I spent only 15 days in Argentina, slightly cut short because of the uncertainty crossing the Mendoza – Santiago border during the winter months. Indeed, I got stuck in Mendoza for several days because the border was closed due to snow and flooding. Luckily, I did finally get across without much fuss! It was a bit difficult to calculate the daily budget in Argentina because of what’s known as the blue market rate. If you have US cash in Argentina, you can exchange your money for a much better rate than if you were to simply go to an ATM or use your credit card. So, my blue market budget was about $34 per day, but my real rate was $47 per day. If you are planning to visit Argentina, I highly recommend bringing US cash in crisp, $100 bills!
Wine tasting in Mendoza had been on my bucket list for ages and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to do it on this trip. As it’s winter, the vineyards weren’t quite as impressive as I’d envisioned, but the wine tasted just as nice. It’s easy to book guided tours in Maipu from Mendoza, but the cheaper alternative is to take a bus to Maipu and then rent a bike.
After spending over two months in Bolivia, I was eager to cross the border into Argentina for some great steak and wine. The Villazon-La Quiaca crossing was the easiest crossing yet, and from La Quiaca I took a bus down to Tilcara. The small town in the Jujuy province had been highly recommended by two American girls I went on a mine tour with in Potosi, and it was an easy stop on the way south to Salta. In Tilcara I hiked around quite a bit. I have to admit, although beautiful, the scenery was a bit redudant with what I had seen in Sucre and Tupiza in Bolivia.