All posts by Admin

Bariloche (San Carlos de Bariloche)

Bariloche is also known as “Little Switzerland” due to the fact that it has beautiful mountains, it is known for chocolate, and it has little cutesy shops all over. The town really is picturesque with the Andes hovering over the beautiful lake Nahuel Huapi. The lake was a block from our Airbnb and we took full advantage of the free, beautiful walks along it (even when it snowed). This was a great town to stay in because there were awesome hiking trails just a short bus ride away. The downfall was definitely the massive groups of teenagers stalking around in matching coats and chanting their school songs. Apparently almost every High School in Argentina sends their seniors on a class trip to Bariloche. They think it’s super awesome to wear matching ski jackets, so they all rent one from the same company and wear the exact same, outdated jackets. Unusual sight to see and they were usually loud/obnoxious. If you have a thing for St Bernard dogs this is the place to be! They had 4-6 dogs/puppies for you to take your picture with (for a price obviously).


The highlight for Autumn was probably the AMAZING medialunas at a place called Mamushkas. They were so awesomely good. Argentinians aren’t aiming for a hardy/healthy breakfast; they stick strictly to  sweets and breads. The pastries here are to die for!

Hiking, or “trekking” to South Americans, was definitely on the top of things we loved here. We hopped on the city bus for a quick 20 minute ride to the base of Llao Llao Mountain (only cost about $6 for both of us) and then started our 4 hour trek. The views were amazing (pictures below speak for themselves)!!! It was chilly, but sweaty all at the same time. Climbing mountains is hard work! ***WORTH IT ***



The next day we boarded the bus again for another gorgeous trek up Cerro Campanario. This was a very steep 45 minute climb up, but it was worth it for the outstanding views! We could see many clear blue lakes and the Andes all around. Drew, unfortunately, had some sort of allergy attack, so he wasn’t as able to enjoy it due to many sneezes and leaking eyes. More pictures for proof of the awesomeness…. The climb down the mountain was almost as strenuous as going up!

In all Bariloche was awesome after the Spring weather arrived! We tried to leave for Mendoza on Friday, but all the buses were booked, so we had to stay in a hostel for a night and try again on Saturday. We’re pretty sure that Drew was cursed by some old lady at the bus station (totally unsolicited. No seriously!) and the hostel royally sucked, but other than that we just went with the flow!

Up Next: Mendoza!

We just arrived and are waiting in our hostel for our beds to be ready. Luckily, the hostel let me shower (Autumn) when we got there. I was unfortunate enough to sit in a bus seat that someone may or may not have died in. It smelled so HORRIBLE!!! Cloth seats are not ideal for long bus rides. Wet wipes just can’t make that much of a difference. I tried to sit elsewhere when I could, but had to deal with it once it was sleepy time. To help with the smell I stuffed orange peels under my nose and used my sleep mask to hold it in place. Yup. That. Bad. BUT WE ARE HERE!!!! WINE COUNTRY HERE WE COME!

Perito Moreno

WOW! AMAZING! Those are the two words that come to mind right away when speaking or writing about Perito Moreno. We had been hearing and reading a lot about the glacier and how remarkable it was, but I was still not sure what to expect. Having grown up in Minnesota and Wisconsin I have seen plenty of ice and cold, so I figured this might be exactly that but on a larger scale. I was totally wrong. As I mentioned in the previous post we decided to take the Big Ice Trek through Hielo & Aventura. Our day started early with pickup at 7am. We took the bus from down town Calafate about an hour to the lookout balconies in front of Perito Moreno. We caught our first glimpse of the glacier as we rounded the end of Lago Argentina. It almost didn’t look real. When we finally arrived at the overlook the sight was almost indescribable. There we were standing in front of a 60 meter (approx. 200 feet) high wall of ice that had the most amazing kaleidoscope of blues and whites. The boardwalk allowed you to get quite close to the face of glacier for some amazing pictures. What was incredible was that as the clouds and sun alternated the glacier would change colors. It was truly amazing to see.

