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Latin America

A DIY Guide To Trekking Patagonia

Patagonia is one of the wonders of the world that you don’t want to miss; a region in South America at the most southern tip of the world before reaching Antarctica. Southern Patagonia, stretching across Chile and Argentina, has long lured travelers to what is very nearly the end of the world.

There are many options and routes that you can choose from when planning your trip depending on where you’re starting and how much time you have.

Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park are the region’s top highlights. For a complete journey through Patagonia, combine visits to both halves of the region; crossing the border from Argentina over to Chile.

There is a fair amount of research you must do in order to make your experience run smoothly, but I’ve provided some very useful tips and tricks that will be sure to make your planning a heck of a lot easier!

When To Go

The first thing you need to plan around is what time of year you’re looking to go. The weather in Patagonia can be extremely temperamental at any time of the year, but will be especially unpleasant during the winter months of the southern hemisphere; June – August being the coldest months.

The best time to visit Patagonia is during the spring and summer months when the weather is warmer, drier, and more predictable than the cooler months.

A lot of people enjoy hiking in the snow, but I found the summer to be a very enjoyable time to hike and camp. This also means less “warm” gear that you’ll have to lug with you if you go during the summer months, i.e. December – March.

Planning Your Route Through Patagonia

The first thing you need to figure out is how much time you have, and what hikes/places you want to see in order to create your itinerary.

If you don’t know where to begin, there are a few major destinations in Patagonia – starting in Bariloche; the furthest north part of Argentinian Patagonia and the closest city to Mendoza and Buenos Aires; both of which have international airports.

LATAM and Sky Airlines are the two major low-cost airlines flying to Southern Patagonia, with flights ranging from $50-$130 depending on the distance and the season; December – March being more expensive.

I spent two weeks in Buenos Aires before beginning my journey through Patagonia, wandering around the city, exploring the Argentinian capital and preparing for the upcoming weeks of adventures.

Bariloche

Bariloche, on the banks of the immense Nahuel Huapi lake, is a major town, and a base for trekking and mountain biking. Bariloche offers everything from short walks to waterfalls to one-day hikes to excruciating multi-day treks.

While Bariloche is famous for the lake in the summer, it is also famous for winter sports. Every July – September tourists travel here from both hemispheres looking for their “endless winter”. At any time of year, this laid-back mountain town is the perfect start to your Patagonian journey.

Getting There

Most people start off from Bariloche which is where the majority of buses arrive from Buenos Aires. You can also fly into Bariloche, which is slightly more expensive ($220 vs $110), but will get you there much quicker.

The flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche takes about an hour and a half, whereas the bus takes 20 – 22 hours. The bus is a unique way to see the countryside through Argentina, but it depends on your preferences, budget, and time constraints. I personally chose to fly, but every traveler is different!

What To Do

Apurabici rents bikes for $15 a day and organizes half-day guided rides along mountain trails for $50pp. I recommend staying in Bariloche for at least a couple of nights so you can do a few different activities.

Bariloche is known for the Route of the Seven Lakes, which is one of the most popular hikes/drives to do while visiting Patagonia.

The trail goes from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes and is roughly 100 km. This route can be done by car, bus, bike or in parts by hiking. It can take a couple of days or a week depending on how much time you have. There are a number of hiking routes to choose from as well as boat tours.

One of the best things about going to Patagonia in the summer months is that if it’s warm enough (or you work up enough of a sweat) you can jump in the glacial water. This water is the clearest, sparkling turquoise water that I’ve ever seen, but don’t be fooled by the warm temperature in the air – the water is freezing! However also a nice, refreshing pick-me-up after a long hike or bike ride around the lake.

Camping or Accommodation

Where to stay while doing the trail will depend on your budget and sense of adventure. Hostels are abundant as well as camping spots, either free or of charge.

If you’re simply exploring the town, Bonita Lake House and Perikos are very affordable ($45/night) options if you’re looking for a relaxed hostel on the lake. Gran Hotel Panamericano is a charming hotel in the countryside, a short distance from the center of Bariloche with rates starting at $59/night.

During the summer months, aka peak season from December – March, I would recommend booking all accommodation in advance.

Los Glaciares National Park

Continuing south, you arrive – eventually – in the extraordinarily beautiful Los Glaciares, the largest protected area in Argentina composed of glaciers, mountains, lakes, and forests, including a vast portion of the Andes mountain range.

The main attractions are the towering Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre peaks at its northern end, and the huge, turquoise-coloured Lago Argentino to the south.

