To Buenos Aires and beyond

Old Dec 1st, 2013, 04:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To Buenos Aires and beyond

Well my up to a year trip has begun.. I left Australia on Tuesday the 26th of November from Melbourne at 7pm . Flying with emirates, 4 flights later and 40 hours of travel and not much sleep I arrived in Buenos Aires at 7:45 on Wednesday the 27th. I was very impressed with the service on board all of the flights. Each flight had a layover of just under two hours so a little time to hop out and stretch the legs.

After arriving in Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport I made my way through customs, found my bag and then that was it I was on my way out of the airport.. I stopped to book a bus with Tienda Leon- a $95 peso service into Buenos Aires.

We stopped at a central location where we split up into separate cars and drivers took us to out accommodations. I'm happy that thee was someone there who spoke a little English who could explain what was happening.

So 4 of us hopped into the car and we set off to each stop. This is where it set in and I realized I'm not in Australia anymore. Cars and motorbikes were changing lanes no blinkers and moving on way before the light turned amber as they do before green here. It was a crazy site.

The driver then asked where I was from and I said Australia and he then spoke to me in English.

I arrived at my Hostel Arrabal on 661 Salta. Quite a nice building and mainly full of Argentinians/Colombians so gives a good feel.

I checked into my private room!! Yes this will be the only time I do this on my trip unless they are super super cheap anywhere else. I'm glad I did because I didn't need to worry about anyone and could relax and get used to the time change.

I didn't sleep too much the first night and woke very early, showers then went downstairs to have some breakfast.. It's the first time I have used a hostel so it was quite an experience.. I wanted to go back to bed but I pushed myself out the door and ended up walking down over the old docks and through the ecologia reserva. It was a nice walk and was great to hear and see some of the different birds. By the time I got around the reserve it was around two oclock and I was super hungry. I chose one of the many food stalls and asked for a hamburger and water. As best as I could in Spanish! The two guys were very happy and asked where I was from. I topped up the hamburger with who knows what?? There is a layout of bowls on the table with salsas and salads.. Not the most hygienic but I had to give it a go and it was great and for only $14 pesos.

I then made my way to Florida street to get a SIM card from movistar which was difficult because no one spoke English and the sim wouldn't work. We finally came to the realization that my phone is locked to my provider back in Australia!! Out of all the things I forget, unfortunately it will cost me $120 and I need a computer to hook up to with iTunes to unlock it. It's not going to happen. I really only wanted it for google translate- unfortunately the iPhone version doesn't have an offline mode like android. I found another app but it has a 220mb download which I have tried at the hostel and its not possible- the wifi is horrible. I only just managed to get 75% of my photos backed up to google drive. That's where I thought the sim may be handy because its unlimited data for $1 peso per day! I have no idea how good the reception is in Argentina? May be worth getting a cheap android phone if it is good?

That was my afternoon walking down Florida checking out the sites and all of the black market money exchange. I didn't have any US$ so didn't change any.

I went out for dinner at San Telmo to il nonno bachicha. I was reccomended somewhere but forgot the name on the way and this is what I found. I purchased a pork chop dish which was quite nice, it also had peppers and eggs on top of the meat. So nice.. That was the end of my first day..

Woke up early again on Friday ready for a tour with buenos aires free walks. Starting at Plaza Lavalle and making our way through the north if the city all the way to Recoleta and the Cementerio de la Recoleta. It was a great was to see the city and our guide was full of some great trips. The city is really starting to grow on me.. That's not me at all, I'm a country boy who grew up in a town of 5,000 people..

The tour is very informative and you see some great sites. It's all tip based and the tour went for around 3 hours.

There were quite a few Aussies on the tour so I ended up spending a few days with one of the guys. We went down to San Telmo to find some steak.. I cannot remember the place? It wasn't where we wanted to go because we were too late for lunch and dinner didn't open until 8pm and we were starving after the long walk. I chose the streak and potato.. Was that simple, a big plump steak and some potato slices Along with white sweet potato.. It's was so full of flavour.