After spending about an hour in front of the glacier it was time to hop on a boat and get close to it on the water side. The boat trip wasn’t too long (only 20 minutes), but  it showed us another side of the glacier which was amazing too. The boat dropped us off at a little outpost where we were to start our hike to and then onto Perito Moreno. We were part of a group of approximately 30 people and after receiving some general instructions we were off on our hike. We hiked about an hour in the woods alongside the glacier until we reached a small yurt (tent like structure). This is where we geared up. We each received a pair of crampons or ice shoes as well as a climbing belt. We walked down the edge of the trees to the glacier, put on our crampons, and took our first steps on to the ice.

I won’t try to elaborate too much with words and I will let the pictures do the talking for the most part. A couple of things you should know though:

  • There are lots of little lakes and rivers ON the glacier. If you aren’t with a guide or go off trail it is a very dangerous place to be.
  • Given that the ice is always moving there are a lot of crevasses that are incredibly deep and amazing to see, but also dangerous.


After trekking for a couple of hours we had lunch on the glacier and filled up our water bottles with fresh and incredibly pure glacier water. The view and the taste of the water was amazing. That’s some high quality H2O (thank you Bobby Boucher).

It was an amazing trek on the glacier and we got to cap it off with a crawl into an ice cave for a memorable picture. In case you were wondering, yes both Autumn and I had to lick the ice. 🙂

After an amazing 3 hours on the ice, it was time to walk back to the boat. It might sound a little crazy, but when you are hiking you spend a lot of time looking at the trail in front of your feet so on the occasions that we looked to the side it was always a shock to see the glacier right there. On the boat they served us some whiskey over glacier ice; Not too shabby!

After a long day it was time to head home and have sweet dreams about glaciers, trekking, and whiskey! It was an unforgettable experience that I would recommend to anyone who is up for it. One restriction to be aware of is people over 50 are not allowed on the tour. This is just another reason why Autumn and I are glad we are doing this trip now.

El Calafate

Where to begin. As we mentioned in the last post, we decided to fly to El Calafate instead of take the bus. Totally well worth it. If nothing else, the view of the Andes while flying into El Calafate was worth the price. We landed in Calafate on Monday Sep 28th, with the intention to stay a couple of days to recuperate, see the glacier and then be on our way. As things have a way of happening, our initial plans weren’t exactly correct. When we landed in Calafate, we were seriously running low on clean clothes and I was coming down with a cold. The plan was to lay low for a couple of days and then start hitting the highlights. The Airbnb that we stayed at was perfect. Not only was it a beautiful place, but it had a washing machine too! Woo Hoo! We spent that Tuesday between washing clothes, sleeping, and starting to dig into what we needed to see in Calafate.

One thing to note. It is really nice to have your own space while traveling, but it does comes with a drawback. Autumn and I have found that while staying at hostels doesn’t sound glorious, it is an incredible place to get insights into places to see and how to go about seeing them. In Puerto Madryn alone we met 5 people (2 couples and a German woman {not the start of a joke J}) who were all huge helps. I will start with the German woman. We met her while cooking dinner one night in the hostel. She had done the “Big Ice” trip a couple of days prior through Hielo & Aventura, which is the only company that has a permit to do treks on Perito Moreno. She almost couldn’t put into words how incredible it was. We had been debating whether or not to do the more extensive (and expensive) hike on the glacier or to do a short trek on and off in 30 minutes. Her enthusiasm made the decision for us. We decided to take the Big Ice trip in Calafate right there; and I will tell you that it was everything she described and more. I will write much more about it in a later post. The two couples we met ended up also going to El Calafate around the same time that we were there. We had dinner in Calafate one night with Tim and Simone, a married couple from Switzerland who have traveled just about EVERYWHERE! Simone worked for a travel agency for a number of years and had traveled to many great places before meeting Tim. They have continued to travel together and seem to have exactly the right mindset for prioritizing exploring the world versus buying a lot of stuff that ties you to one place. They were a wealth of information on places in South America as well as South East Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. We were very fortunate to meet them and we look forward to continuing to stay in touch going forward! The second couple was from Romania and were also a fantastic pair with a wealth of information (Autumn mentioned them in a previous post). If you are interested, you should check out their blog at Their pictures are amazing. One thing that is becoming increasingly obvious is that we Americans are way behind the rest of the world when it comes to languages. Just about everyone that we have met while traveling speaks at least 2, most times 3 languages. Autumn and I are feeling a little bit sheepish by speaking English a tiny bit of Spanish. Our schooling system is really doing us a disservice for not making us at least bi-lingual. Mike Lietzau, you are doing the right thing having your kids in Spanish immersion school.

