A Travellerspoint blog

Buenos Aires Take 2

sunny 84 °F
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After a month of hiking around Patagonia I was definitely ready to get back to a real city and some warmer weather. Also my brother and a friend of his were going to be meeting up with me for a couple of weeks so I was excited to see a familiar face.

Buenos Aires is actually a lot more diverse than I initially realized. From the red brick buildings and expensive restaurants of Puerto Madero, to the brightly painted restaurants with live tango shows of Calle Caminito in La Boca, to the bar and club filled Plaza Serrano in Palermo, to the statues and fancy graves of the Recoleta Cementery you really need at least a week to get around to everything. Well, that is if you don´t party til dawn and you manage to wake-up at a decent hour (all of us had a little difficulty balancing the sight-seeing during the day with the Argentinean nightlife schedule- dinner at 10pm, bar til 3am, dance til the sun comes up!!!)

After a very long night of watching break dancers in an empty hip-hop music playing bar and people sweat their bums off at Bahrein night club in the Microcentro I was surprised any of us had the energy to walk around Calle Caminito the following day. The colorful streets and shops along with the costume wearing tango dancers gave Calle Caminito this cartoonish type quality. The three of took some fun pictures with some tango dancers, watched a live tango show, and I even got a little lesson in tango!
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Posted by ReneeL 16:10 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Penguins and Palafitos

Chiloé, Chile

semi-overcast 78 °F
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DSC00179.jpgBesides being beautiful and the beginning of Northern Patagonia, the Island of Chiloè is also known for the colorful houses on wooden stilts that reside in patches along the coast called palafitos. As most of my journey so far has been a series of recommendations, Chiloè was no different.

My first destination in Chiloè was Ancud. My sole reason for spending a night in Ancud was because I had heard that there were penguin colonies you could go visit and I thought it would be really amazing to see penguins in their natural environment, whatever that may be. Unfortunately their natural environment ended up being a rock 10 minutes out to sea and not an iceberg or something more interesting. Not quite what I was expecting, but there were penguins and for twenty bucks I also got to see goats, cows, horses, sheep, some sea otters playing around in the water, and the beautiful Pacific coast of Chiloè.

After my hunt for penguins I headed out to Castro where I stayed in a lovely, newly renovated palafito, which I loved and was recommended by one of the staff members at the hostel in Ancud, called Palafito Hostel. Palafito Hostel was adorable, and probably one of the nicest places I've stayed in so far.

On the day I arrived in Castro the Festival Costumbrista Chilote was going on and it was probably safe to assume that the entire town was there because the rest of the town was pretty much empty. It was explained to me that this was not an event to miss and that I should really go check it out so I did.There were a number of local arts and crafts for sale, and a ton of local food gorgeously displayed everywhere!! It was really difficult to decide what to try - candies, chocolates, pastries, smoothies, empanadas, bbq....just so many choices!!
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Posted by ReneeL 19:30 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

"This is Ushuaia"

Ushuaia, Argentina

all seasons in one day 68 °F
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DSC00225.jpgI think the most incredible part about being in Ushuaia is just saying "I'm at the end of the world!" How's that for a destination!! I even have a stamp in my passport to prove it!

Located at the very tip of Argentina, Ushuaia, pronounced oosh-y-yah, is the southern most city in the world therefore giving it the grand title of "The End of the World." (It's actually somewhat funny to say when you're surrounded by land, I guess I had imagined it a little differently)

The city of Ushuaia itself is actually not that interesting, but the stunning backdrop of the Andes mountains and the vast number of hikes and activities surrounding Ushuaia definitely makes for one incredibly backyard.

During my very active 6 days and 5 nights in Ushuaia I managed to see quite a bit of the surrounding region. My first few days I was lucky enough to catch a bit of nice, yet cool, weather, but my luck seemed to run out on the day I decided to go kayaking in Lago Escondido when it snowed!! When I asked the guide if we were going to be kayaking in the snow his reply was "This is Ushuaia!" Needless to say that was not my favorite day in Ushuaia.

