Argentina- in viral times

Driving south on Route 40, Argentina

We arrived in Argentina with a plan. First stop to see the wonders at Glacier National Park. Then a pit stop at Ushuaia, on the tip of South America. Then head for home, dropping off the van in Uruguay where we have a storage spot lined up. Finally, a short hop to Buenos Aires and fly home. A manageable schedule in the 5 weeks remaining.

Hiking in Glacier National Park, Argentina

But then, the world turned sideways.

Suddenly Argentina’s president announced the cancellation of all flights from USA. Then, in rapid succession Ecuador, Peru and Argentina’s borders were closed, then national parks were closed. Now museums, municipal campgrounds and many restaurants and hotels. At the gas station, the convenience store door was locked. But you could still purchase food through a window, being tended by a guy wearing those blue gloves and a face mask.

Frozen burgers we didn’t buy! Argentina

Before all this happened, we did manage to see some of Glacier National Park. In the northern section, the village of El Chaltén sits under an imposing set of peaks. Although shoulder season, there were still plenty of tourists, especially Europeans. Everyone wearing a daypack and carrying a walking stick. The streets are crammed with hotels, hostels, restaurants and laundry drop off spots.

Our hotel in the village of El Chalten, Mount Fitz Roy in the background, Glacier National Park, Argentina
Village of Chalten, Glacier National Park, Argentina

A 9 km hike took us to Laguna Torre. On a brilliant clear sunny day. Along the way, we could see the needle like peak of Cerró Torre and sometimes see the jaw dropping rock that is Mount Fitz Roy.

Mount Fitz Roy, Hiking in Glacier National Park, Argentina

Both so incredibly breathtaking. Difficult to tear your gaze away.

Hiking in Glacier National Park, Argentina
Hike to Laguna Torre with Cerro Torre sticking up like a needle, Glacier National Park, Argentina

We did not get to Ushuaia. Although it is in Argentina, you have to cross a section of Chile to get there. We got close though, after hours of driving through fenced ranch lands, shrubs and grasses. No trees. Few sheep.

Fenced pasture lands, no trees, Vanna on the southern tip of Argentina
Rheas on the road, driving route 3, Argentina

The only change of pace was slowing down for guanacos or rheas on the road. 

At Rio Gallegos, with borders closing we decided not to continue. Would be nice to see the tip of South America….. but definitely don’t want to get stuck there!

After much deliberation we turned north on Route 3, up the eastern side of Argentina, toward Buenos Aires, in case we can luck into a flight home. We are still a few days drive away.

The Atlantic Ocean, driving route 3, Argentina

Argentina has taken a very serious approach to this pandemic. There are police roadblocks everywhere.  We were stopped 5 times in 1 day.  Where have you been, where are you going, lets see your passport.  After deliberation they let us go. 

One of the many police and health checks on the road, route 3, Argentina

At two of the stops, a health team was called.  They asked if we had any symptoms.  One team stood around the van wearing those white hazmat suits. Kind of surreal. But all very polite. 

Right now we are camped on a long pebbly beach, looking out at the blue Atlantic which stretches forever to the horizon.  Here we can complete our 14 days of self quarantine in Argentina. Six days to go.

Self quarantine on a long pebbly beach, Route 3, Argentina

A bit of wind helps keep the flies away. It’s sunny and 75 F. Not the worst place to be.

9 Replies to “Argentina- in viral times”

  1. Hoping you can find a flight home. Take care and stay safe. Sunwing and West Jet are doing repatriation flights around the globe but not sure how that works if the border is closed. Good Luck! We’re thinking of you!

  2. Hi Joyce, have not checked in lately but see you’re also in CoVid hell. I hope you can get home but Brad says “Why not just stay?”
    I hope all goes well for you! ❤️
    Take care: Leona and Brad

  3. Procedures and policy change hourly here. It feels like I am watching this through someone else’s eyes and I am on the front line. Enjoy your last few days abroad. There is very little you can predict or control. Roll with the changing situation. Stay healthy and positive!

  4. Hey,
    Beautiful trip Joyce and Bob, we think of you in these unique times.
    My sister Jill and her son Kevin arrived home separately from Africa this past week.
    We are also awaiting the return of our niece Adriana (from Banff), working at a ski hill in Japan, due home to Canada, 1 April 2020.
    Look after each other, and look forward to your post, when back on Canadian soil. This great country of ours, Canada 🇨🇦 wild and free.
    Vaya Con Dios my friends.
    The Macdonalds

  5. Hi you two.. what is your situation now? Are you able to get a flight out? Safe travels and hope you are home soon safe and sound.

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