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Curious what backpackers do in Argentina? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day8

    Iguazu falls crash across the Brazil and Argentina border. There are 275 individual falls occupying an area more than 3km wide and 80m high. It is said that after seeing Iguazu falls, the Niagara ones are nothing in comparison. It is hard to say which side is better, whether the argentinian or brazilian one, as both are different.

    We started with the Argentinian one, our driver Sebastian came to pick us up in the morning and first took us to exchange some argentinian pesos as no other currency and not even credit cards are accepted to pay the entrance fee. Then we crossed the brazilian border followed by the argentinian one. I was so happy to get another stamp for my passport. The two states are divided by a bridge across a river.

    When we reached the park Sebastian explained us the trails that we should take and recommended us a boat tour as well. There were 3 trails, upper trail with the view for the falls from above, middle trail facing the falls and inferior trail. To reach the upper trail we took a short train ride. And then we walked around 2km on elevated plank walkway through jungle above the river to reach the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's throat). The name its really appropriate. It is probably the most impressive section of the falls, where 50% of the entire falls' flow run into a narrow section leaving you stunned at the absolute power of Mother Nature. We were directly above the whole action, it was so close that we got pretty soaked as well. The second trail was a more scenic one, so we just walked and enjoyed the beautiful views for the falls with the rainbow above it. And finally we decided for some adventure. We booked a tour called nautic adventure and went on a speed boat under the falls. For the next 10 minutes we were screaming our heads off as the driver sped in and out the falls, subjecting us to the pounding water. It was really intense but really unforgettable experience. And we got super soaked like from a big shower! Then the boat continued down the river and at one point we disembarked and got on safari jeep that took us through the jungle which was the end of the tour.

    Sebastian picked us up and we crossed the border again to the brazilian side where our hotel was. The Iguazu falls are among the new 7 wonders of nature and I can definitely understand why! :)
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  • Day34

    Waheey I finally get to write on 'our' blog. Today is (was) Blake's birthday. The big ole 31 or trinta y uno as we are now slowly starting to learn our numbers. We had no alarm set which was nice and were in no rush to get up.

    Now before we left we had a lovely dinner round Danny's and Libby gave me a birthday card from them which she asked me to smuggle in my bag until the big day. Luckily I some how managed to do just that. And even better, Libs left it open with no name on the back so if found it would look less suspicious. It also allowed me to scribble my name in nice and fresh whilst Blake had jumped in the shower. I don't think that this was noticed...

    We had bought some food the day before to make a picnic and headed off to the park Portones del Parque General San Martín for lunch. We arrived at the park and headed to the information centre to grab a map, we then chose to head towards the big lake in the middle for the feast. By feast I mean some posher bread than we were used to and some pâté with some cheap and cheerful crisps on the side. I know what you're all thinking, this guy knows how to treat a lady!! After we let the food go down we continued to walk around the park until we got to Eva Perons house. If you remember Eva featured in a previous post and was a pretty big deal in Argentina. We headed back to our Airbnb from the park as that afternoon we had booked to do a sunset horse ride with an Argentinian BBQ and Wine after.

    We were picked up in a mini bus and driven out in to the desert like area before entering a winery where the horses were kept. We scribbled down our details for the 'insurance' and were led outside to meet our new friends. These four legged friends seemed very tame and well behaved but we were told one important rule! Don't let your horse eat!! As soon as you do this he will take advantage of you by stopping when he wants to eat, the frequency of which will increase until your horse just won't move anymore! With this in mind we were helped onto our steed and off we went. Out the winery gate, across the road and onto the path leading up the foothills. I was about third in the line and between Blake and I was the slowest horse ever with a pretty terrified English lad on. He was told to hit his horse with the stick every 30 seconds so he would keep up but I'm pretty sure he was happy with that pace so Blake was about 200m behind most of the way up. As we got higher and the sun got lower the views started to get more and more breath taking. We finally made it to the highest peak of 1100m where we all lined up for a group shot.

    On the way down we were reordered so that the horses wouldn't kick each other on the way down. One horse in particular liked to kick most of the others but apparently mine was safe so we got lumbered behind him. It didn't matter for too long as the English lad from before whose hose was fast asleep before had woken up and decided to run down half the hill over taking most and plonking himself near the front much to the dismay of its rider who I'm sure was almost screaming as he ploughed passed us (another important rule, do not let the horses overtake at all costs as they may start fighting). The way back down was even more beautiful than the way up as we were facing in the direction that the sun was going down. With the cloud there were a lush mixture of reds and purples all over the horizon.

