Tag Archives: Cafayate

Our Top Sights: Argentina

1. Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls

Sitting on the border of Brazil these waterfalls are one of the most impressive in the world. WIth abundant wildlife, pelicans, hummingbirds and the ever present Coatis there’s more than just the falls to photograph. If you’re travelling between Argentina and Brazil then this is a great place to cross the border, but if you’re not it’s still more than worth the detour. Looking for somewhere to stay, the Poramba Hostel offers a relaxed atmosphere towards the edge of town.

2. Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno

This 7km wide glacier is still advancing and so you’re all but guaranteed to see chunks of ice breaking off into the lake. The blue of the ice means that even on a grey day it’s an incredible sight to see. Boat trips up to the face of the glacier, or all day hikes across the ice, are easy to arrange and well worth the money. Trips to the glacier can be organised from nearby El Calafate, which is a great town to relax in for a couple of days. We recommend Hospedaje Lautaro, as Belen and Dario are probably the friendliest hostel owners on the continent.

3. El Chalten

El Chalten
El Chalten

The trekking capital of South America is a bold claim but El Chalten’s accessible hikes and stunning views live up to it. The Fitz Roy and Torre mountains tower over the town and short hikes offer crystal clear lagoons, glaciers and abundant wildlife. The small town lacks an ATM or petrol station but don’t let this put you off, there are plenty of good hostels and restaurants. If you fancy camping in the forests then gear rental is easy in town.

4. Cafayate

Cafayate
Cafayate

Fancy sampling some of Argentina’s world famous wine, then Mendoza isn’t the only option. The small town of Cafayate located in the Andean foothills is a small relaxed place where you could easily spend a week visiting the different vineyards. Many can be walked or cycled to and the ones further out often have sampling houses located in the town. We recommend Domingo Molina, up in the hills with unparallel views, or Bodega Nanni, an organic vineyard that is located just off the main square. The Rusky K Hostal is just a couple of streets from the main square and their grape draped courtyard is great for drinking all that wine you will inevitably end up buying.

5. Buenos Aires

La Boca
La Boca

The Argentine capital is worth visiting for more than a couple of days, with museums, great food and varied neighbourhoods, you won’t run out of things to do in a hurry. We recommend the Sunday antiques market in San Telmo and an afternoon walk around La Boca. Whether you’re staying in atmospheric San Telmo, stylish Palermo or colourful La Boca each Barrio has a unique feel and it’s worth moving around and trying a few out. For a better idea of the areas why not check out this post.

6. Tierra del Fuego

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“The End of the World” is a great place to visit no matter the time of year. Whilst the summer will offer whales and dolphins, there is still plenty to see if you go in the winter and the autumn colours are breathtaking. Catching a boat to one of the islands in the Beagle channel offers amazing views of Ushuaia and the snow capped mountains behind. Easy hikes can also be found in the Tierra del Fuego national park, a 30 minute drive from town. La Posta Hostel just outside of town offers the warmest rooms you could hope for on Antarctica’s doorstep.

 

7. Salta

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Nestled in the North West corner of Argentina, Salta is a great getaway from busy Buenos Aires. The old section of town is dominated by wonderful colonial architecture and the Plaza de Armas is lovely in the ever present sun. The cable car up the nearby Cerro San Bernardo or the MAAM museum are must see attractions. If you want to get out of the city, horse riding trips or El Tren a Las Nubes (Train to the clouds) are easily arranged at most hostels.

Drinking wine and walking the dog in Cafayate: Cafayate Bodegas

A two hour drive from Salta through the fantastically scenic landscape filled with cacti and IMG_3918wild animals bought us to Cafayate. With its plethora of bodegas and artisan craft markets, Cafayate is a lovely rustic town. It has decent restaurants and a laid back atmosphere, which makes it the perfect place to hold up for a few days. In all honesty we could have stayed for a few more days than the 3 we had planned but with onward buses booked our journey was short, sweet and wonderfully surreal.

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Having sampled one of the local wines at dinner shortly after disembarking the bus we new like so many others knew we would be touring a few of the local Bodegas during our stay. So on our first full day there we hired two bicycles with more road miles on them than we had travelled so far in South America and set off to cycle 7km to Domingo Molina.

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We had heard Domingo Molina was one of the best bodegas and after the purely uphill cycle (not for the fainthearted) we were not disappointed. The staff were IMG_6830welcoming, knowledgeable, fluent in English, and best of all the scenery was breath-taking. Sensing we and our companion were a little knackered after our cycle, we were offered some refreshments before our tour of the bodega. Tour complete, we were encouraged to spend as long as we liked sitting on the terrace sampling the wines, and were offered local cheeses which made the perfect accompaniment. To top it off the cost of the tasting is deducted from any bottles of wine purchased and with just enough room in our rucksacks for two bottles we had happily obliged.

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Prior to the 7km cycle, on the edge of town we had met our guide, Tannat. Tannat was energetic, inspiring, charming, and most of all loyal. Tannat worked purely for tips; tips of leftovers, a bit of water, some biscuits and a few escapee grapes for good measure. We thoroughly recommend everyone pick up one of these invaluable local guides if off on a cycle, as cycling through the dust and the cacti with a dog running at our heels made the experience truly unforgettable.

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It must have been more than just a simple canine desire to chase tourists on bikes that compelled Tannat to jog the 7km alongside us to the most remote of Bodegas. Some would say we adopted him but truth be told he adopted us. He sat loyally at our side through the wine tasting, charmed the Bodega’s staff (who gave him his name), made quick work of the escapee grapes during the cleaning process and happily bounded off after us as we headed off at speed down the 7km track back to town. When we reached the spot were we’d found him he trotted off without so much as a goodbye, clearly happy with his day’s adventure.

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Another bodega that we recommend visiting is Bodega Nanni. Accessible on foot as its located in the centre of town it would be high on our list of favourite wines, and it’s organic too. Only downside is they don’t ship internationally…yet. We are keeping our fingers crossed that business goes well for them and they can ship to the UK in time for our return…they’ve got a fair bit of time… Likewise we recommend the restaurant, which so far has been one of the best meals of the trip.

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On day two, as we approached Bodega Nanni, who should be sitting on the roadside but none other than trusty Tannat. The adorable pup proceeded to bound over to us like we were long lost friends and once again joined us on our days activities. We should probably note here that Cafayate is small town but not that small. It was wonderfully bizarre that Tannat had found us again and we allowed him to be our companion once again. Loyal and well behaved for a street dog he was as charming as ever. He only let himself down once: we had to pretend not to know him when we were browsing the market stalls and he peed on a stall full of alpaca rugs…

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Finally Cafayate has a local cheese factory and goat farm that is well worth a visit. About 1km from town it is a pleasant walk alongside the vineyards or would make for an easy cycle. Tours seem to be only in Spanish, but our basic knowledge got us through and we came back with a couple of delicious cheeses to show for it.

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