A Travellerspoint blog

January 2014

Elephant Seals... this close!

Puerto Madryn, Punta Ninfas

sunny 28 °C

What a whirlwind day! We arrived in Puerto Madryn after our now familiar long overnight bus ride, thinking we'd just chill out for a day, take a daytour around Peninsula Valdez tomorrow and be off. Instead, we arrived around 8am, grabbed some yummy empanadas for breakfast, checked in at our hostel (Chepatagonia, the only one I'd recommend so far) where the very lovely and helpful Maru told us about all the different sites we could see and tours we could do. Our two day itinerary turned into three, and we were out that afternoon to get within three metres of elephant seals. Ultimately, we're not even doing Peninsula Valdez, but a series of trips that get us closer to the animals. If it was a different season Peninsula Valdez would be the main event to see killer whale's feeding or other whales with calfs. Apparently there is some chance we could see the killer whales, but they've only been spotted once in the last 2 weeks, and aren't as frequent this time of year, so we are getting up close and personal with elephant seals, sea lions, penguins and the world's smallest dolphin (if I understood them correctly).

We headed out at 2pm to see the elephant seals, and after an hour and half on a dusty dirt road with the same scenery we'd been watching for several hours before we arrived (see below), we got to Punta Ninfas, and climbed down to the beach where there were several groups of elephant seals lying around (mainly juveniles due to the time of the year and some females). While a little hard to get to, it's a public beach, so you can walk right up to them. Our guide gave us some tips on getting closer without disturbing them, and then just left us to admire them for god knows how long, I could have watched them forever. It must have been a few hours because we didn't arrive back at the hostel until almost 10pm. I think photos are better than words for this one.

A whole lot of this yesterday, today, and for the rest of our trip down to Calafate and El Chalten

Elephant seals!

Posted by Addy21 10:11 Archived in Argentina Tagged elephant seals Comments (0)

How not to do your first day in Buenos Aires

sunny 29 °C

After a 20 hour bus trip, we arrived in BA, to have my bag stolen about 10 minutes after we got there. After realising we didn't have the address for our hostel (rooky mistake) we made our way to the internet cafe where I put my small backpack down between Matt and I. There was no space for someone to get around us, and I have no idea how this guy got to my bag without bowling one of us over. <But, next thing we knew my bag wasn't there anymore and a crappy little black bag was. We then spent the next 3 hours in the police station. So much for our first cruisy day in Buenos Aires.

After that though the day picked up, right near our hostel was the big Sunday market, so we strolled down there for a while checking things out, everything from textiles, to mate gourds, to international adaptors (if we'd known how hard it was going to be to find that anywhere else we would have snatched it up on the spot). On recomendation from our friendly hostel host, we headed down to a park to buy Bandiolas for lunch (giant steak sandwiches) and ended up being treated to a drum show on the steps while we ate. The other upside of getting everything stolen is I now have a pretty good idea of where you can buy almost anything in BA. Unlike Aus they don't do as many shopping centres etc here, but they do seem to have various blocks virtually dedicated to specific stores, for example I can tell you where the electronics, second hand jewellers/gold buyers, hardware, antiques, and much more (yes there was much fruitless wandering while searching for necessary replacements). I have wandered through virtually every neighbourhood around BA, if you exclude the outer suburbs and while we didn't spend a huge amount of time 'doing the sites', I feel like I probably have a much better feel for the place after 6 days than Rio in the same period.

Anyway, here are some random photos. Next update from Peninsula Valdez, Sea Lions, and Orcas, and Seals, Oh my!

Posted by Addy21 09:59 Archived in Argentina Tagged buenos aires Comments (0)

All I can say is Wow!

Iguazu falls

sunny 32 °C

Wow! That's all I can say about the Iguazu falls, just wow! I don't think I can describe the feeling or the enormity of these falls and do them justice. They are right on the border of Argentina and Brazil, so you can go out and see them from both sides. Some people only do one, but they're crazy, both are amazing. The best I can describe the size of these falls is to think of it like looking at a plateau, now just imagine thousands of megalitres of water pouring off the whole thing! That's what you see from the Brazilian side, you really get a sense of the scale. On the Argentinian side you get closer and that's pretty cool, especially walking 1km over the water to look down over the tallest of the waterfalls (yes that's a 1km wide section of river that doesn't even reach the other side). The whole thing is brilliant, the photos don't do it justice but I've added a couple. Oh, and I forgot to mention the butterflies! They were everywhere, I honestly think we saw at least 30 different varieties.

We also went to a great bird park where you got to go into the aviaries with Toucans, Macaws and about 40 other birds I couldn't name if I tried (some photos below). As well as a whole bunch that we couldn't get that close too, like the world's largest variety of eagle. I discovered Matt is a big bird fan, so if you'd like to see a photo of any specific bird we probably have a photo of it.

Bird park photos (have to upload photos of the falls later, all mine were lost in the great bag theft of 2014... see next post)

Posted by Addy21 09:48 Archived in Brazil Tagged birds waterfall Comments (0)


Sun, sand and absolutely no surf

sunny 35 °C

After a bit of a jetlagged/hectic Rio we are now in Paraty, a small coastal town about 200km south of Rio. It’s a beautiful town with (apparently) some of the best Colonial Portugese architecture there is to see. We were expecting gorgeous clear blue waters but as the river mouth is so close to the beach it’s a bit brown. That wouldn’t be so bad but it’s also so hot! The water is like a bath! After chilling at the beach and checking out the old town for a couple of days, yesterday we headed up to some nearby waterfalls. It was gorgeous. We went to one that forms a natural waterslide, it was so much fun! We got some video of us going down the slide (too big to upload unfortunately) but it doesn’t do justice to how fast we were sliding down this thing. After a few goes on the slide (including having some locals hurl me down to really get the speed up), we walked up a bit further and chilled out in a nice cool pool. Great day. Most of our photos of the waterfalls/old town are on Matt's camera so will add them in once I get them onto my computer. Tomorrow we go on a 22 hr bus ride to the Iguazu falls. Eep!


These guys are crazy! This thing was way too high to jump off and the landing area, way too small.

Posted by Addy21 10:35 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Sugarloaf and Christo Redentor

sunny 37 °C


So we’ve finally done some touristing (my blog, so I can make up words if I like). On New Year’s day we headed up to Sugarloaf (Pao do Acucar). After waiting almost 40mins to get the local bus to Urca, we decided to walk, which only ended up taking 20-30mins. After one of the inevitably long queues (Matt likes to say – “come to Rio and stand in a queue”) we got the cable car up the mountain to watch the sunset over Rio - wow what a view!.

The next day, after a trip out to the bus station to buy our tickets to Paraty (another long queue), we decided we were going to skip the queues for the train/vans up to Christo Redentor and hike it instead. Phew! It wasn’t all that far but it was incredibly steep for about ¾ of the hike. At one point there is even a chain to help you get up an almost vertical section of rock! It was hard but very rewarding. In fact I think we both would have been a bit disappointed with the whole day if we’d waited in the 2 hr + queue to get up to see the statue (and another equally long queue to get back down). While the statue is big and a bit of a symbol of Rio, it’s actually not really that exciting or inspiring to see up close. If there was anywhere in Rio we could have seen it a bit closer without going up, we probably would have saved ourselves the R$32 entrance fee. The hike was great though, we saw monkeys on the way up and back down, and felt pretty pleased with ourselves when we made it to the top.

Posted by Addy21 10:07 Archived in Brazil Tagged hiking Comments (0)

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