This is the place I will cover the stats of each country as we go.
As usual, follow along at:
Anyway, let's get into it:
Argentina: 18/2/23 - 19/3/23
- Auckland --> Buenos Aires = 10,334 km
- Buenos Aires --> Ushuaia = 2,381 km
- Ushuaia --> El Calafate = 568 km
- El Calafate --> Buenos Aires --> Bariloche = 2069 + 1337 = 3406 km
- Bariloche –> Mendoza = 947 km
- Mendoza --> Salta = 941 km
- Bus: El Calafate --> El Chalten --> El Calafate = 418 km
- Minibus: Salta --> Salinas Grandes --> Salta = 440km
- Other random mini-bus tours and cab rides = about 200km
- Between the Lago del Desierto and Perito Moreno Glacier boats = only about 5km
Total = about 19,853km
Rough rules: I will count the flight (or bus) TO that country as an expense IN that country.
Will make up other rules along the way.
Total expense: $11,345.33 AUD
Total Days: 30 Days inclusive
Expense per day = $378.18 AUD/Day
Expenses Breakdown (mathematical, not emotional):
Lots more 'Influencers' in Argentina. Young Argentinians are constantly on their phones, be it for Whatsapp or Instagram. At many of the more touristic places we visited in Argentina we were mostly visiting with other Argentinians travelling domestically.
I will send along a full explanation of Travel Bingo another time. Use your imagination.
- 'Mountain of Storms - A Legendary Road Trip'
This is a classic movie of the founder of Patagonia with some mates driving south down South America to go and climb Fitz Roy.
And the whole movie is free on Youtube to watch.
- 'Patagonia Documentary'
Then this, again free on Youtube, for the nature of Patagonia.
Culinary Corner by a Non-Foodie:
- The coffee is generally not good (I hate myself. Am I a coffee snob now...?). There is often a lot of powdered or long life milk being used over fresh milk. Unfortunately I think this might be a reflection of the domestic dairy industry (and agricultural industry as a whole). The 'milk' tends to be heated until the steaming wand is screeching and the temperature is that of Mordor - there are no Melbourne hipsters lovingly caressing a milk jug to perfect froth and temperature.
- Not exactly food but service is generally ordinary. It can easily take half an hour to get the bill after you ask for it. Unfortunately, again, I think this could be a reflection of the economy as a whole - inflation is closing in on 120% annually in Argentina. The pesos people are being paid are becoming worthless. Why work hard...?
- Groceries are of reasonable quality but can be difficult to find - you need to hunt through aisles of cooking oil to find the tiny shelf-space of eggs.
- The meat is fine - I think there is some romanticism of the quality of Argentinian beef. Again, I'm Australian.
- Anyone telling you that Argentina has pizza and pasta akin to that of Italy is lying - again, just romanticising. The quality is fine.
- One can live of empanadas indefinitely - they are awesome.
Tips and Tricks:
- TravelSpend - get the app, document your expenses. What gets measured gets managed
- Currency App - absolutely essential for dealing with currency conversions in Argentina
- Google Maps - download offline maps for wherever you are heading
- Google Translate - download the langauge of the country you are in, particularly useful for menus; and you scan things with the camer for live translation
- Use Kayak to search for flights - it is almost an aggregator of aggregators
- Then download whichever sub-aggregator like Mytrip or Kiwi.com you purchased the tickets through to get your boarding passes
- Then eventually you may just need to go directly to Aerolineas Argentinas for your boarding pass...
- Yes, I realise this is not that efficient, but agregators like Kayak are the best way to find the best flights for the best price
- Use Rome2Rio and BusBud to search for bus travel - buses do actually work pretty well in South America
- Use AirBnB and Booking.com for accomodation - Booking.com is growing in this space and encroaching on AirBnB's turf - with less ridiculous "clean the whole house prior to checkout" obligations
- Use a credit card on the Visa network with no ATM fees - ING worked well for me. You will get the 'Blue Dollar' rate for the currency conversion and dodge the ATM fees - because you will constantly be witdrawing money - its a cash economy unfortunately. More on this here - ‘Hacking’ Argentina’s Currency Woes for Cheap Travel
- Warning - ING doesn't give you endless ATM fee-free withdrawals - I think it something like the frst 5 of the month. So just make as big a withdrawals as you can.
- Bring lots of USD - the exchange rate is extremely generous on the blue dollar rate.
- Buenos Aires - the suburb of Recoleta is fancy and central; Palermo is trendy; walk around and tour the cafes and leafy streets.
- Ushuaia - Avenida San Martin is the central street; be wary that this place can be galeforce freezing when walking home if you want to stay further out; Ana y Juana was the best coffee we had in Argentina.
- El Chalten - No suburb recommendations, the town is tiny. Go for a walk, it is amazing, that's the only reason you go to El Chalten - literally.
- El Calafate - Really only need two days here; you go to the Perito Moreno Glacier and that's it.
- Bariloche - Again, only need two days here (it is not the Switzerland of Argentina); eat at Papagoonia.
- Mendoza - Plaza Indepencia is your marker for the nice area to stay. It's a bit of a wine town, otherwise not actually that touristic; go and walk in the massive park.
- Salta - Is beautiful; the day trips out from the town are very long days; the town itself is very pretty.
- The place is massive, with drastically varying climates and terrain. Being Australian, it is one of the first places I have ever been to that I get the similar feeling of being in a huge country.
- Don't take buses if you can avoid it - the place is too big and 40 hour bus rides are akin to torture.
- Bariloche is not comparable to Switzerland (even though that is exactly how it is introduced on every travel site) - it seems to be more popular with domestic tourism.
- The people are affectionate and friendly. Almost universally. Kisses and hugs are the normal between males, females, friends and acquaintances. There is always good music playing.
- There is significant financial and political strain brewing - Inflation is about 120% annually and half the country was without power (some areas for many days) for a period while I was there - so, those wishing to visit Argentina are probably in for some cheap travel...unfortunately.
- Unfortunately, again, I felt there was a sense of apathy - why work hard when the Pesos I am paid today are worth 8% less by next month - When my rent will be double by next year - Money is worthless - It's just a number - Why bother. Again, just a feeling, a vibe, a sentiment - I'm not an economist.
- There is an undercurrent of obsession with national mythology and patriotism.
- There seems to be a divide between the young and old with respect to political issues - lots (read lots) of middle-aged to older Argentinians actually believe that the Falklands are Argentinian - and they are completely butthurt over the fact that they lost to the British. More on this in a separate piece about Argentina coming soon...
- The Argentinian God is a man who kicks a ball. And Maradonna is an angel Messi could actually be more important than the Abrahamic God - but neither will help Argentinians pay their rent.
Thanks for reading along.
The next country update will come... after the next country.
Weekly updates will come...weekly.
And specifically for Argentina, I am writing up my thoughts on some peculiarly Argentine obsessions for a separate piece.