Country of the maté, dulce de leche and Malbec.
Country where I learnt to speak Spanish.
Country that I entirely explored by bus (which are so comfortable).
Country with landscapes so diverse and magnificent.
Country of the tango and milongas.
And a country whose inhabitants are so welcoming, friendly and generous…
Argentina was the first country of my trip in South America and a real crush. I spent much more time there than I initially thought, finally more than three months – the luxury of not having any return date and being able to stay longer when I feel good…
I had the impression to already know the country, for I’ve been living with Argentinians as flatmates and had a lot of my relatives who had visited the country. But I couldn’t wait to make my own experience and I’m everything but disappointed – proof is that I found it hard to leave!
I will especially remember the wonderful times shared with Argentinians, the diversity and beauty of the landscapes, the never-ending landscapes seen from the buses, the delicious wines and craft beers… and the list is not exhaustive!
I visited Argentina in two times: the first step from the north to the south in December – January, from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazú, then Córdoba, Mendoza, and almost all Patagonia from San Martín de los Andes to El Calafate.
Traveling up north through Chile, I came back to Argentina on the 1st of March to make a road-trip in the region of Salta, before volunteering for more than one month close to Catamarca. Finally, I came back to Córdoba for one week, from where I travelled directly to Bolivia.
(This itinerary also shows my time spent in Chile).
The tops & flops
My first hit in Argentina. It’s the highest summit in South America but not the most famous though, at least for the Europeans. The road to get there from Mendoza is gorgeous, the mountains are incredible and with so many colours… it is definitely a place that I will not forget.
I had a lot of expectations about Patagonia, as I had been told so much about this region. I’m far from having explored all its treasures but I enjoyed it as much as possible, from San Martín de los Andes to El Calafate, crossing through Villa la Angostura, Bariloche, El Bólson et El Chaltén. Amazing hikes, a magic sunrise on the Fitz Roy, the sumptuous Perito Moreno glacier… and so many others unforgettable landscapes.
However I would still like to visit the region at another period. The climate may be the best in summer, but the prices and the crowd (a lot of French and Israelis among others) don’t make it the best period to explore it.
The region of Salta
Another region that I absolutely wanted to know, and which was up to my expectations. With the multi-coloured mountains, the so impressive quebrada, the crazy roads, the huge Salinas Grandes… this region was perfect to discover with a road-trip, although it would need more than one week to be fully enjoyed.
To be honest, I really had to think about it for a while to find reproaches to address to Argentina! I definitely have more tops than flops 😉
The city of Córdoba
Córdoba is not really a city where I had a good feeling. It is interesting though to see that it’s the city I like the least in Argentina, but the only one to which I came back a second time, so to visit Juan, with who I had done couchsurfing on my first stay. This is a proof that traveling is not only about places but definitely about the people we meet…
But in any case Córdoba is a noisy and tiring city in which I could really not stay long.
Cumbia and reggaeton out loud in the shops and buses, that’s hard for my ears… and I don’t think I will ever get used to it one day!
The parks in big cities
All the cities I visited (Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza…) had beautiful parks with huge trees… but they were all crossed by wide and very noisy avenues! Not really my definition of a park where one can get some rest and find tranquillity…
Argentina is quite an expensive country, with a crazy inflation; one can wonder how can the Argentinians make it with their salaries
Patagonia is more expensive than the rest of the country, and even more in January, which is high season. I didn’t really visit it at the best moment for my wallet!
At the current conversion rate at the end of April 2018, my final budget was of about 2 200€ for more than three months. One should take into account in this budget that I had almost no expenses for one month during my volunteering and that I had a few expenses (a lost polar jacket, running shoes) that are more expensive and out of the “classical” travel expenses.
The buses are comfortable but expensive, even in “semi-cama” category. Not surprising to see that it’s my biggest expense as I did everything by bus, except for a few short distance hitchhikes.