San Pedro de Atacama and around

posted in: Chile, South America | 2

San Pedro de Atacama is one of the most visited towns in Chile due to its proximity with the Atacama desert. The town is also the main departure and arrival point for the many tours into/from the Uyuni desert in Bolivia, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. This being said, you can understand that visiting San Pedro de Atacama isn’t a cheap. It’s however a destination that should be on everyone’s list.

Few “budget” backpackers decide to no visit the surroundings of San Pedro de Atacama as the sights such as geysers and highland lagunas can also be seen on the Bolivian side, as part of the Uyuni tour. Well aware of this, we still made the choice to visit a few places on the Chilean side. We didn’t mind much doubling up on visits to natural wonders that can’t be seen anywhere else. We were not disappointed. Continued

Understand the Booking System of Torres Del Paine

When you look into hiking Torres del Paine you find the names of Fantastico Sur, Vertice and Conaf and notice how messy it is going to be. At first everything seem really complicated as those 3 organizations are ran independently and manage different parts of the park. To book your stay in the park, you therefore have to jump from one website to another and plan accordingly to each one’s availability.

Let’s be honest, it is an absolute mind-boggling nightmare so before you start anything we will explain you the differences and will give you our tips and advice. Continued

A Detour To La Serena and Pisco Elqui

posted in: Chile, South America | 0

Planning on heading north from Santiago or Valparaiso to San Pedro de Atacama? A good way to break up the long 18 hour bus journey is to stop off by the sea-side town of La Serena. A 7 hour overnight bus from Valparaiso and 11 hours from San Pedro de Atacama, La Serena is a popular Chilean getaway beach town. We used this stop as a detour to spend some time by the beach and to try some of the national drink, Pisco, in the valley that it is made.

Continued

Easter Island, A Self Guided Tour

posted in: Chile, South America | 1

Landing on Easter island we reach another level of “the middle of nowhere”… This small dot in the Pacific Ocean is the most remote piece of inhabited land on earth. For years the mysteries of the island have intrigued us, so we made it a must see while traveling South America. It’s simple, to get to this Chilean island, it required to cross at least 3500 km of sea from either the South American continent, Polynesia or New Zealand. No wonder the island is renown for its mysterious culture and history that involves a collapsed civilisation, toppled statues and bird-man stories.

In this article, we will take you on a 5-day journey across this tropical island that we explored by car, bike and on foot for just above €600 each, flights included. Let’s go!

Continued

Hitch-Hicking Patagonia Like A Boss!

Patagonia is the ultimate travel destination, but the long distances don’t exactly offer affordable transportation. The journeys are long and depending on the time of the year can be completely unreliable. For many, the most budget friendly and fun option is to hitch-hike north or south. So how do you make sure to catch a ride, safely and quickly? These are the tips we would like to share with you from our experiences hitch-hiking through the Argentinean and Chilean sides of Patagonia. Continued

Valparaiso, Chile’s Most Colourful City

posted in: Chile, South America | 0

Only a short bus journey from Santiago, the port town of Valparaiso takes street art to a different level. Formerly the most important city in Chile due to its strategic location for sailing around the continent of South America. The city diminished with the opening of the Panama Canal and an easier route through the Americas.

As a result of this decline, Valparaiso was thought of as unsafe for a long time. However, the graffitied streets are now home to university students, artists and the scene that goes with them. Here is what you can expect while spending a few days in Chile’s most colourful city.

Continued

A City Guide To Santiago, Chile

posted in: Chile, South America | 6

Santiago is the capital of Chile and has over a third of the country’s population. There is not much denying it, Santiago is big and busy. It is not the prettiest city in Chile and if you don’t keep your wits about you it has the potential for petty crime.

For backpackers the city will mainly act as the beginning or end of the South American adventure or, like us, it is the first taste of city life after spending months trekking through Patagonia. So, if you are starting or ending your trip or if you are in need of some life again, this is our guide for a couple of days in Santiago.

Continued

Cycling The Colchalgua Valley & Wine Tasting

posted in: Chile, South America | 0

The wine in South America can often be summarised to the famous Argentinian Malbec and the usual Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite Argentina being one of the world’s largest wine-producing countries and offering an opportunity to visit many world class wineries, we decided to skip the Mendoza region and instead focus on Chilean wine. Our first stop would be the town of Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley, 2 hours south of Chile’s capital Santiago, where we would have the opportunity to cycle around the wineries but also to taste one of our favorite wines: Carménère.

The Colchagua Valley is not a main tourist destination for backpackers and can definitely be defined as off the beaten track of the Chilean gringo trail. This makes it a great place to spend a couple of days, relaxing and sampling the local wines. Here’s a secret…it is also much more affordable than Mendoza! In fact it seems to be such a secret that we only noticed 4 other tourists during our 3 days visit.

Continued

Argentina

One Month Backpacking In Argentina

posted in: Argentina, South America | 3

As part of our tour of South America we spent in total 28 days traveling through the gigantic country of Argentina. We even crossed the border 10 times, filling up the pages of our passport with so many entrance and exit stamps!

Since Argentina has been hit by inflation for the past couple of years, it is quite tricky to travel in Argentina with a backpacker’s budget. However, it would be a shame to let the financial part take away the dream of visiting the incredible and diverse landscapes.


Through our articles we are taking you from the lush forests of Iguazu Falls, the Jesuit Ruins in the Missiones Region and the colourful capital, Buenos Aires. Before heading to El Calafate and its famous glacier Perito Moreno, we will stop at the Peninsula Valdes in the search of penguins and orcas, and will finish our tour in El Chalten and Bariloche for some of the most beautiful hikes in South America.

