There are places that one stays in, and places that remain in one. Argentina has definitely soaked into my being. Throughout the stretch of South America, Argentina is a special favourite among tourists. And this bike trip for me just elucidated why. The Argentine Republic, which is the 8th largest country in the world, is a wonder in itself. From snow-capped mountains to vast expanses of mundane dessert to the cute huddled cafes in Buenos Aires to the mesmerizing Iguazu Falls. From grandeur glaciers like the Perito Moreno and of course the breathtaking sceneries by the Patagonian Steppe. The plethora of landscapes that a biker will chance upon here, may as well be the most he can ever see across any country. World-famous for its Tango, posh architecture, mouth smacking steak and wine and of course the veteran soccer players, no wonder Argentina has given the world some of the most legendary figures.
The antiquated culture lingering in the air here draws you out of your shells to experience a serene composure like never before. The mix of Spanish, Italian, Mestizo, Amerindian and African ethnic groups makes it a wistful and self-awakening adventure. Even so, a beautiful equipoise embraces you whichever direction you step in. From the best swimming and fishing hotspots in Villa La Angostura or the fast-paced beach life in Mar del Plata to the mystical clear blue lakes of Bariloche where you can explore outdoor activities or camp in Mendoza. There is something sweet that this country preserves for each and every one.
Let’s dive into the top things my motorcycle road trip through Argentina taught me as a woman motorcyclist.
1) You have to step out of your comfort zone every now and then to achieve a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Perhaps the most important thing you need to keep in your mind while touring in Argentina is this: Most of your time and expenditure will be on transportation only. This can become a huge bummer for those unfamiliar with long- distant motorbiking. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted! But once you decide to put that helmet on, rev your motorbike engine and cruise through the desert lands of the Magellanic Steppe or pause by the Beagle Channel or buzz through Los Troncos and it’s elegant neighbourhood. I guarantee you will have the time of your life.
2) In case you come across a hurdle, trust the locals wholeheartedly.
One thing I imbibed pretty early on in my trip, was that not all battles need to be fought alone. Considering its size, Argentina possesses relatively few freeways, four-lane divided highways. Argentine driving is challenging. You must possess the ability to drive defensively, to anticipate what the other guy may do and always be prepared to take evasive action. Don’t be hesitant to ask around for help in case you find something amiss. The positivity and warmth of the locals will take you by surprise ultimately rescuing you out of any mess. Their hospitality and cuisine are also top-notch and you feel safe even amongst a crowd of strangers. If you’re lucky, you may have a close encounter with a local tanguera (tango dancer) willing to teach you a few steps of the fun, sizzling dance that Tango is. The town of Telo, famous for its exotic professional brothels are a delight for those who want to pursue an adventure in that direction. Learning a bit of Spanish before you reach Argentina will definitely help you a long way into familiarizing with the locals.
3) When touring spend on experiences rather than on the materialistic things.
When on a bike trip, the budget may tend to get a bit too tight at times. To make it easier, opt for luxury experiences unique to the place rather than on buying dresses or shoes, etc. Go for skiing in the Andes, or hop onto a water taxi to Tigre Delta, or stroll through the bustling town of Buenos Aires. If you are a meat eater, save money for the savoury asado popular here. You also cannot miss the exquisite experience of watching a ‘futbol’ match at La Bombonera. Or tapping your foot to the sensuous Tango with a couple of your friends. Make sure you choose wisely!
4) No matter how much you prepare prior to the trip, you will face unimagined failures and you will still have the best time of your life.
You can waft through travel blogs all you want and collect detailed information prior to your road trip. Even so, you’ll often find yourself clueless or afraid while motoring down the scapes of Argentina. The trick here is to make yourself believe that everything is alright and to keep riding despite all the fear. You will thank yourself for this mantra. This will push you through many flat tires or stranded pathways or hungry nights. And then when you finally arrive at Calafate to see the constantly moving glacier Perito Moreno or watch Llamas scamper next to your bike while riding up the challenging slope in Abra de Potrerillos. Or losing yourself to the gushing waters of Garganta del Diablo. Keep driving forward your motorbike despite all apprehensions, and you will discover magic each day that you reside in Argentina.
As long as you cruise forward with a mind open to new experiences and a bike tough enough to float through the varying landscapes of Argentina, you will fall deeper in love with this beautiful country in the Southern Cone. Here’s to hoping you discover as much magic as I did!
Jessica is a traveller by heart. Along with frequently penning down her thoughts related to travel experiences, she is an avid biker and an expert reviewer of motorcycle adventure products too.