We ended up spending a few days in the downtown area of Calafate, doing some shopping, eating, and generally enjoying the view from our little part of the Andes. As this was our first exposure to the Andes I will say again how remarkably beautiful it was. Prior to arriving down here we had seen quite a bit of the scrub steppe area of Argentina east of the Andes, which is very flat, very arid, and very similar to the rest of non-mountainous Patagonia. It was a very nice change of pace to see some elevation and some trees. One more note on Calafate; this has become a destination for tourists and the amount of construction is pretty impressive. The town is expanding rapidly and becoming a big destination for travelers and Argentinians alike. It isn’t quite the end of the world (that would be Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego), but it is pretty close. Ushuaia by the way is the southernmost city in the world and about 625 miles from Antarctica.

Puerto Madryn

On Thursday the 24th we walk the 30 minutes to the bus station. This was Autumn’s first time carrying her 35lb bag for a long period of time. Due to the fact that we had no idea what to do once at the bus station and coordinating tickets it turned into 1.25 hours instead of 30mins. Great way to break her in! The block surrounding the bus/train station was insanely busy, very dirty, and quite confusing. Luckily, we got it all figured out and eventually made it into an area that was more like an airport terminal instead of the ghetto that we had been standing in. The bus was delayed 2 hours, so we ended up spending 4 hours there instead of 2, but not a big deal because we are learning patience! I would call this “island time.”

South American busses are double deckers with different classes. We choose the middle class which is “Cama Ejecutivo”….this means the chairs recline to 140 degrees, we get blankets/pillows, numerous meals, wine, and movies. We didn’t think it would be THAT BAD, even if the trip was 18 hours. Autumn thought it was pretty bad. The bus was borderline warm (which when riding in a vehicle is never good), the food was pretty terrible, the movies were played in the front & middle with the sound coming from the back, and I’m pretty sure the sign in the bathroom “this toilet only recycles liquids” means that we can’t take a crap the entire time. It sounds worse than it was and, all-in-all, it’s a decent & inexpensive way to travel in South America, so we are just going to have to deal!

Around 1:00pm on Friday we arrive in Puerto Madryn. It is much bigger than we expected (population 100,000), but still fabulous! It is clean, feels very safe, the beach is HUGE, we can see whales spouting in the distance, and there are happy, stray dogs hanging out everywhere. Seriously, they have golden retrievers, black labs, and other random dog mixes EVERYWHERE! We were eating lunch out on a patio overlooking the beach and three super sweet dogs roamed up and down the aisles. Our hostel is only 2 blocks from the beach, so we took full advantage once we checked in.

The hostel we stayed at was named Hi Patagonia. This was our first experience with a hostel. The place itself was really clean (in fact their bathtub is definitely cleaner than ours at home), there was a large community kitchen/dining/living area, breakfast was included, and the hosts graciously helped us to book tours and answered all of our questions with ease. We were a little disappointed to find out that our 4-person room had two bunk-beds with both of the bottom beds already taken. I’m 6’6 and sleeping on the top bunk didn’t seem like the best option. We did it for the first night and we survived! After that our bunkmates moved on and we were able to sleep on the bottom (thank goodness). Definitely not ideal, but since it was only 2 nights it wasn’t that big of a deal. We will definitely being getting private rooms if we stay at hostels from here on out.