We invite you to check out the below video, a summary of our trip in Argentina, and all the articles we wrote about the country. If you have any question or comments, feel free to reach out.

 


All the articles :


The Mighty Iguazu falls

First and foremost, the falls are located on both sides of the Brazilian / Argentinian border. The reason some people think the Argentinian park is better than the Brazilian side, is not just because the park is bigger, it’s because for most of the falls you are able to get right up in front or beside them. It is truly incredible and one of the few times the word ‘awesome’ can be used correctly.

To discover more about the falls, read the full article.


The Refuge of Guira Oga

The Missiones region of Argentina covers more than 29,000 km². It is surrounded to the north by Brazil, to the west by Paraguay and to the east by Uruguay. The area, which has suffered heavy forest loss with the establishment of agriculture, is now protected in 11 different forms (national parks, nature reserves, provincial parks, etc.). The tropical forest that covers the rest of Missiones is rich in its biological diversity and the many endemic species that inhabit it. However, they are still in danger due to unmeasured and illegal deforestation, resulting in the loss of their habitat.

Want to learn more about the animal shelter and the wildlife of the Missiones region ? It’s this way.


The Jesuit missions of San Ignacio Mini :

To understand more about the Jesuit missions in Argentina and Paraguay we have visited two “reductions” in both countries. We decided to do a tour by night in San Ignacio Mini, which gave us the opportunity to learn through a very interesting light and sound show about the Guaranis people, their culture and the establishment of missions to convert them to Catholicism. It is something different from the normal guided tours.

Want to learn more about the Guaranis and Jesuit Missions ? Follow this link.


The “Murgas” of Buenos Aires :

A “Murga” is a percussion-based rhythm that is usually played live in the streets during the month of Carnival. Contrary to the Uruguayan Cadombe, the Murga is sang and the lyrics usually criticise corrupt politicians and is used as a popular resistance. Due to their political past, murgas are very popular in Uruguay and Argentina. While carnival is a show in some countries, it is viewed as a street performance in the others, which explains why we only have seen murgas in Argentina.

Want to see a video of the Argentinian Murgas ? Here you go…


The capital of Argentina : Buenos Aires

5 days in Buenos Aires and many reasons to go back. Make sure to check out this article to read (and see photos) about empanadas, parrillas, the chhhchhh accent and the best place to learn tango… Here you go, 20 reasons to enjoy Buenos Aires. hope you enjoy


1,000,000  Penguins !

During the breeding season, about one million Magellanic penguins have migrated to Punta Tombo, drawn to the area by an unusual abundance of sardines and anchovies. This species, classified as endangered arrives in September to give birth to their chicks and raise them until migrating back north toward Brazil in March. As we visited in February we had the chance to witness their clumsiness and cuteness!

For the thousands penguin photo, it’s this way.


Looking for Orcas at the Peninsula Valdes

Orcas, also called Killer Whales for their taste of whales calves, can be seen multiple times during the year along the coast of Argentina and the Peninsula Valdes. However, they more regularly visit the area between February and April, which makes it the best time of the year to witness an stranding on the beach as these 3 months coincide with the seal pup season, a delight for these delphines.

We unfortunately haven’t any that day, but shared pictures and text about the fantastic area, in this article.


Bryn Gwyn Palaentology Park

As we headed to Gaiman to visit the desert, called “Bryn Gwyn” (White Hill in Welsh), which was once part of the Atlantic Ocean, we stopped for a bit to witness a solar eclipse.

To see more, click here.


Welsh Tea in Patagonia

Imagine the prospect of an Irish man faced with all you can eat cake and all you can drink tea, real tea! Welcome to Gaiman, a town forever immortalised through the classic book by Bruce Chatwin, “In Patagonia”, who entertained generations with his stories of a Welsh settled village which still embraced the customs, food and singing cultures of their ancestors from the valleys.

Read more


MEF : Dinosaurs of Trelew

In 2011, a farmer reported to the MEF (Paleontological Museum Egidio Feruglio) the discovery of bones about 260 km from the city of Trelew, in the province of Chubut, Argentina. The palaeontologists in charge of the discovery, extracted, protected and transported what looked like to be one of the biggest fossilised bones ever found.

To see these fossils, follow this link


El Calafate & Perito Moreno Glacier

El Calafate is a small town in the far end of Argentina on the west side of Patagonia. Famous for its proximity with the glacier “Perito Moreno”, El Calafate got its name from a shrub producing berries, that look like blueberries, and from which locals make tasty pies, jams and liquors.

To see the incredible photos of the glacier, it’s this way.


El Chalten & Mount Fitz Roy

Nestled between the mountains, a 3 hour drive north of El Calafate, the town of El Chalten was set up by climbers as a basecamp for their ascents of Mount Fitz Roy and its surrounding peaks.  Years have passed and what was once an empty little town is now considered “the trekking capital” of Argentina.  Still remote, the town is now filled with hotels, hostels, campsites and restaurants catering for ambitious climbers and holiday day hikers.

For more, click here.


Bariloche on a budget

Motivated for some more hike or extreme sports? Bariloche will welcome you any time of the year with great skying opportunity, multiple levels of hikes, gorgeous lakes and of course excellent chocolate ! But Bariloche can be a pricey destination. We share with you our tips to make your stay enjoyable and affordable.

Follow this link


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