We went to Chile for the Torres del Paine’s W trek and arrived in the town of Puerto Natales to arrange our trek. Lili Patagonicos was the perfect place to stay and we rented all our gear at the hostel and were able to leave our luggage during our hike. Carlos, our host was a wealth of information having done the trek so many times he lost count.
With our brief visit to Uruguay we got a good taste of the accommodation choices offered in Uruguay. In Colonia del Sacramento, our hostel was in an old colonial house including creaky wooden floors, old colorful tiles and a sunny courtyard. Our next home was a cozy family home in Montevideo filled with hanging plants, where we had access to their kitchen and dining room, all decked out in Uruguayan style.
Argentina was our introduction to South America, for both of us a brand new continent awaiting to be discovered. It was also the first country after Canada where we spent 3 months living in our converted campervan. We were going back to life in hostels and we wondered how the quality and atmosphere would be in South America. It was a good idea to start off in Argentina after 4 months in Canada for an easier transition into South America.
We first thought about visiting the Amazon when we were in Bolivia. Trips to the Amazon or selva (jungle) as called by locals are offered in Bolivia (however officially not yet the Amazon as the river starts in Peru), Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and of course Brazil. Our initial research showed lodges with package prices for a full all inclusive experience ranging from several hundreds of dollars to a couple of thousands. Not exactly what we hoped to see as this will take a huge chunk of our budget and we wondered if it would be worth the price?
We had big plans when we arrived in Vancouver. Find a minivan, buy it, build a bed for the van and transform the minivan into our campervan! But first, we needed a base in Vancouver. We were lucky to stay with a lovely family at their AirBnB home that had a garage filled with tools to build our campervan bed. It was also one of our first very comfortable rooms in a long time which made us feel really pampered.
After a month in Patagonia, our vision of Argentina was formed by snowcapped mountains, large empty pampas, guanacos, glaciers and the cold. We knew that the north was different but we just couldn’t imagine that it could be this different. We even wondered if we have stepped into a new country. Our first introductions to the north were the cities of Cordoba and Salta, both rich in colonial architecture and colorful buildings. We spent our days roaming the cities, eating ice cream on the main squares where the locals come out to play and visiting cathedrals and churches.
Whenever I thought of the Amazon, I imagined green thick jungle intersected by brown snakelike rivers and indigenous tribes. Iquitos is the other Amazon that travelers are not aware of but that is also a part of the Amazonian experience. Iquitos is the largest city in the world that is not reachable by road, it is only accessible by boat (couple of days from the nearest road linked city) or by plane.
Uruguay is usually not the first country you think about when you think of visiting South America. So of course we had to visit it when we had the chance. After a couple of days in Buenos Aires, we hopped on a ferry with destination Colonia del Sacramento, just 1 hour away. Colonia del Sacramento was the first stop for our short Uruguayan break.
Before arriving in Buenos Aires, we were often told how passionate, expressive and lively the Porteños (inhabitants of Buenos Aires) were. Within the first hours of strolling around Buenos Aires, we saw how true this was and how the good vibes also can be seen on the streets and walls of this vibrant city. For us, South America is a continent that expresses itself through murals and Buenos Aires might just be the capital of murals.
Canada has always held a special place in our hearts and it was great to be back after 10 years. Back then we were both students at the University of Ottawa and where else could we start our Canadian part of our trip than in Ottawa. For Ottawa we chose an AirBnB home in a neighborhood close by the university so we can go back and see what have changed in the past 10 years.