    Now on the way down Blake was behind me and I heard a loud 'oh no' and some laughing. If you remember the number one rule from earlier you can imagine my entertainment when I turned round to see Blakes horse tucking into some yummy grass with her yanking the reigns with one hand and tapping him on the arse with the other. I'm pretty sure he took no notice and only carried on when he wanted to! From then on it was a constant hilarious battle to make it to the end!

    We did finally make it to the end where we were greeted by some wonderful smelling MEAT on the BBQ!! I had been looking forward to this meal ever since we booked it. We had a mixture of sausages and about a quarter of a cow in various cuts and sizes accompanied by some delicious potato things and some salad which I obviously didn't touch. We also had help yourself red wine to wash it all down with :)

    After we finished eating our guide grabbed a guitar and played some songs which we all got involved in. The red wine by this point was helping us all ;) my particular favourite was hit me baby one more time by our Britney! After we had consumed as much as we could and sang all we could we headed home.
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  • Day40

    With so many lakes around it made sense to get on one so we booked a tour to go kayaking. We joined our lovely guides Natalia and Pablo, and with only one more tourist from London we were pushed off onto lake gutierrez. The person at the front sets the pace when paddling whilst the one in the back steers. We had a few hicups on the way there. My pace setting was erratic, and we crashed into the others a few times as James got his bearings! It was hard to concentrate whilst looking at the surroundings and being battered by wind and waves.

    As I was flagging, we pulled into a beach and were served cheesy rolls, coffee and mate. Natalia explained how to prepare mate and its rules.

    1. The one who prepared the mate must first to drink the mate
    2. Once you have finished the mate you must hand it back to the host, never share with someone else when it's your turn
    3. You must drink at least 2 rounds, or the host will think you did not like their mate
    4. Only say thank you when you've had enough and want to be excused from the round.

    Fully refreshed we headed back, and we swapped roles. We went much faster on the way back and look coordinated in the pictures! Arms aching we spent the night playing cards against a father and daughter duo. Whilst never winning, I was never the shithead either and was accused of cheating!

    Next morning after James did a bit of cajouling we set off to do a bike ride around circuito chico. In its shortened form its around 24km of cycling round a few lakes in the llao llao peninsula. Having not riden a bike in over a decade it was trial by fire as we headed off. Its true what they say...

    The uphills could be tough but the joy of having a few kilometers to speed down while giving my thighs a rest was amazing. We passed the famous llao llao hotel and then stopped by the foot of a trail and hiked up to the top of a steep hill. The panoramic view of lakes, forests and mountains was stunning.

    After James had completed his photoshoot with a posing bird we carried on round the circuit with the goal of reaching a small brewery set up by Patagonian beer. This beer is one of the best we've tasted in Argentina and we have been enjoying it since Buenos Aires. A modern building with good views and a random signpost stating how far Wales was, we were initally ignored by the staff. After 3 attempts we figured out the lay of the land and had 2 very good pale ales and food to fuel the remainder of the journey.

    Starting off again was painful on the bum and thighs! We had a few km left but the road got busier. I nearly fell off the bike once as I lost control and hit gravel but did a miracilous save. It did add a few bruises to my trekking ones. At the end of the day I was glad to hand the bicycle back and enjoy being able to sit in comfort again!

    Next day was a travel day. Buying the renowned choclates before we left towards Chile and Valdivia. This bus had a smelly customer. I don't care how hippy you become as a long term traveller, organic deodrants and soap are easily available. The hostel in Valdivia had a welcoming hostess and a crows nest bed for James. Pucon and the volcano await...
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  • Day32

    Our last day in Buenos Aires before catching an overnight bus to Mendoza.

    The people who own the airbnb apartment that we have been staying in kindly let us stay until the evening so that we didn't have to carry our bags around with us all day. This was great and meant that we gained an extra day of sightseeing.

    We packed our bags in the morning and despite neither of us having very much stuff it's amazing how much we had managed to spread around the entire apartment!

    We then went to visit a beautiful Bookshop called La Ateneo that is inside a former theatre. It has been voted one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world and I can certainly vouch for that.

