LASA Tour 09-10
Fri 15 Jan 2010 - Fri 12 Feb 2010 20 °C
This is one of my favourite places in Argentina. The journey here from Bolivia is long and bumpy, and this time also chaotic at the border control. The road is a stoney tack for half of the 18 hour trip. Also very dusty inside the old coach with no toilet! The timing wasn't good either as it was the holidays and there was hold ups at the border. In the end after a few hours I turned into the dumb English traveller and jumped the queue to get me passport stamped.
The accomodation prices had doubled in the 3 years since my last visit and on the 3rd day actually found a decent place to stay after overpaying at some uncomfotable hostels for the first 2 days. It was great to start eating Argentine steaks again. Also there was a summer tournament match on between Independiente and River Plate so got a game of football in too.
We managed to find a tour company that would do a repeat of an excellent trip I done back in December 2006. We done it in reverse heading to Cafayate and back through Cachi the next day. Also they added in the Quilmes ruins on the first day. The weather was cloudy annoyingly as our first 4 days stay it was sunny with no clouds. The tour visits different mountain regions, the wine producing area of Cafayate, the ruins of Quilmes and more mountain formations which have amazing colours. I also managed to start a Goat fight. On the first morning we stopped at a place that sells goat cheese and while feeding one of the goats another one attacked it. I'm thinking of making a sport out of it, I am sure that ESPN will be interested. It gets really violent, loved it!
Near Cachi we stopped at one place that makes ponchos from apaca fur, I remembered visiting a place like this on my first trip and regretted not buying one. Also this place was where a man produced one for the Pope John Paul who visited here in the 1980's so I bought one off him this time, paid $300 for it as I didn't want to haggle as he has friends in high places!
My bag with me Laptop was stolen out of the tour car when we had stopped in Cachi, we think it was the tour guide who done it. I will say no more about it because we were sad to lose the Perú photos.
After having the bag stolen we changed our plans and headed to Cordoba where some friends we made in the Galapagos, Raul & Kita, live. They had a villa with a huge swimming pool in the suburbs. Margarita spent all the time by the pool. One day we went to Villa Carlos Paz which is one of the busiest places for locals to go on holiday. It has a nice lake and we trekked up and down a hill which was hard as it was about 38c.
We hired a car and drove to some towns in the region. The first night we stayed in Mina Clavera visiting the La viña dam. Then drove up to Los Tuneles. On the way we had a traditional lunch which was made from Goat meat. When we got through the final Tunnel the view was spectacular. At first it looked like we had driven to the coast and could see the ocean. The land below was so flat that's what it looked like.
Then I drove to Cosquín. The road was a stoney track and took hours to drive taking us up a mountain range and to the other side. We were worried about damage to the car from all the flying stones, I suppose I could of slowed down but where´s the fun in that! Then a storm hit us with the biggest hail stones I have ever seen, it was like the ones in the end of the world movies. Every time they hit the windscreen it sounded like they were smashing it. In Cosquín there was a festival of traditional music which they call Folklore here. Driving a hired car in Latin America is very stressful as the local roads can be in terrible condition.
Didn't do too much here. The beaches were practically 100% under water due to the high level of the river which runs down all the way from Brazil. The water is really muddy so wouldn't want to swim in it anyhow. Did do a nice boat trip on the river one afternoon.
This place is boring do not come here unless of course it's to watch a football match, which is what we done.
Colonia Carlos Pelligrini
This place is great for it's wildlife. It's a small town of about 600 people in the marsh lands of Corrientes. It's tricky to get here but well worth the visit. We were unlucky with the weather so didn't see as many animals as I did when I first visited here. To save time we booked a 4x4 to drive us to our next destination which took just 3 hours instead of over 13! This is because it drives on a sandy road through the marsh lands. The trip was an adventure in itself and the driver was very good and managed to keep the car on track despite sliding all over the place. I would love to drive this track, it looks better than the Dakar Rally.
The waterfalls here are breathtaking, literally as you can do a boat tour that takes you through one of them! There are over a hundred falls here. You spend a few hours on the Brazil side where you are opposite the falls, there is also a racoon problem here and you see loads on the trail. Nearby there is an avery where if you're lucky you can get attacked by Tucans. The Argentine side needs a day as you walk amongst the falls and can take a boat tour. Also while you are here you can visit the Itapu dam built on the Paraná river between Brazil and Paraguay.
As if we hadn't had enough of waterfalls we visited El Sorberbio to take a tour along the River Uruguay, which is between Argentina and ... well Brazil in this part of it. When the weather conditions are right and the river level low a 2km long waterfall called Moconá appears in the middle of the it. We finally had a bit of luck with the weather. We nearly didn't have a boat for the trip though as on the way it unconnected from the tow and crashed into a tree.