4 months travelling in South America: Our Route

Many people have asked ‘Why South America?’ and ‘Why start there?’. We knew that it wasn’t the norm to start a Round the World trip in Rio de Janeiro but we did and we loved it! Throwing ourselves in the deep end was the Misters idea, we don’t know Spanish, no-one else we know has been there, so lets go there! I knew that if I could make it through South America with minimal anxiety then the rest would be a breeze. We not only made it, we loved every second of this diverse continent.

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So I ask you… Why not South America? Here is our route with a brief summary on each town or city we visited. You will see any blog I have written on South America featured on this blog too for more in-depth information.

Brazil

Rio de Janeiro:
We split this into two stays, one in Copacabana and one in Santa Theresa/Lapa. You can enjoy your time sunbathing on Copacabana and Ipanema beach before visiting the Seleron Steps in Lapa. Don’t forget to tick off one of the wonders of the world: Christ the Redeemer.

Click for 5 Things to Do in Rio De Janeiro or our Review of Rio Forest Hostel blog

Ilha Grande:
Perfect island get away for the weekend. Known as the safest place in Brazil. Hike across to the world famous Lopes Mendes beach and enjoy the walking trails on your doorstep up to some incredible waterfalls.

Click for A Weekend in Paradise: Ilha Grande blog

Paraty:
The quaint town of Paraty is not to be missed! Try and visit on a Monday to enjoy Samba in the centre with all the local community at 8pm.

Sao Paulo
A mega city known for its incredible street art at Batman Alley (Beco du Batman). Take to the heights of a skyscraper building to see Sao Paulo in all it’s glory.

Curitiba
A colder and quieter town to escape the hustle and bustle of Brazil. The German Woods are a must visit to explore the Hansel and Gretel trail and reach the gingerbread and candy house at the top!

Foz du Iguacu
The place to base yourself for easy access to the Iguacu Falls (Brazilian Side) and Iguazu Falls (Argentinian Side). You can tick off One of the Natural Wonders of the World from your list.

Click for Best of Both Sides: Iguacu Falls blog

Porto Alegre
A great stop to relax and explore the town and local parks before crossing the border to Uruguay. We stayed longer than anticipated due to the fuel strike but Solar 63 Hostel was a great place to relax.

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Uruguay

Punta del Este
A sleepy ghost town in low season but I’m sure this place will come alive in high season. Be sure to visit the Hand in the Sand (Los Manos). If you want a tourist free picture, visit at sunrise or in low season!

Click for Punta Del Este: To do and To Stay Blog

Cabo Polonio
The town with no roads, no vehicles, no water pipes or electricity… that’s Cabo Polonio. It does however have a complete charm about the place with rancho hostels, beaches, lighthouse, solar power and an array of animals including the sea lions!

Click for Cabo Polonio: A Rustic Coastal Village

Montevideo
Home to half of Uruguay’s population. This is a big city to explore so I recommend renting a bike and taking to the Rambla to explore this city. Be sure to visit the Montevideo sign that we thought would be multi-coloured but it was just white haha!

Colonia del Sacramento
A sleepy town with boutiques, lighthouse and cobbled streets lined with sycamore trees. From here you can take the ferry across to Buenos Aires.

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Argentina

Buenos Aires
The city was rebuilt over 100 years ago and is super easy to navigate. The city is split between the historical centre where you will find the Pink Palace, Congress and the Obelisk and La Boca where you will find the colourful shacks in La Caminito.

Rosario
For an interesting experience head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art for Rosario. As we were full of cold and Rosario was pretty cold we didn’t hang around here much.

Cordoba
This city is truly beautiful with a hipster vibe going on with all the university students around. Feel the love at the amoCBA sign that means I Love Cordoba!

Alta Gracia
Great for a day trip to see Che Guevera’s childhood home. We visited the day after Che’s 90th birthday and bumped into his old childhood friend who happened to be visiting that day! The museum is free and has an English booklet to guide you round.

Mendoza
Wine and Dine for a day by experiencing the free wine tasting tours available in most wineries in Mendoza. There are also many treks up to view points of the Andes but just be sure not to get arrested for entering a private neighbourhood!

Click for Exploring Mendoza: To do and To Stay

San Juan
For a glimpse into the Triassic Period you can head over to Valle de la Luna on a 2 day road trip to see dinosaur remains, clay formations and literally feel like you are walking on the moon in Ischigualasto Provincial Park. There is also a different Valle de la Luna in San Pedro if you want to save this till later.

Click for Adventures to Valle de la Luna blog

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Chile

Click to find out about our experiences of Crossing the Border to Chile

Santiago
Head up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal which is the second highest peak in Santiago for views across Santiago. Don’t be too disappointed if it is cloudy from the top, this is the high levels of pollution and tends to always be like that.

Valparaiso 
A day trip from Santiago to Valparaiso is well worth it to see the bohemian brightly coloured houses, the rickety elevators (ascensores) the port and the famous ‘We are not Hippies, we are Happies’ sign.

Copiapo
A quick stop through the town that was put on the map due to the trapped miners in 2010. There is now a museum that is open Thursday-Sunday that is guided by one of the trapped miners. This sounded really interesting but we unfortunately arrived on a Monday!

Antofagasta
Another quick stop going up North. A port side town that doesn’t have much going on but it is worth walking to Plaza Colon to see The Torre Reloj, a small replica of Londons Big Ben with the Chilean and British flags intertwined on the tiles.

San Pedro de Atacama
Visit the driest desert in the world and explore local ruins and hike up to incredible viewing points. The No.1 recommendation from us is to go Stargazing here! This was one of our top experiences in South America. This is where you can book and begin your Uyuni 3 Day Salt Flat Tour.

Click for San Pedro de Atacama: Driest Desert in the World blog.

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Bolivia

Uyuni
Your 3 day tour will take you to Lagunas, Geysers, Hot Springs, to see Flamingos and eventually to the Uyuni Salt Flats. You will have so much fun bouncing around the Jeep with a group of likeminded travellers. The Salt Flats are the best place to take your creative perspective shots that will definitely be Instagram worthy. You only need one night in Uyuni itself to freshen up and get a good nights sleep before heading on.

Click for Uyuni Salt Flats: What to Expect blog.

Potosi
Not for wimps or woosies! This was the tag line for the Working Mines Tour in Cerro Rico Mountain. We were very grateful that after two hours in the mine we lived to tell the tale. Health and Safety regulations do not apply here but well worth a visit. We booked through our hostel Koala Den (Koala Tours).