    In the afternoon we joined another free walking tour of the Retiro district of the city. Here we saw the congress building, the presidential pink house, the obelisk and many more examples of the city's mixed architecture. We also learnt about Eva Peron, a former First Lady who died of cancer at the age of 33. Despite dying so young she achieved a lot, including championing women's suffrage. The famous song Don't Cry for me Argentina is written about her and the speech she gave to the city before she died. Her grave is also in the Recoleta cemetery which we fortunately managed to stumble across during our visit. At the end of our tour which finished outside of the pink house, our tour guide Fernando said that if we liked military ceremony's we should stick around as at 6pm every day they take down the Argentinian flag which flys outside the presidential palace. As it was only 10 minutes away we decided to wait. Now being British and having seen the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace I was expecting something exciting. What we got instead was a guy in militarily uniform who causally walked across to the flag pole and attempted to lower the flag. He couldn't get it to work so he wondered back to the palace and returned 5 minutes later with his mate. The two of them tugged on the ropes a bit and hit the side of the pole but with no success gave up and left. We also decided to give up at this point and caught the subte (the subway) back to our apartment.

    One thing I would also like to comment on about our stay in Buenos Aires is the Mosquitos. The Mosquitos here are on steroids! The were all over the news as Buenos Aires has had an invasion of the evil critters (that still bite you through your clothes) from Patagonia as the city is still unusually warm for this time of year. We will definitely be leaving with more than our fair share of bites!
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  • Day27

    Chau Brazil, Ola Argentina!

    Our first border crossing went much smoother than we expected. We had to get a bus to the border and stop with Brazilian customs to get our passport and visa stamped. We then had to wait for the next bus to take us across to Argentina who amazingly stopped and waited for us while we went through customs there!

    After the last 3 months of working with Brazilian reals we now have to get our head around Argentine pesos. My mental arithmetic is certainly improving.

    We arrived at our hostel around 1:30pm which was too late to do the falls so we popped out to grab some lunch and had a quiet afternoon at the hostel trying to work out our route through Argentina. In the evening we went to this cute little cafe called Lemongrass for some dinner which was super cheap and pretty delicious.

    We then got up early the next day and headed to the falls again. The Argentinian side of the falls is a lot bigger than the Brazilian side. There are 3 main trails that we walked around. The first one took us to a spot where you can look down on the Devils Throat (where we had been in Brazil) and then we walked around another trail which took you along the top of the main falls before stopping for a bit of lunch. We decided to eat inside as the park is full of coaties, which are the fluffier, misleadingly cute equivalent of British seagulls. Their main goal in life is to steal your food by any means possible. They can also carry rabies so we wanted to stay as far away from them as possible!

    After lunch we walked along a lower trail around the falls as we booked ourselves into the boat trip that takes you right into the waterfall. The boat trip was amazing! We got completely soaked but it was so much fun! Simon has some cracking go pro footage.

    All in all another fantastic day out seeing the spellbinding falls. The sheer size, power and noise the water makes is hard to put into words. There are also rainbows at every turn which is lush!

    After the long day at the falls we popped to the supermarket to get some quick and easy food for dinner and discovered cheap Argentinian wine! We were joined by a number of other people staying in the hostel and before we knew it, one bottle turned into 3! I am feeling very smug as by some miracle I am feeling fresh. Simon Thatcher however is struggling today and has put himself back to bed in a hammock as we had to check out of our room. As you can imagine, he is also particularly excited about our 16 hour coach journey to Buenos Aires later. The words "I don't think we should go to Mendoza as I am never drinking wine again" have crossed his lips on a couple of occasions this morning already.
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  • Day29

    Our coach to Buenos Aires was luxurious in comparison to our Brazilian coach travel. The seats are double the size, you get given a pillow and a blanket, as well as a hot (well warm) dinner, breakfast and snacks. You can also watch movies, the majority are in Spanish but you can watch them all the same.

    After arriving in Buenos Aires we grabbed an uber to our airbnb apartment. It's nice to have some space to ourselves after spending the last month in hostels.

    Like England, Argentina also have a bank holiday on the first Monday in May, National Worker Day. This holiday is taken very seriously and therefore pretty much everywhere shuts for the day, even many restaurants and cafes. Because of this, Buenos Aires was a ghost town! It was very strange.

    On the Monday we did a free walking tour of the Recoleta area. Our guide Juan Cruz was very knowledgeable and we learnt a lot about the city. When walking around the city it is hard not to notice the varied architecture. You can find Parisian style mansions next to ugly 70's tower blocks, next to neo-gothic buildings. Our tour finished outside the Recoleta cemetery. This is where famous Argentinians are laid to rest in large, ornate mausoleums. It is like a small city for the dead with rows and rows of little churches. It was fascinating and eerie all at the same time and nothing like we have ever experienced before.

