A Travellerspoint blog

Argentina

Hiking, hiking, hiking

El Chalten

overcast 9 °C

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Our next stop was the only town inside Los Glacieres national park, El Chalten, which we were very surprised to discover was only 28 years old. The main sights are Fitzroy and El Torre (mountains), neither of which we got to see up close due to the weather, but thems the breaks. We arrived from Calafate and decided to take it pretty easy for the first day and just relaxed around the hostel... Matt napped and I read, very pleasant. The next day we did our first big hike, 9 hours. Maybe should have started a bit smaller. We hiked up to an area with a glacier and on a clear day a view of El Torre. The glacier was pretty cool as were several of the sights along the way but the cloud meant El Torre wasn't visible. We got back completely stuffed and seriously questioning the wisdom of our plans to hike like demons for the next 8 days (including the W). The next day we were somewhat recovered, but decided to take it a bit easier as it was once again cloudy and Fitzroy was nowhere to be seen. We hiked up to a really pretty lake, about a 4 hour round trip and enjoyed the warmth and food at the hostel again.

We finally got a sunny day on the day we had to leave, we didn't have quite enough time to attempt the hikes to see Fitzroy up close, but did a shorter hike that gave us some brilliant views of a family of condors that called the area home, as well as both El Torre and Fitzroy from a distance. In some ways it was probably the nicest hike of the lot and was a nice and easy 3 hours. Next stop Puerto Natales and the W... Eep!

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Posted by Addy21 13:03 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Glacier Perrito Moreno

Calafate

overcast 8 °C

After another 20 odd hour bus trip we are officially pros. By pros, I mean we feel like crying at the mention of the word bus, but we got there and that's what counts. Calafate was quite a nice little town right next to a lake which was very pretty, we stayed in what Matt likes to call a ¨backpacker factory¨with 50 rooms, but it was fun to meet people who had just done what we were planning and exchange tips.

We took the typical tourist bus out to the glacier, and then spent almost 5 hours wandering around the glacier. It was a spectacular sight. It was huge, reaching back further than we could see with the little bit of cloud that was around, and so blue, it was amazing. Each face was different and you could spend hours just staring at it. Apparently, it´s quite an active glacier and we were lucky enough to see a few chunks break off, I couldn't believe how loud it was, even for the smallish chunks we saw come off, the crack was unbelievable! A few years ago a whole section broke off, I can't imagine what that would have been like, down right scary most likely.

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Posted by Addy21 16:16 Archived in Argentina Tagged glacier Comments (0)

Kayaking with Sealions...

...playing with dolphins and wandering with penguins

sunny 26 °C

On the second day of our whirlwind tour of Puerto Madryn we got up bright and early to go kayaking with Sealions. It was brilliant! Matt and I shared a two man kayak and after some teething problems worked quite well as a dynamic duo. The trip was brilliant. We were right up close to the sea lions, I mean this close.
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It was a bit disconcerting at first as the guide had mentioned that on occasion they tried to jump up onto the kayaks and could tip them over. The males also look pretty bloody big when they're right next to you in the water. After a while you got into the rythym though and it was just magical. At one stage Matt and I were only about 2 metres from one of the colonies and a few of the curious females decided to play around us for a while and check us out. I could have patted one if I was quick (and brave) enough. Just amazing!
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Day three was all about dolphins and penguins. The bus trip down to Punto Tombo (Penguin colony) was a little grueling but well worth it. After a couple of hours we stopped near Trelew to see the world's smallest dolphins, they are black and white, and look a little like very miniature killer whales, and they're so fast! We jumped on a speed boat to see them, and they kept up and played along with us almost the whole time, jumping in the waves created by the boat and zooming around and under us. I wished we could have stayed for longer.
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Next we were off to see the penguins at a massive colony at Punto Tombo. There were so many of them and they wander right across your path, very cute! It was only a few months after breeding season so we saw babies and adults, and in some ways the countryside was almost as beautiful, deep reds, greens, greys, blues and yellows. I don't think the photos will do it justice but it was pretty cool. Even filmed our own mini march of the penguins up from the beach.
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Posted by Addy21 16:15 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Elephant Seals... this close!

Puerto Madryn, Punta Ninfas

sunny 28 °C

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

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