The Great South American Journey: Argentina

Of all the countries, I have been to, I have loved Argentina the most. From the landscapes of Patagonia, to the wines in Mendoza, to the stunning Iguassu falls, to the dynamism of Buenos Aires, Argentina has something to offer to everyone. I spent more than a month in this beautiful country, travelling across the country to experience some amazing highlights.

I started my Argentinian experience in Ushuaia, Patagonia where I boarded the G expedition on the Antarctic cruises. There, I got a glimpse of the natural beauty Argentina has to offer in the form of Martial Glacier and Laguna Esmeralda. From Ushuaia, I took the bus to the Chilean side of Patagonia (which I will expand on the next note) and then from there back to Argentina: El Calafate.

El Calafate has the Perito Moreno Glacier to offer and it is breathtaking. I stayed at America Del Sur hostel during Christmas and we had a fantastic celebration sharing a lot of wine and assado (Argentinian BBQ). El Calafate also has a museum dedicated to the Glaciers. I would highly recommend visiting that too. From El Calafate, I went to El Chalten for a couple of days. El Chalten was my favourite place in Patagonia. I spent 2 days doing 2 hikes: Lago del los Tres, Lago Torres. Both hikes took over 6 hours and both hikes were just wonderful. Lago del los Tres was brutal for the last one hour but worth every second of pain was worth it. Lago Torres was a beautiful hike with some tedious moments and also with breathtaking views.

From El Chalten, I took a bus to Bariloche. Bariloche is part of the lakes district and is a must visit place. I didnt take the Route 40 but rather the longer route which took approximately 36 hours to get to Bariloche. On a bus for 30 something hours: surprisingly it wasnt too bad given I had booked a Cama (think a bit like business class) seat. I spent about four days in Bariloche, doing some local hikes (Cerro Camparino is highly recommended), the seven lakes tour and a day trip to El Bolson (for some local beer and hikes).

From Bariloche, it was back to Chile and then after a couple of weeks, I ended up in Salta taking a bus from San Pedro de Atacama (in Chile). Salta is quite a large town/city and one of the activities to do as such is to take the cable car and get a view of the city. I also did a day tour to Cafayate for some wine tasting and get a sense of the amazing landscapes in the region. From Salta, I went to the wine capital of Argentina: Mendoza. It was one of the best experiences I have had in Argentina: excellent spread of wines, cheap prices and very tasty food to go with the wines. One can do half day or whole day wine tours. I did the full day wine tours twice and both times I loved it!. I would recommend visiting Lopez Bodega for some wine tasting.

After Mendoza, I went to Cordoba to see the spectacular churches there, then to Rosario before ending up in the Capital, Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is, easily, my favourite place in South America. It has everything I could ask for in a city: good mix of bars and restaurants, multiple charming neighbourhoods such as San Telmo, Palermo, good mix of modernism and tradition, food and craft markets, diversity in sights and amazing steak and wine. There is so much to do in Buenos Aires. I would recommend spending time in San Telmo (and the market on Sunday) and Palermo, eating a lot of steak (check out Gran Parillia del Plata), visiting the Recoletta cemetery (where Eva Peron is buried), La Boca and Puerto Madero. There is so much more and someday I hope to rent an apartment there and try to live like a local (for a couple of months).

I also went to San Ignacio to explore the Jesuit Missones ruins, Guanaguaychu for the carnival (which turned out to be a dampener due to the rains) and the mighty Iguassu falls. Iguassu was breathtaking. The Argentinian side is better than the Brazilian side but both must be visited to get a sense of this natural wonder.

Someday I want to come back and experience Valdez Peninsula and maybe a beach or two along the coast. For now, I am thrilled that I got to experience Argentina.

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