Day 3 Saturday we hooked up again to do a bike tour with babikes and see the south of buenos aires all te way into La Boca.. The bikes were the best way to see a lot of the city and and I really felt happy. The city was growing on me and I love it. Our guide Elle was full of so much information and passion for the city. We had a great group and the ride took around 4 hours. It's a peaceful ride with only one big hill through the park, easy for anyone to do this tour. We also stopped along Calabria where all the food stalls are and bought a Choripan with heaps of the salsa.. Wow these things are amazing, so much flavour. I was super impressed and for $15 it's definitely in my budget. I wish these guys were closer to my hostel.

Day 4 Sunday was spent at the San Telmo markets. There are so many cool things here, hand made trinkets to some of the best antiques. I think if you knew what you were looking for you could pick up some items worth a lot of money..

The weather had been hot, I haven't checked the weather but I would say around 30 degrees c. I ended up a little burnt and dehydrated so have spent the afternoon sleeping and drinking plenty of fluids.

I have spent a little more than I can afford but it will even out when I go to do some WWOOFING. World wife opertunities for organic farming.. I think it's a great way to spend time with a family and learn how to become self sustainable. Learning a way of life and a great way to really develop my Spanish.

Tomorrow I will be heading up t Puerto Iguazu to see the falls then I will be heading to San Ignacio to visit the Jesuit ruins. From there I will take a bus to Obera and onto another bus to Villa Union near Campo Ramon in the Misiones region to meet for my first WWOOFING experience. 3 guys who have started a new farm and should start building the main house while I am there, it's a good place to start and see the begging workings of a farm. It's definately something I would like to do in the future with my own land so a great way to do it..

I am unsure where to go after here? West possibly to Corrientes?

Things were very overwhelming on arrival but I am finally settling in and really starting to love the people and especially some of the food.

I will do my best to update when I can. Most if my free time has been spent trying to upload photos for backup when Internet is working.

If anyone has any suggestions on anywhere I must go it is greatly appreciated. My trip is open for one year and I would like to travel as cheaply as possible so would like to stay in places for short periods. I am happy to work for board and food! Anything like this adds to the experience.

Thanks guys,

Hasta luego
brendensadventures is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2013, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,256
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
sounds like a great trip so far. Please do write again and talk about your experience with wwoofing. Would love to hear all about it.
glover is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2013, 11:08 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9,401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great start to your travels Brenden, I am looking forward to reading more. I hope you get your tech problems sorted! I found wifi was not that great for uploading anywhere in south America but Argentina was better than most countries. Bolivia was a real problem! I used Skydrive where as my wife used Flickr which seemed much quicker for some reason. I also found when uploading to my blog that using the travelpod app was much! much quicker that the website because it smaller files.

Iguazu will take your breath away try to make it to the Brazil side if possible, it provides a completely different perspective.

Already getting trip envy!!!!
crellston is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2013, 07:32 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,039
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Brenden you take my breath away ... and replace it with a yen for steak etc., Argentine style.

Terrific report...please do keep up the interesting tale of your adventure...and stay safe.
MarnieWDC is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2013, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,245
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great reporting, Brenden!

Keep up the good work!

However, it may not be easy, once you get out of BA.
avrooster is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 05:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you guys for your replies I'm happy to give something back.. Fodors has been a dream come true for me!! Real people with real stories that are up too date and from all walks life. I didn't last long with the guide books.

I will do my best to keep up to date, it is difficult in between everything and I do understand it will get harder as internet becomes less frequint. I do have a journal to keep things up to date also.

Crellston I am doing whatI can to back originals up to google drive. I would love to be able to use it like photobucket where you can use links to photos on your websites etc. the worst thinkg is uploading things twice..

I have taken a lot of photos on my iphone which is proving to be a problem to upload. I am not sure why.. many restarts to try and get photos uploaded.

Buenos Aires was a beuatiful city with a lively flow that really grew on my... until I was trying to go to the bank on Monday morning to get some money for the bus to Puerto Iguazu.

Monday lunch I took the subway for the first time and it was quite easy to take Retiro station for the buses. On entering Retiro bus terminal it was huge! I couldnt believe how long the corridor was full of so many bus companies. I knew I wanted the 13:30pm bus with Expresso Singer so I asked information in Spanish where they were and she saied 118 so I made my way to the ticket booth and asked the gentlemen behind the counter if he spoke english and he mentioned a little. All went well andI asked for a ticket with a descuento! he asked if I was paying cash and I said of course.