El Calafate

El Calafate is a funky, small town right on Lago Argentino, the largest freshwater lake in the country. With a range of traveler services such as biking, kayaking, and organized tours to Perito Moreno Glacier, it’s a fun place to be with all the ideal tourist facilities.

Its strategic location between El Chaltén and Torres del Paine (Chile) makes it an inevitable stop for those in transit. I immediately sensed that El Calafate had the feel of a ski-resort village with its colorful, timber buildings; boasting a ton of restaurants and bars.

For dinner be sure to check out Pura Vida – offering Argentine “home cooking”, or for a more decadent and intimate experience at a slightly higher price, Mi Rancho. Fuel up on fresh donuts, croque monsieurs, and Colombian espresso for breakfast at Olivia, an adorable cafe in a loungy setting.

What To Do

Many travelers come to El Calafate to see the lake’s world famous glacier, Perito Moreno; it’s world-famous because the ice expands until the warmer waters beneath undermine it, causing an explosion and sending tsunami-like waves out into the surrounding water.

Perito Moreno Glacier is an hour drive from El Calafate. You can easily book transportation through a tour agency or through your hostel/hotel.  These tours cost around $24 roundtrip with an entrance fee cost of $20 (CASH ONLY.)

**Make sure that you have an ample amount of cash before traveling through Patagonia. ATMs can be finicky and sometimes won’t dispense cash. There are plenty of money exchanges around so you can pay in the local currency.

If you have a extra day, or just don’t feel like doing a full day excursion, you can rent a bike in town and ride around the lake. (I say around, but realistically you won’t get too far as the lake is massive.)  I rented a bike for two hours ($8), but I recommend renting for at least three so you won’t be in a rush to get back.

From the center of town, you can bike along the road to a point that separates the inlet where the many different species of birds hang out (a cool place to bird watch, yet a place you don’t want to swim) from the main part of the lake where you can swim… if you dare jump in the glacial water! Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart.

El Chalten

Another popular destination in this region is the trekking mecca El Chaltén, a three-hour drive from El Calafate Airport. El Chalten is a small hiking village located directly in Los Glaciares National Park at the base of the mountains.

Although there is no airport here, the closest airport is in El Calafate. Frequent minibuses connect El Chaltén to El Calafate, a three-hour journey through the sprawling national park. There are a few different companies, but you might want to plan your flight time around the shuttle times if you’re planning to head to El Chalten from the airport.

The shuttle company I booked at the airport was called Las Lengas and left El Calafate at 1 pm, arriving to El Chalten at 4 pm; (I booked an early flight out of Bariloche to arrive in El Calafate by 12:30 pm.)

The shuttle dropped me off at the bed & breakfast, and picked me back up 4 days later to bring me back to the hotel in El Calafate.

Roundtrip this semi-private shuttle cost $50 pp, and stopped at a cool river-side hotel/café/shop halfway through the trip for 20 mins so you could get out, stretch your legs, and grab a souvenir or coffee.

**You don’t have to book the roundtrip option, but it is easiest considering you’ll have to come back to El Calafate to fly out to your next destination.

What To Do

El Chalten is the home of the esteemed Fitz Roy – a towering peak with a number of hiking, climbing, and rafting adventures to choose from. There is another main attraction in Los Glaciares National Park called Cerro Torre, the second largest peak to hike (following Fitz Roy) with a number of trails, and a sparkling glacial lake with turquoise icebergs.

At the north end of the National Park these are the two highest peaks of the mountain range, which together with forests, glaciers and lakes, create one of the most extraordinary sights to see in our country. The two major hikes to see these peaks are called Laguna Torre and Laguna de Los Tres.

Most people do a hike of some sort, but it’s not for everyone. Alternatively, you can relax in this picturesque backpacker town, admiring the views, the condors and the craft beers.

Despite the size, there are a surprising number of cafes, restaurants, and bars of all types of cuisine. I spent 4 nights here and tried a handful of amazing places ranging from burgers and beers, to traditional Patagonian cuisine loaded with hearty portions of meat and potatoes, to a vegan café with fresh salads and juices.

La Vineria has a great selection of ales and Patagonian wines. Across the street, enjoy traditional Argentinian cuisine in a cozy log cabin at La Senyara. For a vegetarian/vegan meal, Curcuma.

Crossing The Border: Argentina – Chile

Logistics

Traveling between Chile and Argentina can be done easily by land or sea. Unfortunately, there are no flights between Puerto Natales (the base of Torres del Paine) to El Calafate. For an overland trip, you’ll need to organize a private transfer or catch a bus.

