Bariloche, Argentina

In order to get to Bariloche, we decided to take an “easy” 18 hour bus ride from Mendoza. We downloaded a few movies, got to the terminal early and waited to board our 9:30pm bus (scheduled to arrive between 4-5 PM the following day). The following series of events actually happened:
1. Right before going to the bus terminal we were both dealing with “stomach issues”, probably from what we ate the night before.
2. Navigating some of the bus terminals has proven to be somewhat difficult. Most of the time, departure screens are not clear, hundreds of people are going in all directions and a ton of wild dogs roam the terminals. It’s a general state of chaos! Naturally, our bus did not show up until 11 pm. Let me just reiterate: crowds, heat, chaos and thinking you’ve missed your bus do not mix well with having travelers diarrhea! Here’s a pic of what we were dealing with:

3. Just two hours into our ride, the bus breaks down. No notifications or communication from the bus driver whatsoever. We finally learn that we’re waiting for a new bus or someone to fix the motor. While waiting, we fell asleep only to be awoken by angry/hungry mosquitos eating our faces off like zombies!! It’s daylight now and finally leaving. Set back another 4 hours…..perfect. Here’s a pic of Shannon’s face after the carnage:


Once we made it to Bariloche, it was totally worth it.

San Carlos de Bariloche sits at the base of the Andes in the R铆o Negro Province and is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. It’s known for its great skiing, trekking and chocolate! We’ve never seen so many chocolate stores in one area! The architecture of some of the buildings have a European alpine-style to them and at one point was called “Little Switzerland”.




It was such a beautiful place to be, and after all the fun city things we had been doing, we were so excited to get in touch with the nature!

Our plans were to simply get some good hikes in and enjoy the scenery. We were fortunate enough to get an AirBnB host, Carlos, who is really knowledgeable about the area and gave us some tips on what to do and where to go.

Once we figured out the public bus system, we were able to get to some great trail heads. Our first hike was Campanario. It was about an hour straight up. We could have taken the chairlift up but we chose to tough it out. The reward was some of the most beautiful vistas we have ever seen! We were surrounded by the many lakes that make up Bariloche.


The next day we decided to take a day hike. We started a trail head in Parque Municipal Llao Llao. Coincidentally we ran into the same guys that took pictures for us the previous day. We decided to hike together while getting to know each other.


A couple hours into the hike we started to realize that we had somehow veered off course. It was 11:30 PM by the time a bus came by the road that we were walking on. It was dark, we were exhausted AND we had to fight off aggressive stray dogs with our walking sticks! Yes, this actually happened. We walked just over 30 km that day, which was not on the agenda! It was beautiful though…





Because we couldn’t really walk the next day we decided to go kayaking instead of bike riding like we had originally planned. Lago Perito Moreno Oeste was beautiful that day and the water was crystal clear. Just the relaxation we needed. That night we went out with our friends to celebrate one of their birthdays, a nice end to our trip in Bariloche.




Aaaaand…..!!! Lets not forget some of the food we ate in Bariloche…





Next stop, El Calafate!

Mendoza, Argentina 🍷

Mendoza is a lively city nestled in the foothills of the Andes mountains, and it is the capital of the Mendoza province. It is near Aconcagua, one of the seven highest summits in the world and is the place where many climbers stop to prepare for their journey. It’s wine region is world renowned and the city of Mendoza itself is modest, but bustling and full of life.

We stayed at an AirBnB central to some of the city’s most important landmarks and attractions. It was comfortable, our roommates were very friendly, and we also made some animal friends while we were there. The dog’s name is Davidenka (after David Bowie) and the cat was Ovejita (little sheep). They frequently stayed with us in our room and kept us company.

We toured the city on bikes and the tram, we ran in and explored the main park (Parque General San Mart铆n) in the evening where all the locals go for their daily exercise, and of course, we ate some fantastic meals. We had to sample Mendoza’s version of our favorite dish, parrillada, and it did not disappoint.

Argentina is famous for its malbec varieties of wines. You’ll find restaurant menus full of malbecs and they were also the most popular wines for tasting around Mendoza. We went wine tasting in the Maip煤 region just south of Mendoza city, a smaller region that we were able to bike through. Many of the other regions like Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley are much bigger and require expensive tours or car rentals so we had to bypass them because of our budget. Maip煤 was just our speed – beautiful wineries, vineyards and a quirky beer garden (of course!) in the middle of nowhere. Even still, the bike riding through Maip煤 was treacherous in some spots and the distances long. Especially after a few glasses of wine 馃檪 But it was a beautiful day well spent.

We also took another tango class! It was much more technical this time and we learned a lot more “fancy” moves. Our tango skills are really coming along. And Jen, who was resistant to the idea at first, has become a real fan of the tango and is doing quite well! (We have no pictures to share of us doing the tango because we were having too much fun!)

Mendoza was a nice place to relax and also plan more of the next part of our trip. We are heading next to Bariloche, our first stop in Patagonia!