I managed to get the $765 peso ticket to Puerto Iguazu for $600, I thought that was great. I waited in the terminal until my bus was displayed for boarding...and off we set for an 18 hour journey. I sat at the top at the very front. It had good leg room because I could put my legs right up to the window. It was super hot until the sun went down.

It was a very nice trip and reminded me of Australia as we left the city. Vast flat lands with shrubs and greenary. It was nice and there were not too many people on the bus. Everyone spoke Spanish and very quickly so my communication was minimal. I spent most of the time starting out the window just falling to sleep and then waking again. Never to get a good rest.

We stopped many times and we ended up taking 20 hours in total to get to Puerto Iguazu. The drive was beautiful with an amazing sunset and sunrise. The drive into Misiones region of the rainforest was also spectacular with mist all around that came and went as we went up and down through the hills.

Finally arrivinging in Puerto Iguazu around 9am I made my way to my Hostel Park Iguazzu, a really nice place to relax even with a pool!1 al for $15Aud per night in a 4 person room. I met up with a guy from France and we spent the day together exploring and eating.

We also visited Humming bird (i will need to check its slipped my mind). A lady sells tickets for $20 pesos into her backyard to see the hummingbirds. There are so many of them that fly in to feed from the rainforest! it was so amazing. you can get so close to them and we spent around an hour in the garden relaxing and taking photos. I really enjoyed it and would love to have the birds in my yard.

Tomorrow is the day to visit the falls. Only the Argentinian side planned so far. I already know I will be back so if I miss anything it will happen then.

I really dont feel I have the funds to make the trip to Patagonia. not this time around. But its ok.

And glover I will be sure to write about the far it has been a great experience from paying my fee and receiving my contact list. New farms have been added a few times and I have requested a new form and they send it. Takes a little while but it comes. I applied with 3 farms in Misiones region and 2 replied, one is booked out until April 2014 and the farm I will be going to have been a great help. Directions are nothing special so we will see if I make it. Its going to be hard work working in this heat also!

Well I am off to bed before these mozzies rip my legs to peices.
brendensadventures is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2014, 05:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well i am back in the land of the living after 30 days of camping out in the sub tropical rainforest of Misiones not far from Oberá Argentina. I best start where I leftoff at Puerto Iguazu.

I took a bus down to San Ignacio and stayed at Hostel Adventura, it was a lovely hostel with a nice pool and a really nice breakfast with freshly baked cakes etc. I went along with a few people I met in the hostel at Iguazu.

I went along to the Jesuit ruines of San Ignacio and spent a good few hours looking around. We had one of the free guides show us around and give us a good run down on all of the buildings and how life must have been there. I thought it was beautiful and we spent the afternoon wandering around the ruines soaking in the atmosphere and just imagining what life must have been like for them. We went in the morning and it was very quite. more people came around lunch time. It was well worth the visit in my opinion. Although a little pricey at $70 pesos if im not mistaken.

I stayed two night's and really should have stayed at least two full days. you can hire bikes and ride to the Uraguay river to spend the day. A couple of friends did it and said it was beautiful.

Next I took a bus to Santa Ana then onto Oberá where I took another bus to Villa Union, a tiny town with two little bus shelters on each side of the road. In the middle of nowhere and not much else to see.. if i didnt have directions i sure wouldnt know i was in a town.. well I made my way off the bus and walked down the highway a short way to a dirt road that decends to the left. This is where everyone in the town lives, not many houses. I made my way down the 4km dirt road. It is a beautiful place. Full of butterflies and awesome scenery. After over an hour of walking I made it to my location. My first wwoofing experience.

The farm is fresh and just gettting started with plenty of fruits and vegatables just starting to grow, there is an overtaking of grasshoppers though and everything is getting killed. They have a communal kitchen, chill spot where meals are prepared. I must admit the food was amazing, lots of stirfry and pancakes. I was suprised what was possible without a fridge.

