Venezuela to Arentina
I left Margarita on the 22nd January and had about 8 days to make it down to Buenos Aires, I really hadnt left myself enough time
The epic journey started with a flight from Margarita to Caracas, and then a flight from Caracas to Bogota, at Bogota I changed flight again to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Arrived in Guayaquil after a torturous wait to clear immigration to then find my bag had not come though and was still probably in Bogota. It seemed that this was the case for half of our flight so there was not much else to do but get to the hotel and hope for the next day. Got out of the airport and of course it was raining - my coat is in my luggage. The next day brought better luck, airline confirmed my luggage and finally arrived, organised the next leg of my travel and still had time to walk around Guayaquil a little and found a park full of iguanas!
The leg was a 6 hour bus down to Tumbes in northern Peru, fairly unevenful, except they didn't stop at the Ecuadorian immigration office for me and we had to double
back in a taxi to sort it all out.
Spent the following day in Tumbes, its a small town, but discovered it did have some nicer sides. Treated myself to a lunch of Cerviche, mixed seafood, marinated in lime, chili and onions and served cold, delicious. Then it was time to climb aboard another bus for a 20 hour drive down to Lima.
Arrived next day in Lima and finally managed to get hold of a friend who I could stay with. It was good to see Santiago again, and I really appreciated being able to chill out at his appartment for a couple of days and figure out my next travel options. There was the option of going to Buenos Aires via La Paz, but I really would not have had time to stop and visit, so La Paz postponed again! There was also an option of going direct from Lima to Bs As, but decided that spending 3.5 days solid on a bus would probably drive me completely bonkers. So decided to hop my way down through Peru and Chile to Argentina. So left Lima on another 20+hour bus down to Tacna in the south, a shared taxi
took us over the border to Chile to Arica. At Arica bought a ticket to Santiago, 30 hours, and had the rest of the afternoon to wander around the town center. Arica is a fairly small town and beach resort, but pleasant enough to walk around for a few hours, checked out an iron church prefabricated in Eiffel's Parisian studios and had lunch. Stopped for a drink outside a bar to pass some time and people watch. Ended up being invited to join a group of lads sitting on the table next to me, they were out celebrating a 20th birthday. It was a fun way to pass the rest of the evening before running back up to the bus station to catch the bus.
Luckily leaving at night meant that the first part of the drive I slept through, but was tough waking up and realising that we had another 22 hours to go.....
Long day of reading, sleeping and watching episodes of Buffy, Fresh Prince and the Nanny. Fortunately they don't serve food on these buses, so it meant we got breaks every couple of hours and could get up and stretch our legs. We arrived in Santiago
at 5 in the morning, got chatting to another girl and we realised we both needed to change to the same bus station. Took a taxi to the next bus station, only to find out it was the wrong one, the international bus station was next door to the one we had arrived at, so back in a taxi to where we had started from! Oh well, it had passed an hour and by the time we got back the bus offices had started to open, and more importantly the cafes so we could get coffee and breakfast. By 7h30 I was on a bus over to Mendoza, Argentina and a stunning drive over the Andes. Arrived in Mendoza, found somewhere to stay (or rather somewhere found me!) Stayed in a hostel, which felt more like a home stay, and spent a lovely afternoon with Alicia, Egle and Claudio. In the evening we headed out for some drinks and finished nightclub, it was cheesy but there was a good atmosphere and we had a lot of fun. Spent the next day exploring Mendoza, a beautiful city - it got flattened in an earthquake and they rebuilt it with wide avenues
and large plazas (anticipating another earthquake). Today trees line the avenues, creating a leafy canopy, keeping the streets pleasantly fresh, a lovely afternoon walking around.
The evening I caught another overnight bus, a mere 14 hours this time, to Bs As. Got a special offer on the bus and so got a cama (large recliner) seat, the best food yet on a bus, with wine (and top ups!) Brilliant!
Arrived the next morning in Bs As, I had made it! 6 countries in 10 days, and had even managed to arrive early to meet my friend Simon - yeah!!
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