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5/2/2018 Bus From Santiago to Mendoza

Day 51.
Notes: 8:10am left flat 8:45am reaches Terminal Sur 9:30am bus left 10:00am we got a snack and hot water 11:00am stopped in traffic 60km away from the border on an exit from Ruta 57 13:00 sandwich ham and cheese and Coca Cola  14:30 drove another km and stopped 15:30 continue  15:40 market 16:00 continues  16:10 stop 17:20 continues, serpentines 18:00 3185 m and tunnel 18:20 in Argentina 18:35 waiting in queue of buses to get to immigration  21:30 out of but migrations 22:10 driving again
02:15am in room

16/1/2018 Arrival to Los Antiguos

...around 7:40am we stopped at a bus terminal in Perito Moreno. We though by this time we should be in Los Antiguos already. But we reached the bus terminal in Los Antiguos around 8:40am. The last part was on normal paved road.
I could see that the Chaitén travel bus is already in Los Antiguos. And another bus just reached after us. 
The Los Antiguos bus terminal is similar size to that one in El Chalten. Has toilets inside and few travel offices. It is Tuesday, but most of the offices are closed. Since about 3 full buses just arrived here, it’s is quite busy, on the floor with people sitting and in the toilets too. We are waiting to get it more quiet here and asking about how to get to Chile Chico. 
We were told that there no service to go to Chile Chico anymore. The travel office is closed. And the only way is to walk or to hitchhike. It is nearly 20km from here to Chile Chico center and of it 16km between the border controls. As we are standing here, a Scottish woman Annie joins us an…

15/1/2018 bus from El Chalten to Los Antiguos

I feel awful after the heavy drinking. And we have to pack and last till the evening to get a bus to Los Antiguos.
I stayed in the hostal lobby pretty much the whole day. We spoke with another Czech couple traveling the world and Denisa went for a hike to Mirador del Torre. 
Around 18:00 we left the hostal and stopped in a small coffee place. The bus Cal-Tur is scheduled for 7:30pm, we got to the bus terminal at 7 and the bus left at 7:50pm. There were another 2 buses (Marga Taqsa, Chaitén travel) leaving around the same time. We had no seats numbers and the bus was full. Around 15 loud girls from probably Israel held many places to their group, so we could not sit together with my wife. It is a normal bus and there is a small toilet with a big sticker saying “the toilet is for liquids only”. And a big sticker at front, saying “please don’t take your shoes off”. 

At 21:20 we stopped in a village called Tres Lagos and people could go to buy some drink or food to a supermarket next to the …

14/1/2018 El Chaltén lazy Sunday

After the long hike yesterday, we wanted to have quiet day. So didn’t do much, only the small viewpoints at the ranger station - Mirador de los cóndores and Mirador de las aguilas. Started at 2pm. Because we bought some bread and cheese yesterday, we didn’t have to spend any money for lunch today and ate in our room.
The two short hikes to the viewpoints take about 30 minutes each. From Mirador de los cóndores is nice view of the Fitz Roy mountain and view of the village. On the way to Mirador de las aguilas, we met few cows with kettles and an angry bull walking towards us and making very loud noise. We got scared and went off the path far from that noisy animal. 

The second viewpoint was not so interesting, so we went back to the hostal, where I could see a message from Rainer already drinking at B&B burger place. So we joined them, had burgers (135 pesos each) and fries (55 pesos) and 4 beers (total 240 pesos in happy hour). And then we continued to another place (the same as on …

13/1/2018 El Chalten hike to Fitz Roy

It’s 9pm and I’m ready to fall asleep. My phone says I walked 30km today and did 40000 steps. Obviously it’s not true, it usually over-counts by something like 2 kms...
We got up at 7:30 in the morning, had our breakfast and headed to the trailhead for the Fitz Roy Lago de los tres. The mount Fitz Roy is 3359 m height (or 3405 m) and it is visible from pretty much all El Chalten. The trail is supposed to be 10 km long. But our hostal is about 1.5 km from the trailhead and I forgot my jumper in the room, so had to go all the way back to take it with me. 
So I think we started hiking at 9:30am at the end. The trail is quite busy, we met people coming back and also quite a few people were faster than us. The day was sunny and mostly not windy. Only some parts were windy. First 3 km going up the hill, then mostly stable, and the last 1 km was really steep. There is many places where we could take water from the river or streams and drink it, and many spots from where we could take some phot…

12/1/2018 from El Calafate to El Chalten

Early wake up, 6am, packing last bits we left out from the evening and we are ready at 6:45. Going to get our food from the fridge and the door to the kitchen are locked. They are supposed to be open from 7am. What a pity! No breakfast, no lunch. Okay. Maybe the pickup will be late, so we can still get it. And yes! Pickup is not coming. 7:10am and I’m nervous. Did they forgot about us? So I dialled the bus company office and asked if they are coming. Yes, they are, I was told. 7:20, bus arrived, but the kitchen is still locked! With our food in the fridge. In a meantime another two people tried to get into the kitchen. 
The bus tickets we bought: Marga Taqsa, 480 pesos each, pickup at our hostel. The bus left the terminal nearly at 8am. It’s really cold on the bus, air con blowing freezing cold by the window seat. Views from the bus are nice and we reached El Chalten at 10:10 - first stop in a national park centre, got information about trails and the weather and then the bus continued…