The drive takes approximately six hours cross the border between Argentina and Chile. Buy your bus ticket to Puerto Natales through your hostel in El Calafate, or head straight to the bus station and buy it through one of the tour companies.

There are several reputable bus companies that connect Puerto Natales and El Calafate, including Buses Fernandez, Buses Sur, Buses Pacheco, Turismo Zaahj, and Cootra. They run daily services that depart between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

The transfer takes five-seven hours – depending on the time spent at customs – and the cost of the ticket is $20 one way. These buses are pretty spacious and equipped with a bathroom, so as long as you have some water and snacks, you should be good to go for your journey across the border!

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is the home of Torres del Paine, a huge mountain range famous for its “three peaks”, rising high at 3,500 meters, and another stop on the journey south through Patagonia.

This park is very different from the parks I hiked in Argentina. Unlike in Los Glaciares, you must drive to the park or take a bus (public or tour shuttle.) The drive from Puerto Natales to the entrance of the park takes 1.5 hours.

There is an entrance fee to get into the park of 21,000 Chilean pesos, about $32. You must bring this amount IN CASH to the park the day of your hike, or you will not be permitted entry.

This park is a huge, protected national forest – such is Los Glaciares National Park – but has experienced many more natural disasters due to human caused forest fires over the years destroying the land, and is therefore more strictly protected.

The most popular day hike that people do is called Base Torres, which takes you to the lake at the base of the three peaks. The hike is about 18 km roundtrip to the lake and back. You can take a bus from Puerto Natales in the morning, which will then give you a time to meet back at the starting point later in the afternoon.

**MAKE sure you plan your time accordingly so that you don’t miss your return bus back to town.

There are larger hikes such as the “W Circuit” or the “O Circuit” that usually take people three to four days, with a few options for camping sites along the way. Make sure you take a map with you and know where you’re going ahead of time.

Tours

You can also book a full tour of the park through a few different agencies in Puerto Natales near the main plaza. This tour costs about $45 and is a full 12-hour guided tour on a shuttle through the entire park.

This option is great because you get to see so much more than you would from the one day hike. There are 10 viewpoints along the tour, with a two hour stop for lunch and exploring at Lago Grey; an amazing lake with glaciers right up along the beach.

I booked this full day tour through Go Calafate. I was picked up at my hostel at 7:45 am, and dropped back off at the main plaza in Puerto Natales at 7:30 pm, so plan accordingly with your meals of the day!

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is a resort town in Argentina located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the southernmost tip of South America, nicknamed the “End of the World” and is the last stop of the Patagonian journey.

Apart from being the gateway to Tierra del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia is also the port to sail across Drake’s Passage into Antarctica, an unforgettable adventure that I hope to experience someday! These tours range from $5,000 – $10,000 for a cruise ship to the white continent.

The walk to the glacier is quite long; many people prefer to get an inexpensive taxi from the town to the base, and then hike or get the chairlift (often only running in summer) from there.

Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego National Park, 11 miles (18km) from Ushuaia, is the final must-see of Patagonia for nature and outdoor lovers.

Buses leave from Ushuaia roughly every hour, although it is recommended to depart early in the morning if you are planning on hiking in the park. Visitors must pay an entrance fee of $14 USD.

There are many well-marked trails and short hikes for those wishing to spend the day exploring the park independently.

For those who want to see a bit more, longer trails and hikes are available; Sheep’s Pass takes two days, whereas a longer trek of four days can be done on the Sierra Valdivieso Circuit. The park also has two beautiful lakes and some waterfalls.


Planning your own trip to Patagonia? Be sure to check out these posts to help sort out your itinerary as well!

Advice Journal Travel Planning

13 Of The Most Romantic Destinations In The World

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day coming up this week, today we’re sharing an unexpected list. Say goodbye to tips and tricks for dating and love, say hello to romantic destinations! So, whether you book your trip there with someone special, or just for yourself… get swept away with us today. From the lush countryside, the quiet of starry nights in the jungle or the hushed, full life of a bustling city… we narrowed down our list to include the destinations we believe are provide own unique kind of romance!

Paris, France

It’s a cliche that is just oh so true. Paris oozes a romance. With its rich literary history, dense and delicious culinary treats, opulent architecture and lush music… how could you not be swept off your feet?