The experience was a good one and i saved quite a lot of money in the 30 days i was at the farm. We woke early to work for a few hours then the weather would be too hot to do anything from around 11am till nearly 5pm then we would do some more work. We visited a lot of the neighbors and i must say they were very welcoming. Giving us Mate and eggs and we even got some meat when they killed a cow. They are all very happy and helpful to each other.
I did get very lazy with learning spanish because my host also spoke english as well as anyone else who was at the farm. I really grew to love the area and the people. I do reccommend plenty of insect repellent as some days they were attacking like crazy, not that you would see until the next day. I only really got bitten on the first day. Then i didnt apply repelent for a few weeks with no problems. Then after some big downpours there were heaps of biting insects.

I also received my first bot fly. A fly drops its egg on you then the larvae burrows under your skin to grow. You feel it prick as it grows. We covered with nail poilish as they have a breathing hole in your skin. After a while the bot fly tries very hard to get out and it feels quite painful. Once it dies you can squeeze the wound and see some of the larvae come out, using tweazers you can extract the larvae. My second bot fly broke in half on extraction. Finally after 3 days i managed to get the rest out but it was too late and my leg is quite infected. A call out from the doctors to prescribe penacillin and i should be on my way soon.

I have been in Posadas for a couple of days and will leave tomorrow. Im staying at El Bambu which is very relaxing spot on the edge of the city. Its more expenive than i would like but i only had an address for hostel Adventura and they said they didnt take people to stay? And said there was a place over the road. It was late and I was tired from a long day walking out from the farm.

I have been practicing Spanish with one of the guys who works here. Its helpful yet very confusing and i have missinterpreted a few things like the cost to stay and that breakfast is not inculded in the cost. Its all part of learning and i am looking to go hiking and do more wwoofing which is very cheap so costs will even out later.

The weather is super hot in Misiones. It is hard to do anything during the day. I mainly want to go to the Salta Region and Juy Juy. I think it may need to wait until it is a little cooler. I think I will go to Bariloche from here. Its a little costly due to going back to Buenos Aires first and that is where I came from. If anyone knows another route from Posadas it would be helpful. I havent seen much between here and Mendoza that I want to see but it saying that everything is nice. I only came to Posadas from Obera because my friend was pretty sure there was a direct bus from here. Not to worry I guess.

Forgive the writting as i have been doing it on and off for the last day. I have been spening a lot of time with the people here talking etc. They even cooked me a big lunch yesterday which was amazing.. and not cost.

I just need time to work out my route and where I will stay in Bariloche...and hikes etc. And weather i will even go down to El Chalten. Its much easier using the internet at home and working everything out. I may try couch surfing or try to find somewhere to camp.

Does anyone know of some short 3 to 5 day hikes near Bariloce? All help is muchly appreciated. When I get more time I will continue reviewng my travells.
brendensadventures is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2014, 11:53 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9,401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great to hear from you Brenden. It sounds like you are having a great time, (apart from the bot fly that is! >I had something similar when in Africa and it wasn't very nice. I ended up getting an abcess and having to get the infection cut out with a scalpel! Make sure you take the antibiotics !!

Good to hear of your woofing exploits. Sounds like something we may well take a look at next time we set off. It sound like your really are getting off the beaten track. Keep up the fantastic reporting, it is a welcome diversion from the cold and wet of an. English winter...
crellston is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2014, 04:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Crellston, I really admire your dedication to writting on here. I am finding it very difficult to find any spare time between meeting people and moving around.

For the moment I am in La Junta Chile, just crossed the border yesterday with a friend from Esquel, Argentina. We have been hitch hiking since El Bolson where we met in a couchsurfing house. We are doing what we can to make things as cheap as possible. Last night we slept on the soccer field with a group of around 10 who were all picked up by the same mini bus a family were driving..

We have no money and no point for taking money anywhere in the town.. fortunately our debit cards have been working.

I made my way to Bariloche from Posadas, Argentina via 2 buses and nearly 40 hours. 1st bus went back to Buenos Aires with Expresso Singer and the next bus was with Andesmar to Bariloche.

It was great to see the mountains as we got close to Bariloche. The bus broke down twice and we had nothing to do but sit and enjoy the beautiful views. We also played bingo which was a great chance for me to practice some spanish. I have to say I have been quite lazy learning as everyone I seem to meet (especially down south) speaks english. I am looking forward to getting up to the North East of Argentina to Salta, Juy Juy later in February. I am also looking for a language school in Sucre, Bolivia to attend for 2-3 weeks. If any one has any suggestions please let me know as there seem to be many.

