Monday 3/5: Today didn’t go quite as planned – the bus had been delayed due to snow the day before, and it was unclear if it would leave today either. We spent most of the day hanging out at the bus stop, and at about 2.30pm got the news that we were going to leave. We finally hit the road at 4pm, which meant that most of the trip was by night, and we didn’t get to see the promised gorgeous views. We arrived in Salta earlier than we expected (but still the middle of the night), and found a hostel that promised breakfast in the morning.
- Salta travel guide
- Getting around Salta
- Things to do in Salta
- Budget accommodation in Salta
- Salta hostels
Tuesday 4/5: Our included breakfast was just alfajores, but we pitched together with Florencia (a girl we met on the bus) and ended up having a great breakfast of banana smoothies, bread and jam and coffee. I don’t think anyone ate any alfajores. We spent a lot of time buying a sim card (well, two sim cards) and managed to get in touch with our hosts Leigh and Noah. We had a great lunch and dinner with them and their other guests Aracely and Jason, and spent the afternoon in the city looking around.
Wednesday 5/5: We didn’t really get up to too much today. We slept in then did some work until 2.30pm when Noah had to take Lila back to school. Us girls hitched a lift and tried to hire a car, but were thwarted because we didn’t have all the drivers’ licenses and passports we needed. So we headed home and had a pleasant evening eating tasty tasty food, drinking good wine and having deep conversations.
The day started a little later than planned since we’d all been up so late the night before, but we managed to hire a car and hit the road by about 11am. The first part of the drive was slow and boring, but we soon hit the desert and there were some spectacular rock formations. The most interesting ones were often signposted, so we knew to look out for the window, or the castle, or the obelisk for example.
We made it to Cafayate early enough to do some wine tasting, so we visited four wineries before hunting out a hostel. Most of the wineries only let you taste two or three wines, and they were usually their lower quality stuff, which was a surprise. We only tasted one really good wine, and it was soooo good. At the hostel we chatted with Julian and Natalia from Buenos Aires before finding a traditional parilla restaurant and eating far too much meat.
Friday 7/5: We left relatively early and headed south towards the Quilmes ruins. We had to backtrack at one point because we were low on petrol – the company had given it to us half full. While we were driving, one of the tyres blew and we had to change it – it must have been in pretty bad condition though! The ruins were awesome, as were the empanadas we had for lunch. We also visited the Etchart winery, where they gave us a good tour of production and let us taste their four worst wines. It’s quite strange that very few wineries let you taste the good wine, they seem to be very entry-level tours.
We drove on to Cachi through some spectacularly gorgeous scenery, and found a very well-priced hospedaje with a restaurant across the road. This furnished us with some local specialities, and we watched a couple of episodes of 30 Rock before bed.
We had to make an early start in order to get the car back on time, and it was really cold outside. In fact, as we drove along, the temp gauge on the car got down to 0.5 degrees. It might have been because we were at altitude and driving through low cloud, but still. We didn’t really stop, and made it back to Salta with plenty of time to spare. This time was all wasted arguing with the chick at the car agency, who made us pay an astronomical fee for the ruined tyre. It’s quite a good scam – put bad tyres on the car, wait for them to blow while a tourist is driving, and charge twice as much as it’ll cost to replace them.
Our lunchtime empanadas were tasty and came with wine and wifi, but I had to rush mine in order to get to the bus station in time. We made it, waited for the bus, and then started our epic 24-hour journey to Iguazu.
Sunday 9/5: Most of today was spent on the bus, and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Both Janine and I slept pretty well (Ange and Craig always sleep well…) so we were all in quite good moods. We had to change buses in Posadas because there was a mechanical problem with the one we were on, but otherwise it was a smooth trip. We spent far too much time hunting out a hostel in Puerto Iguazu, but we’re pleased with the one we’ve chosen. Dinner was a bit disappointing – we went to a buffet, and for Argentina, the meat was very average. At least there were lots of salads!