Visiting the Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s seven natural wonders, was a truly incredible experience! Seeing the water gushing down with great speed, hearing the roaring sounds and feeling the fierce spray of water against me, I was able to experience the falls from several different perspectives… walking through the jungle trails (with guatis and creepy spiders!), taking a boat ride right up to the falls on the Argentinian side and a helicopter ride over the entire falls from the Brazilian side.
I don’t think any description I give will do it justice so I’ll just share some photos instead 🙂
Views from the Argentinian Side of the Falls
Two Sister Falls – seen from the Argentinian side
Views from the Brazilian side of the Falls
La Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat) – seen from the Brazilian side
Aerial views of the Falls from a helicopter
‘Gran Aventura’ boat ride to the Falls – on the Argentinian side
A guati taking a nap under the trees
Leaving the city of wine behind, I travelled up north on overnight buses stopping over in Córdoba for a few days and then heading up to the northwest town of Salta. I’m really impressed with the standard of buses in the country… the seats recline back and are pretty comfortable, you get meals and it’s a lot cheaper and less hassle than trying to take a flight anywhere… although I’m still always paranoid about being mugged and continue to hide money in my socks!
I made some great new friends in Córdoba… we wandered the streets of the student town, sampled a lot of local dishes (and ice cream!) and frequented the local markets together.
Local dish of Humita (corn) with cheese
Delicious ice-cream in Córdoba: fruits of the forest and peaches & cream
Arriving in Salta after a 14hr bus ride, I was welcomed by a freak thunderstorm with hailstones the size of ice cubes! Apart from this, I had an amazing time in this city. It’s a beautiful city with old colonial buildings still preserved. The cable car ride up to the top of San Bernado hill was a lot of fun … but the best part was enjoying a cold beer in a café on top of the hill, while looking down over the whole city with the afternoon sun shining! It’s really small moments like that which still make me think ‘I can’t believe I’m here’!
Views of Salta from on top of San Bernado hill
Although I prefer being outdoors and seeing natural attractions, I was particularly fascinated by one of the museums in Salta… the MAAM (Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña). It’s all about Inca culture and the child sacrifices that were discovered at the peak of mount Llullaillaco in 1999. They have one of the three mummified children on display in the museum… this was quite eerie to see but also really interesting to learn about the Inca traditions.
Travelling outside of Salta, I visited the province of Jujuy and the stunning mountain scenery in Pumamarca and along the Quebrada (gorge) de Humahuaca. The Hill of Seven Colours was particularly spectacular … it has all these different colours due to the different minerals in them (and their different levels of oxidation).
Hill of Seven Colours and Quebrada de Humahuaca
View from Pucara de Tilcara in Jujuy
I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the wine-producing town of Cafayate to try Malbec and Torrontés ice cream… although it’s not as delicious as you might originally think!
After the beautiful and scenic bus ride through the Andes from Santiago de Chile to Mendoza, the main question I found myself faced with on a daily basis was ‘Malbec, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon?’… what a tough life!
The 8-hour bus ride to Mendoza brought me face to face with the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. Aside from the hour spent trying to cross the border… and nearly forgetting to get my Argentina entry stamp… the journey was spectacular! With my love of mountains, it was definitely the best bus journey of my life so far!
Views from the bus journey through the Andes
When in Mendoza, it would be rude not to drink wine. With that in mind, I went along to visit a few vineyards/bodegas to learn how they produced their different wines… and of course to partake in the wine tasting that followed… not a bad way to spend a day 🙂
Bodega and vineyard tours and wine tasting
I also decided to try my hand at a bit of horse riding. Although a beginner, I made friends with my horse, Rosagio, and managed not to fall off… quite an accomplishment! Riding through the hills of Mendoza, overlooking the vineyards and with the Argentine Precordillera in the far distance, was breathtaking… once I got the hang of riding, it was a lot of fun 🙂 I went slightly pale in the face when our host told me tales of how he had been bitten by a black widow spider on more than one occasion while riding there… thankfully I was nearly at the end of my ride at the time and I didn’t fall off my horse! Telling me that they’re not as poisonous as those in the amazon (apparently!) was of no consolation to me… those of you that know me will understand how freaked out this whole discussion made me!
Horse riding with Rosagio
Arriving back at the ranch after riding, we were welcomed with an amazing asado (BBQ) dinner… meat kept on coming out until we could eat no more and the vino tinto (Malbec) kept on flowing. Our hosts entertained us with guitar music and singing… I enjoyed making a lot of new friends and Gaucho-style karaoke singing along to ‘La Bamba’.
Music and singing after the asado