In order to soak up as much of the area as we could, we decided to do a tour of Peninsula Valdes. We were excited because the tour guarantees you will see whales. We were sold! This was a very adventurous day, so I will lay it out piece by piece.

1st Stop was Doradilla Bay: This was actually one of the highlights of the day. The bus pulls up to a rocky beach and we can already see numerous batches of whales jumping, spouting, & diving in the water. The tour guide was intending to give us some information before he opened the doors, but we all basically pushed past him in order to run to the water. Whales were EVERYWHERE! Female Southern Right Whales enter these waters to mate and to have babies from August through December. Which means there were lots of baby whales!! Autumn and I were in complete awe of how close these huge animals were to the shore maybe 50 yards or so at the closest. Mama whales were teaching their babies to roll over on their backs, slap their tails, and other whale tricks. It was amazing 🙂

2nd Stop was Puerto Piramides: It is called this because when sailing into the bay there are rock cliffs that look similar to pyramids. The “Pyramids” have begun eroding over time, but from a distance you can see it. Puerto Piramides is where we donned our life vests and boarded a boat for our on-the-water whale watching excursion. Since the Peninsula Valdes is a National Park, the only place you can get on a boat to view whales is in this town. Interestingly enough, the bay is quite shallow and can’t accommodate a pier, so we boarded the boat on a trailer about 100 yards out of the water and then were backed into the water with a tractor. Whatever works I guess. The bay is beautiful, but the totally awesome part is you can see whales spouting and jumping EVERYWHERE! There were probably ten boats in the bay, but no one had to share a set of whales. You’d be watching a pair of whales 50 feet from the boat and in the background you could enjoy the large splashes from other playful whales. So cool!!! After 1.5 hours on the water it was back to town to grab a bite to eat and jump back on the tour bus.


3rd Stop was Delgada: This is where we viewed the Elephant Seals. We were able to see them laying on the beach while we were standing on a cliff. Very cool to see, but they sleep most of the time. The few that weren’t sleeping were amusing to watch as they tried to move their fat bodies from place to place. The males are massive and some were quite loud sleepers. There were many cute, black pups hanging out close to their mamas. All in all the scenery was awesome, the seals were cool, but we missed the action of the whales!


4th Stop was Punta Cantor: Penguins!! There is a small colony of Patagonian Penguins that come to this particular beach to nest. They were literally right next to the boardwalk. The only thing between us and the penguins was a small fence and probably 2 feet. The male penguins arrive on the beach a couple of weeks before the females to get the nests ready. Apparently they use the same nest year after year. A few of the females had arrived, but there were still some males getting their nests ready for babies (sadly no babies yet…they won’t hatch until November). We were instructed not to cross the fence or touch the penguins even though they were right there. It was crazy, they didn’t give a shit about the people 2 feet away talking and taking pictures; they just kept doing their thing. Mostly the penguins were busy sleeping, squaking, flinging rocks out of their nests, or just hanging out. Even though they were wild, it almost felt like we were in a zoo because they were so close and calm. Definitely a neat opportunity to be up close and personal with penguins.


The bus journey along the way: We were probably on the bus for about 3 hours total during the trip and were lucky enough to see a lot of other wildlife. We saw their version of a rabbit, Mara. It had a bigger body, smaller ears, and basically a beard. They also had Choique (like an ostrich) awkwardly running around all over the place. The Guanaco is similar to a llama/alpaca and they hung out in crowds of from as small as 3 to herds of 20+. There were also lots of sheep with their lambs and a few random horses/cows. The sheep, horses, and cows were property of one of the many estancias (ranches) on the peninsula. Random side note, they sheer the sheep once a year and make $25US per sheep. Scale certainly helps.

