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6 Days In Argentina: Buenos Aires & Patagonia’s El Calafate & El Chaltén

With Argentina being the 8th largest country in the world, it is no wonder that it has so much to offer. In this beautiful and underrated place, you’ll discover everything from mountains, wineries, glaciers, jungles, waterfalls and chic cities.

During my visit to Argentina, I spent time revisiting one of my favorite cities, Buenos Aires. I then took a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and hopped on a 3 hour plane ride to the remote and relaxing region of Patagonia to explore its awe-inspiring glaciers, steppe and mountains.

Buenos Aires: The Paris of South America is Chic & Elegant
Upon arrival to this gorgeous city, I always feel as if I’ve just teleported to Europe. With elegant neighborhoods like the historic Recoleta area, home to one of the most gorgeous cemeteries in the world, to the hip neighborhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires is reason enough to visit Argentina.

Things to do in Buenos Aires:
Tea time at the Alvear Palace Hotel
Dating back to 1932, this historic hotel was the meeting place for the elite in the ‘20s. If you’re not already staying at this hotel, at least make your way here for tea time at the gorgeous L’Orangerie winter garden.


Sightseeing
• Plaza de Mayo: located in the main square
• Presedential Palace of Casa Rosada
• Recoleta Cemetery: amazing mausoleums and statues


Neighborhood hop
• Recoleta: Parisian style buildings and homes
• Palermo: gardens, monuments and mansions with hip cafes and restaurants
• La Boca: a colorful and picturesque neighborhood with tango dancers and street artists, Boca Juniors soccer stadium
• San Telmo: the old part of the city with a boho atmosphere, cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.
• Puerto Madero: the old harbor of Buenos Aires with a very unique and modern bridge structure



The Tigre River

The world’s widest river: the Rio de la Plata separates Argentina from Uruguay. Sail along the river by an old wooden islander boat and view charming homes, mansions and yachts along the way.
Isla el Descanso
A private island and retreat of an art collector who designed an amazing sculpture garden with bridges, ponds and flowers. We were told stories about life, love and history on our tour of the gardens. Isla el Descanso is remarkably beautiful and the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to unwind, meditate and reflect. The home also features contemporary artworks of renown Argentine artists like Pablo Reinoso, Baston Diaz, Carlos Gallardo and Jose Fioravanti.

Helicopter Ride
We joined pilot Sebastián of Patagonia Chopper on one of his beautiful helicopters that transferred us from Isla del Descanso to Buenos Aires over the Tigre River. It was an incredibly exhilarating experience.

Tango Show at the Faena Hotel
One of the best tango shows in the world, Rojo Tango happens inside the El Cabret nightclub at the Faena Hotel designed by Philippe Stark. The intimate show will captivate you and take your breath away featuring a 5 piece orchestra, 2 singers and 4 dancing couples.

Where to Stay:
Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
The elegant Palacio Duhau, originally home to the Duhau family, is strikingly beautiful and combines French style architecture with modern touches. The property is made up of 2 buildings with its stunning cascading gardens in between that can be admired from the terraces of both buildings. Don’t miss it at night when it’s beautifully lit up! Rooms are comfortable and minimal. Tip: request a room with a view of the courtyard.





Buenos Aires fast facts:

  • The Argentine currency is the Peso ($)
  • Credit cards are widely accepted in stores, restaurants, etc.
  • As from September 2016, American citizens no longer require the payment of the “reciprocity fee” to enter Argentina.
  • Gratuity in restaurants: Expected tip is 10% of bills.
  • It is perfectly safe to drink the tap water in Buenos Aires, but not so in the country.

El Calafate

   ‘He who tastes Calafate, shall return’ – Tehuelche proverb

About a 3 hour plane ride from the city of Buenos Aires, El Calafate is located in the cast region of Santa Cruz, Patagonia and is famous for its gorgeous glaciers (most popularly, Perito Moreno), desert, lakes, mountains, views, estancias and more.

The choices of adventure filled activities are endless here and the hotels are not just places to store your belongings, they are full experiences in and of themselves.

Stay at a traditional Estancia: Nibepo Aike
A cattle station with sheep, horses, cattle and more, Nibepo Aike was founded in the 20th century and gives guests a truly authentic Patagonian experience. It is rustic and authentic and will teleport you back to olden times when the pioneers lived here. We even got to witness a sheep shearing demonstration! If you love hiking and horse back riding, this is the place to stay.


