March 2024

Well, this could be a very short blog. We spend the entire month of March in or around Mendoza, the end. 🙂 But I’ll elaborate a little. We spend about 7 weeks in or around Mendoza because of Finnleys eye treatment. Further down in this blog you can read if the treatment was a success. Staying in one area for this long was a bit boring. Yes Mendoza is a nice city and the area around it is nice as well. But there isn’t enough to do to fill a 7 week program. Especially since this is the wine region of Argentina and we are really not that in to wine… At the beginning of March we stayed at camping El Mangrullo which has a nice pool and grills. We took Ubers for Finnley’s check-ups or to go down town. Actaully Ubers are not allowed in Argentine, but id does work quite well. We also stayed two nights at a parking lot in the centre so we could see Mendoza at night and walk everywhere.

After that we had enough of the city and with no upcoming appointments for a week and a half and decided to drive Ruta 13 to Uspallata. Ruta 13 is a serious off road track, 4×4 only. It was challenging and we definitely had a few tense moments but also lots of fun. We took a detour through a “road” to visit pueblo Fantasmo, aka a ghost town. We camped along the route 2 nights and we were the only ones there. During those two days we saw exactly one other car. There was no cellphone reception either. So definitely an adventure. Enjoy the movie!

After Ruta 13 we spend a few nights camping at the edge of Uspallata. The town isn’t much but it is the only town in the area and you can buy all the essentials here. It is located in the centre of several nature areas that offer horseback riding, kayaking etc., so its definitely crowded most of the time.

After Uspallata we drove in to another part of the surrounding mountains, called parque provincial Cordon del Plata. We camped at a nice clear river area for a few days. Kilian went on a bike ride and we taught Finnley to cross a stream. After that we camped a few nights at lago Potrerillo. An azure blue artificial lake. We had nice weather, met several Argentinians and here we also had cellphone reception, contrary to Cordon del Plata. Since we were basically just hanging around it is nice if we can access the internet as it offers more opportunity for entertainment.

On the 15th of March Finnley had another check up and all was well. We camped in parque General San Martin this time. A big park in the middle of the city where other overlanders stay in their camper as well.

After the necessary shopping we decided to drive Ruta 52. Also an off road track but an easy one that an be driven with any vehicle. It is a very scenic route so there were many others on the road. After a few nights in the city we enjoyed the peace and quiet again. This road also leads to Uspallata, so we spend yet another night there.

If you are getting a bit bored reading this, I can’t blame you. We were getting pretty bored as well and decided we might as well head back to Mendoza and stay at the campsite El Mangrullo again. We were so done with moving from one site to another and just hanging around. We really tried to make the most of it, but by now we were really out of ideas. Mendoza and the area around it are really nice but there’s still a limit to how many things you can do there. At least in Mendoza we could go for a drink etc. And we met up with our friends Richie, Abigail and Zoe again. They finally got to meet Finnley. Needless to say Zoe was very intrigued with him, Finnley slightly less with her… 🙂 So we had a few nice days at the campsite and went shopping and out for pizza together.

Then on the 25th of March it was finally E-day! We took Finnley back to the ophthalmologist and he removed the protective membrane from his eye. There was a tense moment while the vet examined the eye….. And then told us the operation had worked! Whoohoo! Finnley can see again with both eyes! There’s a scar in the upper left corner where his eye was punctured and his eye is and will remain a bit smaller than the other one. But his pupil is clear. Whether or not he can see a 100% with his left eye or not isn’t clear, but he can definitely see well enough. And no more cone! That was a relief as well. We couldn’t quite leave Mendoza behind us though as there was one more check up in ten days.

With the upcoming of the very busy Easter weekend we wanted to get away from the city and eventually decided to drive Ruta 13 again. We had enjoyed it the last time and it would be a lot more quiet there. Due to heavy rainfall the route had deteriorated and we also drove a few different parts, we might make a second movie about it, but for now here are a few photo’s.

We also decided to finally deal with a little problem. When you enter Argentina (and most countries) you get a 90 day tourist visa. In Argentina you basically get this every time you enter. In my case this meant I had to leave Argentina on the 7th of April at the latest. However because of Finnley’s vaccinations and all sorts of rules, Finnley wouldn’t be able to legally leave the country until the 8th of April, yeah excellent timing. Because Kilian had left Argentina for 2 weeks he had gotten a new 90 days upon return, so he was fine. The only option for me, would be to do a border run. So we drove to the closest border with Chile, along ruta 7, about 2 hours driving west of Uspallata. Kilian stopped the van just before driving in to the Chilean border area. This is a combined border, meaning that while you get stamped in to Chile they also automatically stamp you out of Argentina, you don’t have to go to two different buildings. Although it is one of the major border posts in the country, it is also a remote border. So its actually quite unusual to show up on foot. Nevertheless after standing in line for about 45 minutes I got my passport stamped by the Chilean customs, no questions asked. I then walked back to the car. Now the border to enter Argentina is actually 23km more inland, same way we came. So we drove there and Kilian dropped me off again. I got stamped in to Argentina and got another 90 days. Again showing up on foot raised some eyebrows and yes I was nervous, but all went well. Doing a border run isn’t that uncommon here, there are people who do this every 90 days, and in doing so live in Argentina without a residency permit. This is also done in some other countries. Although not every country allows it and some countries have a 90 days in, 90 days out policy.

We spend the last night of March camping along Ruta 13 again, nice and quiet and Finnley could go off leash again.

4 thoughts on “March 2024”

  1. Thank you for keeping us posted. I became curious if everything was all right. Thankfully it is. Love your movie and photos!
    Greetings Ilona

    • Thanks, hopefully you are well too. We are just a little behind sometimes. Its a lot of work and we don’t always have internet.

  2. Since I’m new here (followed the link from Liesbet’s blog), I don’t know how Finnley got his eye punctured. But so glad you were able to get it repaired!

    We have been stuck in one place for an extended period – vehicleless. It looks like you got to make some nice trips out of the city. The roads look crazy. What a challenge!

    • Hi, welcome! We found Finnley on the road in Las Lajas, you can read all about it in our February blog. He had a grass seed that had punctured his eye when we found him so we don’t know how it got there either. I hope your vehicle gets repaired soon!


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