Road Trip Part 2: Argentina’s Quebrada de Humahuaca

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Llamas on the road to Salinas Grande

After a one night pit stop in Salta, our road trip through Argentina’s northwest continues. On this excursion, we travel north through Jujuy Province and the enchanting Quebrada de Humahuaca all the way to the Bolivian border. We enlist the service of Poncho Tours, an excellent operator who runs private, customized tours. Over the next two and a half  days, we visit indigenous Andean villages, giant salt flats and multicoloured mountains that would make a perfect album cover for a psychedelic rock band. And, I might add, we eat the best empanadas ever. Continue reading

Categories: Argentina, Places | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Road Trip Part 1: Argentina’s Valles Calchaquíes, Salta-Molinos-Cafayate Loop

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Piattelli Winery in Cafayate, Argentina

As Mike and I were digging into the fourth course of our wine pairing lunch in Cafayate’s elegant Piattelli Winery our heads were swimming (and not only from the good wine). Just two hours ago, we had been driving along a gravel road through a tortured landscape of razor-edged hills. That morning, we’d woken up in Molinos, a tiny, sun-baked adobe village. The day before, we had started our 3-day road trip in sophisticated Salta, traveled through farmland that morphed into jungle that gave way to high desert. Our loop through Valles Calchaquíes, in northwestern Argentina, was less than 500 km (310 miles) and packed with so much variety it felt surreal.  Cheers! Continue reading

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Iguazú Falls—Experiencing the Drama in Brazil and Argentina

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Iguaçu Falls National Park Brazil—C.Helbig

A Jesuit priest is tied to a wooden cross and set afloat. He plunges headfirst down a monstrous waterfall and is swallowed up in the churning cauldron. That’s the opening scene from the 1986 movie The Mission, filmed primarily in Iguazú Falls—the mighty cascades between Argentina and Brazil. It wasn’t just that scene that left a big impression on me, it was the extraordinary scenery. I wanted to see the dense jungle shrouded in mist, hear the thunder of  hundreds of  waterfalls, and stand at the top of one of those falls, peering into the  abyss. In April, I finally got to do all that (and more). Continue reading

Categories: Argentina, Places | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

The Astounding Size, Sound and Beauty of Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier

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Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park—C.Helbig

So…you think glaciers are boring? Well, go visit Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. It crackles and groans and rumbles. Sometimes it sounds like rapid gunfire, and occasionally like a giant explosion. You’re almost guaranteed to see large blocks of ice collapse from the glacier’s edge and crash into Lago Argentino. Perito Moreno Glacier is active and noisy and huge and gorgeous. It’s also easily accessible with many viewing options. No wonder Los Glaciares National Park, which also includes the incredible hiking mecca of El Chaltén (Fitz Roy) is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Come take a look at this breathtaking, blue-hued beauty. Continue reading

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Laguna de los Tres (Fitz Roy): The Iconic Patagonian Hike in all its Fall Finery

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Early morning view of Fitz Roy from our El Chalén hotel—C.Helbig

On our first morning in El Chaltén, Argentina we woke up to a fiery red Mount Fitz Roy. I was beyond excited. Clear days are few and far between in southern Patagonia. Our guesthouse host recommended we do the Laguna de los Tres hike (also called Cerro Fitz Roy) for the best close-up views of the crown jewel of Patagonia. This hike, located in Los Glaciares National Park, has it all—granite spires, giant glaciers, turquoise lakes and pretty forests that pop with unbelievable colours if you’re lucky enough to be there in fall. Laguna de Los Tres is surprisingly accessible and relatively easy if you’re reasonably fit.  From start to finish, this hike is as stunning as they come.   Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Argentina, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , , , | 36 Comments

WINE-der WOMAN at the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon

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Team Wine-der Woman running through the vineyards—C.Helbig

It’s my favourite weekend of the year! It’s filled with belly laughs, outrageous silliness and much wine consumption with great friends. This is our fourth year participating in the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon, an annual event that takes place in the vineyards of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Named the 2017 Canadian Event of the Year at the Canadian Tourism Awards, the “marathon” is an 18 km (11.2 mile) course that winds its way through bucolic countryside with more than a dozen wine tasting and food sampling stops along the way. There are no prizes for speed, only creativity. After being pushed off the podium last year, we were thrilled to reclaim first prize with our WINE-der WOMAN costume. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Crazy Fun Stuff, Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

El Chaltén, Argentina: The Day Hiking Capital of Patagonia

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View of Fitz Roy from El Chaltén bus station—C.Helbig

No camping! That had been the key request. Mike wanted a comfy bed and hot shower at the end of a long day of hiking in Patagonia. I had always associated Torres del Paine in Chile with epic Patagonian hikes. Much to my dismay, I read that the best way to see those iconic rock spires was on multi-day treks. Then, with a little research, I leaned about El Chaltén, Argentina. This tiny town sits underneath the mother of Patagonia’s granite towers, Mount Fitz Roy. It’s a charmingly quirky place with an end-of-the-earth feel and plenty of accommodations to suit hikers of all budgets. Trailheads to the most amazing day hikes in Patagonia start right in town. Let me introduce you to a few of them.

Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Argentina, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

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