The road to Argentina was short..

Argentina Travel Blog

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Devil's Throat - Iguazu Falls
It's December 26, 2007 at 3pm and my cell phone rings. I look quickly to see who's calling and see that my dear friend Ruby is calling from Portland, OR. I debate whether or not to take the call because I'm in the middle of my company network crashing. I decide to answer the call and make it a short conversation. I hear Ruby's always cheerful voice greet me with, "So Costa, what do you think about going to Argentina on the 8th?" I instantly reply that February 8th won't work because I start my spring semester on the 13th of February. "No, I mean January 8th," Ruby replies with much excitement.

"You want to leave when? And, you want me to check with my boss for time off basically, today?" I gasped from the phone trying to remain calm. We'd been talking for months about traveling somewhere warm and sunny in January.
A view of some of the 278 falls in the rain forest.
We'd tossed around Mexico, Costa Rica, but Argentina was really calling us and Ruby really wanted to go to Buenos Aires. So, between Christmas and New Years, we planned our 10-day trip to Argentina. Due to Ruby's frequent flyer miles, we were limited on our travel dates, but in the end we decided we'd leave on my birthday. Yes, I spent my birthday on a 10-1/2 hour plane trip to Argentina. So our simple desire to get away to a sunny location in the middle of our cold winter, turned into 10 days of phenomenal backpacking through amazing countryside, a gracious and welcoming culture and some really wonderfuly (and cheap) food.

In our 10-day adventure we decided we wanted to limit our time to several locations: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, and Mendoza.
Iguazu Falls... one of many amazing sights.
Of course, Argentina is a large country and the locations and time constraint we faced required us to take inter-country flights. A method of travel that I would reconsider next time I'm in Argentina. Let's just say that Aerolinas Argentina would be a good case study in what not to do in the area of customer service. I'd have to describe our trip as crazy variety. From the tropical rainforests along the Brazilian border that boast the world's largest waterfalls, to the aired climate of Mendoza wine country - backdropped by the Andes Mountain Range - to the culture, history and diversity of Buenos Aires, perhaps most well-known as the birthplace of tango, to the glaciers and penguins of Pategonia, which were too far south for us to on this trip, the 8th largest country in the world was an awesome adventure.
Clock tower on one of the government buildings in Buenos Aires.

Our first stop: Iguazu Falls. A place unlike anything else on this earth. This natural beauty is hard to describe. The photos cannot describe the enormity or the volumous sound that the explosive falls make when gravity takes over. We hiked all three of the trails through the jungle and well built walking bridges over the swamps and the Rio de Iguazu to arrive at a handful of the beautiful 278 falls in this rain forest. The views were nothing short of breathtaking and spectacular. There is more to Iguazu than massive water sprays and endless trails through the 60,000 hectres of rain forest (that used to total 1 million). Myth has it that a jealous forest god caused the riverbed to collapse in front of lovers, causing precipitous falls where the girl fell and at their base became a rock and the warrior became a tree overlooking his fallen lover.
Hostel Telemantango, San Telmo
Igauzu Falls was a place that exposed us to a culture where locals were friendly enough to invite us to join them at 1am for $1 liters of beer.  

Second stop: Buenos Aires. A city of 12 million people, colorful buildings and architeture that reminded me of Italy and Spain, people tangoing in the street, beef on every menu, great wine for $10 a bottle, buses and taxis that were inexpensive and sunshine that made it easy to walk everywhere made our time in Buenos Aires unforgettable. We stayed in a colorful hostel that was quaint and colorful but the rooms were extremely hot and cell-like. Yet, we stayed in a wonderful location, San Telmo neighborhood, home to the most incredible Sunday flea market where you could find every person that lived in this area.
A view of one of the vineyards in Mendoza.
While in Buenos Aires, we traveled through the neighborhoods of La Boca, Palermo Viejo, San Telmo, Loa Recoleta, Monserat. While "Don't Cry for me Argentina" wasn't blaring from any residential windows, it was obvious that Argentines are proud of soccer and their heritage; It was also obvious that politically and socio-economically, it was a country divided.

Our third stop: Mendoza. Famously known as Argentina's wine country and aired Andes Mountain Range. Once we finally reached Mendoza after much debacle at the airport; our odd and quick airport transit ordeal which split up Ruby and I into different cars had us wondering... is this a kidnapping attempt? As we drove through Mendoza, we were greeted with sunshine and tree-lined streets that refocused on the reason we had come - the wine.
The grapes responsible for the amazing Argentine wine.
One of the best days on our trip was spent wine tasting at four vineyards with Javier... a local who owned a B&B, appreciated find Argentine wine and spent a day helping us understand what the region had to offer. Our time was spent sampling wine, being introduced to Malbec and enjoying the best five-course meal, all with the Andes in our backdrop... Mendoza really is a place like no other.

Our last night in Argentina: Buenos Aires. We traveled back from a few days in Mendoza to catch our flight back to the U.S. We stayed at a fantastic B&B, toured the Eva Peron museum, and met a group of friends from Berlin out for dinner and a night of tango raves. It was a fantastic last night in Argentina: dinner at 10pm, ending at 1:30am (which included many bottles of Argentine wine), then we headed to tango clubs until 5am on a random Wednesday night.
Dinner out with our wine tasting friends from Berlin.

I write this as I return from 95-degree Argentina weather to the cold 35-degree weather of Central California. As a I reflect on my amazing journey to Argentina, I remember fondly the warm culture that embraced us, along with the colorful sights and sounds of the eighth largest country in the world. The road to planning Argentina was short, but the 10 days in this amazing country allowed for a lifetime of memories.
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Devils Throat - Iguazu Falls
Devil's Throat - Iguazu Falls
A view of some of the 278 falls in…
A view of some of the 278 falls i…
Iguazu Falls... one of many amazin…
Iguazu Falls... one of many amazi…
Clock tower on one of the governme…
Clock tower on one of the governm…
Hostel Telemantango, San Telmo
Hostel Telemantango, San Telmo
A view of one of the vineyards in …
A view of one of the vineyards in…
The grapes responsible for the ama…
The grapes responsible for the am…
Dinner out with our wine tasting f…
Dinner out with our wine tasting …
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