Sucre
We loved Sucre! Known as the ‘White City’ as every building is white. At every turn you will find beautiful parks and plazas. It truly is a delight to wander around with an ice cream!

La Paz
This place is crazy but you feel like you are in true Bolivia. For an opportunity to learn about the cultural beliefs of the Indigenous people, their fashion sense and all about San Pedro prison be sure to do the Red Cap Walking Tour. For those who enjoy an adrenaline rush; be sure to check out the Death Road Mountain Biking experiences. We booked through Barracuda and had an incredible experience!

Click here for Highway to Hell: Death Road, Bolivia blog

Copacabana
A beautiful sea side town on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in South America. Climb up Cerro Calvaio for the best views in town.

Isle de Sol
Take a boat over to Isle de Sol for the day. Be aware that currently it is only safe to visit the South of the island due to an ongoing conflict with the north.

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Peru

Puno

A port side city at high altitude! From here you can visit over 100 floating islands in Lake Titicaca where the Uros indigenous people live.

Lima

Visit the capital of Peru to see the ultra modern mega city. We mainly explored the Miraflores and Barranco districts.

Peru on a Shoestring Tour

From here we began our two week Peru tour with G-Adventures. We visited Nazca and discovered the Nazca Lines at a height! In a small plane we flew over large ancient geoglyphs that featured simples lines, geometric shapes and animals.

In the Arequipa Region we explored the Colca Canyon that is the best place to spot the Condors.

Then our finale of South America, Machu Picchu! 4 days of trekking the Inca Trail to reach this incredible wonder of the world.

Click here for Need to Know: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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So I ask you again… Why not South America? We learnt so much about the various cultures and so much about ourselves during this 4 months. What better way to start a Round the World Trip.

Go the Distance in South America,

Chloe

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Need to Know: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The pinnacle of our South America travels lead up to the New Wonder of the World – Machu Picchu. A 4 day trek, following in the footsteps of Inca Kings, was a great way to say goodbye to Peru. The Inca Trail is known as the most popular route because the 4 days of trekking leads you directly to Machu Picchu. On the way you will explore ancient settlements, Incan ruins and come up close with nature.

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The History
The Inca Trail was used as a route of pilgrimage by the Kings (Incas) in the 15th century. This ‘royal road’ was only for religious and ceremonial purposes, making this an extremely spiritual place for those who walk in their footsteps today. Along the route, the Incas would conduct rituals to honour the mountains, the river and the earth. Machu Picchu was re-discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham and work continues to excavate and study the site.

The Logistics
In the run up to the trek I was bamboozled with the logistics! Do I need to carry all my belongings with me? If not, where do I leave my rucksack? How much do I carry? What’s the right footwear… the list could go on. Luckily, we had Manuel from G-Adventures to sort us all out!

You are given a duffel bag to put the clothing you would like to take with you, your sleeping bag and air mattress. The grand total is 6kg in your duffel bag. The sleeping bag and air mattress can be hired from G-adventures with a weight of 1kg each. We decided to just hire the sleeping bag so we had 5kg each for clothing and additional snacks. Worth noting that the tents do come with a roll mat already but the air filled one would give you extra comfort. The duffel bag is carried by the porters and you can carry your own small rucksack with all the necessities for a hike. The rest of your belongings are locked away with everyone elses in the hotel and you return to the same hotel at the end of your hike. Makes sense?

Inca Trail Start

Footwear was even debated within our team and it is honestly so difficult to say what is the best. I wore my Asolo Mountaineering hiking boots and didn’t regret it. They provided ankle support, they had great grip, were waterproof but naturally are heavier than trainers. We were fortunate with the weather throughout the hike with it only raining on an evening. A few of the team did slip in trainers walking down the many steps you will encounter, so if you prefer a lightweight shoe maybe go for trail running shoes.

The porters are absolute legends! Quite honestly, I feel it would be impossible to do the hike without their support. Between them they carry your tent, duffel bags and food for the whole trip. In 2002, Peruvian Government introduced Porters Laws meaning that the porters now have a minimum wage of 43 soles (approx. £7.50). Also, they can now only carry a maximum weight of 20kg on the Inca Trail. This is why you are limited to 6kg duffel bags to respect these new much needed laws that avoids overloading the porters.

The Journey
Day 1 was approximately 5 hours of trekking beginning at the floor of the Sacred Valley. You will explore ancient Incan sites along the way. It was incredible to see how forward thinking the Inca’s were with how they built their homes, stone paths and stored food for up to 20 years! The first day you stuck together as a group for the impressive explanations from your guide.

Inca ruins 1

Day 2 of the trek fell on my 26th birthday which was the most perfect day! Even though we were trekking for 11 hours, I knew I wouldn’t moan one bit as it was my Birthday after all. We were woken by porters with hot water bowls and ‘Happy Birthday’ was sang to me and even a gift snuck in the rucksack. This day we were able to walk at our own speed which for me meant steady and for the mister meant speedy. However, I had my new found friend Emmy by my side the whole day. Considering we were walking at altitude, we never stopped talking all day! ! We climbed up to the highest point of 4215 metres to Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmiwanusca in Quechua language).  This naturally occurring high point, when seen from the valley below resembles a woman’s body. I must admit hearing Duncan and Nathan shouting our names, waving and dancing, gave us the motivation to get ourselves to the top – the most rewarding moment of the hike! After endless up hill, we headed down the never ending downhill steps to the tunes of Take That and Spice Girls!

Dead womans pass

After a well deserved feast that evening, I was greeted by the chef with an epic Birthday Cake to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ from the team. This had been organised, without my knowledge, the first day of the Peru on a Shoestring tour, by Manuel! I still have no idea how they managed to steam a birthday cake in the middle of nowhere… but it was delicious and a perfect end to the day!

Day 3 leads to Choquequirao known as the Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu. This other lost city, that is believed to have been created around the same time as Machu Picchu, is actually bigger and more tranquil due to less people. Only 30% of this site has actually been restored. The views of the mountains, the detail in the ruins and the terraces are simply awe-inspiring. You can feel the excitement building, as you get closer and closer to the end goal!

Inca ruins 3

Day 4 is an early one, waking at 3am in order to be the first group at the checkpoint that opens at 5.30am. With a small breakfast making me feel more like a human, we set off with sore feet, aching legs and knees. At the Sun Gate you get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu, a surreal moment that made most people a little emotional. What we had been trekking for was around the corner! Be aware that as you enter Machu Picchu there will be many people who have arrived on a bus… now as frustrated you could get by this, don’t let it ruin your experience. There is plenty of room for everyone and your stinky clothes, red faces and smelly feet will keep them away!

