South Argentina's Patagonia


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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate
February 3rd 2018
Published: February 5th 2018
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 Cerro Fitz Roy at 3405m, El Chalten Cerro Fitz Roy at 3405m, El Chalten Cerro Fitz Roy at 3405m, El Chalten

Sometimes there are no words...
When we reflect on our year away it could very well be that we enjoyed our 2 weeks in Argentina's Patagonia the most. The time we spent here was all about the landscapes and the isolated towns that we visited.

Beginning in Bariloche, a town right on the northern edge of Patagonia, we immediately got a taste of what was to come. It was one of those places we knew we would love before we even stepped off the bus! Surrounded by lakes and snow capped mountains we couldn't wait to explore it's surrounds. And what better way than by cycling the Circuito Chico, a 25km loop around stunning lakes, mountains and forests. It wasn't long before our lack of fitness started to show. One of us may have had to get off the bike a couple of times.....but in his defense it was a hilly route!

It was also the place we kicked off our Patagonia hiking in earnest with a 24km return hike to 'Refugio Frey' (a lodge nestled at the edge of a lake in the middle of nowhere)! On our rest days, we enjoyed the produce from Bariloche's famous chocolate shops...guess who was happy with
Incredible view of the Perito Moreno Glacier, El CalafateIncredible view of the Perito Moreno Glacier, El CalafateIncredible view of the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate

Like a solid cliff in the water rising up about 70m! In places it's estimated to be 100m below water level also!
that! Bariloche also has multiple ski resorts but visiting during the summer months meant that was a non runner...but we have left it on the list for our next year of travelling!

Getting to the little town of El Chalten from Bariloche was our longest bus journey to date - a gruelling 25.5 hours covering almost 1400 km (you can imagine how much food we had prepared). Luckily, the time actually passed much quicker than we imagined.

The town of El Chalten, nestled between the surrounding mountains, only has one main street but it was the highlight of our 2 weeks in South Argentina. It is every hiker's heaven with incredible trails leading to glaciers, lagoons and mountain bases within the Los Glaciares National Park. We tried to fit in as many hikes as we could during our week here - with the hikes to Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy being some of our favourites. Despite the snow capped mountains and icy glacier lake waters, for the most part we (Donal) were decked out in shorts and t-shirts!

El Calafate, further south, was our final destination in Argentina, famous due to its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Perito Moreno Glacier. On the day we visited the glacier, we got to see it calving ice up close (where huge chunks of ice break off the glacier), and we also got to throw on a pair of crampons to walk on a part of the glacier itself! Aside from Antarctica, the Andes mountains hold the largest area of ice in the southern hemisphere and fresh water reserve. Being 30km in length, 5km wide and up to 70 feet tall, the glacier itself is colossal beyond belief. Our walk on the ice finished very appropriately with whiskey on the rocks...you couldn't have got fresher ice cubes!

After spending a month in Argentina, it is time for us to cross back into Chile once again. For us, this has been one of our favourite countries so far and the number of photos we have taken over the past month is testament to this! From the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, to the melting pot of Buenos Aires, to the food and the wine, the glaciers, the hiking trails and the incredible views at every turn...we have been in our element. Luckily, we don't have to say goodbye to Patagonia just yet as we'll be spending the next week on the Chile side!


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Mau setting the pace on the 25km Circuito Chico, Bariloche......Mau setting the pace on the 25km Circuito Chico, Bariloche......
Mau setting the pace on the 25km Circuito Chico, Bariloche......

......well, not quite as this photo was taken on one of the many stops that were required for us to stay close together along the route!
Seán Kelly himself!Seán Kelly himself!
Seán Kelly himself!

Spectacular views from the Punto Panoramic view point on the Circuito Chico
Chocolate heaven Chocolate heaven
Chocolate heaven

Not pictured - the waffles with melted chocolate we treated ourselves to everyday. They never lasted long enough to be photographed.
So that's one steak cut in half!So that's one steak cut in half!
So that's one steak cut in half!

We were glad of the heads up from the waiter in the amazing Alto El Fuego restaurant in Bariloche
Becoming quite the expertBecoming quite the expert
Becoming quite the expert

The more you drink, the more you learn!
The 11km hike to Laguna Torre was definitely worth itThe 11km hike to Laguna Torre was definitely worth it
The 11km hike to Laguna Torre was definitely worth it

The wind was crazy and at one stage took Mau's hat and sunglasses!


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