Image

Argentina days 18-22: Iguazú and Buenos Aires

Before we chose Argentina as our destination, Martin said that if we ever decided to go to Argentina, he definitely wanted to see Iguazu Falls. So this was on the top of our list, when we planned our itinerary. I visited with my parents on our trip around Argentina and Brazil in 2009, but remembering the overwhelming beauty of the place, he did not have to convince me.

We stayed in Puerto Iguazú on the Argentinian side of the border and used this as our base to go to the falls. The town itself is very obviously centered around tourism and is not charming at all. We stayed at the Grand Crucero Iguazú Hotel, which is in the outskirts of the city, but within walking distance to the center – it took us around 30 min. A very nice four-star hotel with a rooftop pool, and very luxurious compared to the places we normally stay, but we felt like indulging.

We arranged with the taxi driver that drove us from the airport to also take us to the falls the following days. It cost 600 pesos to the Brazilian side and 500 to the Argentinian national park.

The first day we went to the brazilian side, where we started out with a helicopter ride over the falls. What an experience! It was absolutely amazing, this being the first time ever flying a helicopter for the both of us, it was a thrill just to try that and the views over the falls was stunning.

IMG_5037We then did the Macuco Safari, which starts with a quick trail through the forests that ends at the waterside. We were then taken by boat up the river through the canyon facing the rapids until reaching falls where you stop for a few minutes to enjoy the view.  The boat continues to one of the falls called “The Three Musketeers” where we were taken for a “waterfall bath”, which is basically going as close to the fall as possible, ensuring that everyone gets completely soaked. It was great fun and gives you an amazing sense of the powerful forces of the water masses.
See a glimpse of both helicopter and boat ride on my video.

The last part of the day we spent on the catwalks and trails that gives great panoramic views of the Argentinian side of the falls before ending up in front of biggest of them all: Devil’s Throat.

IMG_5011IMG_5068

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0523.The second day we went to the Iguazú National Park on the Argentinian side. We went there early to avoid the crowds. We first took the Lower Circuit trail that, as the name also suggests, goes furthest down along the river bank, ending up at the Bosetti Waterfall where there’s also great views of San Martín Island and the impressive Devil’s Throat and its typical mist can be seen at the far.

IMG_5040IMG_5078We continued on the Upper Circuit trail that starts with a panoramic view of the semicircular chain that begins at Dos Hermanas Waterfalls, going through Chico, Ramírez, Bosetti, Adán y Eva, and Bernabé Méndez Waterfalls, ending at Mbiguá Waterfall lookout as a first stop. Again as the name implies, this path is characterized by having its trails set on top of the waterfalls edge, which allows a vertical view from the top – really impressive.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0554.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0563.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0560.To go to the Devil’s Throat you have to take a train and of course the line was endless. I think we waited around an hour, which was a complete waste of time since the actual train ride is only 15 min. and the train runs about the same speed as you could walk yourself! From where the train stops, there’s a gangway leading to the balcony that faces the waterfall. I remember this walk a thrilling experience, walking through the rainforest and above the river getting closer and closer to the mist and steam coming from the Devil’s Throat, but I was  quite disappointed because it was filled with tourists, so instead of it being a scenic stroll along the gangway, it was a rush trying not to collide with other people going back. 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0575.The gangway ends at a balcony, from where you can look over the huge wall of water of Devil’s Throat. Just the roaring sound of the fall is enough to impress. Sadly, the hordes of tourists kills some if the sensation, making it hard to actually find a spot from where you can get a decent shot of the entire fall. Devil’s Throat is still very impressive, but the panoramic views you get from the lower circuit was still my favorite of the day.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0588.Before flying back to Copenhagen, we had one more full day in Buenos Aires, where we had time to see the things we didn’t have time to visit the first days. We went to the famous La Recoleta Cemetery, seeing the grave of Eva Perón amongst others. We then walked to Palermo Viejo, which is a very hip and scenic neighborhood with colonial buildings, lots of small vintage shops and a very hipster vibe. From here we took a taxi to La Boca, because we liked the area so much we wanted to revisit and also to buy another Argentinian football jersey 🙂

IMG_5107IMG_5083We ended the day with an amazing steak dinner at the best Parilla in Buenos Aires La Brigada. A perfect finish to our Argentinian adventures!