Admire the shades of turquoise of the massive Lake Argentino
Lake Argentino is the third largest in South America and the largest lake in Argentina. One of the most picturesque lakes I’ve ever seen, don’t forget to look out the window to catch a glimpse of just how large it is.

Visit one of the most beautiful glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno
Located about 80 kilometers from El Calafate center and one of 48 glaciers in Southern Patagonia, Perito Moreno will top your list of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. I was in complete awe as I stepped foot on the catwalks to admire different viewpoints of the glacier.

The catwalks are made up of seven balconies, all of which boast a different perspectives of the massive wall. If time allows, I recommend starting from the red and stopping at all viewpoints because trust me, you’ll never want to leave.

Located at the end of the catwalks of Perito Moreno, there’s a great restaurant housed in a gorgeous lodge with giant windows and perfect views of the glacier and some icebergs. I highly recommend having lunch here afterwards.

Minitrekking over the Perito Moreno Glacier
Although I was unable to participate in this activity due to physical complications, this is one of the most popular and exciting activities to do when visiting Perito Moreno.

You’ll take a short boat ride where you will be able to view the ice walls of Perito Moreno up close. You’ll then hike across lush forests to get equipped with crampons attached to your shoes before walking along the 15,000 year old ice chipped from the top of the glacier.

A taste of luxury at EOLO – Patagonia’s Spirit – Relais & Chateaux
Set on 3,000 hectares of land, Relais & Chateaux’s Eolo Lodge is set in one of the most convenient areas, located just 30 minutes from the airport. Lived-in leather sofas, wooden tables and vintage antiques, wool rugs and blankets, giant fluffy pillows and natural light pour in from its massive windows, these are all the features that make Eolo feel like home. The hotel is all-inclusive and breakfast, lunch and dinner are included and delicious.



Take a road trip along Route 40 to visit the town of El Chalten and stay at the completely secluded at Aguas Arriba Lodge.

From Perito Moreno, the distance to El Chalten is approximately 220 km passing along Lakes Argentino and Viedma on Argentina’s version of Route 66, Route 40. This is one of the most scenic drives, so don’t forget your camera!


The small tourist town of El Chaltén features small lodges for mountain hikers and backpackers and is considered the national capital of trekking. People stay here to climb various routes and mountains like the famous and gorgeous Mt. Fitzroy.

Once we arrived to El Chaltén, we transferred vehicles to continue on to our journey towards Lago del Desierto for about 37 km on a very scenic unpaved, gravel road. Once we arrived, a boat was waiting that would take us on a beautiful 20 minute ride to get to the gorgeous and completely secluded Aguas Arriba Lodge.

This lodge is very special and is the only private property (for an exception of a small house and the Chilean border security patrol). It has views for days including the north face of Mt. Fitz Roy in the distance, Mt. Torre and the Vespignami Glacier right in front of the lodge.

The lodge offers various activities and hikes. The hiking guide surprised us and took us on a 1 hour, moderately difficult hike up to the Huemul Glacier. It is accessed through one of the most attractive trails in El Chaltén. Amidst a unique forest, this undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful sites to go hiking and it was totally worth the effort once we set our eyes on the glacier, not knowing what it looked like beforehand.


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

I was invited to experience Argentina as guest by Destino Argentina and Mai 10 Luxury Travel Company. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Europe Guides Insider Tips

Insider Guide To Cinque Terre

Ciao belle dame! My name is Martha and I am a Norwegian-born Vietnamese, currently studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. With friends and relatives in almost every continent in the world, I have had the privilege to travel a fair bit over the last few years and the more I do, the more my wanderlust grows.

My latest adventure was in Italy this autumn, where I travelled solo from to Florence to further explore the cities of Venice and Cinque Terre. It was by far one of my favourite destinations in 2014. Italy is not known as one of the most of romantic countries by accident! There really is so much love in the air in this country. The smell of pizza is everywhere…

One of my most memorable experiences was spending a day exploring Cinque Terre (“The Five Lands”), a UNESCO world heritage site situated in the Italian region of Liguria in the Italian Riveria. It comprises of five villages, Monterossa al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. My adventure to this enchanting place was a spontaneous, surprise day-trip and all I was told was to ‘pack light’. Thus, not having done any previous research before setting off, I didn’t know what to expect whatsoever. This had both its pros and cons, and let me tell you – nearly melting away in my black jeans could easily have been avoided if only I knew where to check the forecast! Being so used to the freezing weather in both Norway and Scotland, who would have thought it could be so hot in October?

