Hello my dear readers,
I hope you are all doing well as we approach February 2019! As we always say, time is flying by, and I’ve been doing some reflecting in the past few weeks.
As some of you guys know, I spent my sophomore year of college in South America (specifically, Buenos Aires, Argentina). While it was one of the hardest years of my life, it was also the best year I’ve ever had in terms of travel and growth. There is something about tossing yourself into a foreign place and seeing what happens.
Therefore, I thought it would be fun to do a “Favorite Destinations” post for some places I had the blessing to see while down south. Hopefully this can inspire you guys to travel to South America one day, or if you already have, please comment below and tell me if you agree/disagree with the places I have listed!
Without further ado, let’s get started.
(P.S. I have not included Buenos Aires in this post, because that city deserves a blog post all of its own.)
LOS GLACIARES NATIONAL PARK (Patagonia, Argentina)
Patagonia, one of the most amazing regions on Planet Earth, covers the southern tip of South America. It is a sparsely populated area due to its rugged terrain, but in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places in the globe. While there are so many incredible places in Patagonia, there is one in particular that stands out: Los Glaciares National Park.
Los Glaciares is an incredible landscape where one can personally visit the giant ice cap of the Andean Mountains. The pictures you see are taken from the most famous glacier system in the park, Perito Moreno Glacier, on the fantastic Lago Argentino. To visit the glacier, one must take a comfortable boat ride across the Lago Argentino, and then there is the additional option to hike across the glacier (!!!) as well. Pretty wild stuff, if you ask me.
What made this trip so special was the fact I was with my amazing friends. I really do believe travel is a great way to tighten friendships, since you learn so much about people through shared experience.
IGUAZÚ FALLS, ARGENTINA
If glaciers and deserts are not your eco-zone, how about the jungle? And more particularly, if jungles aren’t your preferred location, how about the most incredible waterfall system in the world? Iguazú is your place.
Hidden in the jungles bordering Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls’ cataracts range from 197 to 269 feet (60 to 82 feet). These dramatic drops are almost unbelievable to witness with human eyes, and to hear the colossal roar of these falls is, well, overpowering.
Iguazú is a a twenty-hour bus journey from Buenos Aires. (By plane is probably a better choice.) While this was a painful journey, it made the reward so much better. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got to Iguazú, considering that I was still a little dazed from the bus experience, but sometimes trips are like that. (And sometimes the journey is better than the destination itself.) However, Iguazú did not disappoint.
The hikes throughout the park are scenic and appropriate for people of all ages. Monkeys will drop down from the emerald trees, while we humans stumble down boardwalks over muddy rivers leading you to the source of your trip. Eventually, you’ll hear the waterfalls, and you’ll think, What is that?
And when you see the waterfalls, and the iridescent spray floating all around you, it’s a little snapshot of what heaven will be like. Take a fresh gulp of air, and listen to the world around you.
Go to Iguazú someday.
But if you still are craving another slice of South America, there’s still one more recommendation for you, and it’s my personal favorite: Ushuaia.
Some of my readers will recognize Ushuaia because I love to blog about it. Ushuaia holds the title of the southernmost city in the world, and it is absolutely incredible to consider how close it is to Antarctica. With about 50,000 residents, Ushuaia is a touristy town devoted to its guests. Some of the sweetest people live in this small city, and I truly mean that!
Ushuaia is the kind of place where there is endless opportunity (as long as you go in a reasonable season). For example, we spent a day hiking to Laguna Esmeralda, which was an amazing time to experience the region of Tierra del Fuego. The following day, we took a special tour of the Beagle Channel (Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse) and walked with penguins on Martillo Island (a must, if you decide to go!). Another day we went on the Southern Fuegian Railway, which connects Ushuaia to Tierra del Fuego National Park. And there is still downtown Ushuaia to explore, which reminds me of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, or Branson, Missouri (a town established to cater to entertaining visitors).
I would definitely recommend checking it out in the summer months. We went in February, which was a comfortable time to go. (Temperatures in the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit, a fair amount of sunny days to hike and explore.)
Ushuaia’s the kind of place where you can easily get lost for a few days, a few months, or a few years (at least in the summertime).
A country of twenty-three provinces, one autonomous city (Buenos Aires), and over forty million people. While I love to go on and on about places to see, I truly believe that people are far greater than any place you will go. People make the place, just like the place makes the people.
The people you will meet in South America will transform your life. You may not recognize it at the time, but they will. I still reflect on so many Argentines who made an impact on my year abroad. Despite the cultural differences and the language barriers, relationships were solidified.
I encourage all of you guys to travel. Some of you may not be interested in this option, but it is amazing to immerse yourself in new perspectives. Travel is not cheap, but there are new methods every day to better afford these opportunities. And for those of you who are wondering where you should go on your next vacation, maybe consider one of these destinations!
So, there you have it for today: My top three Argentine destinations. I hope you enjoyed this post. ❤
Until next time,