After Chile, I continue my trip to Argentina. Mostly to hike as much as I can with breathtaking landscapes! Ready for it?
Step 1: Bariloche
In Argentina, Bariloche is the start of Patagonia. This ski station is a good introduction for hiking, but also perfect if you need to buy gears. If you’re interested, there are many shops in the city center, you will find every major brand and all prices.
About the hikes, I will introduce you 4 of them I liked the most:
This first summit is the most famous and easiest in Bariloche. It is accessible by chairlift or you can walk 45min to reach the top. The point of view is totally landscape with a café, a terrace, etc. and offer a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
Cerro Llao Llao
Less famous and less touristic, the Cerro Llao Llao offers yet a nice view too. Before or after enjoying the view, you can rest on the Llao Llao beach which is at the foot of the mountain.
Cerro Bella Vista
On the contrary of the 2 others hikes, this one lasts all day long. It’s also harder because there is 1 000m ascending elevation. However, it offers a beautiful 360° view on Bariloche and the surrounding mountains.
Refugio Emilio Frey
Step 2: El Chalten
El Chalten is famous for one thing: its glacier and its peak, the Fitz Roy. Both of them are reachable on foot by several trails. The difficulty and the duration depend on your want and your physical fitness. There are also lakes surrounding El Chalten which worth the detour.
The access to the El Chalten National Park is free and you can go the on foot easily from the city center. Thus, you can come and go freely from the park as much as you wish.
Broadly speaking, Patagonia is expensive, accommodation included. The hostel with the best quality report I could found is the Kospi Posada Bed and Breakfast. The breakfast is included, the hostel has only dormitories and the wifi is only available from the common room. The hostel is close to the city center, like all other places because El Chalten is a small town. I recommend you this hostel if you’re looking for a nice place to stay and at an affordable price.
Step 3: El Calafate
Like El Chalten, El Calafate is mostly famous for one thing: the Perito Moreno Glacier. However, the similarities stop here. To access the park, you have to take the bus and you have to pay an entrance ticket (700 ARS). Therefore, according to your budget, I advise you to chose wisely what you would like to do.
El Calafate is a small town. Its main street is full of shops and travel agencies. It’s perfect if you need to buy gear or if you’re looking for pieces of information to visit places.
The hostel I would recommend you is a little far from the city center, however, it is managed by a family very warm and friendly. The hostel Ailen has all the required facilities: kitchen, dormitories or single rooms, internet, etc. For the breakfast, (included and homemade), it’s possible to ask to serve it earlier if you have to leave before 7 am. This is really helpful is have to take a bus or leave for a 1-day tour.
Step 4: Iguazu waterfalls
Iguazu waterfalls are one the most touristic and famous place in South America, they join the top 10 list with Macchu Pichu, Easter Island, Titicaca Lake, etc. The waterfalls are composed of 275 waterfalls and 3km large. These two aspects are why they are as exceptional as impressive. Another interesting thing is that the waterfalls are also the natural border between Brazil and Argentina. Thus, it’s possible to visit them on both sides, Brazilian and Argentinian. I advise you to see both sides, (it takes around ½ day to visit each) et don’t forget to bring your passport with you. From the Brazilian side, you will see the waterfalls entirely whereas, on the Argentinian side, you will get closer and see them from above.
In my case, I stayed on the Argentinian side. To access the site, it’s really easy. You just have to go to the bus station in Puerto Iguazu. There, you will find many bus companies which will drive you to both sides. Bus leaves every 30mins and you don’t need to book it before.
Don’t forget that you will be wet during your visit because of the waterfalls projections. So, I advise you to put your belongings and electronic devices in plastic bags (passport, smartphone, camera, etc.).
Step 5: Buenos Aires
The Argentinian capital is a perfect place if you’re looking for parties and to discover Argentinian nightlife. Palermo district is the most famous neighborhood for parties and nightlife. This district is all known for its street art. While you’re wandering there, you can admire painted facades everywhere.
The city has several places and buildings that have to be seen: Plaza de Mayo, the Docks, the Obelisk, Plaza San Martin, Recoleta cemetery, etc. However, a strange place to visit in Buenos Aires is the 2nd most beautiful library in the world: El Ateneo – Grand Splendid. This library settled in a former theatre and offer a magnificent environment.
Like in every big city, Buenos Aires has tons of hostels with a good quality report. I choose the 06 Central hostel. It’s located in the city center, near the common transports. Every facilities are here: breakfast, internet, kitchen, etc.
Good places to eat
El Chalten: Beer & Burger
The restaurant name is enough clearance to guess what you can eat and drink in this place. The burgers are homemade, beers are local and some are craft-beer and everything for an affordable price. After hiking for days, that’s all you’ll need!
Buenos Aires: Puerta Roja
As I said it before, Buenos Aires is famous for its nightlife. A nice place to enjoy it is the Puerta Roja. This bar offers a large choice of beers, craft or not, and you can also eat basic meals but all homemade. Ideal to start an Argentinian nightlife!
Since August 2018, the economy in Argentina is a disaster. It’s terrible and really hard to live in Argentina. Yet, for tourists, everything is cheaper. This explains why my initial budget is so low and how I could hold it.
Aim: 1299 ARS (~ 30€ in December 2018)
Real budget: 1057 ARS (~ 24€ in December 2018)
And this is where my journey in South America ends, for now! Next destination is THE perfect spot to spend new year’s eve! Any idea?