Having said goodbye to friends and family, my adventure was about to start with an Iberia-flight to Madrid and the connecting overnight flight to Buenos Aires. We had lots of turbulences due to bad weather conditions but several meals, movies, and a friendly Argentinian girl next to me kept me right as rain.
I arrived in the morning but had to spend several hours for immigration and finding my way to the city – TIPP: get a SUBE card in the kiosk at the airport and take bus no. 8 to the center instead of Tienda Leon, that’s much cheaper.
Having arrived in the hostel Malevo Murana in Palermo (the best spot to reside since there are many bars and restaurants), I refreshed myself and started to explore the city with Nadine, my friend from Hamburg, who had arrived a view days earlier.
We took a stroll to the botanic gardens, some parks and the huge flower made of metal at the Plaza de los Estados Unidos next to the faculty of law. On the way back, we crossed San Telmo, the quarter where Tango is still kept alive on the streets.
The next day, we took the bus from Plaza Italia to La Bocca in order to admire the amazing street art there and walk past numerous colorful Caminitos. Afterwards, we went to the city center – Plaza de Mayo with Casa Rosada, the obelisque etc. nearby. From there, it was just some steps to Recoleta cemetery where also the remains of Evita can be found.
The next day, we jumped on the ferry (Colonia Express was the cheapest for about 45 USD) to Uruguay. It only took about 2 hours to get there.
Having arrived in Puerta Iguazú, we stayed at 125 Hostel, the very best hostel ever with clean beds separated by curtains, a pool, a giant breakfast (eggs, sausages, cake, fruit etc.), and lovely owners.
When visiting Iguazú, you should definitely make the effort to go to both sides. We first went to the Brazilian one where you have a panoramic view of the giant waterfalls and can go to a platform nearby the Garganta del Diablo (ATTENTION: Bring a rain cover for your camera since all the stuff gets soaking wet!). Oh, and be aware of the coatis that sneakily steal cookies out of your bag. It’s an amazing spectacle staring in awe at the tossing masses of water.
On the Argentinean side, you can take several routes to get close to some of the waterfalls. It’s worth trying to walk along all of them and also to take the train up to the Northern part (better in the later afternoon since it’s not as crowded as in the morning). If you would like to spend another day in the park, e.g. to get on a boat, you can get your ticket stamped and only have top pay half the price when entering again.
Besides the natural spectacle of water, there is also an amazing amount of birds, geckos and butterflies roaming about the woods surrounding the river.
When staying in Puerta Iguazú, make sure not to miss the light show at 8pm at the place where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. It is beautiful, displaying the traditional dances of all three countries.
Having arrived in Salta, we did the check-in at our hostel La Salamanca, took a shower, and slowly began feeling like human beings again after 20 hours on the bus… Then it was time to get something for lunch – at Rey Carancho where we got a great menu deal (bread + main plate + dessert + lemonade) which was delicious. Afterwards, we took a stroll in the city center which is declared to be the most beautiful one in colonial style in whole Argentina, and then climbed San Bernardo hill with a great view over the city.
The next morning, we had to get up early in order to take the bus to Humahuaca where we were taken by a taxi driver to the 14-colored-mountain Hornocal – a truly amazing view! Our hostel Alojamiento El Cardon (Don’t stay there – the owner tries to trick you, turns off the wifi, and locks the kitchen at night) was situated in Tilcara. In this cute little town in the middle of the mountains, I climbed the Cerro de la Cruz and bumped into the first carnival parade – what a spectacle it was! 🙂
The next day, we went to Iruya, a town amidst the giant Quebreda, where we did our first more requesting hike to the Mirador de los Condores. What a breathtaking view we had on top of the mountain! Afterwards, I went to the river and did a second, smaller hike to the Mirador de la Cruz. That night, we stayed in Tilcara again, but this time in the hostel Tierra Andina near the terminal.
In the early morning, we took the first bus (5:35 am) to Purmamarca in order to see the sun rise at the Hill of Seven Colors. It was an amazing view and definitely worth postponing breakfast to this spot where we were all by ourselves. Afterwards, we went to the Salinas Grandes, Argentina’s salt desert where it is possible to take funny photos.
Having taken a Bus to Yuyui and then to Salta, we finally had been able to board the one to Cafayate and arrived there in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed at our hostel Lo de Chichi (definitely one of the most idyllic hostels ever with lovely people, a wonderful garden, and a very reasonable price). The next morning, after we’ve had breakfast under the grapevines, we went to the goat farm passing huge vineyards on our way. In the afternoon, we took a walk though the city and then went on a tour to the Quebrada de las Conchas – an amazing sight with its colorful rock formations. At night, we had a BBQ in the hostel garden and in the morning, we went to one of the vineyards for a tasting before boarding the bus to Tucuman where we entered the night bus to Mendoza.