Side note: Before setting off on our round the world trip, my nephew expressed an interest in all the places we were going. We would sit on Google Images and search for pictures of Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu etc. He spotted a picture of Machu Picchu with a Llama and was transfixed by it and said I had to take the same picture! You never guess who wanted to join us in our postcard picture… take a look for yourself!

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At Machu Picchu you have a guided tour and nearly 4 hours to explore in total! It was magical, surreal, awe-inspiring and even spiritual. Considering how many people are within the grounds, it is a tranquil and serene experience. You can take your time and really soak up your surroundings, breathe in fresh mountain air and reflect on your past three days trekking.

Booking in Advance
If this sounds like something you would love to do, be aware that you need to book approximately 6 months in advance. Due to Peruvian law, there is now a limit on how many people can walk the Inca Trail a day. There is a total of 500 people allowed, with 300 of them being the porters and 200 hikers. We booked through STA Travel with G-Adventures on the Peru on a Shoestring Tour. With G-Adventures you can be reassured in the knowledge that the tour guide will be knowledgeable, funny and patient. The food will be divine and the tents and equipment will stand up to the elements.

Read my Planning: Peru on a Shoestring Tour here.

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I would like to dedicate this blog to our new found friends, Emmy and Nathan who had the most romantic engagement I have witnessed at Machu Picchu! It was a pleasure to be a part of your special moment, and we wish you a lifetime of happiness!

 

Go the Distance in Peru,

Chloe

Uyuni Salt Flats: What to Expect

You may think that your not really a tour kind of person. We definitely thought that too! However, for some activities the only and best way to do them is through an organised tour. The Salar de Uyuni Salt Flat Tour is an opportunity to spend 3 days in the desert with like-minded people experiencing altitude, geysers, lagunas, rock formations and of course the salt flats, as a group!

CHLOE GOES THE DISTANCE (1)

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We were approaching from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and we used the tour as a way to cross the border into Bolivia. It is extremely difficult to decide on a company, mainly because San Pedro is tourist central, with every other shop front promoting their tour. Essentially, they are all the same but differ in the safety of their drivers, standard of the Jeep, how much English is spoken by the driver/tour guide, and the quality of the food cooked. We made friends with a couple in Santiago who’s itinerary was similar to ours put ahead of us by a few weeks. They kept in touch with us and recommended the company they went with as they ticked all the right boxes and they had a stress-free time with them. This company was Cruz Andina and their positive TripAdvisor reviews reflect how great they are. Thank you Alexandra and Mark for your recommendation!

Lagunas
Learn many of the Spanish colours when visiting the Blanca, Verde, Colorada and Negra Lagunas! The two that stand out in my mind are the white and green lagunas. Laguna Blanca is a salt lake that was frozen over enough to walk across. It was all going so well until we heard a ‘crack’ while posing for a group photo! Laguna Verde contains many different minerals (including arsenic) that combined together make the salt lake green!

Uyuni Salt Flats Laguna Verde

Geysers
The Geiser Sol de Manana (Morning Sun Geyser Basin) has volcanic activity, sulphur springs, mud and steam pools. The pressurised steam can be as high as 50 metres in the morning! A memory that sticks in my mind, is a new found friend, doing the best ‘fart’ picture I have seen next to the geysers! My kind of instagram worthy picture, for sure!

Uyuni Salt Flats Geysers

Hot Springs
Time to strip off and relax in the Thermal Water at Polques Aguas Termales. A word of caution, as relaxing as the hot springs are, hot water at altitude can cause dizziness. We stayed in for 20 minutes and I was light headed when we got out and had to sit down for a while. Your lunch will be waiting for you after the springs so head over there and down some coca-cola and you will feel human again!

Caution 2: The changing rooms are renowned for petty thieves and your tour guide/driver should warn you about this. Keep all valuables in the Jeep and just leave minimal clothing in the changing room. We stayed in view of the changing rooms and had no issues but we heard of people engagement rings, watches and even Down Jackets going missing.

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Rocks
At Desierto Salvadr Dali (Dali Rock Desert) and Valle de Rocas (Rock Valley) you will have the opportunity to go rock climbing in places properly not safe to climb! Definitely worth seeing the boys climb onto a camel like rock! My favourite was climbing up into the rock holes within the walls. Climbing down was not as much fun haha!

Uyuni Salt Flat Rocks

Wildlife
This was our first opportunity to get up close and personal with llamas and flamingos. A new friend was determined to get a llama selfie and then I found myself wanting to do the exact same! I didn’t achieve this goal until we got to Peru! We arrived at Laguna Colorada just in time to see the flamingos as the sun was setting. They were walking towards the remaining sunlight away from land as we arrived.

Uyuni Salt Flat Flamingoes

Uyuni Salt Flats
Be prepared for super cold temperatures when you wake at 5am to see sun rise on the Uyuni Salt Flats. This is the big finale on your final day of the tour and it didn’t disappoint. We arrived on a dry day – so no reflective shots were possible. However, the endless white landscapes of salt where there formally was a lake, makes for incredible perspective shots. We had great fun lining up on a cigarette and being smoked, being snorted like cocaine, being eaten off a spoon, standing on walking boot string, to name a few. It was great to help our new friends get the perfect shot for their wedding invites … we hope they made the cut!

Uyuni Salt Flat Heart 2

Isla Inca Huasi
After you are worn out from an early rise and playing on the Salt Flats you must reserve some energy for Isla Inca Huasi, the island full of Cactus. The walk around this island is quite steep especially at altitude so I definitely was puffing away at the top!

fullsizeoutput_1479ats Cactus Island

Train Cemetery
You will end your trip in Uyuni with the train cemetery. I feel that if we weren’t so tired we would have appreciated this a little more. The World Cup game was on too, so we rushed through, took some pictures for the memories, said our goodbyes and headed to the pub with our new friends. I recommend using your stay in Uyuni to get a good nights sleep, a warm shower and organise yourself for the next leg of your journey. We appreciated having a place to dump our bags, explore the small town of Uyuni and get on our way the next day. No more than one night is needed in Uyuni. However, you may find the cutest children that you just want to take home with you.