(The first village – Monterosso. Crystal clear water and sandy beaches… Bring your bathing suits or regret it! (Like I did..)

Cinque Terre is famous for its scenic hikes. During the warmer seasons visitors set out to hike from one village to another – enjoying the unique, breathtaking scenery that each village has to offer. Some of the hiking paths take up to 2-3 hours and the average time spent to hike the whole of Cinque Terre is approximately 6-7 hours – yet taking the local train from one village to the next takes less than five minutes. The Cinque Terre trains connect seven stops: La Spezia, which is where you would get off to catch the intercity trains (in my case to Florence) and the five main villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. The last is Levato and although this is not considered as ‘one of the five’, it is still worth a visit if you have time. I took the train from La Spezia all the way to Levato and then made my way through all the five villages on the way back.

(In Vernazza, the second village. This is also one of the busiest villages and many tourists make this their home base. If you’re into real Italian pesto, olive oil or pasta – this is the place to go! The restaurants by the waterside are a great lunch spot too.)

If you’re only spending one day in Cinque Terre, I recommend getting up early to seize the day. If not, don’t be surprised if you don’t make it to all the five villages in one day! I barely did. I also recommend purchasing the Cinque Terre card for the trains if hiking all the way is not for you. But if you do have time to do the full hike remember to wear suitable footwear, bring a water bottle and as little to carry as possible. Make sure your camera is fully charged, because the sceneries in these villages are incredibly picturesque! But most importantly, take your time, relax and really enjoy the outstanding views. The colourful buildings and the glittering sea are beyond beautiful.

(In Manarola, the third stop and perhaps my favourite of the five. Words can’t describe the feeling of standing by the waterfront and overlooking the view of the colourful buildings and orchards. I had a stroll through the village, and it was just as charming. While I was here I grabbed a mouth-wateringly delicious triple scoop of gelato!)

(Corniglia – the fourth village of orchids and vineyards…)

The day ended in Riomaggiore just as the sun was about to set. After a long day of wandering, nothing felt better than to have a rest by the waterside and getting the chance to appreciate the most incredible views…

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Journal North America Outdoors

A Pacific Northwest Love Affair

As a child, my parents let my sister and I explore the lush, verdant hills and backwoods of the Pacific Northwest, encouraging our curiosity as we bounced around building forts and letting our imaginations run wild. My adult life is not very different and I’m prone to spending all of my spare time and money, bright-eyed and wild in the outdoors

I have been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel the world. Each trip has left an indelible mark on my soul and I’m thankful for all of the experiences and places I have been. In the past few years, I have spent most of my time exploring my own backyard–hiking, climbing, backpacking, scrambling and mountaineering. There are some places you can only see if you’re willing to walk or climb to them and believe me, I’m willing. I have logged around 1500 miles in the past three years alone and my only regret is not having more time to do what I love!

The sheer, raw beauty of our wild spaces is breathtaking. I have been stopped in my tracks by the play of light across a distant ridge or the fiery display of the setting sun. I have tiptoed through fields of wildflowers, playing an adult version of “Hot Lava” in order to prevent myself from crushing any of their delicate blooms. I have swam in alpine lakes until my lips turned blue, peeled back over an omnipresent and irrepressible grin of delight. I have watched baby goats frolic over weathered granite, howled at the rising blood moon just for giggles and danced under the northern lights.

I have done all of this with the best of friends and been transformed by each experience. Sharing the trail with others builds bonds swiftly. Each adventure is uniquely challenging and there are times where your partners literally hold your life in their hands and vice versa. Trailchat inevitably runs the gamut from lighthearted banter to more soul-baring topics, allowing each person a deeper look into the other. Unexpected challenges force collaboration, innovation, and the mutual respect that comes from overcoming an obstacle together. Laughter and shrieks of pure joy abound. This human connection is shared across travel experiences and makes each moment that much more special. I’m lucky to be surrounded by those who share my love for the wild and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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If I can offer any advice to Dame Travelers out there looking to break into the outdoors, it would be these three things: be safe, practice good ethics, and know that you are capable. As with anything else, outdoor endeavors require a requisite amount of knowledge and skills and you should never undertake something that you aren’t prepared for. Take the time to do your research, take a few classes, and then get after it! Practice good ethics. Many of these spaces are delicate and require extra care and attention to preserve them for generations to come. Spend some time learning how to Leave No Trace, tread softly, and leave each space a little better than you found it. Know that you are capable. It’s easy to look at the adventures of another and think “that’s well and good but surely I could never do that.” Let go of that notion. Sure, you might have to put in a little work to prepare but with some time and determination, you will get there. I believe in you and hope that someday I will meet you on the trail, wherever our paths may take us!

