Northern Patagonia we came, we conquered

I always dreamed about going to Patagonia to experience the incredible mountain activities and witness the breathtaking views. Even the name is cool: Patagonia! It screams Adventure and Adventure it was.

As Noel mentioned in his previous post, our first stop after leaving Buenos Aires was Bariloche which we accessed by a 22h bus ride. Travelling in a bus for such a long period of time was a first for Noel and I. We had heard so much about the amazing experience of travelling by busses in Argentina that we had to give it a try. There are different classes of tickets that you can purchase and we had been told that a trip over night was best in a Tutto Letto seat which means a seat that fully reclines for a better sleep. Unfortunately for us, they were all booked so we went with the second best choice, a Cama seat, which means that your seat reclines to a 45 degree angle. Each tickets were 980 pesos which is more or less equivalent to CAD$200. It comes with a blanket, a mini pillow, snacks, breakfast, a hot dinner and wine. Not bad at all for a bus ride. We were also told that in the busy season, people reserve their seats a couple of months in advance, so if you are concerned about comfort, it’s best to plan ahead.

Here were the highlights of our stay in Northern Patagonia:


Cerro Otto

The best way to get a panoramic view of the Nahuel Huapi lake is to hiked up to Cerro Otto, a view point accessible right from the town of San Carlos de Bariloche. We started our hike from km 1 (town marker) which made for a more gradual ascent over approximately 8 km. We snapped a ton of photos since the sky was without a cloud allowing you to get a full 360 degree view. We had a quick picnic at the top and started our descent using a super steep trail right underneath the gondola. If you want to save your feet for the many hikes you will want to do, I strongly recommend to come back the same way you came. The views you get from the trail are better anyway, but most of all you will still have a smile on at the end of the hike. It doesn’t look that steep on the photo below, but believe me it was.

Cerro Catedral and Refugio Frey

Catedral ski hill is about 20km from Bariloche and is a cute little ski town with a bunch of super cheap restaurants at the bottom. The hike to Refugio Frey starts for the parking lot of the ski hill and goes up and around the side of the mountain giving you stunning views of lake Gutierrez. The path then climbs up a valley to a first refuge hut and until then it feels like the climb is pretty gradual and not exhausting. After you pass the first hut, the hike gets much steeper and more strenuous. It is so rewarding to finally reach Refugio Frey. The mountain refuge built in 1956 is nestled between the various rocky and pointy mountain peaks. If you are travelling with camping gear, definitely plan on staying up there for a night as you can access other hikes for the top. We had lunch by the little lake while watching the climbers scale amazing cliffs right in front of us before coming back down and completing our 20km journey.

Playa Bonita

Playa Bonita is about 7km out of the town of San Carlos de Bariloche is a great place for a quick dip in the turquoise, glacier cold water. For anyone who spent some time in Whistler, I would say that it’s about the same temperature as Green Lake, so it is best to dive in for a full refreshment and run back to shore before your toes freeze. Noel and I couldn’t believe how packed this little beach gets around 4pm. You would think you are in Santa Monica as you try to find a spot to lay your towel.

Hotel Nido Del Condor

Once again we lucked out and got a great discount on 3 nights at this great hotel just outside of the busy part of San Carlos de Bariloche. To our surprise, we got a room that was bigger than our Vancouver apartment and had a kingsize bed overlooking the lake Nahuel Huapi. There is no need for a tv when you get such an amazing view! I have to admit, it was a bit fancy for our needs and at the same time It was great to come back from our hikes, shower up and lay in bed while watching the sail boats go by. I would highly recommend this place for honeymooners but make sure to shop online to get a discounted rate.

Here was the view from the bed:

The Ice cream

My friend Tricia wrote me an email as we were leaving Buenos Aires to make sure that we taste the Argentinian ice cream and especially the Dulce de Leche flavour. Noel and I had a pastry filled with Dulce de Leche in Buenos Aires and couldn’t wait to taste the Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. There are so many places selling Hellados here, it’s like seeing a Starbucks Coffee shop on every street corner back home in Vancouver. Our favorite is to share a 1/4kg as it allows you to try 3 flavours. My favorite mix was chocolate with almonds, Crema Americana, which taste like vanilla and rasberry. Another flavour that I loved was the Vanilla with swirls of dulce de leche and chocolate chips….abslolutely delicious. I have yet to try the orange flavour icecream and I am sure the opportunity will arise as we have planned a lot of hiking and might need a little pick me up after our mountain treks.