    In the evening we went to see La Bomba de Tiempo, a 17 piece improvisational drum group which were amazing! In addition to the drums they have shakers, maracas and at one point a trumpet.
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  • Day30

    In an attempt to make it a little easier for us to communicate with the locals we booked ourselves on to a 3 hour Spanish crash course. Our lesson didn't start until 2:30pm so we had a lazy morning before heading to our lesson. Our Spanish teacher Macarena (like the song) was lovely. Simon left the class with some basic Spanish however all I left with was a headache. It was definitely worth it, if only for the numbers as now we have a rough idea of how much money we need to hand over without just handing over notes until they tell us to stop!

    The next morning we joined a tour of La Boca. La Boca is a bright and colourful neighbourhood and one of the first areas that housed the huge number of immigrants that entered Argentina via its port between 1880 and 1930. These immigrants arrived with nothing so to make money they got jobs in the busy port and on the railroads. They then built their homes from discarded materials from the shipyard and railway and painted them in this mismatch of colours using leftover paint. The tour taught us a lot about the history of the area and Argentina. The most harrowing story was of the disappeared which was still happening only a couple of years before we were born. The military government at the time kidnapped anyone that was thought to be a socialist / left wing / intellectuals and tortured them using electricity. When deemed of no further use they gave them large doses of sedatives and threw them out the back of military planes over the river. Because the bodies were never found, the government managed to get away with this for a very long time.

    When in Argentina do as the Argentines do and something they do with passion is the tango. We opted for a lesson, dinner and show at The Ventana Tango Show in San Telmo. My inability to move my arms and legs independently meant that my attempt to tango was a cross between a thunderbird and a baby giraffe learning to walk. Si said it was like dragging around a scarecrow. I think Lord of the Dance here is just being mean for adding that into the blog post. Even our tango instructor laughed hysterically at my inability to relax and let Simon lead me! Needless to say I won't be giving up the day job. It was however one of the funniest hours of my life. Simon, despite dreading doing the lesson also really enjoyed himself although his joyous cries of "perfecto" were met by more laughs from our instructor.

    Our tango lesson was followed by a yummy three course dinner. To start I had a tomato and mozzarella salad, followed by steak and ice cream. Simon opted for the empanadas, steak and a traditional Argentine custard dish. The steak was divine! This was accompanied of course by some Argentinian malbec.

    The show was a mixture of tango, singing, a crazy man on a ukulele type instrument that had 10 strings and another crazy man that danced whilst spinning ropes at a ridiculous speed that hit the floor at precise times interacting with his tap like dancing. It was a lot of fun and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.
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  • Day37

    As we pulled up to the centre square of Bariloche it seemed the bus had travelled to Europe. With quaint lodges surrounding the square it looked like an Austrian village. The square itself was covered in the white hankerchiefs of the missing mothers. A reminder that the terror of the dictatorship ran throughout Argentina, not just its capitol. To the right of the square is a tall building and at the very top was our hostel- the penthouse! The views are amazing, all for under £15, with a good kitchen and breakfast included. A bargain for expensive Argentina.

    We explored the main streets that were full of ice cream and chocolate shops, listening to buskers as we went. Stopped for lunch in a cafe popular with the locals. On hearing that we were Welsh the waiter would name a different Welsh rugby ledgend as he passed our table "JP Williams! Gareth Jenkins!". Back at the hostel sitting in the balcony, the plan for the next few days were hatched, though hiking is good here, we'd mix it up for some kayaking and cycling.
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  • Day50

    Again an early start was had from Mendoza as we were to have 2 days of travelling to our next destination, a ranch above Cordoba. Miles upon miles of vineyards gave way to farms full of cattle and horses.

    We have all been given jobs whilst on the trip. James is one of the luggage loaders whilst I get the weird combination of binlady and librarian. A few hours into the trip I take my job seriously and go sort out the library, and a pack of Uno! We have also been divided into cook groups when camping. James and I have been divided into rival cook groups. Whilst mine is pretty chilled - we easiy went round a Walmart of all places to get our ingredients. James' had a little more tension as they prepared our lunch!

    A few hours of Uno and a great Spotify throwback Thursday powerballad playlist later and we arrived at our camp of the night. By the side of a riverbed it was quite picturesque, with woodpeckers and tropical birds. We were introduced to the Dragoman tents. Though modern-ish they are designed on the tents from the 70's and are pitch black inside!

