After hearing so many great things about Salta and the northwest of Argentina, we’re off this evening to check it out for ourselves. Planning the trip has been fun so far – we’re hoping it pays off when we get there. More to come, but in the meantime, here are a couple of thoughts on the major parts of trip-planning so far:
Decision #1: How do we get there?
The two options are flying or taking a bus. Our default would normally be to fly, but after our last experience flying with Aerolineas Argentinas, we’re open-minded about other transportation options. We’ve vowed to avoid Aerolineas whenever possible, and flights on LAN (the only other carrier covering the route) would have cost us almost as much as our monthly rent. Which leaves the bus.
Now, you may not realize that Argentina is big. Really big (see map). We’re about halfway down the east border of the country, and we’re going to the far northwest. That’s a long way. Hence, it takes ~20 hours to get there from Buenos Aires. Yep, that’s almost a full day. We board at 6pm tonight and get in sometime around 1 or 2 in the afternoon tomorrow.
Apparently, bus travel is great in Argentina. They have numerous classes of service, including the “cama suite” that we opted for – supposedly seats that lie completely flat, have full curtains and includes all your meals (and wine with dinner – yay!). So we’re giving it a shot – will let you know what we think on the other end.
Decision #2: On our own or with a guide?
Turns out that a lot of the stuff you go to Salta to see isn’t really in Salta. It’s an amazing region with incredible landscapes and natural wonders, but they’re all spread out and all take a full day to visit. So our choices were to (1) rent a car (crazy expensive), (2) join a bus full of tourists (could be fine but we’ve heard it feels a lot like cattle herding for the Salta tours) or (3) hire a private guide to take us around for a few days. After reading unanimously positive reviews about one particular guide in the area, we decided to book her. We’ve had a bit of trouble connecting on email so don’t really know what our itinerary with her is going to be, but we’re trusting all the good reviews on tripadvisor and hoping she’s booked our hotel for us by the time we arrive (after the aforementioned 20-hr. bus ride – think we’ll be excited for a room and a shower by that point).
Wish us luck on our epic bus journey – we’ll post more from Salta!