Six iconic experiences in Argentina
When traveling through Argentina for the first time, it can be daunting to nail down what to see and what to do. To help travelers enjoy Argentina’s expansive array of experiences, see below for six iconic Argentine adventures that can’t be missed:
1. Cheer at a fútbol match in Buenos Aires
Boasting the most soccer stadiums in the world, a trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without cheering loudly from the fan stands at a local soccer match. Sports fanatics can head to the Boca Juniors Museum and Bombonera stadium, or Estadio Alberto J. Armando as it’s officially called, home to Diego Maradona’s Boca Juniors, or to Núñez to visit the River Plate Stadium home of Boca’s arch rivals, River Plate.
2. Hike to a glacier in Los Glaciares National Park:
Located in Patagonia and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Los Glaciares National Park is a wonderland of glacial landscapes, including the stunning Perito Moreno, viewable via ferry boat or even via a guided hiking trek.
3. Horseback ride through a Mendoza winery:
Mendoza, most known for its Malbec, produces 70 percent of all the wine that is made in Argentina. An hour from the city, travelers can enjoy Argentina’s mountain landscape while on a horseback tour at one of the huge varieties of wineries. A few regions include Luján de Cuyo, Maipú or the Uco Valley.
4. Whale watch at Valdés Peninsula:
As one of South America’s finest wildlife reserves, the Valdés Peninsula offers hundreds of miles of coastline that wildlife such as orca whales, sea lions, elephant seals, Magellanic penguins and more call home. Travelers should try to catch a glimpse of the unique orca whale beaching phenomenon that happens biannually from March through May in Punta Norte and from September through December in Caleta Valdés.
5. Witness the rushing water of Iguazú Falls:
Argentina’s infamous Iguazú Falls, reaching nearly twice the width and height of Niagara Falls, are often considered one of the natural wonders of the world for good reason. On the Argentina side of the falls, the perfect place to take in the wonder is at Devil’s Throat or "Garganta del Diabo," accessible via a walkway across Río Iguazú.
6. Trek to the Salinas Grandes (or Salt Flats):
Discover Argentina’s vastly contrasting landscapes at the awe-inspiring salt flats or Salinas Grandes, located in the far north west of Argentina. There are a few tours across Salta and the surrounding regions and while there, travelers shouldn’t miss taking the Train in the Clouds or “Tren a las Nubes.”
This content was produced in partnership with Visit Argentina.
Apply now for a free trip to the moon
A Japanese billionaire who is scheduled to take the first civilian flight to the moon, courtesy of Elon Musk's SpaceX, is searching for 8 people to join him on the trip, pro bono. The trip is scheduled to take place in 2023. Candidates who are interested in a free trip to the moon are encouraged to apply at dearMoon."I will pay for the entire journey. I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride," said Maezawa. "I hope that together, we can make it a fun trip." According to the dearMoon website, pre-registration closes March 14, with initial screenings by March 21. Final interviews and medical checkups are expected to occur by May of this year. Maezawa says there are only two criteria for being selected for the trip. First, a sense that "whatever activity you are into, by going to space, I hope that you can push its envelope, to help other people." Second, a willingness and ability to support the mission and other crew members. Good luck to all who apply. To the moon!
Curious tales of why tourists have been returning “cursed” items to Pompeii
Recently, a woman reportedly sent a package to Italy, supposedly containing items that she had taken from the historical site of Pompeii, along with a note of apology. International media quickly picked up on the strangeness of the incident, due in large part to the fact that in her letter the woman claims that she has been cursed with bad luck as a result of her actions. According to the park however, this is far from the first incidence of it happening, and tourists from all over the world have been sending items back for many years which they believe have brought them misfortune. Speaking to Lonely Planet, Archaeological Officer of Pompeii Dr. Luana Toniolo said that the park has received approximately 200 returns over the last decade, many of which include letters telling the story of why and when items such as white mosaic tiles, ceramic pieces, rocks, pebbles and fragments of architecture were taken. Some even outline why they are choosing to return the items, citing bad luck. “Some letters tell us of sad events that occurred after stealing the artefacts in Pompeii such as broken legs and ankles. Others have heard of this ‘curse’ so they prefer to return these artefacts as a precaution, before something bad can happen to them,” Dr. Toniolo said. A letter sent in Spanish to the park © Archaeological Park of Pompeii One letter sent to the park in Spanish reads, “These are small pieces taken from the columns of Pompeii. Since we took them in 1982 we have had bad luck. We don’t know if this is a superstition or a coincidence. Anyway, we wish that they return to their destiny – the ruins of Pompeii, because as I said before, we have had very bad experiences. We took them just to have a memory of the city and to keep a small piece of the column. I am sorry. We didn’t do it with bad intentions, just to keep a memory. Thanks.” A note of apology in Italian along with items returned © Archaeological Park of Pompeii Another in Italian from 2010 says: “Good day, I am convinced that these pebbles that I brought from Italy bring me bad luck. For this reason, I am sending them home so that I can be free. Thanks and have a good day.” While returning items that never should been taken in the first place seems like good news, Dr. Toniolo said that the lack of context as to where they belong means that their strength as historical objects is lost forever. Tourists are urged not to interfere with historical sites of such importance. According to the park, the latest letter as reported by media is still at a local police station and nobody from the park has seen it.
