Our trip started with a bang! The adventures in Puerto Natales and El Calafate were amazing, and we were super lucky to start the trip with Sol and Travis. Right now it feels like this trip could be almost a normal vacation for us. The days have been filled with activities, and we’ve moved around to three different locations in ten days. We’ve done two-week trips like this before, trying to see as much as possible in a short period of time and we’ve even done them with friends, so in some ways this is a “normal” trip.
A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.
Sign in a hostel… actually by Tim Cahill
Alas, all good things must come to an end, Sol and Travis are leaving us :`-( This is our first time doing a vacation with Sol and Travis, and I must say we’d happily do it again. Without them we’re about to shift into a new mode of travel. We’re settling in for the next few months in South America and this is where the new adventure starts.
The next spot with Sol and Travis is Buenos Aires! All 4 of us had the same flight from El Calafate to Buenos Aires. We landed at 11PM Wednesday, which had us wandering around looking for food at midnight. Fortunately BsAs is a city that (like New York) never sleeps. After a little bit of wandering past convenience stores and bars that weren’t serving we found a spot to grab some sandwiches just on the other side of our block! A quick bite and bed was all we could do.
Today we are taking a boat trip on Lake Argentina to see a few other glaciers that come off the Patagonian ice field. The boat is a large catamaran with a couple outdoor decks and an inside section with big viewing windows. It is very windy on the upper deck, so we spend most of our time inside – a lot of it playing Tichu. The views from the boat are spectacular – mountains everywhere with the beautiful turquoise water of the lake. Along the way we encounter blue icebergs just floating in the lake.
On day two, we met our tour group at the office of Hielo y Aventura for mini-trekking on Perito Moreno glacier. The bus drove us to the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares where we got on a boat to travel to the glacier. The entrance fee is 700 pesos ($19) per person, but you get a 50% discount off the second day if you pay for two days up front. Since we are coming back into the park tomorrow, that works for us.
The ride out to the glacier is about twenty minutes and the view out the window as the glacier comes into focus is spectacular. We have definitely never seen anything like this before.
At 7:20am, we were picked up at our hostel in a funny-looking, bright yellow bus that resembled a cross between a dump truck and a school bus. We were headed to El Chaltén, which means “mountain of smoke” in the native language, to hike. El Chaltén is about 215km from El Calafate and it took us nearly four hours to get there with a few stops along the way.
The first stop was for a view of Lake Viedma, which is technically the smaller of the two lakes in the area if you count the arms of Lake Argentina although Viedma definitely looks bigger on the map.
After a six-and-a-half hour bus ride from Puerto Natales to El Calafate, including a one hour process to leave Chile and twenty minutes to enter Argentina, we arrived in El Calafate at 2pm. Sol and Travis kindly tried to pick us up with a welcome sign at the bus terminal, but we were early and they were late, so we missed each other entirely. Only a brief stop for coffee at the hotel on our way out again delayed us enough to connect with them. Since we can each only communicate when we have WiFi, finding each other once we were out and about might have been a bit tricky.
Puerto Natales was the first place Eric and I saw dogs chase cars in real life. They do it in El Calafate too. The dogs stand in the road as the cars come by and bark and try to bite at the tires. The first time you see it, it seems certain the dog will be run over, but pretty soon you see they have this game figured out, and they love it.
We have set ourselves a minimum goal for both showers and blog posts of one per week. Some weeks, we will have lots of adventures, and blog posts (and showers) may be more frequent. In those cases, the limiting factor is time and access to WiFi, so we will be posting with the date on which the content of the post occurred when the stars align. For more current updates, check out our Instagram. We are JE_United.
Yesterday Jess found a flyer for a free tour at a distillery, so we decided to check it out. Last Hope Distillery is the southernmost distillery in the world and is run by a pair of Australians, Matt and Keira, who noticed there was no whisky distillery in Chile and decided to open one despite never having distilled spirits before. Continue reading “Last Hope Distillery”
We decided to hike up to the Mirador Cerro Dorotea which boasts spectacular views. We had deciphered from TripAdvisor reviews that the taxi would cost roughly 7000 pesos each way and the entrance fee would be 5000 per person. We decided to walk there and taxi back to save our pesos for something more interesting. The walk just to get to the hike was about 5.5 miles, but it gave us an opportunity to see more of the scenery of the surrounding area and we weren’t in a hurry.
We arrived uneventfully at the tiny airport in Puerto Natales after 21 hours of travel at approximately 4pm. A short $14 ride from the airport brought us to La Plaza De Armas in the town and we walked to our hostel from there.