On the seventh of February, from Ushuaia at the very bottom of Argentina, I flew three hours north to Buenos Aires. The next day I caught a bus to La Quiaca, Jujuy Province, a town bordering Bolivia at the very top of the country. Carnival in Bolivia was calling!
The Balut bus took 31 hours to reach La Quiaca as rain, blocked roads and the Andes mountains took their toll. The Andes may have slowed the journey but they also provided stunning views.
A diversion caused by a blocked road in northern Argentina
A disused railway line next to a swollen river and an Andes mountain rangeContinue reading →
In early February, I flew from El Calafate to Ushuaia in row one, my first time up the front of the plane in many years. Aerolineas’ Premium Economy tickets were similarly priced* to Economy so it was an obvious decision to make.
*Argentina has a two-tier flight ticket pricing policy with non-residents paying higher prices for Economy class.
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and a major gateway for cruise ships and research vessels to the Antarctica. Ushuaia is also the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province.
From Ushuaia there is a fairly standard Beagle Channel day cruise offered by many boats to bird, penguin and seal colonies. One morning I walked to the harbour, chose a boat, bought my ticket and jumped on board. Despite being so far south, the weather out of the wind was quite pleasant.
The Beagle Channel divides Argentina and Chile and the Chilean coast was visible for much of the trip including Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world.
The highlight of my visit to El Calafate in January/February this year and, indeed, one of the absolute highlights of my trip, was seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. The glacier’s awesomeness cannot be overstated. The mild and sunny weather on both days I visited accentuated the experience.
According to Wikipedia, a glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. Perito Moreno’s movement slowly pushes it against the land, causing various sized pieces of ice to fall off regularly. I was lucky enough to witness and record a giant ~50 metre high slab falling off the glacier (see video below). Every four or five years a bridge forms in the ice and crashes down even more spectacularly. The bridge last ruptured on 10 March, more than a month after I visited.
From Bariloche I took a 27 hour Marga late January bus ride south to El Calafate. For much of the ride I was the only person in the lower, more expensive cama level. The scenery varied throughout with the most interesting being between Bariloche to El Bolson and El Chalten to El Calafate. The food provided on the bus looked very average and I didn’t even bother unwrapping it. On a poignant note, Marga was also the nickname of my dearly departed maternal grandmother, adding extra meaning to the ride.
The highlight of a visit to El Calafate is seeing Perito Moreno Glacier and my two visits to the glacier are covered in a separate blog post.
In January I flew south from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, a picturesque town in northern Patagonia. Bariloche is place of lakes, mountains, chocolate, ice cream, berries and inappropriate signs (for anyone fluent in English).
Inappropriate sign # 1: Salon Cultural de Usos Multiples (SCUM) approximately translates to Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre. I’m sure most people who use it are not scum
Bariloche is located next to the navigable freshwater Nahuel Huapi Lake. In fact, the region is full of freshwater lakesContinue reading →