The Iguazú Falls

16. – 18. Jan 2019

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.

Pool time 🙂

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.

The Andean Northwest

25. Jan – 2. Feb 2019

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.

Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego

3. – 6. Feb 2019

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…

El Calafate & El Chaltén

13. – 17. Feb 2019

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.

Perito Moreno Glacier

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.

El Bolsón & Bariloche

18. – 22. Feb 2019

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.

Nom nom nom…
Lago Nahuel Huapi

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!


18. – 24. Jan 2019

When taking the bus from Puerta Iguazú to Ciudad del Este, make sure that you tell the driver to stop at the border control. Otherwise, you’ll be illegally in the country. Having jumped out of the bus, he left and we were stuck at the craziest, busiest border ever: people roaming around everywhere, carrying goods and bags, merchants selling their stuff, shopping malls on each corner of the street.

Finally having arrived at the terminal, we took another bus to Trinidad, one of several German settlements in Paraguay. Here, we stayed at Posada Maria – a hotel owned by a German immigrant offering clean, air-conditioned rooms and a nice breakfast for a fair price. The next day, we visited the ruins of Jesus and Trinidad – the remains of the former Jesuit ministries and a great witness of history for Paraguay. Thus, we even got a guided lightshow at night (8:30pm each day when it’s not raining / in Spanish) with lots of historical background information and the feeling to be set right back in time.

Our next stop was not the National Park San Rafael as originally planned (the only lodge there had been booked out for another week – thus, make a reservation well in advance if you want to go) but Encarnación – “La Perla del Sur”. Being considered as the most beautiful city in Paraguay, it is a hotspot for weekend getaways and holiday trips. Thus, the beach at the river looked like one on Mallorca during high season. In the evening, there was a free concert on a huge stage at the beach featuring famous Paraguayan bands and singers. It was an amazing party and people stayed at the beach drinking, chatting, and chilling until late at night BECAUSE there was another great thing happening a few hours later – the total eclipse of the moon, also called “Blood Moon”. The next day was spent in a chill out mood crossing the border to Argentina once again for a daytrip to Posada and a relaxed evening at the beach with other travelers.

Soon it was time to make our way to Asunción (a 7 hour bus ride), the capital city of Paraguay. And it was… Well, let’s put it this way: pretty disappointing. The infrastructure is bad (very shabby buses run sometimes, but it’s not defined where and when exactly), many houses are just little huts or half-destroyed buildings, and there is trash on the streets everywhere. One just doesn’t feel safe and sound when walking the streets. There are a few sights such as the Palace of Independence, the Panteón, and the district of San Jeronimo with a handful colorful stairs and houses. Nevertheless, these are not worth going there. BUT the people are! They are very nice yelling “Hola” across the street, sharing their Tereré (icecold Mate) and their grapes with you, and just being friendly and welcoming – also in our hostel La Casita de la Abuela. A very great new friend and help was César who showed us around, took us to a place to try chipa (a traditional dish), and dropped us at the bus terminal the next day. Muchas gracias, amigo! 🙂

Now, the very tricky part began: How to get to Argentina? After having asked everybody around us, we decided to just take some bus to the border and then go on. Having arrived there, we got another Argentinean immigration stamp and took a bus to the terminal in Clorinda where we were very lucky to just get on the ONLY bus leaving for Salta on that day right 3 minutes before departure. And then, the 18 hour bus ride began…

Leaving Paraguay and entering Argentina once again


8. – 16. Jan 2019

Having arrived in Uruguay (NOTE: Don’t buy the ferry ticket to Montevideo since there is NO direct route with Colonia Express. The ship takes you to Colonia – a nice city you should definitely take a look at first.), and then you are put into a bus to Montevideo right after immigration.

At the border to Uruguay

In Montevideo we just dropped our bags at Buens Vibras Hostel (it was ok, but not really the best one I’ve ever had – kept very simple) and walked to the city center in order to take part in the Curioso Free Tour of the Old Town (Mon-Fri 10:30am & 3:30pm / Sat 11:00am @ Plaza Independencia / in English and Spanish / also offering tours of Parque Rodo and Punta Carretas). It was a great way to experience the city with lots of funny hints and historic background stories. Our tour guide Florencia was amazing and even had a typical surprise for us at the end.  During this tour we also got to know Caroline and David who would become our new travel buddies. When the day got to an end, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset at the beach. The next day, we just took a stroll through the park and along the promenade before taking the next bus.

Having arrived in Punto Diablo (NOTE: At the bus stop, catch a van that takes you to your hostel or wherever you want to go for a small amount of money.), we just had a drink at the beach bar, and soon went to sleep at El Diablo Tranguilo – a hostel with a very laid-back atmosphere. The next day, it was raining cats and dogs but nevertheless, we got our rain jackets out of the bag and walked 9 km to the National Park Santa Teresa where we gazed at marvelous green palm trees, lots of flowers, birds, and fish in a tropical surrounding. The way back along the beach was very exhausting because of the pouring rain and the wind clashing in our faces.

From there, we took the bus to Cabo Polonio, a natural reserve at the Atlantic coast where you have to be picked up by a four-wheeled truck at the terminal. Thus, we were taken through the woods and the sea to a couple of houses without electricity and hot water, and this is what our hostel there looked like – what an experience:

View from the outside (the thing on the right side is the cold-water shower)

The next day, we discovered the town, strolled along the beach, and paid a visit to the seals and sea lions hanging out at the shore near the lighthouse. What an amazing piece of earth!

When we arrived in Punta del Este later on, our first thought was WHAT A DIFFERENCE! We stayed in the neighborhood “La Barra” in the cozy Hostel Seven, but still, this was a vibrant Miami-style city with lots of shady clubs and bars, fancy restaurants, and high-class villas and holiday homes. It was amazing to see this in the middle of Uruguay – one would not have expected it.

Having missed to see Colonia on the day we had arrived in Uruguay, we took the bus (transfer in Montevideo) to this small city in the South. And it’s really worth seeing it. From our hostel it was only a short stroll and we were standing right in the middle of the Old Quarter with its churches, colonial-style houses, the town wall, and the harbor. From there, we took a bus to Salto, stayed in a home stay owned by a very nice Uruguayan lady, and crossed the border to Argentina the next day where we took the night bus from Concordia to Puerta Iguaçu. The buses here are very comfortable, especially when you buy “semicama” or “cama”.