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Altitude Sickness
Definitely worth a mention on this blog post! My best advice is to be prepared and take preventative measures but in all honesty you never know if your going to be the unlucky one who gets altitude sickness. The side effects of altitude include; shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headaches, migraines, nausea and vomiting. For me, I experienced heart palpitations when simply laying in bed for a good few hours. I’m glad I read about the symptoms prior as I may have interpreted this as a panic attack. All the other symptoms were experienced throughout the group. Every morning, we drank Coco herbal tea which appeared to help. Avoid drinking at night as you won’t sleep. Some people had coco leaves to chew, which is the done thing but I really disliked the taste. Take a medical kit with you that includes painkillers and altitude sickness tablets.

Other Options
There are options to do the tour we have done in reverse; from Uyuni to San Pedro and an option to add a 4th day to return to San Pedro from Uyuni. Now you can of course do a Day Trip to the Salt Flats and be back to your hostel all snuggly and warm at the end of the day. This of course is a cheaper option, but in my opinion the sights we saw along the way to the Salt Flats were actually more impressive. I feel this is a good option if your only travelling in Bolivia with no intention to cross to Chile, or your strapped for cash.

Go the Distance to Bolivia,

Chloe

Highway to Hell: Death Road, Bolivia

Looking for an adrenaline thrilled experience while in Bolivia, then look no further, Death Road may be for you!

Now, I have never been fearful of heights, I have skydived for charity and love a good rollercoaster but this pushed me well out of my comfort zone! Reflecting on the experience, I think the fact there are no harnesses and the fact you are responsible for your own safety, is the reason I was so nervous!

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We started the day with breakfast at Little Italy and met fellow thrill seekers who were also a tad nervous. We had a detailed safety briefing and were given time to get used to our new 2 wheeled friends. As tradition goes we splashed 96% alcohol on the bike and the ground as an offering the mother earth (Pachamama). I asked mother earth to keep us all safe and even took a swig of the alcohol for ultimate effect.

death road alcohol

We were let loose single file down windy, fast, but smooth-ish roads as our first test of our mountain biking skills. The group was full of confident and speedy bikers but I held my own (well my brakes) and took it steady! The leader did sympathise with the fact that little people do feel the wind more. I appreciated the sentiment!

death road first par

Then it was time to tackle Death Road itself! I haven’t been this nervous in a long time… I was actually silent in the minivan thinking of excuses to get out of it. The Death Road itself is actually called Yungas Road and it was built in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan war prisoners. Nowadays, this 56 km road has been dubbed the ‘worlds most dangerous road’. Each year this road claims the lives of 300 motorists and 20 cyclists on average. You see cross markings from where vehicles have fallen and believe me you see a lot of these along the track.

death road biking crosses

The Old Road is the only road in Bolivia where people drive on the left hand side. This is so they are actually closer to the edge so they can judge how close they are! Cyclists have to follow this rule too… great for the Brits until you realise how steep the drop is!
Our adventure started in the clouds at 4700 metres . The winds helped us fly down to 1100 meters, but my motto was ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. However, I always arrived last at every check point! I was kind of glad about this as I really needed to concentrate on not killing myself so being alone with the elements suited me. I also didn’t want to live up to Duncan’s new nickname for me … ‘Calamity Chloe’.

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Although I escaped with no injuries just 20 insect bites (random!), other fellow bikers slipped off their bikes and one even flew over the handle bars! This was actually caught on the go-pro but will be put in the safe hands of his friends haha!

Now Death Road definitely doesn’t need to be anymore nerve-wrecking than it is, so please choose a reputable company so you can feel safe! There are over 300 companies offering Death Road tours with only a handful of them being legit companies. The gold standard is Gravity with pristine bikes and additional perks such as a relax at a cabin and visit to an animal refuge. Barracuda Biking (who we picked) use the year old Gravity bikes and are a cheaper but just as safe option with a private pool to reward you at the end.

death road team photo

Thank you to Barracuda Biking for your patience, kindness and motivating words throughout the day. All pictures featured on this blog were taken by Barracuda and sent across within 2 days… how great is that! We both still wear our free t-shirt to remind us of our adrenaline filled day!

Be sure to check out their 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor!

Go the distance on Death Road,

Chloe

Crossing the Border to Chile

From reading blogs about the Chile Border we were rather nervous about this journey. Our initial worries were about their strict policies which in all honesty make sense. Chile is very isolated from the rest of South America due to the Andes therefore, they are less prone to diseases from elsewhere. They want to keep Chile safe, hence the strict regulations.

On our coach, we received the guidance on what you cannot bring into Chile. The main rules are no fresh products, no dairy, no meat. Basically if it was in an unopened package this was okay. We debated beforehand whether we could take our opened packets of herbs and spices but we saw on the list that this was not allowed. A good idea is to donate your herbs and spices to the ‘free food’ at the hostel. Sharing is Caring after all.

Crossing the Border to Chile

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First Attempt
The second difficulty is actually getting across the border. In low season and winter months the road can often be closed due to snow. You can check whether the border is open on this website. However, if you are the first bus across in the morning, you may be the first coach to find out its closed! This is what happened to us. 3 hours in we had to turn back around. Luckily the CATA buses are like taking a business class flight with TV’s with many films and music to listen to.


If this does happen to you and you have to return to Mendoza, you are entitled to a full refund. Make sure you keep your initial receipt and ticket as proof and then they will refund you without issues, from the stand you initially bought the ticket from. At the time when the border was closed, the next day there was a strike going on, the next day England were playing, so three days later we set off for the second time.

Second Attempt
The views are incredible along the route, so be sure to take a day time coach and stay awake to appreciate the views. We decided to sit on the other side of the coach to take in different views seen as we had seen the first 3 hours of the journey already. On the CATA buses the seats on the right hand side (when sat down) are singles so I sat behind the mister. The right hand side honestly did have the better views, if you don’t mind being separated from your buddy for a while.

Mendoza to Santiago (2)

The border was an experience! Firstly, you all exit the bus and quickly dispose of any left overs from your pack up. You line up for your passports to be checked by border control. At this point you will be sniffed by sniffer dogs who do a very thorough job! This unnerved me a little at the time but it was fine. Then you cross the road to another building. This is where your main luggage is being checked through the conveyer belt off the coach and put back on at the other end.



It was at this point, a couple had tried to ‘smuggle’ (can’t think of a better word haha!) approximately 10 gigantic blocks of cheese into Chile. Now even before getting on the coach we were aware the big no no was taking cheese across the border. We heard about locals trying to bring across produce and that it would usually hold up the whole process. That definitely was the case for us too. While they were debating about cheese, we were stood in 3 lines while guards and dogs walked up and down. You can imagine what I thought this scene reminded me of!

