Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

On Iguazu, Mendoza, & Salta

Time November 22nd, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina, LGBTQ Correspondents | No Comments by

I realized I haven’t talked about any of the trips I’ve been on during my study abroad trip. I’ve been exceedingly blessed to have gotten to explore so much of Argentina. Buenos Aires is lovely and chaotic, but it has been nice at times to leave the pollution-filled air behind to travel to sparsely populated provinces. All of these trips feel like centuries ago, so I am going to try and generally summarize them instead of providing a lot of details.

My first trip outside Buenos Aires was to Iguazu Falls, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I went with some of my closest friends here, and it was super fun! That trip was definitely a blast because of the nature and companionship. I would say the hostel we stayed at was one of the best I’ve been to in Argentina.

Speaking of hostels, it’s really interesting how the quality of hostels vary so widely. You really never know what you’re going to get. Some are $10 a night and basically 5 stars(as far as hostels go) and some are $10 a night and really feel like you’re getting the absolute minimum for what you paid for. Isn’t that interesting?

Continuing on, Iguazu deserves its name as one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world. I was in awe most of the time. The surrounding town was  quaint and had a lot of nice murals that my friends and I took pictures next to. I remember going to a Mexican food place that was decidedly not Mexican food. Well, they tried.

In Mendoza, I got to ride a horse! That was my highlight. I also got to eat bread and olive oil, which is always nice. Wine tastes the same to me no matter the brand, so I must admit I got a little bored on the wine tours. Still, I’m glad I got to go on them. I got sick on the bus coming back from Mendoza which was the opposite of fun. But overall that trip was really fun.

Salta was a lot of exercise, travel, and beautiful scenery. I don’t even know how to describe Salta/Tilcara. I think, in this instance, a picture is worth a thousand words. I remember coming back very dusty from that trip. I miss the sun and the dry heat of Salta. In Buenos Aires, when it’s hot, it’s sticky and humid.

Well, that’s a not-so summary of my experiences. I’ll end by saying I had an amazing time in all 3 places and am definitely blessed that I had the opportunity to travel to 3 very different places within Argentina.

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VIDEO: Iguazú Falls

Time September 19th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina, LGBTQ Correspondents | No Comments by

Some general advice for those who wish to go:

  1. It’s a lot more expensive than you would think! Accounting for park admissions, overpriced food (buy at the food stores!) and transportation to/from the airport (as of September 2016 there are only taxis and no shuttles even though every guidebook said there were…), you should bring 1000 pesos at minimum.
  2. As you’ll see in the video there are these cute looking animals called coatis freely roaming around. You’ll also notice a shot of a sign warning about them- these things are savage and they have no shame about it. They’ll casually walk up when you’re not expecting it and snatch the food from your hand or on your tray like whatever. Message me if you want to hear about the time my friends and I were attacked by one.
  3. The falls occupy land in both Argentina and Brazil. We were lucky: because of the Rio Olympics this year we didn’t need to have Brazilian visas while visiting since the requirement is still waved until the end of September. Normally though, you do need a visa when you’re crossing the border.
  4. Which side is better you may ask?…I’d have to go with the Argentine side. The Brazilian side is still very cool, there’s just less to see, so if you’re pressed for time you should stick with the Argentine side.

 

And now without further ado, I present the incredible, magnificent, Iguazú Falls.

 

 

 

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The Headaches of Traveling

Time September 14th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina, LGBTQ Correspondents | No Comments by

The past weekend I traveled outside BA for the first time since arriving almost two months ago to the famous Iguazú Falls. It was my first trip outside the city, not counting the suburb of Tigre, and despite some bumps along the way, the trip turned out much better than expected.

At home whenever I traveled with my parents, my mom would always be the one to spend hours planning our itinerary, and my dad would be the one to make sure we were always early to our points of travel. Now it was just myself who had to do all those things- reserving flights and the hostel, calculating how many pesos to bring, packing sufficient clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, and accounting for all the little miscellaneous items. I got advice from Marta as well as friends who traveled there the previous weekend, yet it was up to me to put everything into action. This made the week before the trip very stressful planning everything between classes and homework.

I was going with 5 other friends in the program, however, because of our differing schedules we were all arriving/leaving at different times. This made meeting up somewhat chaotic and dependent on Wifi to contact each other.

There was also a moment I nearly missed the whole trip together. My mandatory meeting at Migrations to apply for long-term residency was scheduled for the day of my flight so I had to push my flight for later during the day. However, as a government agency, Migraciones has the same speed as the DMV, so it ended up being more than two hours, leaving me little time to catch my new flight. I flagged down a taxi to speed me to Jorge Newbury Areopuerto instead of taking a collective as I planned. I arrived 35 minutes before my flight, but I couldn’t check in because the minimum time to check in before was 45 minutes…thankfully there was space on the next flight to Iguazú leaving a few hours later. I am not good with rushing and being late, so the whole experience put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day…Yet I was on my way, and from there on everything fell into place. Read More »

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iguazu!

Time July 13th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Before heading home, I stopped by Iguazu, which I’m extremely happy I made the time to do so because it is definitely one of my favorite highlights of this semester.

Getting there was a hassle. For some reason, I couldn’t fall asleep during the 20 hour bus ride (the chairs felt so uncomfortable!). I felt nauseous from the constant movement and slightly disgusted by the 3 empanadas that were served. Sigh. I felt even worse when we arrived at Puerto Iguazu since it was raining hardcore. Luckily though, my hostel was just a 2 minute walk from the bus terminal, so things started to get better from there.

It was a lot colder than I anticipated. The hostel facilities were all designed for summer use: open patio, hammock, pool, garden, etc. Since I was just there for a day, I opted to walk around the town for a little bit, but besides the cafes, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops, there wasn’t much.

After going out with other travelers, I woke up at 6am the next morning (rough) and was served the most delicious breakfast I’ve had since arriving in South America (fresh orange juice!!). Energized, I waited for the 25 minute bus ride that would take me to Iguazu.

devil’s throat

I’ve always heard of Iguazu (didn’t Eleanor Roosevelt say, “My poor Niagara” after seeing Iguazu?) and was amazed by the pictures of the falls taken by friends. So I was already prepared to be amazed, but I can’t stress enough of how the pictures don’t do it justice. I can’t even begin to describe  how incredibly beautiful, magnificent, and powerful the falls are. Even walking down the metal walk way to the Devil’s Throat, I was astounded by how Amazonian everything seemed. The water seemed to stretch on endlessly, and I couldn’t even fathom how the animals ventured so close to the falls without getting killed.

I opted not to do any of the boat rides since it was beginning to rain and I didn’t want to get wet and more cold than I already was, but I definitely feel like I got my ticket’s worth. Walking around the falls was extremely enjoyable, and again, every part of the jungle provided a different perspective of the falls that was stunning.

Check out my videos of the falls (all unedited!): I, II, III.

Everyone should make a trip to see the falls! It’s worth the 20 hour bus ride 😀

 

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