Buenos Aires, Walking, Dancing and Culture

Buenos Aires is somewhere I’d really been looking forward to visiting on this trip. The capital of Argentina, it is a huge, sprawling, vibrant and interesting city. It was also quite warm, high twenties/thirties most days we were there and pretty humid! I’m going to describe our experiences in one blog post, although in reality we visited BA in three separate trips, using it as a base to leave some of our baggage, whilst we explored further afield to Iguazu and Uruguay.

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Thoughts on Uruguay

Uruguay was just a ‘maybe’ on our original rough plan for travelling, but we’re really glad we went. This little country sits between Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic coast of South America. The main tourist attractions are along the coast, but we also managed to see a small part of the interior of the country. It is an interesting country, with a pretty liberal government and a more European outlook.

Birds taking flight over the sea by Cabo Polonio
Birds taking flight over the sea by Cabo Polonio

Uruguay is short of ‘must do’ attractions but the countryside and coastal scenery are beautiful. We enjoyed a week with a hire car exploring the coast, from the wild and rugged beaches in the north down to the more manicured beach resorts in the south. A real highlight was staying out in the sierra at Caballos de Luz, getting to really enjoy horse-riding and experience life off-grid.

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Uruguayan Road Trip

Hiring a car is not something we’d thought we’d be doing when we left the UK, South America not being somewhere known for great roads, and backpackers not tending to hire cars on a budget. However, we’ve really enjoyed our road trips, we found them a not too expensive alternative to public transport, and they were all a great way to see the countries outside of the main tourist hot spots. Our fourth and final road trip, despite a few car problems, was no exception.

Day 1: Montevideo to Punta del Este

Our little Geely
Our little Geely

We left our flat in Montevideo and stood in the sun at a bus stop, we’d crossed that road quite a few times in the last few days and pretty much always had to wait for buses to pass. This day however there didn’t seem to be any around. One came past but we checked and it didn’t go near the main bus station so we kept waiting. We got chatting to a guy at the stop and he said there was some kind of strike on. We waited a bit more but in the end, after almost an hour, we decided to use Uber and get a taxi all the way to the airport where we were picking up our hire car. Eventually we made it and were sitting in our hire car and ready to go on road trip number four!

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Colonia and Montevideo

After Iguazu falls we spent a few days in Buenos Aires before heading off to Uruguay. At this point we had just over two weeks of our trip left, time for a little exploration of Uruguay before heading back to Buenos Aires for our final weekend.

Crumbling colonial architecture in Colonia
Crumbling colonial architecture in Colonia

We started our Uruguayan travels in the town of Colonia-del-Sacramento, known locally as Colonia. It’s a small town with a beautiful historic centre, a nice place to spend a bit of time relaxing after hectic Buenos Aires.

We arrived by boat from Buenos Aires on the Colonia Express ferry, covering the 27 miles of the Rio Plata between Argentina and Uruguay in about an hour and a half. We arrived at a fairly run down looking port, heading through old shipping containers made into a makeshift walkway and past some sad looking buildings. Then suddenly we came into a new terminal building, very smart but unfinished and not quite connected to the port just yet! From this arrival we weren’t quite sure what to make of Uruguay yet.

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Iguazu Falls

It’s now been just over a year since we returned from South America and as the last few posts are nearly ready to go and we’re about to start a new chapter in our lives we thought it was time to get a move on closing out the last one………..

After returning from Antarctica we had a couple of days of transit right up to the north of Argentina. Having spent about two months travelling down Chile and Argentina from San Pedro in Chile to Ushuaia in Argentina and then down to Antarctica, it was surreal to travel so many thousands of kilometres in just two flights. We arrived to a warm and humid day in Puerto Iguazú, the main town for access to the famous Iguazu Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border. Continue reading “Iguazu Falls”

Thoughts on Chile

Being back home and back at work has both given us a new perspective on our travels but also severely limited the amount of time that we have to reflect on our trip. The next major post, Antarctica, is a big one and it’ll be a little while before we’ve gone through all the photos and videos to pull out something to illustrate this incredible continent. In the meantime, in our last post we left Chile for the final time so here are my thoughts on Chile.

Time for a little recap and summary of our thoughts on Chile. We really enjoyed our time in Chile, and it is somewhere that I would love to return to and explore further one day. Even though we spent around a month there altogether, I feel there is a lot more we can come back to. Chile is the long thin west coast of South America, it has a huge range of landscapes and some really interesting cities too. Continue reading “Thoughts on Chile”

Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire!

The 'Fin del Mundo' road
The ‘Fin del Mundo’ road

After spending five days hiking the W-trek we had one final day with our Wicked van Amanda. It was time to drop her off in Punta Arenas, a small town only a few hours drive south. It was a pleasant, uneventful drive, listening to music and driving down a road signposted as the route of the end of the world! The landscape was huge and open and really did feel like the very edge of the world.

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Santiago & Valparaíso

Our bus to Santiago, not so Rapido thanks to a 3 hour delay at the border
Not so Rapido thanks to a 3 hour delay at the border

Alex here again to tell you about Santiago and Valparaiso. We were back in Chile after a bus ride that took the best part of 10 hours (4 more than advertised!). We met two really nice English girls on the bus and swapped travel tips to pass the time whilst waiting at the border, this part of the journey took 3 hours waiting in a queue of buses! We’d heard mixed things about Santiago, most backpackers we’d met skip it, or just pass through in transit, but I’d had recommendations from my parents so wanted to spend more time there. We weren’t disappointed and really enjoyed the city.

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Wine Tasting in Mendoza

View across Mendoza from the hotel
View across Mendoza from the hotel

Hi all, its Alex back again to describe our time in Mendoza. Unfortunately two days before the end of the last post, I dropped my camera and it eventually gave up and stopped working, this means all the photos from Mendoza are taken on our mobile phones. We replaced the camera in Santiago so will be back to better quality shots in the next post.

To get to Mendoza we took our first overnight bus from Tucuman, where we’d dropped off the rental car. This bus was a better experience than I’d expected as the seats were comfy and we were served surprisingly good food.

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New Year’s in Salta & a Road Trip in Northern Argentina

Alex here again to describe our second road trip and new year’s eve. We hadn’t made any advance plans for New Year’s Eve, and were persuaded by Ellory, an American we’d met whilst travelling, to come to Argentina. So we hopped on a bus from San Pedro in Chile to Salta in Argentina. The border crossing was very easy and the bus pretty comfortable, although a large section of windy mountain pass reminded me why I don’t like to travel by bus!

Vegetarian sushi in Salta
Vegetarian sushi in Salta

We arrived in Salta in the early evening and realised we were totally unprepared for this new country, having not really done any research. We found the hostel, dumped our bags and went to explore the city. We were pretty hungry and thirsty but had no money. After searching the town for a while we were getting concerned, all the cash machines had queues (the Argentinians are ones to rival the British for queuing!) and only seemed to accept local cards. Then we managed to find a row of international banks, no queues, and they accepted our cards, phew! We went for an unconventional first meal in Argentina, at a very nice vegetarian restaurant with huge portions and some artesanal beers.

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