So, it turns out we really fricking like whales, so after booking our next bus/flight/Airbnb we decided we’d go to lunch and then planned to taxi out to a local beach to see the whales one last time before we left Puerto Madryn. On our walk back from lunch we saw a large group of whales causing a lot of commotion. This wasn’t far from the water’s edge, so we went to explore. We were informed that it was likely a group of males trying to mate with a female. The ladies apparently don’t really like the loving, so the boys team up. The female will flip on to her back in order to prevent penetration. The males will then work together to get her flipped back, so they can each have their turn. Luckily for them, and unluckily for the female the male has a 2+ meter long penis. Yup. That’s. Right. Now don’t think that we actually saw a whale penis. I’m not sure Autumn could handle that image….but we did get an awesome show regardless. We hadn’t even taxied to the whale watching bay and we were already seeing some cool shit.

We shared a taxi with another couple from the hostel (turns our they are awesome and are just finishing their 11 month RTW trip that’s basically the same as ours, but backwards….they gave us so much great advice!). It was a 15 minute trip, really inexpensive, and probably the best part of our trip as of yet! We went back to Doradillo Bay, but this time there were many other people with the same idea. Basically, the locals and/or smart people bring their lawn chairs, food, beverages, and find a spot to hang out. Whales were once again everywhere and so close!! The beach is really long, so we had a hard time deciding where the best spot would be to view the whales. Turns out every spot was good. Autumn was FOMOing pretty hard, so we’d be way on the left side enjoying a set of whales and then book it over to the other side because those whales were closer. We were there for 3 hours and she eventually settled down and realized that all spots were good spots. There was even an albino baby!!! He loved slapping his tail in the water….seriously obsessed with it and didn’t stop for like 10 or 15 minutes. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Whales are so amazing, majestic, huge, incredible, etc. We feel so lucky to have been in Puerto Madryn at just the right time!!!!

We got back to the hostel to talk more with our new “travel agent” friends, so they could give us advice and share stories about their awesome trip. Their guidance was unbelievably helpful and reassuring. WE CAN DO THIS!!!!

We boarded the 10pm bus to Comodoro Rivadavia, It arrived at 4:30am and we were expected to board our flight for Calafate at 8:00. It was delayed for two hours. We boarded it, the plane started up, while we were taxiing we both feel asleep. Unfortunately, not for long. The engines stopped and we were asked to get off the plane, so they could fix an issue. Great. We eventually boarded and it was still better than riding on a bus for 24 hours. It was basically the same price to bus/fly than it was to bus 24 hours. We’re not ready for that yet! But, it will soon be a reality. We are currently in Calafate hiding in an Airbnb: doing laundry, relaxing, and doing as little as possible for 2 days. Then, we will reunite with the hostel life and get back into making memories 🙂

Buenos Aires, Argentina

After our T&T adventure, we signed ourselves up for some serious travel. We had a pair of loooooooong flights; the first from Tobago to Sao Paulo, Brazil (via Barbados) and then from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires. Given that we were due to arrive in Buenos Aires at midnight, we decided to make things easy and book a room at the Holiday Inn close to the airport. It was a great idea. But before we get into our Argentina travels, a few comments about the day of traveling to get here. First (and most important), when planning on traveling for 16 hours in planes and airports make sure you have a good travel partner. Having done quite a bit of traveling, shit is bound to come up and if you are your travel partner can roll with it, then everything is good. I will tell you that Autumn is a great travel partner. She rolls with the punches well and we balance each other out well. For example, when we landed in Sao Paulo we were funneled in the direction of very different areas. I wouldn’t normally have had a concern about the options, but when we were leaving Tobago they suggested we check baggage claim in Sao Paulo to ensure our bags made it on our next flight. Not a good idea. To get to baggage claim we would have had to leave the terminal, clear customs, and show our Brazilian Visa which we didn’t have. So, onto option #2 which was passing through another security gate, then trying to figure out which terminal and gate we were due to fly out of. The information on our boarding passes was little to no help. To make matters more difficult the national language of Brazil is Portuguese which Autumn and I can’t understand a word of. After passing through security we made our way to terminal 2, which seemed correct except for one small detail. Our gate was behind a closed door which clearly said (in Portuguese) “Wait for the door to open.” Um… WTF does that mean? We are standing in front of the door and nothing is happening. And we are not the only ones. There are a lot of people trying to do the same thing we are without any luck. When you have a 3.5 hour layover in a country where you don’t speak the language, you’re not sure if your luggage is stuck in baggage claim, and you have a Harry Potter like portal in your way…..the only thing that comes to mind is: SHIT! After an impatient two hours the door opens and we are able to get to our gate. Much ado about nothing as they as. I guess it is another lesson for us to learn to go with the flow. At the end of the day we made it safely to Buenos Aires AND our luggage did too 🙂 🙂

