April 2024

The first week of April was spend pretty much the same as March, in and around Mendoza. Late March we drove ruta 13 for the 2nd time, driving different parts now as well.

We camped again in the Mendoza park. Here we met another overlanding couple Liesbet and Mark, with who we really got along. We also shortly met up with hourless life again, who we hadn’t seen since Panama. It made our stay here very enjoyable.

Eric, Brittany and Caspian from hourless life, Kilian, Mark and Liesbet.

Then the second week we finally got to move on. We went to Santiago de Chile. Argentina is a great country, but when it comes to shops and the availability of products, Chile is definitely the better. Argentina has a strict import policy with high import taxes. This means that there’s a lot less available than in Chile and a lot of products are ‘fabrica en Argentina” and those products are not of great quality. We drove once again to Uspallata and there we picked up Siggi. A German woman who travels using all sorts of transportation and she had put a message on the overlander Whatsapp group if someone could give her a lift. “Why not”, we thought. Its not something we usually do, but it worked out fine. Siggi was easy to get along with. On our way to the border we visited the Inca bridge, a natural phenomenon, Anconcagua national park and we drove an off road track called Paso Uspallata to the Christo Redentor statue. Here used to be the border posts of Argentina and Chile. Now there is a new asphalt road with a couple of tunnels going straight through this mountain, but we wanted to drive this road. With the sightseeing all done, we crossed the same border where I recently did a border run.

After dropping of Siggi in Los Andes, Chile, where she would catch a bus, we drove on to a nice wild camp site near a river. We had agreed to meet up with Kombichronicles here. A British couple who drive an old Volkswagen T2 and have two cats. Basically we had arranged a play date for our cats 🙂 We spend a nice night there and talked about little else but the cats. Meanwhile Finnley and Lexi got to know each other a bit, but their other cat Aimee wasn’t impressed with Finnley. Finnley got a lot of attention and after he realised the other van had cat food as well, kept trying to get in to steal their food. We spend two days at this location and then drove on to Santiago.

In Santiago we went on a real shopping spree. Visiting Decathlon and Ikea and several pet shops. Finnley got a lot of toys! We bought some more bedding, a camping chair, lots of small stuff and I even managed to buy shoes in my size. The supermarkets also have a better selection, so we stocked up on some hard to get groceries. If only the Argentinian shops were as good as those in Chile, it would be a truly awesome country! We camped at a big park in the north of the city where a lot of overlanders stay in their camper van. Including Meat around the world and Liesbet and Mark. We spend 4 nights here, talking and eating and drinking together, while also more shopping was done!

Mid April we drove back in to Argentina again, together with Kombichronicles. They knew a very nice wild camp spot in the middle of nowhere, a few km’s before Uspallata, here we stayed another two days. After all this time in the city it was nice to be back in nature and the cats could go off leash. Finnley mainly used this opportunity to steal food from the Kombichronicles…. Because he almost starved to death before we found him, he is really obsessed with food and will steal and eat practically anything, even plain white flower…. Cooking in the van has become stressful. One of us has to control Finnley or take him for a walk. We hope he grows out of it, now that he never has to go hungry again. So far on two several occasions where Finnley was off leash, we had to put him on his leash attached to the van because he would go over to other people and try to steal their food…. Anyway we went back to Mendoza one last time so Finnley could get his 2nd rabies vaccination. He really needs only one, but at some point he will have to pass the rabies antibody test (a blood test) and he has a much higher chance of doing so with two vaccinations. This test is required to take him back to Europe with us as most countries in South America are high risk for rabies. So far however I have not yet found a vet in Argentina who can do the test. In the whole of South America only Brasil and Chile have a certified lab(s) to do the test. And since you have to wait 30 days after the vaccination it would be best if we can do it somewhere in Argentina. I’ll keep on looking!

Now we could finally head north to Salta. We drove further on the ruta 40, a famous road in Argentina that goes from north to south. It has many beautiful sights along the way and we camped at several nice spots.

Then at Fiamballa we stocked up on food to drive in to the high altitude desert of Catamarca. This area is a really deserted, off grid area. Most of the track can only be driven by a 4×4. There is no cellphone reception, no facilities. The average height is somewhere around 4.000 masl and there is a very strong cold wind blowing most of the time. It would be our most challenging drive yet! But at the end of April we didn’t quite know this yet, as our first stop on this route were the devine hot springs termas Los Hornos. Here we spend two days. Part of the day soaking in the natural baths. It was a good thing we were relaxed before we continued our journey. More of this in our May blog.

Leave a comment

Read more?
Well, this could be a very short blog. We spend…