In Mendoza, we had a bed in Hostel Suites which was great for a very low price. On the day of our arrival, we just took a stroll through the city and the huge city park San Martin where we even got a free ride by the police since it apparently was not as safe as we thought it would be… The next day, we had booked a tour to the Andes with Backpackers Travel: first, we visited the two towns Potrerillos and Uspallata, then the huge ski area Penitentes (of course, there was nobody during Summer). One of the highlights was the Inca Bridge which just looked like in a fairy tale with all its natural colors. Afterwards, it was time to at least set foot to the area directly next to the highest mountain outside Asia: the Aconcagua (6.961m). There, we did a small hike in the national park passing lagoons and enjoying the views before our last stop was Las Cuevas, a village situated just 2km away from the border to Chile. On our last day in Mendoza, we finally went to Maipu, where most vineyards are situated, despite heavy rain… There, we got a private free tour at Bodega Lopez which was great since it finished not just with a small tasting but six glasses of wine for each of us at the bar.
Being already a littly tipsy, we took a taxi from the hostel to the airport, flew to Buenos Aires where we had a delicious BBQ and a few drinks with Franco, Emiliano (You should definitely check out his brand BORN TO TRAVEL!), and Martin before we had to catch our flight to Ushuaia at 4:35 am in the morning.
The view out of the plane window was just amazing when we woke up high above Ushuaia – commonly known as “the end of the world”. Although having slept only 3 hours, we decided to drop our baggage at the hostel Yakush (great hostel but the people working there were not too nice) and go to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. This land is declared to be the end of the world since there is no other land to be found before Antarctica (where I wanted to go but dropped that idea because of the high price: 8.000 EUR for 10 days). We did some hikes in the forest, along the coastline and at a beautiful lake before dropping into bed totally fatigued in the evening. The next morning, we went through forest and around hills to the beautiful Laguna Esmeralda where I was the only one who took a swim because of the freezing cold water temperature (kinda like the Eisbach in Munich in late Autumn 😉 ). In the evening, it was time to relax and enjoy the sunset at the harbor. On our last day, we decided to go on another hike – this time to a glacier high in the mountains which in called Glacier Martial. It was a great day again and we waved goodbye to the end of the world early the next morning during sunrise…
Having crossed the border to Argentina again, we arrived in our hotel in El Calafate in the early evening. Yes, I did not make a mistake when writing HOTEL – it really was one! We got a cheap 3-bed-room in Amigo del Mundo which was very neat and had a great breakfast with a view.
That evening, we also treated ourselves with a restaurant dish – I had Quanaco (a kind of lama) burger which was delicious! The next day, we slept in, chilled in the lounge, and then went to Perito Moreno Glacier in the afternoon. This sight was just amazing! The glacier is larger than Buenos Aires itself and every couple of minutes a huge piece of ice breaks off and falls down into the ocean with an enormous sound. That truly is an unforgettable natural spectacle that everybody should see at least once.
That evening, we continued our journey to El Chaltén, the climbing capital of South America. Good thing that our hostel La Comarca was situated right next to the bus terminal when we arrived close to midnight. The following day, we decided to start with a hike to Cerro Torres and had to experience that the weather conditions in Patagonia are unpredictable: sunshine, rain, and wind crossed our way and when we had arrived at Laguna Torre, this had grown to a strong storm that wouldn’t allow us to carry on to Mirador Maestri.
The following day, we took the chance to see Fitz Roy although it was still a little stormy. After that 12 km hike up, we were rewarded with the sight of the beautiful Laguna de los Trés in front of that majestic mountain. When the rain got worse the day afterwards, I just went up to the Mirador de los Condores and the Mirador de las Aguilas before chilling a couple of hours at the hostel since we had to take the night bus to our next destination.
Having finally arrived in El Bolsón at 1:30 in the morning with 5 hours delay (thus, making it a 27-hour-trip), we stayed at Cabanas Pehuenia – lovely owners who even let us wash for free! The following day was a very relaxed one in this so-called hippie-town: we went to the market and relaxed in the garden before going to “Humus” – a farm close to town where you can get fresh fruit, nuts, and the best ice cream ever! Later, we also had a beef- and lamb-BBQ at the hostel. What a crazy night full of delicious meat, drinking games, and illegal swimming in the pond with a bunch of Argentinians… 🙂
Having arrived in our hostel Wood House (great for spending a couple of nights here) in Bariloche, it didn’t take long until we entered the first chocolate store because that is what this city is widely known for other than its beer and the location at a lake surrounded by mountains. And there were soooo many free tastings! 🙂 We really enjoyed that laid-back day at the lake and in the stores in Bariloche.
The next morning, we went to Cerro Campanario which was a very easy hike if you don’t count in the way downhill afterwards when we had to hike through bushes and forests because we took the wrong “way”. Well, at least the evening made up for it, when a street festival was going because of the anniversary of one of the breweries. There was a big stage with band and dj and many people dancing – FIESTA ARGENTINA! What a pity that we had to get up early the next morning to go on our last big hike in Patagonia – Cerro Frey and Cerro Catedral. But it was totally worth it!