Falling in love? Check out our guide to Paris’s most beautiful locations, our art lover’s guide to the City of Light or our literary guide to the city.

Siena, Italy

“La bella vita.” A beautiful life. It’s waiting for you in Siena. Enjoy slow living, savoring each and every moment, the nuances of every nook and cranny of this small Medieval town as you take in the evening sunsets of Tuscany.

Siena sound up your alley? Check out our round up of our favorite Tuscany towns and why we’re always dreaming of the Tuscan region of Italy.

Bruges, Belgium

There isn’t a more charming destination than Bruges. Get lost in the weaving canals, cobbled stoned streets and medieval, cookie cutter, leaning buildings. Bruges really lays it on with its quaintness.

Kauai, Hawaii

The “garden island” of Hawaii is essentially Jurassic Park come to life. Hike the tropical greens of the Na Pali Coast, learning how to surf with locals, sipping on fresh coconut water and watching the sun set over the cliffs of the island.

Tropical islands sound like your perfect romantic destination? Check out some of our other favorite islands in the world.

Kyoto, Japan

The historic, ancient city of Kyoto bedazzles the traveler with its classic Buddhist temples, gardens and imperial palaces. Spend hours taking in the city’s Shinto shrines, classic homes, bamboo forests, exploring the Gion district (once home to geishas) and taking in the city’s incredible cafe culture. Even if you only have a short stay in Kyoto, it’s sure to romance you!

Amalfi Coast, Italy

The coastline of Italy is flush with romance. The rugged shoreline swell with some of the bluest, clearest water to swim in. Imagine yourself sunning yourself on the shore and spending the next afternoons exploring the pastel hued shops and cafes, relaxing under the lemon trees and staying in terraced villas that dot the coast. See why it’s the perfect place for a solo trip or a the ultimate girls getaway!

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the laid back city of your dreams. Nestled in the Catalonia region of Spain, it’s the perfect match for the traveler looking for the most delicious foods, wines and landmarks. Take in the modernist art and fantastical architecture of the city as you party into the wee hours of the night with locals.

New York, New York

NYC is often considered an acquired taste. But if it’s for you, there’s no place more romantic in the world. Enjoy the swirling, messy, bustling streets, the quiet historic boroughs, the smells and colors of the city that never sleeps.

Venice, Italy

Venice may possibly be gone in the next hundred years. But that means you absolutely must fall in love with this lagoon lying capital sooner rather than later. Imagine yourself dizzying lost in the canals of the islands, hearing the water lap beside you as you sip wine and nosh on delicious pasta outside of the Renaissance aged buildings.

Spend your time getting lost in this city, and you’ll find yourself utterly in love with Venice.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lush, tropical Buenos Aires awaits for the traveler looking to feel the hot heat of the sun kissing their shoulders. It’s the perfect mix of cosmopolitan, culturally rich, history and beach-y. Lie on the shore of the South Atlantic Ocean in between stops to the balconied palaces and colorful streets.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bundle up your scarf and gloves, sip on delicious coffees and fresh stroopwaffles while dodging the bicycles that whisk by. Take in some of the world’s best art in museums and window shop in some of the coolest boutiques. Amsterdam is truly a charmer.

Game Reserve, Botswana

The game reserves of Botswana is where travelers can find themselves incredibly close to the wild, untamed nature you could only dream of. Get in touch with the wonder of this world in beautiful Botswana. Safari exploration sound like your ultimate trip? Do your research! There are so many types of incredible safaris for any kind of explorer.

Porto, Portugal

The seaside city of Porto languidly sits awaiting visitors to find themselves lost there. Feel the seaside breeze while you explore the narrow, cobbled streets, Baroque buildings and impressive bridges, stopping whenever you fancy for delicious port wines and tapas. How could you not fall in love with this place?


Has the spirit of romance inspired your bucket list? What is the most romantic destination you’ve ever visited?

Latin America

How To Spend 4 Days In Lima

Lima, the capital of Peru, is often the starting point for many travelers aiming to see the epic and mountainous Machu Picchu. But don’t overlook this magical city! Here is a guide for spending four days in Peru’s beautiful capital.

When To Go

Year-round: A mild and dry climate means comfortable capital visits year-round.

Dec–Mar: (Summertime) The hottest, blue-sky months ideal for surf and sun on the coast.

Arriving In Lima

The Lima international airport is only about 20 minutes from one of Lima’s most populated touristic neighborhood – Miraflores. There are many taxis that you can take from the airport and around the city, but I highly recommend using Uber.