11/1/2018 Perito Moreno Glacier mini trekking

I’m not sure if I mentioned, but in this hostel Las Carretas, the breakfast is very basic. We rather just have coffee and then we use their kettle to boil water for our porridge. So we did today, porridge and then waited for a bus to pick us up at the hostel.
They (Hielo&Ventura) arrived almost on time. We continued to pickup more people on the way and soon the bus was full. The scenery on the way to the national park reminded us USA somewhere around Utah or Arizona. Perfectly suitable for shooting of westerns as well. Wide valleys, hills, no trees, no buildings, no roads. Apart of farm houses (estancias) which are lonely in between fields in a good distance from the main road. Often they have trees planted closely to the houses. We could also enjoy views of Lago Argentino lake and some other lake. Around 10:30am we reached a gate to the Los Glaciares National Park. Two guys from the park boarded the bus and asked about our nationality, we paid 500 pesos each (you can pay only in A…

Getting a taxi (cab) in Buenos Aires using smartphone app

While in Buenos Aires, without knowledge of Spanish language, this mobile app can come handy. I found it when I was browsing app store and searching apps built around Buenos Aires. What made me feel like this taxi cab application can be a good option, is the fact, that it is sponsored by the Argentinian government. They have few more apps available for iPhone as well as for Android. So I felt much safer using this and not knowing Spanish.
The smartphone app is easy to download and you need to fill in few details about yourself after first launch of the app. Then you are ready to get your first taxi. This app also helps you to see the estimated prices before ordering a cab. The interface is very simple even without knowing Spanish and you can order Buenos Aires taxi in few simple steps. 
The prices you see are in pesos and you can access/reject the driver if you don't like him for whatever reason. Paying is in cash to the driver in pesos at the end of your journey. The taxi drive…

10/1/2018 El Calafate

Doing nothing. We just picked our laundry up, dropped it in our hostel and hanged up bits which needed to dry. Then we went to withdraw some cash - found that Banco Santa Cruz charges only 115 pesos for 3000 pesos withdrawal.
Bought two wooden rings, had a coffee with a shot of cognac (95 pesos) and fernet with coke (100 pesos) and pancakes with dulce de leche (120 pesos) in Borges & Alvarez. Then we changed our Hialo glacier trekking pickup to our hostel (instead of their office) and bought bus tickets to El Chalten (Marga Taqsa office in the centre, 480 pesos per person one way, pickup at our hostel at 6:50am). Then we shopped in la anonima for dinner and cooked something simple at the hostel. 

9/1/2018 Bus from Puerto Natales to El Calafate

We got up early, “cooked” porridge for breakfast and went to the bus terminal to catch our bus at 7:30 (Cootra Ltda, 17000 Chilean pesos per person, tickets bought at the bus terminal one day in advance). Our seats were downstairs.
The way to the border is quite short and soon we got off the bus to get an exit stamp from Chilean border. Straight after leaving the migrations office, our driver gave us a customs declaration form for Argentina (the same one as you get on a plane to Argentina). We filled the form in during the way to the Argentinian border and there we got an enter stamp into our passport. Then we waited about 1.5 hours. Someone lost their passport or had an issue with their passport and we were waiting (the whole bus) to get it resolved. After the 90 minutes (around 11am) we finally left (without that person). 
At 3pm we reached El Calafate and asked for a map of the town and then walked from the bus terminal to the centre to book Perito Moreno Glaciar trip. We asked in tw…

3/1/2018 bus from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas (Chile)

As I wrote before, be got our tickets from Marga Taqsa office in Ushuaia (Juana Genoveva Fadul 126) on the day we arrived (Friday 29/12/2017). The bus company is Barria Ghisoni. It is standard long distance bus with tiny toilet and one deck. The ticket costs 1000 pesos (only cash payment) and the bus is leaving at 8am.
We got up at 6:20am, had quick breakfast and packed our rucksacks. At 7:30am we reached the omnibus terminal and handed our rucksacks to a guy from the bus. They didn’t want to see the tickets, neither passport. And they didn’t put any label on our rucksacks either. 
Shortly after we departed on time, they gave us a Chile customs declaration form (I’ll upload later) to fill in. I was looking forward to have some amazing views from the bus, all the windows inside were steamed and wet, and it was raining outside anyway. So no views. There is no USB, neither good air con on the bus. The bus was packed. 







The first stop is Argentinian border at San Sebastián. All you need is pa…

2/1/2018 Hotel Antartida and getting ready for bus to Punta Arenas

We packed in the morning after breakfast. Is was alright weather. So we decided to make our way to the Hotel Antartida in city centre. Once we left the accommodation, it started raining. Heavily. The whole way (1 hour) to the new hotel. We got to the hotel’s reception at 12 o’clock and waited in the reception until our room is ready. We could pay using MasterCard, to we were quite happy about it.
At 1pm, we were already in our cold room number 32. Took hot shower and took our wet things out of bags to dry. It was cold and the heating did not work. So Denisa went to complain to the reception. The guy from the reception came to our room in 10 minutes with some tools and started fixing the radiator. Quite interesting. Closed both circulation vents and unscrewed the venting vent. Then opened regulation vent and let the hot water go out from the radiator. And the same thing with the bottom vent. But he fixed it and the heating work d since. 