In Bariloche I made my way via taxi to my couchsurfing host.. I didn´t realise that Bariloche was so long as I hadnt looked at the map. The taxi was very espensive as I was staying at Kilometer 12.. Next time I will plan a little more. I made the decision to move south to get away from the heat. I am glad I did, the mountains are amazing.

In Bariloche I rested and waited for my infected leg to heal from the bot fly incident. When I was ready I set out on a 5 day hike in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. I started at Villa Catedral and walked to Refugio Frey. The next day I walked to Refugio Jakob where I stayed 3 nights and made day hikes from here. The weather was amazing and the walking was very difficult. Steep climbs and decents with lots of scree (loose rocks and dirt). The challenge was great although my feet are sore more than one week later.

I also hired a bicycle to ride a 4 hour circuit around the lakes, I cant remember the name but it was bueatiful. Again quite the challenge but rewarding all the way.

I enjoyed my first experience couchsurfing and met some great people. I also met a guy from Barcelona who I have been travelling with for over a week now and we are making our way south all the way to Ushuaia, Argentina...

We set off from Bariloche and managed to get picked up after a couple of hours waiting on Ruta 40. When we arrived to El Bolson we went to the market to meet our next couchsurfers who lived 25kms out of the town in a bio home they have just started to build, no power or running water yet. It was a great experience relaxing in the home as we waited for two days of rain to pass.

Once the rain cleared Marc and I made our way to Wharton El Bolson to make a 4 hour hike to Hielo Azul Refugio. The start of the walk is steep and looks to be on a river made of stone. After a couple of hours the trail flattens out and you walk the rest of the way in a beautiful forest. It was like we were in Lord of The Rings, waiting for elves to pop out at any time. I loved it, it was so relaxing. The Refugio is a right next to the river and the mountains with peaks filled with snow. It was the perfect place to relax for the night. We payed to stay in the Refugio which was expensive at $100 pesos but you can use the kitchen and showers and drink as much Mate as you wanted.. The good thing about the hiking in Bariloche is the camping is free and the Refugios are much cheaper...

Heading down from the mountain was steep and again every step was a new experience with so many things to see.

We made it back to El Bolson and had a large pizza and a drink to reflect on our adventure, it wasnt quite over though we still needed to hitch hike home the 25kms on the dirt road out of town. We managed to get 3 rides and arrived home at around 11pm.

We moved on to Esquel, we needed to take the bus after a few hours failed attempt at hitch hiking.. not too worry though it wasnt expensive.

Another round of couch surfing and a few days to relax, Esquel is small but beautiful.

From there we tried hitching again in the heat we gave up when the bus came through and we took it to Teleaufu

I need to go for now to catch a ride but will be back soon to update.

I need to go and catch a ride now so will update soon..

For a little more information about the hike in detail take a look at my blog
brendensadventures is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2014, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hey Brendan,

I' m following along, SA on the radar for me in 2015, although I won't be climbing those mountains. Might have to find someone to carry me as I would love to see those views. Your photos are fantastic.

Thanks for writing and keep up the Spanish, it will get easier !

Caroline (another Gold Coaster)
sartoric is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great trip report, thanks for posting!
Manisha is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2014, 11:14 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9,401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Brenden,

Sound like you are having a great time and are certainly getting off the beaten track. We have been looking for long term volunteer opportunities for later this year but are having difficulties finding any so, after reading of your exploits may take a look at WWOOFING instead.

I tried to take a look at your blog but couldn't get past the first page showing an intro to Argentina - no details of the hike??
crellston is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2014, 01:18 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,258
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for posting. This is really enjoyable.
travelgirl2 is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2014, 07:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hey guys, just a short update thanks for the posts.

I have been so busy moving around meeting new people everyday I feel like I have little time to myself. Its great fun and I really love Argentina. I think I could live here very easily.