Many taxis don’t use a meter, which means that they can negotiate any price up or down as they see fit.

Uber has a fixed price, and a lot of the time, I found it to be cheaper than what taxis would charge from one neighborhood to another. It’s also nice to not have to rely on exact change, or carrying much cash on you at all for that matter – especially at night.

The Districts of Lima

Miraflores

Miraflores is a large district near the airport that runs along the waterfront and has a boardwalk that runs for miles above the ocean. The Malecón itself is six miles of bike lanes, walking trails, parks, and eateries, including Larcomar, a popular open-air food and shopping center. Be sure to visit the famous Parque del Amor – an oceanfront park with a giant statue of two lovers that you can’t miss.

The Malecón will take you to Barranco a couple miles down, which is another district you won’t want to miss full of museums, a major art scene, and a ton of nightlife. You’ll hit many other beaches and parks if you follow the Malecón all the way down the coastline.

Barranco

Barranco offers a little bit of a different scene – cool cobblestone streets to stroll down, a strip of nightlife, a terraced village of souvenir shops, markets, bars, and restaurants makes this bohemian quarter one of a kind.

Don’t miss El Puente de Los Suspiros (The Bridge of Sighs), a quaint wooden bridge located at the top of the stone steps that wind down to the beaches below Barranco.

There is a Barranco By Night tour, where a guide takes you around to a few of Barranco’s iconic bars and restaurant, dating back to the 1920’s!

I appreciated staying in a quieter neighborhood, Miraflores, and having the freedom to explore Barranco by Uber or by renting bikes and riding the short distance down the Malecón.

Things To Do In Lima

Stroll Around Kennedy Park

There may be one thing you’ll notice about this park that’s a little abnormal – it’s full of cats! Not mangy, stray cats – but looked after, fed cats that are free to roam about as they please and are ready for adoption. It’s a truly brilliant idea, and everyone seems to love it; especially the cats. Getting pets and free food all day doesn’t sound like the worst life, does it?

Historical Walking Tour

We booked a historical walking tour in Quito and it was awesome. There are so many different companies online to choose from, and many of them are free!

The guides will take you through the highlights of the Center of Lima, or Old Town District. The tour takes about 3 hours and usually ends with a few recommendations for lunch or dinner in the area.

I usually don’t like organized tour groups, but it was really fascinating to hear about the history of the city. Having questions answered by a knowledgeable professional made the experience worthwhile. Those personalized moments are the type of things you can’t experience by merely tracing the steps on your own. My favorite stop on the tour was visiting the San Francisco Monastery.

Lima is home to many fine religious buildings, but the San Francisco Monastery is one of the best. Providing an oasis of calm in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, and sitting atop the catacombs underneath the monastery where more than 50,000 skulls and bones are neatly arranged in. This is a must see attraction when visiting Lima, Peru.

Circuito Magico Del Agua

AKA The Magic Circuit of Water We had heard of a dazzling water and lights show about 20 minutes away from Miraflores that occurs every night. So, following the historical tour we hopped in a cab from Old Town to check out this novelty. The entrance fee was extremely cheap, less than a dollar per person. The park was bustling with people, tourists and locals alike.

The only thing comparable to this experience is what I remember of seeing Fantasia. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you are guaranteed to appreciate this show. There are 13 fountains, some of which are interactive, provide plenty of entertainment, especially at night with the illuminated shows.

This show is dazzling with a display of lasers and music all coordinating with the lights.

The light display is about an hour long. Adults and kids alike will love it, but be prepared to get wet; take a plastic bag or two to keep your cash and camera dry.

Jump Off A Cliff

Yes – you read that correctly! Grab one of the many professional guides and soar through the sky on a tandem paragliding flight.

The hotspot for paragliding in Lima is Parque Raimondi, along the Miraflores stretch of El Malecón, where highly skilled paragliding instructors can take you for a 10-minute tandem glide.

Whatever way you end up hitting the skies, pick a day that’s not too overcast, and you can expect views of the coast southwards towards Barranco, as well as far out to sea. If paragliding doesn’t appeal to you, be sure to catch a sunset one night from the park.

Sample The Cocktail Of Peru

A refreshing aperitif served before a plate of ceviche, the pisco sour is a staple cocktail in its own right. Whipped up from a mixture of pisco, lemon juice, bitters, sugar and egg white and whizzed in a blender over crushed ice, it’s impossible to visit Lima without trying a glass or three.