Next up, our hand luggage went through the scanner before we quickly jumped back on the bus. The irony is, the bus driver then gives you lunch of cheese and ham sandwich for lunch!

Go in the Distance in Chile,

Chloe

Cabo Polonio: The Rustic Coastal Village

We all have those days where nothing seems to go right. Well our trip to Cabo Polonio definitely started off on the wrong foot. Duncan thought he was all well prepared by getting enough cash out for our visit to the town with no electricity. That was great, until I went and spent a bunch of pesos on the hostel stay in Punta del Este.

At that point, we thought we didn’t have much to worry about because surely San Carlos would have an ATM. They had banks but no ATMs. Poor Duncan ran around the town like a mad man while I manned the bags wondering where he had disappeared too! In his mad rush, we realised later that he must have dropped my bank card! Duncan was convinced he had given it to me, so I endured the strip search until he realised he didn’t give it me!

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Cabo Polonio cannot be accessed by cars or buses so the two options are walk for 2 hours or get the sand buggy. I was dreading the 2 hour walk we may of had to do with our 80L of luggage but fortunately the sand buggy was a return ticket and we had enough money! The sand buggy was an experience to say the least. I can imagine that on a summers day this would be quite a fun ride but in the wet and windy weather, I wasn’t too happy! We were concerned about our luggage and electrical.

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As we arrived at our hostel we saw a big group of lads outside with the hostess inside clearly not letting them in. We had no idea what was going on but she once we told her our names she happily let us in. Turns out the lads wanted to stay in the popular colourful roofed hostel but didn’t have a reservation. Our frowns quickly turned upside down when we were offered a cup of coffee in front of a stove fire, in the cosiest place I have ever stayed. We had a wonderful one night stay at Viejo Lobo Hostel. Our highlight was cooking an epic soup for all guests that evening.

Viejo Lobo Hostel

Basic but Beautiful sums up Cabo Polonio. It is a rustic coastal village hat sits on the tip of a peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean. In 2009, the region was declared a National Park under the protection of Uruguay’s SNAP program.

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There are no roads, no vehicles, no electricity or pipelines in Cabo Polonio. It does however have a complete charm about the place with rancho hostels, beaches, lighthouse, solar power and an array of animals.

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The main reason we headed to Cabo Polonio was to see the sea lions! The next day we completed our mission when we found them just around the corner from our hostel. This in all honesty wasn’t too difficult as you definitely hear them before you see them. Plus, Cabo has the largest sea lion colony in the whole of South America.

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We visited Cabo Polonio after Punta del Este an returned there for one more night before heading onwards to the Capital, Montevideo. I highly recommend adding Cabo Polonio to your itinerary for a one of a kind experience.

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Go the Distance in Cabo,

Chloe

 

San Pedro de Atacama: Discovering the Driest Desert in the World

San Pedro de Atacama has transformed with the increasing number of tourists in the past years. It was first inhabited by Atacamenos who were renowned for their impressive basket work and pottery. San Pedro is known for its desert landscape, dry climate and below freezing evenings. You are likely to experience mild altitude sickness such as dizziness, being out of breath and lethargic due to being at 2500 feet here.

The town is swamped with tour agencies advertising tours including, astronomy, lagunas, geysers, sand boarding, rock formations and flamingo spotting. If were honest it was quite overwhelming and we had no idea where to start! We always knew we would begin the Uyuni Salt Flat 3 day tour from San Pedro and we were keen not to repeat activities we were going to do on the tour. If you are planning on doing the 3 day Salt Flat Tour from either San Pedro or Uyuni then there isn’t much need to visit lagunas, geysers or flamingos as they are covered on the tour.

San Pedro de Atacama Driest Desert in the World

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Star Gazing
San Pedro de Atacama is known as one of the driest deserts in the world with little rainfall and little light pollution. This makes San Pedro the perfect place to star gaze. The crystal clear skies have made this a great place for astronomical research to be conducted. There are a range of tours on offer that usually are between 2-3 hours and include viewing the naked eye, learning about star charts and then viewing through the telescope. What differs between tours is how many people are on a tour, how many telescopes, the meal provided and whether the focus is on the science or the history.

We were over the moon (get it?!) with our 2 hour tour with Gastro San Pedro. They offer the experience to up to 6 people an evening with one telescope. This is great as I have heard stories of 20 people on a tour with one telescope. On this occasion we were on the tour on our own so we has a great private tour. We were picked up by a taxi from our hostel and driven to the star gazing zone. On our way down to the secluded area we had our picture took with the milky way behind us! This was a fantastic picture that we received by email straight after the tour.

Star gazing with Gastro San Pedro

We were greeted with Mulled Wine to warm us up, because it is so cold in the desert at night! The mulled wine kept flowing throughout the evening. We began by viewing with the naked eye, looking at the constellations and learning their names. At first I thought I have no idea where he is looking but then out came the laser beam!!! Literally pointed to exactly where we needed to look in complete Jedi Style! We learnt about the Andean cosmology and their ancient belief systems on the afterlife and how that tied into the stars. They were very clever people, they knew the earth was circular (no debates here on that haha), they knew when to harvest crops from the stars, the seasons and what the weather would be like that day. There lives revolved around the stars and it was so interesting to learn about.

We put what we learnt into action with the star chart. So now if we ever get lost on the 7th July at 10pm, we will know our way back to safety. I know this will sound daft but I felt like an astrologist! The faraway planets that looked like bright stars with the naked eye we were able to view through the telescope. This was the part where we genuinely lost our minds. We saw Mars ( a big circle), Jupiter with 2 moons surrounding it and then Saturn! We saw Saturn with its rings and we were amazed! After, a fair few mulled wines we were on Cloud 9!

Star gazing with Gastro San Pedro

The glittering galaxies, the nebulas and the globular clusters that looked like a spiders web of stars was amazing to see through the telescope. To the naked eye these looked like black holes in the milky way. When magnified 800 times, it was truly stunning.
After a world class star gazing experience, we retired to the tent for supper. This included; more mulled wine, sushi, skewers, corn, crackers and Chilean Pate, all homemade. I feel like we hit the jackpot with the tour with Gastro San Pedro I recommend contacting Rene to book your Star Gazing Tour for 20,000 CP (approx £23 each).

