Tora Adventure

Two people exploring the world, seeking adventure & unique experiences.

Mendoza and Santiago – Final days of freedom! [Day 464]

This was it. We were in our last week of travel. 18 total countries visited; Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay. From our home of Toronto, Canada to the Southern most city in the world of Ushuaia, Argentina, Australia. 464 days of travel or just over 15 months non-stop. The final average budget came in at just over USD$40 per person per day for everything. A month of Spanish school in Panajachel, Guatemala; 3 weeks getting our Scuba diving certificates in Roatan, Honduras and 2 weeks in the Galapagos, Ecuador. We climbed mountains in excess of 5,000m altitude on multiple occasions. We saw some truly amazing things and lived an adventure many only dream of.

 

 

Mendoza, Argentina

We took an overnight bus from Buenos Aires to arguably our favourite location and possibly our favourite hostel of the entire trip, Mendoza in Argentina.

 

We would spend 5 nights in Mendoza at the ever amazing Punto Urbano Hostel.

The bargain price of 110 pesos ($8.65) for a 4 bed dorm, a little cheaper in off season. The amazing free wine happy hour every night. The amazing dulce de leche crepes and omelets each morning for breakfast. The amazing and free empanada making class. The central location. The really friendly staff members. What more can you ask for?

 

This was set to be our time off to enjoy cheap steak and wine and gorge ourselves on ice cream and beer. The weather in early December is hot at around 30C or more. Lovely blue skies.

 

 

Lujan wine and bike trip

Toby was no longer held back by a sprained ankle like our last visit some 2 months earlier (insert link). We would get to do our bike ride tour of some more wineries this time. A bus out to Lujan costs 10 pesos each ($0.80) and a short walk later we would arrive at Baccus Bikes. If you book through the hostel they reserve your bikes and you get a small discount. It only cost 80 pesos ($6.30) to rent a bike for the day.

 

Baccus Bikes - Rodora sampling the local vintage

Baccus Bikes – Rodora sampling the local vintage

 

Our first stop would be at Carmelo Patti for a free wine sampling. This was a little hard to find at first but we got there eventually. The old owner was very friendly and passionate about the wine. We sampled a few and moved on.

 

Next would be Bodega Lagarde. This had a quite large setup and professional feel to it. A set of samples cost 50 pesos ($4) each. The wine was quite nice and the views out the back were nice and relaxed as well.

 

Bodega Lagarde

Bodega Lagarde

Bodega Lagarde

Bodega Lagarde

 

Our final winery for the day was at Nieto Senetiner where we would be just about the only people there.

 

Rodora riding into Nieto Senetiner

Rodora riding into Nieto Senetiner

 

We chose to just get a glass of wine to enjoy on the patio and enjoy the serenity.

 

Nieto Senetiner

Nieto Senetiner

 

Our treat upon returning to Lujan was a 250g tub of ice cream for the amazing price of 22 pesos ($1.75) from our favourite Argentinian ice creamery called Grido.

 

A tasty helping of Grido ice cream

A tasty helping of Grido ice cream

 

That night would continue with wine happy hour and our standard 1kg steak with chorizo.

 

Wine Happy Hour at the hostel

Wine Happy Hour at the hostel

Steak and Chorizo for dinner

Steak and Chorizo for dinner

 

 

Cerro Arco – without the tour

This is a popular paragliding spot with a viewpoint of Mendoza. We took a local bus (10 pesos / $0.80) to the starting point. A word of warning here, we’d been given multiple warnings by the hostel and online that the entrance to the area can be a little unsafe for tourists. Don’t take anything too valuable with you or too much money. We didn’t get approached by anyone, but the area is certainly a little isolated, so just be careful.

 

From the main road it’s about 5.5km to the top where the communications antennas are located. It took us around 1 hour 20 minutes to get up in the heat of the day. The elevation is from 1,070m to 1,660m (590m total gain). On the top, we ate our lunch and tried to find some shade under a satellite dish. The view from the top was ok, but not outstanding. It’s a nice half day trip with a solid workout and costs next to nothing to do.

 

Cerro Arco

Cerro Arco

Cerro Arco

Cerro Arco

 

Termas Cacheuta – Hot springs

This was another day trip we hadn’t done last time. The buses leave the main Mendoza station only a couple of times per day, so work out the timing so you make the most of your time. The current schedule was 9am, 10.30am, 1.30pm going there and you really want to be on the 10.30am bus. Cost was about 14 pesos ($1) per person one way.

 

Entry was 90 pesos ($7) each. There were a number of relaxing pools with varying hot water temperatures. Near the main entrance many of them were under shade covers. If you walked down the hill there were a number of larger outdoor pools with some slides to add to the adventure. Most of these pools were quite a bit cooler though.

 

Termas Cacheuta – Hot springs

Termas Cacheuta – Hot springs

Termas Cacheuta – Hot springs

Termas Cacheuta – Hot springs

 

Mendoza to Santiago

This was a final lesson in bargaining for buses. Prices ranged from 330 pesos ($26) to 600  or more pesos ($47). There are around 10 or more companies doing the trip and it’s best to go to the bus station and negotiate your price.

 

We would only be in Santiago for about 24 hours and back to our previously visited hostel called Don Santiago (10,000 / $17) per night in a 6 bed dorm.

 

We would fly out of Santiago on an epic final journey to Sydney, Australia. We would do an overnight flight to Atlanta, USA arriving around 6am. We had a 12 hour layover to enjoy some fatty American foods and do some shopping. Next leg would be a 5 hour flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles with a few hours layover before the final leg of 15 hours to Sydney. This would be a total of 44 hours from start to finish.

 

 

There it is. The trip is over. We’re returned to our long lost home of Sydney, Australia.

 

 

Plenty more to explore. Keep following the blog and our Flickr account for updates. http://www.flickr.com/photos/toraadventure/

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3 comments on “Mendoza and Santiago – Final days of freedom! [Day 464]

  1. Jo Templin
    January 31, 2015

    Wow!! Epic journey guys. Can’t wait to catch up with you later in the year in Sydney! Xx

  2. Phillip
    March 1, 2015

    Hey I just wanted to say that I had been following this blog for a long time as my girlfriend and I were making a similar trek from Cartagena down the west coast to Torres del Paine and back up through Argentina. We were about two countries behind you so it was exciting to see what lay ahead and gather some tips. We are ending our 7mo South America trip on Wednesday and it is a little bittersweet- I’m sure a similar feeling that you had leaving the continent. Very helpful blog for us overall and very entertaining!

    • Tora Traveller
      March 17, 2015

      Thanks Phillip. Glad we could help you out. It sure was bittersweet. An amazing adventure. Memories for a lifetime.

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2015 by in Argentina, Chile.

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