I enjoyed spending a few days the Bariloche area and would love to come back in the Winter time to experience the snowboarding and seeing this magical winter wonderland.

Road trip outside of Bariloche

Hotel Tronador and Mount Tronador

I would have loved to camp on the mountain when we went to mount Tronador but unfortunately the black flies were so ferocious that camping was not an option. Luckily, we got a killer deal on two nights at hotel Tronador right on lake Mascardi: Normally it would have been above our price range and we would have passed on it, but luckily for us a family had cancelled their two bedroom suite and we were able to get it for a fraction of the price. The lodge has a rustic feel as it was built in 1933 and to this day it is still family operated. It felt like going to a kids summer camp where they feed you 3 meals a day, they provide you with a free rowing boat to explore the lake and they provide you with a list of hikes, lakes and rivers to fish, horse back ridding and many other activities. You could spend a full week there and never get bored.

Despite the black flies, Noel and I did a bunch of hiking and fishing and drove to the base of Mount Tronador where you can get a decent view of the immense glacier and do a short hike to a beautiful waterfall. I have to say that getting attacked by black flies really irritated me and I had a hard time enjoying the sights as you constantly had to battle those little buggers. Most people were fully dressed with long sleeve shirts, pants and hats and still covered themselves with a towel. Apparently it is not always like that in the summer. The weather was much higher than usual and made for an extra buggy week.

San Martin de Los Andes

Hotel Siete Flores

Right outside of the little town of San Martin de Los Andes is this cute little lodge that offers well priced rooms and delicious breakfast: On top of making the most delicious marmalade, the main cook was so nice, spoke great English and gave us some great tips for places to fly fish and hang out.

Fly Fishing and swimming

There are so many lakes and rivers around where you can do a few casts, jump in for a quick swim and they are all great spots for picnics. My two favorite spots were Lago Meliquina and a secret river past Junin de los Andes.

I was a bit hesitant at first to drive up a gravel road for a few hours to reach San Martin de Los Andes and I am so glad we did as it is a lovely area not to miss. It was well worth the sweaty, sticky, dusty hours in the car.

Overall I loved Northern Patagonia and would love to come back in the Winter time to experience the snowboarding and seeing this magical winter wonderland that I heard so much about.

Patagonia – Barliloche and Beyond.

We opted for a 22 hour bus ride from Buenos Aries to Bariloche rather than spending the extra on a flight. We had been told that the busses were pretty great, as far as busses go, so we had to give it a try. Unlike the busses back home in Canada, the busses in Argentina have seats that go right down into a slightly angled bed with a full leg rest so you can actually lay out and get pretty comfortable. They also play fairly decent movies in english, feed you 2 course warm meals complete with wine and desert, give you blankets and pillows and when they do stop it’s only for a few minutes so you aren’t stuck wandering around weird buss stops in the middle of the night while the rest of the people line up for bad food. All up we arrived well rested and it was a pretty good experience. If I was a few years younger and had all of the time in the world I would likely take busses all over the country, but since we only have a month here and our next destination is a 33 hour bus ride away and then the one after that is even further we are going to take planes from here on in.

Everyone tells us that we got lucky with the weather as it’s been in the mid to low 30’s which is well above their average. Bariloche reminds me of a bigger Nelson in the way that it’s a cute hill side town overlooking a lake and is situated about 11k from a really great ski hill. The main roads are paved and most of the smaller ones are gravel and very dusty. The main strip in town is quite a bit larger than I was expecting and there are lots of scruffy hippy types milling about. The tourists, of which there plenty, flock to the many chocolate shops and buy in bulk. My overall impression of Bariloche is that it’s larger than what I was hoping for, a little run down and a bit spread out. I guess I was expecting a South American Whistler type vibe and it wasn’t quite up to par. Having such a great summer and winter vacation like Whistler in your back yard is something that I will never take for granted.

After a few days of taking busses and taxis to various trail heads for our hikes we opted to rent a car for a week. It wasn’t cheep, but it was worth it because if took us to places we would have never seen otherwise. One of the first things I noticed about this part of Patagonia is that regardless of how far up a remote gravel road you are, you are sure to run into loads of young people hitch hiking with back packs and trekking gear. They must just pop out of the mountains, find a road and start hitch hiking because they are in the most random spots. The same goes for people fly fishing. It didn’t seem to matter how remote we were people were everywhere. I guess crowds are to be expected as this area of Patagonia is considered close (22 hour bus ride) to Buenos Aries and in their summer a lot of them vacation here.

I was keen to find out where the best fly fishing was and Josi was keen to hike every mountain peak. Back home in BC Josi and I usually find mountains to hike that have good fishing at the top so we both get what we are looking for. In Patagonia, when you hike to the top of mountains you are way above tree line and the freezing cold lakes at the top are void of fish because they at the foot of giant glaciers and full of silt. We came to a silent and mutual agreement that for most every day we spent hiking a mountain we would also spend a day finding river to fly fish.

The day after we arrived in Bariloche we did a 16k hike up a mountain peak that overlooked Bariloche and the surrounding lakes. Going up was easy, but one the way down we chose the more direct route to get home which was straight down under a gondola. Going down would have been a great ski run, but on foot your toes start to jam against the tips of your shoes. By the end the day our feet were pretty sore. The next day we hiked 24k on a much much bigger mountain called Refugio Frey who’s trail head starts from Mt Cathedral. Along the way we came across a super cool cabin built partially under a massive huge boulder that is used as a refuge for climbers. At the top there was another cabin/ refuge beside a small lake. Here there were many climbers camping with their tents sheltered by small stone walls to protect them from storms. It was a really cool vibe as people played music, socialized and climbed the many cliff faces that surrounded the camp. By the time we got to the bottom we were pretty spent and getting to see such amazing sights made the trip well worth the effort.

After back to back days of climbing and one day of shopping around Bariloche is was time to go fishing. I read online about one fishing store in Bariloche that was meant to be good so we went in to buy some flies and to talk to them about where the fishing was good. When we got there the older lady working was smoking a cigarette while she helped some other customers so I checked out their fly selection. I though that I was going to be in trouble because I had packed a bunch of trout flies that I tied back home that work really well for cut throat and rainbow trout up in Canada, but the ones they had looked nothing like the ones I had. When I asked the lady what flies worked well and where the fishing was good she pulled another drag from her smoke and told me that she didn’t know and went back to her smoking. Needless to say I didn’t buy anything and hit the road with the flies I had. After driving a while we pulled up at a river to have lunch and I fished for a little. It was pretty heavily fished and I didn’t have any luck with my dry flies, but thought I may have had a bite on a nymph. When fishing in a river you can’t always be sure if you had a bite, or you are bouncing off of the bottom. After lunch we continued on and stubbled onto a little river on a dead end road that lead to a lake so we decided to give it a try. The first thing I saw when we got there was a big brown trout about 4lbs jump out of the water along with a few nice sized rainbow’s jumping as well. I was so dam excited I could barely wait to get my fly in the water. After fishing for a while with no bites I stopped a local who was fly fishing with his son and asked him if he could recommend any of the flies in my box. He shook his head in disapproval and pointed to a couple of yellowish flies and said “colour”, but that was about it. I fished for a while longer using the few that he pointed at and still no luck. We couldn’t catch them so we decided to join them and jumped in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear water.

When we got to the next town we found a proper fly fishing shop and this time is was more of a familiar experience. The guy in the fly shop showed me a selection of dry flies that work well in the area and then pointed on a map to a spot on a river a few hours away. Unlike the flies we use back home these all had big long legs and they look very real and bug like. All geared up we packed a lunch and headed out. One thing that I find really interesting in Patagonia is how in one minute you can be in a lush green forest with lakes and mountain peaks so high that they reach up and touch the sky and the next minute you are in a virtually flat dry and dusty desert with dusty gravel roads that go straight for miles. It’s a contrast that I’m not used to having grown up in BC.

When we got there we were in what seemed to be the middle of no where and once again we were surprised to see how many people were camping and fly fishing along the banks of this remote river. Turns out that many of the people who live in the cities had for the area in Patagonia in and around Barlioche and many of them love to fly fish. After fishing for a short while and only catching few small trout we drove on. We came to a indian reserve where they collected $30 pesos ($6 CAD) from us in exchange for us fishing on their land. While we didn’t catch a lot of fish the few we caught were small, but a decent size, the biggest of which was about 17 inches.

After that we ventured to Mt Tronador which is 3,491 m mountain a few hours away from Bariloche. We got lucky because there was a last minute cancelation at the Hotel Tronador which is a super remote and very cool 50’s lodge way up a gravel one lane road 30K away from the base of Mt Tronador. It’s situated on the edge of a beautiful bright green lake and included in the costs are three meals a day and the use of a small row boat and loads of trails leading up into the mountains. The lake had huge trout that loved jumping in front of my flies, but none would bite. The local fly fishing guide told me that it was too hot and the chances of catching them were slim. He did tell us about a small lake 8k up a hiking trail in the mountains. Josi and I decided to check it out, but when we got there there were so many hungry biting horse flies that we didn’t even get a chance to fish. We drove up to the base of Mt Tronador and went for a quick hike, but once again the horse flies were all over us. Even our OFF spray from Canada wasn’t enough to keep them away. Josi was even getting bitten through her sweat shirt. Lucky they weren’t so bad in and around our hotel. Staying here was the highlight of our time in the Bariloche area.

My next blog post will feature our next stop in this amazing adventure as we fly south 3.5 hours to El Calafate and then on to the even more remote town of El Chalten. This will be the furthest south either of us have ever been and there’s a lot of excitement around our travels to this remote part of Patagonia.

Buenos Aires – Argentina

Even though I was excited to be going to Argentina, I knew that I was going to miss the laid back and healthy lifestyle that we had in Costa Rica. There is something very cool about being able to wake up and go for a surf in tropical warm water every day and eating unlimited fresh fruits and seafood for next to nothing. But it wouldn’t be much of an adventure if we just stayed in Costa for six and a half months would it? Having never been to Argentina I was exited to see what fun and cool things we would get up to.

Getting from Mal Pais to Buenos Aries was an adventure in itself. We started in a small twin prop from Tambor to San Jose where we stayed the night before departing early the next morning to Panama City. Our Panama to Costa and back leg of our adventures wasn’t a part of our around the world ticket so we weren’t flying business class. Luckily I’m always nice (and Josi is even nicer) when checking in and this time it paid in full as we got a free upgrade to first class.

Josi found us a great hotel/apartment in Recoletta right beside the old graveyard. I’m not a fan of grave yards, but this one is over the top with huge statues, cool carvings and it has a real tourist draw. Our apartment was on the top floor, had a full kitchen (that we never used), a huge patio, great views and a really comfortable bed. When we go back we will either stay in Recoletta again, or we will stay in Palermo Soho which is a little more out of the way, but is a lot hipper and a less touristy part of town.

Buenos Aries is a city for lovers. There always seemed to be a warm breeze to cool the hot summer sun as it’s soft light fell onto couples making out on park benches. The people are friendly and often comical when talking to them on the streets or in their shops. From what I can tell Argentinians have a real pride in who they are and in no way seem threatening or menacing like many of the other Latin American countries that I have been to. The one thing that I don’t like so much is that most of them love to smoke cigarettes. We felt very safe in Buenos Aires, but I’m guessing that there is a darker side that we thankfully haven’t seen. Once while having a coffee on a patio close to our hotel in an affluent area and another time while shopping in Palermo Soho people came up to me and told me to be careful with my camera as they were worried that someone might steal it from me. Everyone was so friendly and everything seems so safe that I wouldn’t have believe it to be possible, but when looking up at the apartments all of the second floor units, and even many of the 5th floor units, have their balconies fully gated off so no one can get in. I wouldn’t expect that anyone would choose to live in a cage, especially on the 5th floor, unless break in’s were somewhat common.

On the weekends there are several markets selling all sorts of cool hand made things, food, and junk. There are people playing music and dancing tango and lots of tourists and locals alike experiencing the beautiful summer days. We were hoping that all of the stories of really cheep leather shoes, clothes and restaurants were all true, but we have yet to discover any great deals. A nice pair of men’s shoes costs about $160 and a main course for dinner goes for about $20. Not overly expensive, just not as cheep as it was a few years ago I guess.

