My New Year’s Resolution was to start blogging about my trips again….and now it’s February 17th and here I am, writing my first post since last summer! Better late than never, right?
In all fairness, I was a little busy buying a house….
and GETTING MARRIED!
Photo Credit: Jackalope Photography
But now that life has settled down and it’s cold outside, I don’t want to leave my house. So it seems like a good time to start blogging again! I know I’m WAY past due on a South Korea post, but I’m going to start with something a little more recent (and therefore easier to reconstruct memories of) – PATAGONIA!
Andrew and I had been talking about going to Patagonia for a long time. With the money and time required to get there, it hadn’t been a reasonable trip for us. However, a honeymoon seemed like a perfect opportunity to splurge and cross this off our bucket list.
Patagonia is the perfect place for an adventurous honeymoon
If you know me, you know I LOVE planning my own trips. I can lose track of time reading travel blogs, recommendations, and reviews and sometimes forget to plan time to just simply relax while on a vacation. This time was a little different though. First of all, we had so much other stuff going on in our lives that it was hard to find the necessary time to dedicate to planning a trip like Patagonia. Second, planning travel in Patagonia is …hard! There are so many different locations and sites and the logistics on how to get there aren’t always easily found online. So, we decided to go with a travel agent to make things easier for us.
We used Class Adventure Travel. I used them a few years ago with a friend to book a trip to Peru, so I knew I could trust them. Andrew and I were still very involved in crafting the perfect itinerary and making sure we hit all the things we wanted to see, but they took care of all the actual booking and logistics and it was GLORIOUS!
We went to both Argentina and Chile over the course of 2 weeks. In this post, I’ll focus on our Argentina adventures.
We started our trip with a few nights in Buenos Aires. I highly recommend this because not only is Buenos Aires beautiful, but it also gave us a couple of days to get our bearings before heading into Patagonia.
People in Buenos Aires refer to their city as the ‘Paris of South America’
We stayed in the Palermo area, which was really nice and within walking distance to pretty much everything we wanted to see while we were there. On our first day, we did a City Center tour through Free Walks – Buenos Aires. For those of you who aren’t familiar with walking tours, they are free to join, but the guides do rely on tips so be sure to bring cash to thank them for the experience! On this tour, we got more acquainted with the area and saw important sites like Congress and the Pink Government house.
By the way, it was late spring/early summer when we were there in late November, so the weather was perfect!
The next morning, we again took advantage of a tour offered through Free Walks – Recoleta. We saw and learned a lot on this tour, including about the Argentine economy and people’s distrust of banks, but the main highlight was of course the Recoleta cemetary. It was so much cooler than I expected!
You could get lost in this maze of a cemetery wandering through all the above-ground graves.
Argentina is known for their meat, specifically steak. Parrillas are Argentine steakhouses. We went to a couple, but our favorite steak meal by far was the one we had at Steaks by Luis. This was a private dining experience with 8 other people visiting Argentina from all around the world. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and made to feel at home. We learned all about the different cuts of meat and got to watch them cook our steaks over the open flame. It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had (the unlimited wine may have helped 😉 )
I’m getting hungry just looking at these pictures again.
We kept seeing a lot of pizza restaurants which we thought was unusual, but then our guide told us that Argentina claims to have the best pizza in the world. We went to Pizzeria Guerrin to check it out for ourselves. While I certainly don’t regret doing it, I also wouldn’t label it a ‘must-do’ while in Buenos Aires.
In general, it was cheesier than your typical pizza (which isn’t a bad thing!)
Buenos Aires is also known for their street art. You can pay for a street art tour if you are so inclined, or you can wander around and find it yourself, which is what we did. I’m sure the stories behind them would have been great to learn, but this was good for us given our time constraints and budget.
From Buenos Aires, we made our way to….
Ushuaia (I still pronounce this wrong 9 out of 10 times) is referred to as ‘the end of the world’. It is the southernmost city in the world, and it is a common starting point for trips to Antarctica.
Flying into Ushuaia – we felt like we were entering another world.
We only had 2 full days here, but we made the most of our time. The first day, we did a group excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park. This included a ride on the ‘end of the world train’. The history behind the train was incredibly interesting: there was a big prison in Ushuaia, and the train was used to transport the prisoners out to cut down trees. Unfortunately, our experience on the train was a little disappointing.
I assume this would have been great if the weather was better, but our views were mostly filled with fog!
The train dropped us off at the entrance to the national park. From here, we were supposed to meet up with our tour group to drive around to hit some of the main sites and then return to the city. After begging and signing our life away on a sheet of paper, our tour guide agreed to let us separate from the group so we could hike on our own. She told us where we needed to go to catch a bus back to town, and we were off!
We had a really hard time finding information about the park online, so I took a picture of the map we were given on our tour and swore to post it online for the good of the world. So, you’re welcome, world! We did the coast hike (number 2 on the map).
Luckily the fog cleared for our hike along the coast so we were able to see some beautiful views!
Our tour guide was so cute and called our hotel that night to make sure we made it back okay!
That night, we went to dinner at Maria Lola. It was delicious and had beautiful views, so I highly recommend making a reservation. Unsurprisingly, Ushuaia is known for seafood and I got an amazing seafood pasta here.
People in Argentina eat dinner very late. You will rarely see them out for dinner before 8:00. We usually made dinner reservations right at 8:00 to ‘fit in’ and still be done at a reasonable time. Also, since we were so far south, the sun stayed up until around 10:00 PM. This picture was taken after dinner at around 9:30 PM.
The next day, we did a tour on the Beagle Channel to see penguins and sea lions. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
We spent our last night eating king crab at El Viejo Marino.
King crab baked in cheese…YUM! By the way, pretty sure this happened to be our Thanksgiving meal.
After we landed in El Calafate, we wandered around the town and got empanadas and wine for lunch.
You know you’re on vacation when you have wine with lunch.
We rested up and prepared for our next days of explorations.
We did a full-day excursion to Perito Moreno glacier. This glacier isn’t even the biggest one in Glacier National Park, but it is still bigger than the city of Buenos Aires! We strapped on our crampons and hiked on the glacier, stopping a few times to fill up our water bottles with the glacier water.
We ended the hike with whiskey served with glacier ice – a great finishing touch.
We ate lunch while facing the glacier. Everyone waited in anticipation of hearing those loud ‘cracks’ to let you know a chunk of ice was about to fall off. It was really amazing to see this!
Our second day in El Calafate was supposed to be our ‘rest day’, but we did the total opposite. We realized that in planning our itinerary, we had left out El Chalten, which is one of the most iconic hikes in Patagonia! We wandered into a travel agency in town and booked a bus trip for the next day to take us to El Chalten. It was SO worth it.
El Chalten was a great way to end our time in Argentina!
Stay tuned for the post on the second half of our trip in Chile!