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48 Hours in Salta, Argentina

The city of Salta in northern Argentina has beckoned for years. Through the travel grapevine I'd heard it was a must visit city. It wasn't what I expected. Salta is a medium- sized city and absolutely lovely around the town square. And the bird's eye view from the top of the Teleferico is beautiful. But it's noisy. Traffic is bad and the fumes from the cars aren't pleasant. Crossing the street is an exercise in…

Crossing the Andes: Mendoza to Santiago by Bus

Crossing the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago by bus, or vice versa, is a superb way to see some stunning countryside. It's also a heck of a lot cheaper than flying. It's only going to cost you $US20-25 one way for a reserved seat. Buying Bus Tickets We purchased tickets about five days before our departure when we were in the Tucuman bus station from the Andesmar Bus Company. There are many bus companies to…

3 Perfect Days: The Drive from Salta to Tucuman, Argentina

Outstanding. Brilliant. Incredible. Fantastic. Perfect. All adjectives to describe the drive between Salta and Tucuman, Argentina. In fact this drive was another highlight of our recent trip to Chile and Argentina. I'd read reports of other travel bloggers about how wonderful this region is but it has to be seen to be believed. It's only 450 kilometres between Salta and Tucuman but most of that is on rough, dirt roads so the going is slow.…

Chile & Argentina: 18 days, 8 lessons, many photos

Every trip you take teaches you something - whether about yourself, the country you're visiting, the culture or hard topics like the impact of overpopulation or rising food prices. It all depends on what you're open to learning. My recent trip with my husband, John and good friends, Jo and Ted, to northern Chile and Argentina taught me plenty. Here are 8 lessons I learned over 18 days. Interact with the locals whenever possible. Most…

The Argentinian Love Affair with Yerba Mate

I've seen Yerba Mate in the grocery stores and remember reading Che Guevara's biography which had frequent references to drinking it. But it wasn't until I got to Argentina that I discovered what a love affair the people have for this drink. What is Yerba Mate?? It turns out Yerba Mate is the dried leaves and small stems of Ilex paraguarensis, a plant that needs a sub tropical to tropical environment to thrive. It can…

Trepidation, Fear, Awe and Wonder – Volcano Toco, Chile

You can do this, it will be easy, just take one step at a time and breathe deeply! So there we were, Ted and Jo, novice hikers, with world class mountain climbers Leigh and John, in the middle of nowhere - ok it was the Chilean Atacama Desert. Hot beyond belief, sunny and arid (it rained 11 months ago for an hour). Hey while we're staying at this 5 star resort (Tierra Atacama) let's go…

One of the Worlds Great Bus Rides; San Pedro de Atacama to Salta

Our goal while in Chile and Argentina is to move between the two countries using public transport wherever possible. Not only is is much less expensive but its a great way to absorb some of the local flavour. A few days ago we traveled from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to the city of Salta in northern Argentina by bus. I was less keen on this ride, mainly because of its length - 10.5…

The Moon Valley in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Chile's Atacama Desert sits in the northern part of the country; it's one of Chile's three main tourist regions - the others being Patagonia and Easter Island. The Atacama Desert is desolate, dry, forbidding, inhospitable and at first glance you're going to wonder how you're going to find comfort in these surroundings. But the Atacama Desert surprises too. What can you do in the Atacama Desert There is a minimum of a week's worth of…

The Galapagos Islands – An Outdoor Nature Museum

The Galapagos Islands are situated about 970 kilometres (600 miles) west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. They include 13 main islands and six smaller islands and surprisingly to most people they have a population of approximately 30,000 people. Tourism and development continue at a brisk pace although increasingly there are concerns about environmental sustainability. The Galapagos Islands are very different from anywhere else on this planet. Up close and personal encounters on a daily…

Trekking in Peru: A Self-Guided Tour in the Cordillera Blanca

Trekking in Peru is at the top of many a hiker's wishlist. Our self-guided tour of the Cordillera Blanca with two donkeys and a donkey driver was outstanding. Trekking in the Cordillera Blanca on your own is quite doable...if you speak a little Quechua or Spanish. Fortunately in our party of three, one did. Prior to our arrival in Peru we had done some research with the help of the South America Explorers Club. They provided route…

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