar Del Plata, we had a great walk back into the centre along the beach and rockpools.

The city and building were nicely lit up at night around the main square, perfect for a romantic stroll! We had a couple of nights stopover here before heading to southern Argentina.

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Argentina - Gualeguaychu

29 °C
View North & South America on TheNomadWay.com's travel map.

Carnival time! We didn't know what to expect, this place is meant to be quiet all year then go crazy for carnival.

The hostel was nice enough, all locals apart from one or two and we found out pretty quick that the reputation was right. The dorms were full of people sleeping at 3 in the afternoon.

The town is set on a river, with the central area being quiet, but when we got to the river, it was crazy. Masses of people, pumping music, dancing, temporary pools, people swimming - huge beach feel, good times.

Carnival was great, hardly any tourists, huge elaborate floats...started at 11pm and finished up at 4am. Its then completely the norm to then go out till 9am...

Sensational weekend...next up our first night bus back through Buenos Aires to Mar Del Plata.

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