After out lovely (actually lovely) night at the Holiday Inn, by the airport, we hopped in a Taxi to go into Buenos Aires proper. Just like the Fresh Price, I could tell that this cab was rare cause it was playing awesome 80s throw backs in English (She’s like the wind, Betty Davis eyes, and more) making us feel right at home! Our Airbnb was in the Recoleta neighborhood, a very nice area with lots of restaurants/beautiful apartment buildings/shopping. Buenos Aires has A TON of people: 8-9 million people in/around it. Unfortunately, for us it was rainy, windy and about 50 F the entire time we were there! Even though we aren’t really foodies, we did hit a few of the recommended food to-dos. We had amazing steak( both in its taste and the cheap price), delicious Medialunas (a sugary croissant), Panchos (hotdogs with crunchy fries & other crazy condiments), and empanadas of many flavors. We didn’t spend all day eating, but we felt pretty good about our choices.

Our favorite attraction while there was the cemetery, Cemeterio De Recoleta. This is Buenos Aires’ first public cemetery which means that people have private ownership of the mausoleums and they can be bought and sold. We were able to clarify that when they are sold they are sold without the current residents. Hey, we had to ask. There were hundreds of mausoleums! Some of them were huge, others were intricate, and some were completely falling apart (aka crusty). The history and beauty could be seen everywhere. We had a wonderful tour guide who spoke Spanish, Portuguese, & English and explained many important people who were buried there…most well-known to us Americans would be Evita or Eva Peron. The main level of the mausoleums had a prayer station and sometimes a tomb. Then, there is a set of stairs that leads down to the other crypts. Families are buried in the same mausoleum and you could see some of the other crypts and/or urns as you looked down the stairs from above. AWESOME!


Given the uncooperative weather, we tried to find things to do indoors as much as possible. That said, when we did go outside we had to stare at the sidewalk in order to avoid the huge puddles, uneven sidewalks, and the massive piles of dog shit. They don’t have strict “cleanup after your dog” rules.

Sticking with our theme of trying to find indoor activities, we decided to visit the MALBA, which is the Latin American Art Museum. Sounds great right? NOPE! This was an awful experience of Modern Art. Autumn and I appreciate art. Art that looks like an adult created it!!!!!!! This was not the case. We went through room after room of circles painted in different colors, random lines crossing each other, and paint splattered on a canvas. But, these things were not the highlight…luckily we saved the basement for last. Playing on large screens were projections of beautiful, serene prairies/mountains with mostly NAKED LADIES, pole dancing. Obviously, they put a green screen up at Phipp’s and then decided to call that art. Needless to say we were not impressed and the Mother with her very curious 5 year old daughter was not either.

Las Violetas, Macos, and Parrilla Pena were all delicious choices for our dining experiences. We are on a budget (God knows if we have been following it), so we are trying to eat in for at least half of our meals. This means we aren’t counting the super cheap bottles of wine, delicious cheese, or yummy market meats in this section.

Las Violetas

We were in Buenos Aires for technically 3.5 days, but it felt like less due to the weird airport hotel. In all, we’ve decided that while we enjoy large cities, we would much rather spend time exploring smaller cities while in South America. On to Puerto Madryn!!!