Space Tourism is Almost a Reality
Space Perspective, the “off-world travel company,” boasts that space tourism is on the horizon, literally. Space travel tourism is still a thing of the future, but as early as 2025, passengers can journey one-third of the way to space in the Spaceship Neptune. That’s 19 miles above the earth, higher than where U2 spy planes fly, and high enough to see the curvature of the planet’s atmosphere. For $125,000 a ride, that is. Spaceship Neptune is a high performance “space balloon.” It is made up of a balloon the length of a football stadium and a pressurized capsule with 360-panorama windows that seats eight passengers and a pilot. The capsule will be comfortable and accessible for people in various physical shape. And of course, it will be equipped with a refreshments bar and bathrooms. The six hour journey leaves before sunrise from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the Operations Center will be at the Launch and Landing Facility (LLF). Spaceship Neptune making its ascent from the Kennedy Space Center.Image provided by Space Perspective. The balloon will gently rise at about 12 miles per hour for two hours using hydrogen gas, cruise in the direction of the day’s prevailing winds for two hours 100,000 feet above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere, and descend for two hours to land in the ocean where a ship will collect the passengers. Spaceship Neptune is regulated by the FAA Office of Commercial Spaceflight and has near zero-emissions. It is designed from similar NASA-proven technology to operate near the vacuum of space. It also has a partially pre-opened parachute as a backup descent system. “Space Perspective is bringing a fundamentally new capability to the Cape, which will enhance the offering we have in Florida for space-related research and tourism,” said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. If balloon space tourism sounds familiar, it’s because it’s building on a similar idea, World View, expert space entrepreneurs and husband-wife duo Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter unveiled in 2013. Other space-related projects between the pair include designing and being crew members of Biosphere 2 in the 1990s, sending Google executive Alan Eustace in a record-setting balloon parachute dive in 2014, and advertising with KFC via a chicken sandwich in 2017. Now, as Founder and CEOs of Space Perspective, they are trying again. Poynter said, “We’re committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space – both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on Earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet.” Space Perspective isn’t just about leisure. The company is working with NASA and is a preferred partner for the Citizen Astronaut Program, working with the nonprofit Space for Humanity, which will pay for the flights of citizens to serve as space ambassadors. The first un-crewed test flight is scheduled for early 2021 where Spaceship Neptune will fly research payloads to the edge of space. Future launch sites around the world may be in Alaska, Hawaii, and other international spaceports. Katelyn Milligan is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at Purdue University.
Virtually hike the Appalachian trail using this app
Mid-March to early May is typically one of the busiest times on the Appalachian Trail, as NOBO (or North Bound in AT parlance) trekkers flood the southern terminus of the famous thru-hike in hopes of reaching Mt. Katahdin in Maine some 14 states and several months away. But this year, the Appalachian Trail is effectively closed to hikers – a result of stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures states across the country are using to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's a big disappointment for those whose bags were carefully packed full of freeze-dried meals and ultra-light gear, but thanks to a new app for iOS, anyone can virtually hike the Appalachian Trail from wherever they might be trying to flatten the curve. Walk the Distance is designed to use your iPhone's pedometer feature to track the number of steps you take each day and chart that activity in terms of the Appalachian Trail's 2,200 miles (3,500 km) span. In other words, taking your pup on a walk through the neighborhood of a mile or so for a week will net you the equivalent of the Appalachian Approach Trail, which leads hikers from Amicalola Falls State Park to the true southern terminus of the trail at Springer Mountain, Georgia. Eventually, a stroll to the grocery store or pharmacy will correspond to the climb up Anthony's Nose in New York state, where the AT briefly hits its lowest point before traversing the Hudson River. There's also a social aspect to Walk the Distance that those cooped up at home might appreciate as a panacea to national and state parks that have shut down all across the country due to the spread of novel coronavirus. Using graphics from Google Maps, users see an icon with their profile picture pinpointing where they are on the AT based on their daily steps, along with icons showing where fellow Walk the Distance users are on their own virtual thru-hikes. The famous stone arch at Amicalola Falls State Park marks the start of the Appalachian Trail for many, leading to the true terminus on Springer Mountain © Laura Clay-Ballard / Getty ImagesTo enhance the sense of progress and friendly competition, checkpoints are built into the digital experience, corresponding with real-world shelters where you can "overnight" between workouts, along with natural viewpoints you might experience if you were really on the trail. It all adds up to a measure of the camaraderie that makes the AT so special, minus the packed shelters and early season rush on backcountry outhouses that come when the Appalachian Trail is at its most crowded. An Android version isn't due out till next year, but the creator of Walk the Distance is working on it – and hopes to eventually create versions for other classic United States thru-hikes, too, like the Pacific Crest Trail. Meanwhile, there's more hikes and long-distance achievements to tackle in Walk the Distance than just the AT – including trails in several national parks, including Yellowstone, and the Boston Marathon for runners. That's one more piece of virtual gear in the outdoor enthusiast's tool kit for getting through spring and summer cabin fever, in addition to a host of other virtual outdoor experiences you can check out. Those include 360-degree tours of national parks and online repositories of the kind of visitor center exhibits you might normally breeze past in your rush to the trailhead. It's not quite the same thing as sending your first 14'er or bungee jumping into the New River Gorge, but it does mean staying connected with well-loved, one-of-a-kind destinations until we can all get our trail legs again. This piece originally ran on our sister site, Lonely Planet.