I traveled all the way south to Ushuaia and loved every bit of Argentina. Currently I am staying in San Juan with a guy from couchsurfing learning spanish with him and he is learning english.. its been great! I have spent too much time with english speakers and my Spanish is going no where, so from now on I need to say goodbye to any english speakers I meet because I definitely dont want to go home not speaking Spanish..I highly recommended couchsurfing. Its a great way to savemoney for aaccommodation and the people I have met have been amazing, I still cant get over how humble
everyone has been and the hospitality they offer. On 2 occasions a fried and I found ourselves stranded trying to hitch hike with no one pivking us up. We contacted some couchsurfers at the last munute at night and they took us in.
CRELLSTON- Where are you looking to do volunteer work? I am still planning on doing volunteer work somewhere.. It is difficult as you say to find something, and knowing whether it is a program that is benificial is difficult.

Depending what you want to do with wwoffing and where? I know a great couple who are in misiones who do internt programs, they cost but they teach you a lot. I was lucky enough to spend some time with them as thry were next door neighbors to where I was helping. I am unsure if they are still taking wwoofer?

as for wordpress? It seems to work ok for me on the tablet, here is the link again to the most recent post

sartoric-the mountains are beatiful and there are optionsthat are much easier. In Bariloche hiking to Refugio Jakob is nice, the path is smooth. There is a steep section towards the end which lasts near two hours! The pain is worth it in the end! The moutains really do you wonders, there is something macical about them.. definately give it a go! You wont regret it.

travelgirl2-thanks foryour message, im glad you are enjoying..

if anyone would like to follow my facebook you can as Its much easier to do a quick post. Just meesage me to let me know you are on fodors brenden wardle.

I will do my best to update.
brendensadventures is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2014, 07:12 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9,401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OK the link works now on my tablet - probably just me!! Love the photos.

Great reporting. You are making appreciate how much I missed when there. May have to make a return journey. Not too sure what our plans are next. It seems to be coming down to a toss up between Central America, Columbia and the Far East but that won't be until the end of the year. If the. Aussie $ continues to fall against £ we may even consider a trip to see our son in Sydney ( always wanted to try my hand at shearing a sheep!)

Keep posting along the way..
crellston is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2014, 01:35 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh Crellston, I don't think you'll find too many sheep in Sydney

PS I've enjoyed your many reports, how did you get on with finding about an extended stay in Thailand ? Considering something similar, and have met a few expats recently in Pattaya.

Sorry to hijack Brendan.

sartoric is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2014, 04:27 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 9,401
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ho ho Caroline I guess I will just have to get out of town.

We have done a little bit of investigation and found some apartment rentals in Chiang Mai which may suit us as we would probably use that as a base to return to the far north of Laos and Vietnam. It seems like the new visa requirement make it a bit easier to leave and re - enter the country so we would probably go down that route rather than bother with longer term visa options. But as I mention above, South America and Columbia are calling. Decisions, decisions!
crellston is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2014, 01:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi all, its been a long time since i have written. I have written a short report on my blog which i will post below..

Im sitting in an internet cafe in Uyuni Bolivia, with the slowest internet and a temperamental stomache while i wait another 5 hours to take a bus to Sucre. Hopefully I feel a little better by then.. I have just finished a four day tour from Tupiza to Uyuni.. next move is to Sucre to study Spanish for a few weeks in a school and stay with a local family to hopefully improve.

Hope you enjoy the update. I will try to update some more soon... internet is proving to be very slow so far in Bolivia. I hope it gets better so I can upload my photos...

speak soon.


Post travel notes:

The time has come for my Argentinian adventures to come to an end… It was a wonderful suprise to visit the country. I was not planning to visit until I saw the prices to fly in to Quito, Ecuador. I could buy a return flight into Argentina for the price of a one way ticket in Ecuador.

I am so happy I got to experience such a beautiful country with amazing people. Not once did I encounter any issues. Every person I met was really helpful. There were many times where people approached me with the biggest smile and wanting to know where I was from and if I liked their country.

I found Argentina to be very similar to Australia in the landscape, I guess this is due to the position on the earth. I really felt at home and being able to see the Southern Cross really helped, plus the many eucalyptus trees everywhere. The only thing that was missing wad the koalas and kangaroos.

I spent my first month working at a farm close to Oberà Missiones, the north east of Argentina in the subtropical rainforest. I learnt some new skills for gardening, building etc. I woukd still like to learn much more so someday I can build my own adobe home.

