FROM THE JUNGLE TO THE DESERT

Since we last updated you all we have travelled a long way and seen almost every climate Argentina has to offer, from jungle to desert to snow-capped mountains, and it will be difficult to remember everything we’ve done, but I’ll do my best!

After Buenos Aires we flew north for a couple of hours to a small town called Puerto Iguazu, a tourist town on the borders of Brazil and Paraguay in the far north of Argentina. Iguazu is famous because of its huge waterfalls (apparently when Eleanor Roosevelt saw them, she remarked ‘poor Niagara’), which you can see below. Iguazu, being in the jungle, was a very different climate compared to everywhere we had been so far, and was hot and humid. The wildlife in the national park was great, the most prevalent being the Coati’s (look them up). Although they were cute, it seemed like they managed to live entirely on tourist food, and could be quite aggressive in trying to steal some food. The waterfalls themselves were fantastic and we found ourselves just standing in awe more than a few times. The only thing we would say is that the park itself did have a ‘Disneyland’ feel, as you were guided around on boardwalks, at times it was hard to believe the waterfalls were trully a natural feature!

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After our jungle experience in Iguazu, we took a long trip south and west to the city of Mendoza, famed for its vineyards. The first leg of this trip was taken by plane, but from Buenos Aires we took a coach. This was our first experience of Argentinian coaches, and we were impressed! The journey took 15 hours but we were in such comfort it felt like much less. There are two grades of seating on most Argentine buses; ‘Cama’ and ‘Semi-Cama’. We took Semi-Cama and complete with leg rests and 150° reclining seats, it was far superior to any plane flight in economy (and far cheaper!) As expected the climate was hugely different in Mendoza, turning very arid, a recurrent theme of this part of our trip as we move southwards. The city itself was, though not spectacular, quite pleasant and the highlight of our 3 nights there was a vineyard tour on bikes. The proprietors were generous with their wine, which was nice, but perhaps we would have appreciated it more if we weren’t nursing hangovers from the previous night.

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Whilst we were in Mendoza it was decided that I (Matt) had not been doing enough of the hostel booking and travel arranging, and I was charged with deciding our next destination. I chose by essentially picking the town nearest to the half way point between Mendoza and Bariloche (our next definite stop), this turned out to be a place called Malargue, now you probably haven’t heard of Malargue, but don’t worry no-one has, even most coach companies. The journey to and from the place was slightly complex, but it worked out in the end! We stayed in an ‘Eco-Hostel’ which turned out to be 5km from the town centre (our Taxi driver from the coach station didn’t seem to know it existed!) However, though it was a ghost town, in the end Malargue was good, it was interesting to be somewhere really out of the way and we went on a great day tour to ‘las cavernas de las brujas’, a local cave system, supposedly inhabited by witches. On the same day tour we visited a small waterfall, and although it was pretty underwhelming after Iguazu, the area was FULL of fossils, we were walking over Ammonite fossils without even noticing! Being out in the sticks, the wildlife was again great here, the highlight probably being the tarantula, about a handspan big, that managed to creep up on us when we were taking photos of the landscape.wpid-wp-1395690654522.jpeg

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So that’s all for this update, after Malargue we took a 24-hour trip down to the mountain paradise that is Bariloche, but more about that next time.

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