We made it to Ushuaia the last week in February. We saw penguins while crossing the Straight of Magellan, celebrated Jason´s birthday in a cabin near the Martial Glacier, and did some backpacking in Tierra del Fuego National Park. We even got some late summer snow!
The Perito Moreno Glacier is outside of El Calafate and the southernmost section of Parque Nacional los Glaciares. The glacier is 5km across and one of only 2 advancing glaciers in South America. We packed a lunch and a bottle of wine and watched it drop huge chunks of ice all afternoon.
Parque Nacional Los Glacieres outside of El Chalten was incredible. We spent 5 nights in the park, right under the Fitz Roy Massif. Cold, windy, and gorgeous.
Ruta 40 in Argentina runs the length of Patagonian Andes from Bariloche to Tierra del Fuego and is mostly unpaved. We had no idea how much nothing there is in Patagonia. Our two day bus ride was dry, dusty, cold, bumpy, and incredibly remote. We stopped one morning for a side trip to Cueva de los Manos (Cave of Hands) and a short hike down into the valley below. The highlight however were the road-running ostriches, condors, and camel-like Guanacos.
A couple hours outside of Bariloche was the town of El Bolson, a pretty nice little hippy mountain town. Even better than the town though was the 3 day/ 2 night backpacking circuit just out side of it. We went crossed sketchy bridges, went straight up and down ridiculously steep hills, they don´t seem to believe in switchbacks here, and ended each day pitching our tent outside of a refugio that brewed its own beer! Hard to beat.
Bariloche is in the lakes district in Argentina, northernmost Patagonia. After the gluttony of Mendoza, we spent a few excellent days hiking and biking around the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi.
This is all we did in Mendoza.
Buenos Aires was great.
So, Uruguay itself was a pretty nice place. However, due to a series of unfortunate events, we plan to never return. Long story short, we missed our bus becuase of Uruguay’s need for thier own erroneous time zone and got robbed at a bus station at 5 am (really not as badass as it sounds, Jason went to the bathroom and I choose a bad time to nap. but you can imagine a knife fight in a dark alley if you want). The jerkface robber took Jason’s backpack with our netbook, iphone, some credit cards, and our really awesome water purifier. Bummmmmmmmer. We assumed this would happen at some point, so all our stuff was insured/keep repcites! We did get to experience Uruguay in a different way though, practicing our Spanish with some really nice coppers, chasing down certified copies of our report, and riding in the back of a Uruguayan patrol car. It may have been worth all the trouble. We didn’t loose our photos or passports and are a few pounds lighter. In addition to that, we got to camp at the beach and wander around Colonia del Sacremento before getting on the boat to Buenos Aires. Not the end of the world, but not a highlight either.
Garganta del Diabolo, Iguazu Falls, AR