Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn & Ushuaia
“One and two, three, four, five and six and seven and eight! Easy! So now you try it with your partners”.
After joining in some Tango action ourselves, we take the stairs down to a beautiful theatre filled with long dining tables. The stage curtains are shut and people are taking places at the tables. Two of the tables are reserved for us, the Oasis group, and we have a nice steak and wine dinner awaiting. The curtains open up just after dessert and 6 beautiful couples on stage show us the most passionate dance I’ve seen so far.
The first stop after leaving Brazil is the capital of Argentina; Buenos Aires. The city is all about street-art and music; Tango in particular. We stay in a nice hostel called Milhouse Avenue and explore the city from there.
Buenos Aires” means “fair winds”, or literally “good airs” in Spanish
Buenos Aires is the most visited city in South America, and the second-most visited city of Latin America (behind Mexico City)
Before we leave Buenos Aires to head to Patagonia, 9 more people join us on the truck to travel through South America. The group total is now 22 passengers plus Nikki (tourguide) and Chris (driver) making it 24 in total. There are 23 passenger seats on the truck so with 22 passengers we only have one free seat left. It’s a bit weird in the beginning; from having loads of space in the truck to sitting shoulder to shoulder. We have a lot of driving days coming up so we’ll get used to it very soon.
The first day of driving with the big group in the truck, we are stranded on the side of the road because one of the U-bolts of the suspensions broke. Luckily we’ve got a lot of spare parts on the truck and Chris manages to fix the truck within an hour. Because of the delay Chris and Nikki decide to stop early to set up camp. The camping spot is beautiful, this is exactly what I imagined when I heard we were going to wild-camp in Patagonia. We set up camp next to a lake while the sun is setting. Some are making dinner and some of us go on a scavenger hunt for wood to make a campfire.
A perfect spot to set up camp for the night
The first stop after BA is Puerto Madryn. Puerto Madryn is the first city in Patagonia. From Puerto Madryn I venture out on a daytrip to Península Valdés with the hope of seeing orcas (killer whales) or whales. Península Valdés is one of the best spots in the world to see orcas in the wild. Orcas love this particular part of Argentina because of the large abundance of one of their favourite food prey: seal pups. If you’re lucky, you'll see the orcas close up when they hunt and come right up to the beach to catch their next meal. It is not the perfect season to spot orcas but there should still be a chance to spot some. When we get to one of the lookouts the ranger tells us they saw 5 orcas early in the morning. Unfortunately we don’t see any orcas at all but we spot a lot of different animals like maras, guanacos, owls, turkey vultures, elephant seals, sealions, snakes, pinguins and armadillo.
An armadillo, two maras and two owls
Elephant seals on the shore
The road from Puerto Madryn to Ushuaia begins with a lot of nothing. This was not what I expected Patagonia to look like, as the only pictures from Patagonia I’ve ever seen are from these huuuge mountains and not flat lands. The scenery changes pretty fast as we get closer to our next stop, Ushuaia. The flat lands turn into beautiful mountains and lakes.
The complete group on the way to Ushuaia
A whole lot of nothing on the way to Ushuaia
We arrived in Ushuaia after 3 long driving days
Ushuaia, the City at the End of the World, is the most Southern city in the world. The first morning I wake up early again to go for a nice (but very cold) run before we take a transfer to the beginning of the hike to Laguna Esmeralda. The scenery on the way to the laguna is amazing. The hike is very muddy and we get stuck to our ankles and even knees in the mud a couple of times, but it is all very much worth it. After having lunch and taking photos at the Laguna we have to return fast because we have to catch the transfer to go back to Ushuaia. At a certain point I slip and fall armsdeep and almost face first in the mud. Good thing I have long arms!! The driver laughs very hard when she sees us covered in mud and ready to head back to Ushuaia.
The hike to Laguna Esmeralda was really pretty
The autumn colors make the whole scenery even better
The amazing view of Laguna Esmeralda
Laguna Esmeralda from a drone point of view
On the second day in Ushuaia we decide to get taxis very early in the morning to catch sunrise in Tierra del Fuego National Park. There’s no signal in the national park so we arrange that these same taxis pick us up at the end of the trail on a specific time. When we arrive at the park the sky is covered with clouds and it rains heavily, meaning no pretty sunrise unfortunately. Everyone puts raincovers on their backpacks along with their waterproofs and we start hiking. It rains the entire day but the hike through the park was still very beautiful.
The rain doesn't stop us!
After Ushuaia we will leave Argentina for a while to go to Torres del Paine in Chile where I will hike the W-trek. This trek is one of the reasons I wanted to visit Patagonia so I can’t wait!
If you want to see more photos and follow my journey live, go check out my Polarsteps page. Just click on the Polarsteps icon on the home page.