‘Spend a fun night looking at the stars hile enjoying the personalized service you deserve’

Rene at Gastro San Pedro +569 95048152 or Email at: gastrosanpedro@gmail.com

Pukara de Quitor

We were keen to explore San Pedro  rather than taking one of the many tours out of town. On Maps.Me, Pukara de Quitor was suggested as a sightseeing spot. We were staying at La Florida Hostel on Tocopilla Street and all we need to do was walk north and just keep walking… so off we went.

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Pukara de Quitor is an archaeological site that became a national monument in 1982. More than 500 years ago there was a battle for the land here between the Atacamenos and the Spanish who defeated them in the end with fire canons. Here lies the ruins of their homes up on the side of the mountain.

From the height of 80 metres you have views of the San Pedro River, Death Valley, Volcanoes and the San Pedro town. The walk is moderately difficult, mainly because of the altitude and sun! Be sure to take plenty of water, suncream and take your time utilising all the rest stops.

The entrance cost 2000 CP (£2.30) for students and I believe 3000 CP (approx. £3.50) for adults.

Eating and Drinking
In San Pedro there is only one establishment with a bar license all the others only have a license to serve alcohol with food. This is why you will find some great offers of a snack and a beer or wine for between 5000 – 7000 CP (approx £6-8). You will also find set menus for 3 coursed for reasonable prices if you want to eat out. Just be warned that ‘Tar Tar’ is raw ground meat that genuinely looked like brains. After eating this and watching Cowspiracy on Netflix we sharply turned to becoming Veggies!


Uyuni Salt Flat Tour
In San Pedro is where we booked our 3 day Uyuni Salt Flat Tour (blog to follow). We were recommended by a couple we met earlier on in the trip to book with Cruz Andina. I’m so glad we followed the recommendation from our friends. The positive comments on Tripadvisor also speak volumes. It is a big spend of 110,000 CP (approx £125). However, this includes your transport, accommodation and food in order to see the best scenery we have encountered in South America.

Uyuni Salt Flats

A detailed blog of our Uyuni Salt Flat Tour will be featured shortly.

Go the Distance in San Pedro,

Chloe

Exploring Mendoza: To Do and To Stay

We have spent 2 weeks travelling west through the diverse country of Argentina. Our last stop in Argentina took us to Mendoza, the bustling city at the foothills of the eastern side of the Andes. We arrived by coach after a 10 hour overnight bus from Cordoba without any drama.

Travellers are drawn to Mendoza for it’s mountaineering, hiking, horse riding and other adventure sports. Mendoza is also the route to Santiago (Chile) through the border, for those travelling through South America.

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What we got up to…

Hiking: Round 1
Our first hiking experience in Mendoza was up to a viewing point of the Andes Mountains. The guide from the morning walking tour had recommended walking straight from Plaza Independencia until we got to the top of a hill. On Maps.Me (a great app for maps without using data), we headed to the closest viewing point to his instructions, being Cristo De Los Cerros.

The walk was truly stunning with streets lined with trees with bright yellow leaves. Trees in Mendoza are all gifts from other countries, as nothing grows in the dry desert land. The artificial irrigation system that uses the snow from the Andes, is also quite impressive. It runs besides the roads to feed the plants and allows them to bloom.

Our route was blocked by a couple of streets that were guarded by a Security Guard so we simply walked to the next street with no barriers. Hind sight is a wonderful thing, but it turns out we shouldn’t have maybe done that!

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At the top of the Cerro (‘hill’) was a rather strange monument but there was a huge viewing platform to see the Pre-Andes. What an incredible view we had! We tend to take in the scenery for a while before getting out the camera’s. After-all, pictures are to remind you of the moments you have experienced… they shouldn’t be the experience. This was the perfect place for our picnic sandwiches and snacks!

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After this much needed break from the climb up, we headed down the other side of the hill. We were trying to avoid the 2 streets that were protected by security and thought we could simply walk round. Well… you know what thought did haha! A motorbike and a car with security weren’t too impressed and pulled us aside. They wanted our passports, to see in our bags and even took photographs of our belongings! I remember thinking… ‘I wonder how much hand-cuffs would hurt!?’ Through broken Spanish and the life-saver app of Google Translate we managed to communicate. However, we were still unsure of what we had actually done wrong. Next, we were asked to get in the car which reluctantly we did. They wanted to know where (‘donde?’) on earth we managed to ‘get in’. They refused to look at our map and wanted directions to where we entered. After what felt like a never-ending journey, we were told to ‘Vamos’ (go!). They didn’t need to tell us twice… we were off haha!

After much discussion with locals, we believe we entered a private neighbourhood where the rich and famous live. We may have been trespassing accidently and they wanted us to prove who we were. Let’s hope there were no burglary’s that afternoon, or we may not be able to leave the country haha!

Hiking: Round 2

The second hike, was much more peaceful and enjoyable with the volunteers from Hostel Club. With support from a mountaineering guide, we jumped on a bus to Petrerillos and began a steady hike. This is a small settlement just south from Mendoza city centre. We walked through the town, jumped across streams, climbed up the hill to a view point of the Pre-Andes. The views were incredible and I then realised why we were unable to cross the border to Chile… the snow! We took a well deserved picnic break at the top with the dogs that had accompanied us, and I even enjoyed a Mate drink (with honey is the trick!).IMG_1259 (2)

As we returned to the town we stopped at an artificial lake in Petrerillos. It looks so tranquil and is a great place to stop for a well deserved Empanada from a local vendor nearby. The bus ride there and back was 110 ARG (approx £3).

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Wineries
Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the whole world! So when in Rome… we of course visited a winery! There are many tour options available to visit many wineries in a day. However, we chose to visit one famous winery in Maipu called Bodegas Lopez. They offer 2 English Tours a day, we went to the 4pm one.

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The wine production system is incredibly impressive! They Lopez family have been producing wine for more than 100 years and now make 84 cases every 5minutes. I was pleased that they have 0% waste. Anything they do not use is sold to other companies for production of olive oil or may even end up in your skincare. The red wine is aged for at least 10 years! On the tour we saw the rows of wine barrels that have the smallest little door on them. I cannot believe that the staff fit through these doors to clean inside the barrels. Each barrel is drained and cleaned once every 6 years!

On our free wine tasting tour we learnt how to hold our wine, swill it, smell it before most importantly tasting it! We were surprised to find that we fell in love with a white wine, the sweetest we have ever tasted! Once we realised we got 15% discount on already cheap prices, we walked away for a bottle for the evening for 90 ARG (£2.50).This was used in a white wine sauce for our chicken dish and we enjoyed the rest over tea.

You can easily get to Maipu by utilising the train line. Remember you need a RED BUS card that you top up at local shops that show the RED BUS sign in the window. The card costs 19 ARG and each journey costs 11 ARG.

Plazas
There are 4 Plazas that surround the central Independencia Plaza. It is well worth taking a steady stroll around all 5 parks. This includes Plaza Italia, Espana, Chile and San Martin.

Where we Stayed
Our hostel stay at Hostel Club, really made our stay in Mendoza a great stay. The hostel is ran by loyal volunteers who all bring a positive and fun atmosphere to the hostel. Some of the volunteers specialise in different areas such as Mountaineering, Wine and Cookery. They are able to give great advice, offer tours at competitive prices or just simply take you out for the day with no additional costs. As mentioned above, I joined the volunteers for a day trip to the mountains and had a fantastic day! If cooking isn’t for you, there are volunteers who cook lunch or evening meals for only 100 ARG (£2.71 approx). You are always greeted with a smile by the volunteers!

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First Floor
The building feels like a mansion with wide winding stairways, large rooms and Victorian style bathrooms! In the reception area you will find the weeks worth of activities including wine tours, ping-pong tournaments and mountain hikes to name a few. We stayed in 2 different dorm rooms during our stay and found them to be comfy, clean and bright. There is a large bathroom next door to Room ‘Argentina’ that even had a bath! Down the main corridor is a male and a female bathroom with showers and toilets. We stayed in a dorm room with a private bathroom for a few nights but wouldn’t say it is necessary to spend the extra when the communal bathrooms are just as good. The showers are always HOT too! On this same floor, is the medium sized kitchen with plenty of supplies to make a good meal. The oven even works which is a bonus! We were treated to homemade bread made by a volunteer in this kitchen.

Second Floor
This floor is the communal space featuring a bar area, TV area, ping-pong, eating area and outside space. The bar area is where the breakfast is served in the morning, with coffee, tea, croissants, breads and spreads including Dulce de Leche of course! If you are leaving early before breakfast hours, the staff are great and will wake early to ensure you are fed before leaving! The TV area was great for the Mister to relax and watch the England matches. We spent most evenings playing ping pong with other guests and volunteers. It was a great way to get to know people and improve my ping pong skills! There are plenty of benches and tables to eat at with electric sockets a plenty to work on your laptops. In this space there is an indoor BBQ area, where they host Asado evenings too… a real treat if you get the chance to have an Asado evening. Read about our Asado night in Buenos Aires! The outdoor space was a great sun trap to dry our clothes or relax with a beer. While we were staying there was Chilean guests who were in a band. We really enjoyed listening to there music on the roof top for the evening.

Throughout our stay, the volunteers turned into friends and that’s what made our stay even more special. We were invited on trips, invited to eat with them and we returned the favour by cooking our wine inspired meal for our new friends too. I highly recommend Hostel Club for the great atmosphere, activities on offer, the facilities and the location within Mendoza.

Go the Distance in Mendoza,

Chloe

Adventures to Valle de la Luna

Sometimes while travelling you have to step away from the planned itinerary and go with the flow. While staying at Hotel Club Mendoza, we were offered an opportunity to go on a road trip to San Juan… a place hadn’t heard of but was the next province to Mendoza.

Our ears pricked up at the sound of a Road Trip and then when we realised it was to a valley that looks like the moon…we were sold! Our now new friends, arranged the rental car and the next day we were off!

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From Mendoza we took the scenic route of Route 40 and had incredible views of the Andes for the whole journey. We saw a sign for a campsite by the side of the mountains and this served as the perfect location for a pit stop. Picnic benches, sandwiches and fruit with two friendly dogs! It was siesta time so we didn’t get in trouble for quickly using there seating area for an hour. This is where we discovered that avocado serves as a great replacement for butter on bread!

As we approached Ischigualasto Provincial Park we encountered tunnels through the mountains and bridges in places you can’t imagine how they built them in the first place. Picturesque views all the way that make the long journey so worth it. On the journey we saw foxes, lamas, a condor and hares. The condor by far was the most impressive, with a gigantic wing span when it flew away. Unfortunately, this was before we could grab a picture.

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Ischigualasto Provincial Park (meaning where the moon rests) tells an incredible story of what has happened on Planet Earth. They offer a hop in and out car tour whereby you jump in your cars, follow the guide and jump out at many stops along the way for an explanation. Unfortunately the tour is in Spanish, so we were fortunate to be with friends who could translate. This was a 3 hour tour for 400 ARG (£10.50 approx) each.

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The Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna) is one of the most important paleontological sites in the world. I literally felt like Ross from Friends… he would definitely have been in his element. What once was a lake with vegetation, animals and plants prospering, is now a desert with little rain and extreme temperatures. The clay formations have been named according to what they resemble such as The Mushroom, The Submarine, The Spinx and so on. My favourite part of the valley was the ‘Bowling Field’ of polished spheres. There is still no clear explanation as to how they were formed.

Where we Stayed
As the journey is approx 6 hours we stayed overnight in San Jose de Jachal and got up early the next day to be able to do the 3 hour tour without being tired. We stayed at Hostal La Casona and the owner was extremely hospitable and was happy to allow our friends to cook and eat with us, even though they were camping elsewhere.

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In San Jose de Jachal we wanted to catch the sunset, so we headed up to a viewing point near Camping El Vivero and came across an Open Theatre with a guitar stage! Since our discovery I have been unable to find the name of this place or anymore information on it apart from it’s map co-ordinates (-30.218628, -68.772283). This was rather surreal in the middle of nowhere with no people in sight. The sky lit up red as the sun began to set and the views changed from minute to minute. I taught our friends the phrase ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight… Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning’.

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The Return Journey
This road trip wasn’t all singing and dancing. We couldn’t possibly had a weekend away without nothing going wrong now could we! Well it was going so well until 10pm, about an hour away from Mendoza when we were stopped by the police. The police do random stop checks of cars, checking ID, licenses and insurance details and we didn’t think much off it until… the insurance document in the folder was for the wrong year! The car, our bags and jackets were searched and we patiently waited in the car for what felt like forever while our friend tried to resolve the issue.