Learn To Surf

Lima’s Costa Verde has some surprisingly good spots for surfing. La Herradura, south of Barranco, is considered one of the best, with its powerful swell reaching up to 10-feet, making it only for those with experience. Waikiki, in Miraflores, is a good option for beginners, particularly as there are surf schools where you can learn the ropes.

Grab A Brewski

If you’re into craft artisanal beers, Lima is the place for you. There are a number of breweries in Miraflores and Barranco offering a number of local beers.

Barbarian was my favorite brewery in Miraflores, offering 20 beers on tap in a number of different sizes. There is a 10 oz size which is the perfect sampler size for those who can’t commit. This place is a must visit for any connoisseur.

Barranco Brew Company is a smaller brewery with a variety of their own craft beers, boasting great food and a chill atmosphere in the bohemian Barranco district.


While you’re at it, check out these posts for more itinerary suggestions (like why you absolutely MUST see Laguna 69), our top five can’t miss locations, our favorite hotel and inspiration for your trip to Peru and Machu Piccu!

Latin America

7 Wonderful Reasons To Visit Argentina

Argentina is a country full of surprises and a long list of world-class tourist attractions. The famous Argentina attractions include spectacular glaciers, remarkable deserts, picturesque mountains, stunning sea coasts, and volcanoes. You let you know more in details, here are seven wonderful reasons why you need to visit Argentina.

  1. Amazing Glaziers in the Los Glaciares National Park

If you are looking for a cool hiking adventure, head to Los Glaciares National Park located in Southwest of Santa Cruz Province in the Argentine part of Patagonia. You can spot amazing icy blue glaciers while ice hiking on the famous Fitz Roy mountain. Los Glaciares is home to 356 large glaciers, and Perito Moreno is one of the famous and accessible glaciers to visit. It stretches nearly 20 miles long and one of the few advancing or growing glaciers in the world, making it a great place to have wonderful trekking opportunities.

 

  1. Incredible Views of the Iguazu Falls

Iguazu waterfalls are voted as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Most people head to Niagara Falls to experience a scenic view while admiring the massive falls on a boat or a viewing deck. But Iguazu Falls is taller and twice as wide than Niagara Falls.Double the experience when you marvel the remarkable falls during spring and fall which is the best time to see it in action. Even Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!” when she saw the great falls for the first time.

 

  1. Picturesque Landscape of the El Chalten

El Chalten is a hiker’s paradise that’s why it’s renowned as the trekking capital of Argentina. This quaint small town is a gateway to beautiful views for trekking enthusiasts. Every step closer to the mountain peaks offers you a remarkable viewing experience of the glaciers, lakes and ice-capped mountains that will surely take your breath away. El Chalten is a hidden gem in Argentina which is definitely a great place to add to your travel bucket list!

 

  1. Exquisite Argentine Wines

Argentina is the 5th producer of exquisite wines around the world. Taste the well-preserved grape wines which have been aged in oak for months and will surely give you real pleasure of drinking. Visit Argentina’s main wine region, Mendoza, to taste a variety of wines from fruity to aromatic wines perfect for washing down a perfect meal of empanadas.

  1. Gastronomic Pleasure for Meat

Have a delicious sizzling slab of meat in Argentina and feast on incredibly delicious sausages prepared on steakhouses called parillas. Argentina is famous for delivering high-quality beef due to the abundance of cows in the country. Argentinians also make mouth-watering Asados (Argentine barbecue). So whenever you’re craving or a sumptuous meal, just head down to the parillas and experience a gastronomic pleasure for meat.

  1. Passion for the Sophisticated Dance, Tango

Whenever you think of Argentina, Tango is the first thing that comes to everyone’s minds. It could be danced with both men and couples alike expressing passion with fire while dancing. The dance originated in Buenos Aires and became famous all throughout the world. Tango is a way of life for the local Argentinians because it is a pure representation of their culture and heritage which makes it their pride and joy. Hundreds of teachers and guides around the country can teach you this famous dance so better be ready with your dancing shoes and head on to Argentina for some awesome dancing experience.

  1. Colorful Festivals

The country is bursting with colorful and exciting cultural festivals to modern contemporary fiestas throughout the year. Different traditional celebrations are packed with fun activities that everyone will enjoy like film viewing on April in Buenos Aires or carnival season in February to March. Definitely, attend one when visiting Argentina when you want a better understanding of their rich culture. Sample some typical food and drinks and dance to the rhythm of traditional music being played on the streets or parties.

 

Guides Insider Tips Latin America Outdoors

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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