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Advice Journal Outdoors Photography

Top 7 Reasons Why Every Woman Should Try Wilderness Backpacking At Least Once

If you’ve ever had a curiosity about wilderness backpacking, there may be some part of you that’s yearning for what backpacking has to offer. Could it be any of these reasons?

1. You’ll find out you’re stronger than you think.

Imagine a 20-pound sack of potatoes strapped to your back. Now add two 5-pound weights for fun since that’s more accurate to what you’d be carrying on a backpacking trip, about 30-pounds. That includes everything you’ll need to survive in the wilderness for a few days. Initially, 30-pounds may not feel bad for the first quarter mile, but it will start weighing on you. Each mile will feel long, and each mountain you hike up and over will be a real challenge. But [spoiler alert],you’ll make it each time you don’t think you will or when you feel like giving up. And when you reach the mountain top, you’ll believe it for yourself: You are strong. Much stronger than you thought. And that knowing will translate into other aspects of your life.

2. You’ll appreciate your body for what it can do, not what it looks like.
Many women are at war with their bodies: fixing this, hiding that, plucking this, slimming that. It’s endless. Here’s some liberating news: In the wilderness, your body can just simply be. It gets to do what it was meant to do: move around and sweat; find footing on the earth; witness the grandeur of crystal clear alpine lakes; breathe in fresh air like none other; smell the cocktail of natural scents; touch mountains that have existed for hundreds of thousands of years; taste how good food is when you’re body yearns for nutrition. When you get to your destination and take off your heavy pack, you’ll be amazed at what your body is capable of, not because it looked a certain way, but because it did an incredible thing. It’s a beautiful gift to experience that kind of liberation: to love our bodies for exactly what they are, not because we’ve altered it in any way.

3. You’ll feel more secure and more capable.
After the empowering experience of backpacking, you’re bound to feel more secure of yourself and what you’re capable of accomplishing. Those last steps off the trail are incredibly satisfying. There’s an inner work that happens both consciously and subconsciously which reinforces your inner strength. You’ll know deep inside that because you climbed that mountain, you can take on that next “mountain” – however it presents itself to you.

4. You’ll become a more grateful person.

If you ever find yourself complaining about not having enough or not having better things, go on a backpacking trip. Having a limited number of options and living simply will give you an instant needed perspective. You’ll come back home, take a shower, and stand there under the water feeling grateful for the gift of warm flowing water. You’ll notice all the gifts you already have in your life: instantaneous drinkable running water, a fridge stocked with cold fresh foods, comforts of a plush bed, a home that protects you from the elements. Backpacking is not easy, but it’s fulfilling and it helps us be grateful. Gratitude and Joy are inextricably linked. And that means we become more joyful people.

5. You’ll be proud of yourself.

Going on a backpacking trip is not just something to cross off your bucket list. It’s a journey you’ll never forget. It marks a willingness to step outside your comforts, to challenge yourself in an entirely new way, to say “YES!” to see what you’re made of…it’s an journey of discovery. The moment you take those first steps on the trail, you’ll start feeling proud of yourself for choosing to backpack. And those last steps you take off the trail, you’ll be deeply satisfied and proud of the adventure you just took. There’s nothing quite like it.

6. You’ll see things most people will never ever see.

Often, the first couple miles of trailheads are full of people who are doing day hikes. As you go deeper into the wilderness, that number starts dwindling off. You’ll see less people and feel more of nature’s presence. As you sit gazing at stars surrounded by utter stillness, you’ll know that very few people have ever sat where you’ve sat, experiencing the same thing you are. In fact, you are the only one in all of history to be there in that moment. Many are willing to hike the first few miles, few are willing to journey deep within. That is a tremendous and unique gift to witness!

7. You’ll see yourself for who you really are. And you’ll fall in love with that person.
When we are faced with real challenge and discomfort, parts of us emerge that are usually tucked away. During a backpacking trip, you will see aspects of your character and personality that might not get tapped into on a daily basis. Maybe you get judgmental, critical, angry, emotional, subdued, courageous, drill-searganty… anything can happen. All these parts of you are precious and beautiful and a gift for you to experience and to learn from. If you’re open to it, you’ll see yourself more holistically as you are, and you’ll fall in love with her.

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