I spent my first full day hiking along the Costera Trail in the Tierra del Fuego National Park with a lovely English couple and a red-headed guy from California I had met. The part of the hike along the the Beagle Canal was incredible. The water was crystal clear and deceivingly inviting. During one part of the hike it almost felt like you had crossed into some magical land...bunnies grazing on the soft green grass, geese waddling around, the sunlight shining perfectly through the clouds, a perfect view of the canal.....it looked like the perfect spot for a little cottage.
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Another really great hike I did that I hadn't originally planned on but was a last minute type of ordeal was to Lago Esmeralda. One of the guys working at the hostel and a Polish girl heading to Antarctica had invited me to join them. My legs, still sore from the 7 or so hours of hiking in the national park the day before, were really begging me to pass on the invitation but in the end I was glad I had decided to go. Despite the muddy and cold shoes at the end of the hike the lake itself was quite rewarding. Lago Esmeralda, I believe, is made from water from the glaciers. You would have to see the lake to really understand how brilliant it looked. The color of the lake was this beautiful pastel, frosty green shade. I heard that the day before an Argentinean guy had jumped into the lake!! He had to be insane because the water was freezing!!!

Posted by ReneeL 11:23 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Who's Idea was it to Hike Volcàn Villarrica?

Hiking One of Chile's Most Active Volcanoes

semi-overcast 58 °F
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Located approximately 807 kilometers south of Santiago, Volcán Villarrica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes. Initially, the 2847m hike up to the summit wasn’t on the agenda. However, easily coerced, I found myself signed up anyway.

I woke-up to clear blue skies and a perfect view of the peak of Volcán Villarrica. Three hours into the hike with a full bladder and a headache from the sun I thought why did I sign up for this again???

With the ice covered summit within reach I miss a step. Sliding down the steep face of Villarrica, belly first, I recall the brief ice pick instructions I had been given. I quickly dig the ice pick into the ice. “Nicely done, and that’s correct use of the ice pick,” our mountain guide said to the group.

If you’re looking to add hiked to the top of an active volcano to your bucket list, this is it.

Posted by ReneeL 18:33 Archived in Chile Tagged mountains hiking chile climbing villarrica active_volcanoes andean_mountain_range Comments (1)

Can I Stay in Pucòn awhile Longer???

Pucón, Chile

semi-overcast 77 °F
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DSC00100.jpgAfter another long, sleepless, overnight bus ride (I'm now 3 for 3 and I'm sure that's just the beginning) I arrived in the small, but charming little village of Pucòn. I immediately just fell in love with the place!! Pucòn is made up of a collection of small, wooden shops, restaurants, tourist offices, and cabins for rent. Think old ski resort town with a German or Swiss twist.

Set in the middle of the Andes and surrounded by lakes it´s no wonder that it´s a popular destination for various outdoor activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, rafting, hiking, etc. You also have a great view of one of Chile's 64 active volcanos, Volcàn Villarrica. Side note- Pucòn´s so popular around this time of year that the ATMs ran out of money!!

After checking into the best hostel thus far, The Tree House (which also turned out to have the most comfortable beds so far), my Canadian friend, who I met in Viña del Mar and is the reason why I made it to this adorable place to begin with, and I rented some mountain bikes and set off on a 48km (30ish miles) bike ride to Lago Caburgua.

Let me just briefly sum up the bike ride- 19km- hilly, rocky, dirt road, 5km- steep road, had to walk here and there because it was too steep for me to ride, 5km- fun ride down the steep road, cars wiz on by and I pray I don´t get hit or slide out on the gravel, 19km- flat road, I beat most of the cars back to Pucòn because of traffic (I secretly cheer as I wiz by them). All in all it took about 3 or so hours to get to the lake and an hour to get back. Oh, and it started to rain during the ride back.

Posted by ReneeL 16:36 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

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