Saying goodbye to Buenos Aires

During our last few days in Buenos Aires, there were a few things we had to check off of our BA bucket list. This included seeing a show that everyone in town was talking about called Fuerza Bruta. It is a very creative, almost Cirque du Soleil style show which includes drums, dramatic acting scenes, high flying aerial shows and even a full size, shallow pool of water suspended over the audience to watch the performers swim and dance overhead. The audience stays standing the whole time and literally becomes part of the show – it was happening all around us. Our jaws hit the floor and stayed there the whole time. We even got soaked with water at several points during the night.


And don’t think we’d leave Buenos Aires without immersing ourselves in some tango culture! We found an awesome “milonga” – an Argentine tango dance hall, which offered tango lessons before the actual milonga started. We were among a group of about 12 beginners also learning tango for the first time. We learned some basic moves, just enough to be able to show our stuff on the dance floor during the milonga afterwards with the pros who knew what they were doing. We had a great time and the atmosphere was very welcoming. Check out these pics from inside the milonga. It’s called La Catedral and is inside of a giant old warehouse with really rustic, funky decor.

Here are a few pics during the milonga – there was even a performer at one point who sang and played the guitar.

A city we’d definitely visit again, Buenos Aires has something for everyone. There’s so much more to see and do that we didn’t have time for, but it’s time to move along on our journey. Next, we head inland towards the Andes mountains to Mendoza, a region known for its fabulous wines…

Trying Out the Gaucho Lifestyle

One of the highlights of Buenos Aires has to be our day trip to a small town called San Antonio de Areco. This city, located on the Areco River, was founded in 1730 and is the center for gaucho (Argentina’s cowboy) culture.

The day started out with a driver, Cesar, picking us up from our apartment and driving about an hour and a half outside of Buenos Aires. He proceeded to tell us of some gaucho culture history and how this area became ground zero for how good beef became a staple here in Argentina.

When we got to town, we were met by our awesome guide Laura. We introduced ourselves over a delicious cup of coffee. She proceeded to take us on a walk through “downtown” and showed us a few interesting places. One of the points she wanted to stress and was very passionate about was the craftsmanship and skill that the people of San Antonio possess.

We visited a silversmith, leather maker, jeweler and a chocolate shop. Everything that they make is by hand. The talent that they have in order to make all their goods is amazing! They pride themselves on their artistry as it’s been passed down from generation to generation.

The next stop was our favorite part of the day – the well known estancia (ranch) named Ombu. This ranch used to be a working ranch but is now a place primarily for tourism. We got to spend time with real gauchos during our horseback ride, had a flavorful lunch (a traditional gaucho style “asado” which is a selection of barbecued meats) and finished with a show by the gauchos. They displayed traditional gaucho methods that were actually taught by the natives of these lands. They use a less aggressive technique which is based on gaining the trust of the horse rather than using physical force.

San Antonio de Areco was definitely one of our best experiences we’ve ever had. We would go back in a heartbeat! Check out our album from the day!

Biking Buenos Aires

Because Buenos Aires is so big, we thought that doing a bike tour around the city would be fun and informative at the same time. We covered many points of interest and learned a lot about Argentina’s oftentimes tumultuous history.

Our guide, Taylor, who happens to be from Colorado, took us through different parts of the city that we would have not otherwise gone to or learned about on our own. He is very passionate about history and helped us all to understand some of Argentina’s past and present.

We travelled from the oldest – and now bohemian – barrio of San Telmo to the newest and most expensive area called Puerto Madero where the likes of Lionel Messi stays when in town.

Throughout our ride, we took photos of some of the most famous sights in BA including Teatro Col贸n, El Obelisco, Floralis Gen茅rica (the giant aluminum and steel hydraulic flower), El Caminito (in La Boca), and of course the famous Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Per贸n lies.

We cruised by the world famous La Bombonera Stadium (the chocolate box) where the Boca Juniors football team plays. The Boca Junior fans are known for being very aggressive – so much so that last year they pepper sprayed the local rivalry, River Plate, and the game had to be suspended! We wanted to go see a game but maybe it’s better that it is off season right now.

We took a nice break midway through the ride where we stopped for a delicious lunch at a food truck in Puerto Madero called Parilla mi Sue帽o. On the menu was a huge pork sandwich called a Bondiola and a sandwich with chorizo that we shared. There were lots of toppings we could choose from including chimichurri sauce which is an Argentina original.

Later that night we met up with our new Aussie friends from the bike tour and went to an awesome show called La Bomba de Tiempo (the time bomb). It includes a whole team of percussionists that follow up to 70 different signs given by a director. It’s all improvised and every show is different!

And what better way to finish off the long day than to have a fine piece of Argentinian steak for dinner. They’re not shy about the serving sizes either! Our group ordered several different cuts of meat and they were all top notch. Argentina knows how to cook a steak!

The bike tour (a first for both of us) proved to be enlightening, fun and we were able to get a workout all at the same time! A day well spent…