I really enjoy the outdoors, I am not a city person however it was great to see the city of Buenos Aires. I love how creative people are, thinking way outside the box that we have compressed our brain into. Nothing goes to waste, everything is recycled, everything is fixed.. I guess when you don’t have much you really need to think.

We are lucky and we have a great county with a government that works most of the time however after seeing such a different world there are many things we see as important and complain about when its really not nesacessary. I am not going to get into specifics here as im no proffessional on politics etc.

I don’t work here and I have more than enough money to get by but a lot of people struggle with small things. It’s like going back in the past when you see everyone building their own homes. Everyone is a builder, Plumber, electricion, anything they want to be. You dont need a ticket you can just do it if you want to. You can start a business, a restaurant in your home, sell things on the street. We need to pay to even sell at a market. Everything is so strict. When it comes to building and electricity the rules are good because peoples lives can be at risk. I have seen some really bad buildings and wiring.

I like how the people in Argentina are trying to work for themselves whereas back home its easier to work for big companies etc anc much mre difficult to start a profitable business to live.

Enough babble and back to the Country. There is a bit of everything in Argentina, Rainforest, Mountains, Lakes, Rivers, Deserts. Its so larfe and it would be easy to stay for one year.

I fell in love with Misiones, the land and the people where so friendly. While working at the farm we would often visit the neighbors to buy eggs or mest and we would sit with them drinking yerba mate. They really didnt have much, a small home and a few animals,. Most of the farmers in the region farmed tabcoo which they sold to the huge companies who gave them much less money for their croops than they deserved, but they eother took the money or had nothing..

I really loved Bariloche and fell in love, its filled with tourists which is the only downside however the city is relaxed and the many lakes anc mountains surrounding the city really top it off. If you have a bike most places are accessible, hoever its quite hilly in a few places. The lakes and rivers are so fresh and lear that you can see through to the bottom. The entrance to the mountain’s is just a short bus ride from the city and there are many bautiful refugios you can hike too which found high in the mountains beside some beautiful fresh water lakes. Tent camping and entrance is free, this really got me excited. There are also many trails from easy trails to the mkre difficult which are not marked and most of the walming is on rocks and scree slopes. Refugio Frey has an amazing rock wall where you can find many long routes of differnt levels, I didn’t have any gesr so couldn’t try it out….. next time.

Arriving to El Chalten blew me away.. a super small town wifh mountains next door with many rock climbing walls. Everything is walking distance and you can take many hikes into the mountains. I could spend a few months here. It really sparked something in me and I started thinking about the outdoor industry again. I went to school in 2006 to study outdoor recreation, very similar to tourism here in Argentina. I wanted to be a rock climbing guide or hiking guide. I didnt get to pursue this because I required an operation on my hips to reshape the bine due to the ball joint rubbing away my cartilage. Many years of healing and physio I feel set to go again. I found an amazing mountaineering guide course near Mendoza to climb the mountain Aconcagua which is the highest mountain in the Southern and Western Hemishper rising to 6,960 meters above sea level. The course is reognised world wide however is costly and I will need to return home to save monry if I want to do this.

Cafayate in the north west had a great feel, very relaxed and many places to visit that were close. Its always a good sign to see bikes with no locks all around the city. This blew me away, working at a bicycle store back home in Austrlia I was forever doing quotes for people who had their bikes stolen while locked up. There were many great tours which were very affordable. The man in our hostel said I could go there and start a tour if I wanted.. maybe once I know a little more Spansih I can give this a try, the possibilities are endless. I just need to change my way of thinking.

My final must see in Argentina was Iruya, a small town high in the mountains. A great place to relax and watch the condors soar high into the clouds. I enjiy being by the mountains, just sitting and looking. I dont mind if I don’t get out and walk a lot, I just feel free. There are some amazing views if you do get out and push yourself up thise mountains, the rewards far outweigh the effort you expell climbing.

I will definitely be back to Argentina some time hopefully not too far away, I need to visit all the other beautiful places before I decide where to stay for a while.