IMG_5116

Image

Argentina days 15-18: Salta and the Northwest

Although I really like the beauty and vastness of Patagonia, the northwest part of Argentina has quickly become one of my favorite regions in the country. The Andean feel with indigenous communities, llamas and Inca ruins plus the warm weather really appeals to me. And the people are much more “south-american” looking than in the southern part of the country, where there’s more european influence.

We spent two days in Salta, where we stayed at the lovely Stelares Hotel Boutique. And it was our turn to get lucky – for some reason they had chosen to upgrade us to their suite! So it was maybe one of the most luxurious stays we’ve ever had on ta trip, complete with jaccuzi and a bathroom the size of our livingroom.

IMG_4759IMG_4764

Salta is a small but beautiful city, known for its Spanish colonial architecture and Andean heritage. We spent our two days here strolling the city and enjoying the sun. A must-see is the Archaeological Museum MAAM – Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montana de Salta. On display they have the mumified body of one of three children (rotated every 6 months) that was discovered on top of one of the mountains in the area. The bodies are amazingly well-preserved and gives you a good understanding of how the Inca culture and child sacrifices worked at that time.

IMG_4782IMG_4777IMG_4779IMG_4784IMG_4818IMG_4819

We then rented a car and drove north to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, which is a spectacular mountain valley in the province of Jujuy. The rock formations changes colors constantly and it was an amazing experience driving through the dusty and varying mountains, some places red, green or greyish and some dotted with cactus. Scattered around the mountains are picturesque, indigenous towns with a real Inca-vibe lined with markets and homey restaurants serving llama. We stayed in Tilcara for the night, which we read is many traveller’s favorite base for exploring the area, and we weren’t disappointed by the small and cozy town. In the afternoon we drove to the town Humahuaca, where we walked around a bit in the cobbled streets and bought a few things at the market.

IMG_4843IMG_4994IMG_4859IMG_4861

The next morning we woke up very early and drove to Purmamarca to see the Hill of Seven Colors (Cerro de los Siete Colores). The town was only just waking up when we arrived and it made the spectacular view of the colorful hill even better that we were almost alone and not surrounded by hordes of other tourists.

IMG_4963IMG_4883IMG_4964

We then drove through the georgeous landscape seeing cactus and llamas on the mountains sides galore until we reached Salinas Grandes. It’s an former lake that dried up and is now a giant salt desert. There was a little tourist information desk, and my Spanish skills was tested thoroughly since all the guides did not know any English. The area itself is admission free, but it was mandatory to pay for a guide to take you there, and so we did. It was a very impressive experience to talk on the massive salt flats, all white and shiny with the mountains in the background. Stunning!

IMG_4916IMG_4932IMG_4936

Afterwards we drove back the pretty winding roads to Purmamarca, where we had some food and checked out the artisan marked. And then it was time to drive back to Salta, where we dropped of our rental car and got on a plane to Puerto Iguazú.

 

Image

Argentina days 8-14: Bariloche and Córdoba

After some busy and active days in Patagonia, we felt the need to relax.
We spent Saturday taking the bus back to El Calafate, and then sat in a cafe all day booking flights for the remainder of our trip and hotel in Cordoba. In the evening we flew to Bariloche, where we checked in to our hotel and then had the best steak dinner in Argentina so far! The place was called El Boliche “de Alberto”, and we had the most mouth-watering steak – probably only surpassed by the Kobe steak we had in Kobe. It was so good and such a nice place that we went back the next day for dinner 🙂

IMG_4572

Bariloche is placed gorgeously along the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi and surrounded by the snow-crowned Andes. It’s known for its wide range of skiing, trekking and mountaineering facilities, as well as being Argentina’s chocolate capital.

One of our reasons for choosing to visit Bariloche was the Camino de Los Siete Lagos, or The Road of the Seven Lakes. It is a 110 km route that follows a windy road through lush forests, dramatic mountain scenery and crystal-blue lakes, ending up in the small charming town San Martín de Los Andes. Although it would have been nice to do the drive ourselves, we opted for the easy solution and booked a daytrip from our hotel. The guide spoke mostly Spanish, but was nice and translated most of the things to us when we stopped at the different locations, and it was nice to just sit back and enjoy the amazing scenery from the window without paying too much attention to all the information that was said. We stopped in some small villages and at all the different lakes and arrived in San Martín around lunchtime, where we had a few hours to have something to eat and walk around in the cosy town.

IMG_4638

IMG_4607IMG_4622IMG_4627IMG_4625

After Bariloche we flew north to Argentina’s second largest city Córdoba, where we’ve spent the last 4 days. Lonely Planet describes the city as “a fascinating mix of old and new”. I usually think they’re quite accurate in their descriptions but this time I they’ve laid it on a bit thick. The city is big and buzzling but also also quite ugly and dull, and the main shopping streets have a somewhat provincial feeling. The area around Plaza San Martín is a exception and one thing I do find interesting, is the fact that there are almost no tourists. It really feels like we’re experiencing a more authentic side of Argentina.

IMG_4682
Plaza San Martín

Another interesting thing about Córdoba is its history as the first settlement of the Jesuits, and there are several Jesuits Missions in the region, all easy to reach on a daytrip. We visited the town of Alta Gracia, a tranquil little town that has a 17th-century Jesuit estancia that’s listed as a Unesco’s World Heritage site. The town is also know as the city where Che Guevarra grew up and his childhood home has been made into a museum, which we of course went to visit.

IMG_4732IMG_4713IMG_4714IMG_4715IMG_4720IMG_4733

Image

Argentina days 5-7: New Year in Patagonia

The last few days we’ve spent in El Calafate, which is a small city in the Southwest part of Argentina near the southern border of Lake Argentino. It serves as the main hub to visit different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park, including the Perito Moreno, which was also our reason for staying.

IMG_4422
View of El Calafate and Lake Argentino from our hotel

We booked a day-trip to Perito Moreno via our hotel, and was picked up in the morning. The trip was, so we were told, a bit different from other day-trips to that destination, since we took the old road there which meant that we avoided some of the large busses and large tourist groups. The old road was also not paved, but all-in-all this meant that we saw more of the wildlife. We also visited a small farm on the way where we got to see some  Guanacos.

IMG_4441IMG_4442

We had a fantastic day at the Perito Moreno Glacier. I’d never seen a glacier before and I must say I was speechless! It’s one of the most amazing and beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. We were really lucky that the weather was fantastic with lots of sun. I will let the images speak for themselves:

From El Calafate we took a bus to El Chaltén, which is a small town in the northern sector of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, known as Argentina’s “Trekking capital”. We arrived on the 31st of December, and we had actually planned for a calm day, doing only a short trek so we would be fresh for celebrating New Years Eve. However, the ranger at the visitor center recommended doing “Loma del Pliegue Tumbado” that day, since it was a beautiful, sunny day with almost no wind – and the next day the forecast said wind, clouds and rain! So we quickly changed our plans, went to our hotel to change clothes and pack for a day of hiking and off we went!

IMG_4496The hike was approximately 10-12 km to a stunning panoramic view of Fitz Roy and Cerros Torre and a surprise; a glacier (Grande Glacier) at the foot of Fitz Roy. The total hike ended up being around 20-24 km, and the health app on my phone said we ended up walking more than 30 km that day! It was a beautiful day and a fantastic hike, although it was tough on my pregnant body – but totally worth it!

IMG_4504

IMG_4510

IMG_4560IMG_4513IMG_4515IMG_4518

IMG_4541

When we got back to our hotel we were beat and sunburned, so we slept for a few hours before going out to dinner to celebrate New Years Eve. After dinner we went back to our hotel and watched a movie, but ended up falling asleep around 11!

The next day, first day of 2016, was grey and windy, exactly like the forecast had predicted. We were still quite sore, but did not want to miss out on some more trekking, so we went on a shorter hike to Laguna Capri. This was about a 2 hour hike one way and a more relaxing hike. The views were much less stunning than the day before, which the clouds made sure of. But nonetheless, we enjoyed the hike and it only made us more happy with our decision to do the long hike the day before.

IMG_4548IMG_4551IMG_4555