Then we went shopping to La Anima for the bus ride…

31/12/2017 Laguna Esmeralda near Ushuaia

After our breakfast, we walked 45 minutes to the omnibus terminal where also local tour minibuses are. Stopped for some water and snack in La Anima and then joined few more people waiting to be picked up by tour guys.
One of the tour people caught us and asked where are we going. She said 350 pesos per person return ticket and told us to wait for her driver to pick us up. The way to Laguna Esmeralda takes about 10-15 minutes and the driver drops you off at an unpaved car park next to the road. He told us that he will pick us up at 4pm. It was 12 o’clock sharp. 
From the car park, we followed blue signs to the Laguna Esmeralda. The path is easy, going from woods to plains to woods to plains and then you reach the small lake with lovely light blue colour. It started raining when we reached the lake. We walked 1.5 hours. There were many wild dogs running around and it was not pleasant to us as we don’t like dogs, especially not wild. So we walked 1.5 hours back, had our snack on the way an…

30/12/2017 Glaciar Martial

30/12/2017 Glaciar Martial
Morning we stayed at home and trained Spanish and English with Cristina. We had to wait until 11am to walk to pickup our washed laundry. 
Walked 30 minutes, paid 160 pesos, walked 30 minutes back and hanged the clothes to dry in our room. 
Then we got out and slowly walked towards the city centre and trying to catch a taxi on the road. After 5 minutes we caught one and he took us up the hill to Glaciar Martial. We paid 230 pesos, taxi meter was on showing tariff 1. 
The hike up the hill from the car park was about 1.5 hours and 1.5 hours back down the hill. It was mostly sunny. Time to time rain, snow, cloudy, windy. The views were okay. Nothing special. We took few photos and walked back to get a taxi to terminal omnibus in city centre. 
Yesterday we spoke to our neighbours staying in the same flat as we are. Nice Austrian couple, so we are having a dinner with them today. In a restaurant they went to two days ago and recommended. The only glitch we got was that…

29/12/2017 Flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (Aerolíneas Argentina)

29/12/2017 Flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (Aerolíneas Argentina)
We are getting up early and packing our rucksacks. I’m always a bit stressed before another journey so do I am also now. Everything is done quickly as we prepared majority in the evening and heading down from the 9th floor to the reception to catch a taxi. 
The reception and the streets are still quiet. It is not that early. My watch leaning to 7am and I’m opening BA Taxi app on my smartphone. All works fine, good internet connection, location service located us precisely and I can enter the destination: Aeropuerto Jorge Newbury. I got the price back straight away and it says as I expected - 120 pesos. So I can hit the order button and wait for a driver. Buscando... buscando for about 2 minutes now. So I’m going to cancel and order again. Buscando... waiting a bit longer, about 4 minutes and nothing. All the taxi drivers busy? Too early? And as we are deciding if to ask the hotel reception to call us a taxi or not, so…

How to get local Argentinian mobile phone number in Argentina

How to get local Argentinian mobile phone number in Argentina
To start with. Make sure your phone runs frequency used in Argentina. I think every phone made in last 5 years can be used worldwide so will be fine. Maybe the maxinum data speeds will vary. I can confirm that my Motorola Moto E gets fast mobile internet and my second phone Motorola Moro G catches only Edge here. Even the specifications looks almost the same. 
Someone asked me: why do you need local numbet? Well. I probably don't really need it. But if I want to post to Instagram or check my email, or get a taxi in Buenos Aires using BA Taxi app or even find something in Google maps, I need internet. WiFi is not always available, and roaming to Argentina is really expensive. Plus I noticed that some of the mobile operators here are offering WhatsApp even when you run out of standard data allowance. 
For some reason I decided to go with mobile network provider Claro. Probably because I did see some billboards on my way from…

28/12/2017 bus from Puerto Iguazu to Buenos Aires

We took the bus 27/12/2017 at 19:15 from Puerto Iguazu. The bus company is Via Bariloche and we bought the tickets online in November. Type of the service we chose was Cama and we booked seats 1 and 2 (first row, top floor). The bus tickets we printed out from the email we received from Busplus.
Before we boarded, our rucksacks got labels with numbers and we got the same number stickers to keep. Also they checked our tickets and passports. The passport number on the ticket should match with your passport. Mine didn’t (as I got a new passport since I bought the tickets), but I just said I have a new passport. 
The seats were big and comfortable and you could make almost a flat bed from them (160 degrees). There is also a USB charging port for each seat and headphones jack to listen what is on the TV screen and also a speaker which some people leave on quite loud. Also a pillow and a blanket were provided. The toilet was on the lower deck and whenever the toilet was occupied, it was displ…