I didn’t have much of a plan for my travels, just a general direction which changed a few times due to weather or just a feeling. I only pre booked my first two hostels before arriving to the country. From then I just arrive to the new place and ask information, I never say I need to be here on this date.. This is stressful, travel isn’t a job it should be relaxing.

I am on a budget of $30AUD/200ARS per day, so far I have gone way over my budget. I have kept track of spendings with the Expensify app which is a quick easy way to record your spendings.

I recorded everything in the local currency however the rates are always changing and I did miss imputting a few things so the most accurate spending is by looking at my bank account with all service charges and bank fees.

Please download the expensify file below which seperates spendings for meals, accommodation, transport etc. This will give you a rough idea of my spendings.

Argentina- (visit my blog to download)

My total spending for 117 days in Argentina:

Argentinian pesos: $22,881.00 = 195.56 peso per day- not including bank fees, just the purchase cost)

(actual spend at current rate from Australin Dollars-6th April 2014 $33,828 pesos. This includes my bank charges and service fees of ATM/Cajero) $742 pesos in bank fees.

Australian Dollars: $4,557.00 = $39.11per day (way over budget however this reflects all bank fees from the ATM/cajero) $100 in bank fees.

With 226 days remaining I need to cut back to average $30 a day so I do not run out of money. I am planning some spanish lessons in Sucre, Bolivia but I think I will be able to pull back the spendings after this.

Money Saving Tips:


If you havent heard about the blue rate currency exchange, check it out. If you are happy to carry money into the country bring US$100 bills and you can exchange on the street for nearly double the official rate. Its not legal but everyone does it, even the police because it is not possible to get US$ in Argentina and its much easier for them to buy property or travel with US$ so they rely on travels.


A great website that is a lot like facebook where people offer you a place to stay in their home, on the floor or couch or even a bed. Most of the people have travelled and want to help you out with free board so you can spend your miney on imoortant things. This is a great option and available all throughout Argentina. It is free and I have met some wonderful people. I often take my host out for dinner or a drink. I have been saved a couple of times late a night with a place to stay.


World wide opertunities for organic farmer. Another great way to save money. There are ariund 70 farms in Argentina that you can work for, generally you work for food and baord. The only cost is to the the website operators. You need to pay to get the contact information on the farms. You can check out the website and see all the information about the farms before you decide. It is best to write to a few farms in the same location as a lot of the farms do not have wifi and takes them a while to reply. Its quite popular so the more notice you can give the better. There are other sites out there that are free but I cannot remember the names.

The internet is filled with a lot of travel information such as Lonely Planet etc. I really found Fodors forums to be great..real people asking real questions giving trip reports and helpful hints. This was definitely my number one travel companion. A big thanks to Crellston for all the great tips and giving the time to write in so much detail. I find it difficult to find the time to sit and write, I hope I have helped someone a little.. if not its a good diary of my travels for the future.

Check out the Fodors forums here:

That concludes my journey in Argentins, if you want to see some beautiful places with a deep history and meet some amazing people, I highly reccomend you visit Argentina… Do yourself a favour and plan to spend many months, stay in places for more than a day. Get to know the locals, this is where you really start to learn about the Country and its sad history of bloodshed.

If you have any questions please send me a message, I really hope you have gained something from my writting as I have from reading blogs of others..

Here is a list of places I travelled in Argentina, in order of travel, some places were visited twice due to bus travel. All travel was by bus or taxi, on occasion hitchhiking but it was minimal:

Buenos Aires
Puerto iguazu
San Ignacio
Villa Union
Buenos Aires
El Bolson
Into Chile for 12 days
Porito Moreno
El Chalten
El Calafate
Rio Grande
Rio Gallegos
San Juan
San Juan
San Juan
San Miguel de Tucumán
Tafe Del Valle
La Quiaca
brendensadventures is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2014, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for this Brendan.

One of the great things about travel is realising how lucky we are to be born in a wealthy first world country. And, learning not to sweat the small stuff !

Continue to enjoy !

sartoric is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
South America
Nov 6th, 2017 07:18 AM
South America
Jun 22nd, 2012 04:14 PM
South America
Jul 18th, 2009 08:50 AM
Mexico & Central America
Apr 26th, 2003 06:36 AM
Mexico & Central America
Aug 22nd, 2002 12:22 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -