After 3 and a half months, I officially left Patagonia with no intention to return during this trip (although, I never say never… I will be back one day for sure to hit Chalten, Calafate, Torres del Paine and all). And considering my itinerary of the past few weeks which has been 100% determined by the people I have met, I realistically have no idea how my next few weeks will turn out! All I know is I have booked my return flight from Santiago on July 25th!
Mendoza is known for its proximity to the mountains and its amazing wine country. Again, as I am in lower season right now, it is very quiet and a lot of the excursions are not running because of the season, OR not running because they don’t hit the minimum number of people to go. That said – that would be my lesson for definitely travelling out of regular season, BUT, I won’t have time to visit Argentina like this many times in my life, so I’m gonna go with the flow and just do whatever comes my way and work out!
After quite an adventurous bus ride from Bariloche (20hrs, 7h of which were super bumpy because the suspension broke, and a change of bus in Neuquen for a good suspension… dinner served at 1130PM… and very short time of sleep), I arrived to the Gorilla Hostel (which had been suggested to me by a group of Australian travellers I met in Bariloche). I met for lunch with a group of CII Teachers who were in town for the long week-end, and then headed for a sunset horseback riding tour with Laura. We did more or less 2hrs of horseback riding at 1100m, on Cerro Lunlunta just outside of town. The guide was super knowledgeable of the area and answered all my questions about the names of each peak I could see on the horizon. The tour was 800 pesos, including transportation and an asado after the ride.
On my second day I finally made it for a relaxing spa day, and booked a day tour to the Terma Cachuetas, which is a resort park with hot springs about 1h from town. It was only 230 pesos for the entire day including transportation. I spent about 4hrs laying down in the sun in hot water, and then went for a quick hike up to a view point over the valley. To get there you have to go out of the water park and head right, and cross the suspension bridge accross the valley. From there, keep following up the road that says Cabanas Montanas. Up the road there is a house on the left which has small stairs on the left. Go up these stairs and you will find yourself on a trail that goes up the Cerro in front of you. You can hike up all the way to the white cross a bit higher, or keep going a bit more. I stopped a bit after the cross because I had to head back for the bus, but I am sure the trail keeps heading all the way to the peak.
Today I am taking a bit of a relaxing day in town, doing laundry (yes yes I still need to do that too), doing some blog work and working on a few things coming up for school. Tomorrow I am booked for a trek up to a 3000m summit – a first for me, so I will keep my energy for the morning!