    Joining our group huddle for super were the camp cat and dog. The dog took James' fancy immediately as a golden retriever and we called him Shadow. He would hold a pebble in his mouth and expect you to throw it like a stick. After a bitternhot choclate we headed for bed.

    Next morning we set off for a 5 hour drive to the ranch. Within 10 minutes we took a swing to a dirt road which was famous for being a pilgrimage with great views over the area. The truck stopped and it was announced that we coukd take roof seats!! From then top of the trucks we had a brilliant views and the road climbed up to the clouds.... the drizzly clouds, the first rain in months.

    As we rounded a corner a muddy uphill was seen and Mamasita tried but the wheels kept spinning and we slid towards a wall. We were stuck. We all got out and set down traction mats to no avail. We were officially 8km away from the main road and the next village. We had lunch and waited it out as David ran for help and we flagged down help from some passers by. A policeman came up and was helpful considering we were a bunch of gringos getting stuck on his road on palm Sunday.

    We waited it out as a convoy of taxis were called to get us and a plannwas hatched on how to free poor Mamasita. We found a nice hotel and waited for news. Only an hour later Mamasita was parked innfron David having dug under the wheel and placed rocks for traction, reversing her a few km back through the windy road and oerforming a 44 point turn to get her back!

    We deserved a meal out and it was Faye's birthday. We wound down over good food and wine hoping for a smooth running day to the ranch tomorrow!!
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  • Day53

    Again by 10 in the morning we were ferried to the horses. Unlike yesterday it was a misty day, giving an eerie feel as we set off in a line. I jumped onto Sinpatica and with growing confidence she didn't push her luck with all the snacking today and listened maybe 90% of the time. She even chilled out in the middle of the pack for an hour or so before marching her way back to the front.

    As we made our way higher and higher the size of their estancia became aparent as it streched out for miles around us. At an open field we had a chance to canter and it was exhilerating to fly through a few fields whilst also holding on to the saddle for dear life!! We continued until we reached "top of the world", the highest point in the estancia. The mist had cleared and you had a 360 breathtaking view of the estancia and the valley below.

    Returning to the Dragoman camp, we had a few hours to relax and have supper before wine tasting with Kevin. He poured 4 different wines, while passing around little bottles with smells as part of a competition to see how many we could get right. They were smells like fruits and incensce that you would expect in a wine bouquet. I was apalling and only got 3 right. He handed out prizes for our riding. I won most improved rider and Charlotte the best rider. We recieved a nice bottle of Malbec! Izzy had the best nose and won a bottle of champagne! With an early start we retured to bed, very sad to be leaving this wonderful little haven in Argentina.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Argentine Republic, Argentinien, Argentina, Argentinië, Agyɛntina, አርጀንቲና, Archentina, الأرجنتين, Arxentina, Arqentina, Аргенціна, Аржентина, Arizantin, আর্জেন্টিনা, ཨར་ཇེན་ཊི་ན།, Arcʼhantina, Yr Ariannin, ཨར་ཇེན་ཊི་ན, Argentina nutome, Αργεντινή, Argentino, Argentiina, آرژانتین, Arjantiin, Argentine, Argentena, Argjentine, An Airgintín, આર્જેન્ટીના, Arjantiniya, ארגנטינה, अर्जेंटीना, Ajantin, Argentína, Արգենտինա, Arjentinia, アルゼンチン共和国, getygu'e, არგენტინა, Ajentina, Аргентина, អារហ្សង់ទីន, ಅರ್ಜೆಂಟೈನಾ, 아르헨티나, ئارجەنتینا, Arghantina, Arigentina, Arizantinɛ, ອາເຈນຕິນາ່, Alijantine, Argentīna, Arzantina, അര്‍ജന്‍റീന, अर्जेंटिना, Arġentina, အာဂျင်တီးနား, Arxentitlān, अर्जेण्टिना, Argentiinu, ଆର୍ଜେଣ୍ଟିନା, Artschenti, Argentyna, Argentin-a, ارجنټاين, Arhintina, Argentinia, Arijantine, अर्जन्टीना, Argintina, Arzantîna, ආර්ජෙන්ටිනාව, Argjentinë, அர்ஜென்டினா, ఆర్జెంటినా, Arjentina, ประเทศอาร์เจนตินา, Arhentina, ʻAsenitina, Arjantin, ئارگېنتىنا, ارجنٹینا, Á Căn Đình (Argentina), Largäntän, ארגענטינע, Orílẹ́ède Agentínà, 阿根廷, i-Argentina

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