Usually, in this situation your car would be seized, you would be fined and you would be getting the bus home. Fortunately, our confused faces and lack of Spanish scored some sympathy points. After a conversation with the rental car company the police accepted a Whatsapp picture of the insurance documents. Phew!

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All part of the adventure ey!

Thank you to Franco for your company, driving skills and cool as a cucumber nature in a stressful situation. Zoe, thank you for your French Cooking skills and your fantastic ‘woop-woops!

Go the Distance without getting into bother,

Chloe

 

 

Fall in Love with Buenos Aires

As I’m usually not a fan of big cities, I didn’t expect much of the capital city of Argentina. How wrong was I! Buenos Aires (translates to ‘fair winds’) is by far my favourite place so far! We spent 5 days exploring and has been the first place that felt like home.

We found Buenos Aires to be a very multicultural city with people from Italy, France, Asia and so on. It has been described as the ‘melting pot of several ethnic groups’. This means that they expect people not to always speak Spanish, so they have invented universal hand signs. We were grateful for learning ‘I have no idea what your saying’, ‘Watch out’ and ‘How much?’.

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The Food Scene
While in Argentina we really wanted to try more of the typical foods and snacks but without the attached price tag!

The San Thelmo Market is a great place to try the local food such as Empanadas. They are like the equivalent of Pasties. We enjoyed a chicken and a cheese and onion one with Orange Salsa Verde… it was divine!

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On most street corners you will find a Café and we were recommended to try a Submarino and Churro with Dulce de Leite inside. A Submarino is a fancy hot chocolate, where your served with hot milk and you add the chocolate. We literally couldn’t find the Churros with the Dulce de Leite inside but enjoyed a plain one instead. If you find one… well done! They literally put Dulce de Leite on everything! Its the best spread in town and easily replaced Jam for me!

Rhys from Rayuela Hostel recommended Argentinian Ice Cream to curb our midnight munchies and sweet tooth! Off we went to Nicole’s Ice Cream Parlour and with our broken Spanish ordered half a kilo of two flavours – Dulce de Leite Granzola and Vanilla with Chocolate Chunks (we can’t remember the Spanish!)

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We had heard so much about the all you can eat Asados and we were so pleased when our hostel hosted an Asado evening. This involved eating endless meat cooked on a BBQ in a variety of ways with each type of meat served as separate dishes. There was about 20 people sat in a long row of tables (like school dinners!). We started eating at 9pm and didn’t stop until gone 1am. How people eat so late every day is beyond me but what an experience… needless to say we had a veggie meal the next night!

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What we got up to

Buenos Aires is known as the birthplace of the seductive, energetic and romantic dance of Tango! Every Sunday at 7pm you can catch a public tango show in Plaza Dorrengo at the end of the San Thelmo Street Fair which we also really enjoyed! Everything in South America runs late so they advertise 7pm but don’t worry if you are late it actually started at 8pm. Check out their dance floor!

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Casa Rosado (The Pink Palace) is where the presidential offices are and past presidential residences. There are many theories as to why the house is pink when all other buildings were white at that time. One theory is that it is a union of red (The Federalists) and white (The Unitarians). Or another theory is that the white paint was mixed with bovine blood to make it waterproof… pretty grim! Free Tours are offered in English on the weekend but you have to register online.  We really enjoyed the tour, it was great to stand on the balcony where many famous people have stood including the Argentinian Football Team and of course, Eva Peron when she made her famous last speech to her supporters.

While exploring Buenos Aires, you will come across the tall Obelisk that marks the first anniversary of the Independence from Spain. We were fortunate to stumble across this at sunset and it was beautiful. The National Congress building is one heck of a building too and you will find that the Congress building, the Obelisk and the Pink Palace all link up in a triangle.

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You may wonder why you see many women wearing white head scarfs, scarfs tied to peoples bag or the head scarf graffiti around the area. This is a symbol used by the Mothers of the lost children from the ‘Dirty War’. During the military dictatorship of 1976-1983, any Argentinians who didn’t agree with policy were abducted, raped and murdered. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people, were lost during these years. At the time, Mothers of Plazo de Mayo wore white head scarfs and would meet in Plazo de Mayo and hold a silent protest holding photographs of their loved ones, in a plea for answers. Still today, on a Thursday at 3.30pm you see this for yourselves.

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As morbid as it sounds, you could literally wander the city of the dead for hours upon end at the Cementerio de la Recoleta (Recoleta Cemetery). It is truly fascinating to walk the ‘streets’ of statues and mausoleums. I recommend grabbing a map as you enter. This will make finding Eva Peron’s mausoleum much easier. It wasn’t as impressive as I had imagined but there were flowers there which made me smile.

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Buenos Aires, as wealthy as it used to be also has a more deprived area, called La Boca. This is the working class area where you will see many street artists. Le Caminito (translates to Little Walkway) is where the beautiful coloured streets of shacks are. This has become quite a touristy area and there are many souvenir shops, local food to eat and tango dancers to watch. We came across a gentleman who had no use of his arms who was painting the most beautiful painting of the Caminito with a brush in his mouth! We was in awe of his talent and he was very kind letting us take a picture of him and his masterpiece. The Bombonera Stadium is also close by and is where La Boca Juniors play.

Where we Stayed

We found it difficult to find a great place to stay on Booking.com in Buenos Aires and in fact had a bit of a nightmare at the first place. A friend who we met in Paraty, let us know where he was staying and we jumped ship and went to Rayuela Hostel. Rhys and his kind staff made us very welcome and literally took us off the street, as we rocked up with no booking, just a sop story haha!

It doesn’t feel like a hostel, it truly feels like home and we enjoyed both our stay in the dorm rooms and our upgrade to a private room with an en-suite. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights they cook up feasts for the guests at really reasonable prices. We arrived on a Friday and didn’t cook for 3 nights… it was bliss. Vegetable Soup, All you can eat Chicken wings and then Asado… we were in heaven!

The breakfast is by far the best we have had in South America, with homemade bread, homemade cake, all the lovely spreads, fruit and tea, coffee, mate and hot chocolate! The kitchen is equipped with everything you could need (apart from a sieve but we will let them off with that one!)

The staff genuinely go the extra mile to make your stay great including extra heaters, inviting you over for a drink, recommending ice cream parlours and even lending you an extension cable when you want to charge everything at once for your next journey!

Prices range from £8 – £12 for the shared dorms, so for a homely stay on the doorstep to all the top sights in Buenos Aires, we recommend Rayuela Hostel.

Go the Distance in Buenos Aires,

Chloe