I’m sure you could do it, but being a vegetarian or a vegan would be less than easy because they really love their meat. The food courts in the mall even have open grills where they cook huge steaks. I went full on meat for dinner one night and I felt full and a little funny for days. After a month in Costa Rica of eating seafood, and a lifetime of hardly eating red meat, it’s a bit of a shock to the system. What I do love here is their Chimmy Churry sauce. Every restaurant has their own unique version of it and I put it on absolutely everything.

In my next blog post I will tell you about our 22 hour bus trip to Bariloche and all of our hiking and fishing adventures in Patagonia.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with so much to discover and filled with taxi drivers who love to give you a free tour (in spanish) as they drive you to your destination. It is fairly easy to navigate as it is divided in different neighbourhoods which are called Barrios and all quite different from one another. We’ve only spent four days touring around the city and it went by way too fast! Noel and I already agreed that it would be nice to come back to Buenos Aires for a few days at the end of our trek through Argentina before our departure for South Africa.

Overall, we will be spending 26 days in Argentina which sounds like a long time at first, but when you start listing all the amazing places to visit and when you look at the size of the country, you soon realize that a month will fly by in no time. In my opinion, it is best to stay a bit longer in each location to get a real feel for the vibe and fully experience the place, rather than packing in too many destinations. Plus it is nice to have a few days of down time when you are on the road for so long. Both Noel and I love to travel without a fully planned itinerary so we can stay longer if we love a place or move on to the next destination if we prefer. Being on the same page has made it very easy on us to travel together.

So here is what we’ve been up to over the last few days:


The best shopping is found in a neighbourhood called Palermo Soho, about 10 minutes ($6CAD) away by cab from where we were staying in Recoleta. If you feel like checking it out, just ask your cab driver to drop you off at the corner of Armenia and Honduras and you will be in the heart of it. You can find several local designer shops offering classic and eclectic clothes, bags and shoes. The items that I have been on the hunt for are bikinis (as I love the sexy bottoms they sell in South America), bags of all sorts as well as bohemian style clothing. So far, all I purchased is this gorgeous salmon colour bikini and I plan on continuing my hunt when we come back from the mountains.

Another popular place to shop in Buenos Aires are the malls. They sure love their malls in Central and South America! Noel and I are not mall rats at all back home in Canada and we surprised ourselves spending way too much time in them so far on our trip. On top of the shopping experience, it is also a great place to cool down after walking the streets! The best mall is definitely the Recoleta Mall. Even though it’s a bit pricy it has the best stores. At this time of the year all the stores are on sale and most of them are part of the tax free program. Basically, at the time of purchase they give you a form to bring to the airport along with your receipts in order to collect the 21% tax back. It makes it a bit more enticing to make purchases.

My hot husband shopping the sales!


I’ve never been much of a church lover until a couple years ago when I went to visit L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph in Montreal with my parents. I love to look at the details of the architecture and the art and most of all I love the peaceful feeling you get from sitting down on these old wooden benches. On our tour of the city, we visited two smaller churches, one in Recoleta and one in Palermo. We also did a quick visit to the La Catedral Metropolitana, considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Buenos Aires. The Cathedral was fairly ordinary on the outside and reminded me more of a tribunal than a church, but is absolutely beautiful inside. I felt so inspired that I kneeled down to pray for safe travels for Noel and I (Noel snapped a photo).

The Recoleta Cemetery

This is the first public cemetery of Buenos Aires and where people of all levels of the society have been resting in peace over the last couple of centuries. Noel and I went in for a self guided visit and it turned out to be a great opportunity to snap a few photos of the amazing graves that the families have put in place to celebrate the lives of their loved ones past. To be honest I got a bit overwhelmed in there and was happy to be on a self guided tour. It is truly impressive to see how much love went into building this beautiful sanctuary.

Palermo Park

On our second day in Buenos Aires, Noel and I felt like getting our sweat on to compensate for all the sweet treats we’ve been eating. There is no better way to discover a city than by going from run. We ran from Recoleta to Palermo and all around the park area and back. On that particular Sunday some of the roads were closed off and a ton of people were walking, running, roller blading and biking on the streets. Some people where sun tanning in the grass and It felt like being in a tropical Stanley Park. On the way back to our hotel, we walked through the botanical garden which is a must see. It is a peaceful place to enjoy a Sunday morning and cool down from a run.

Feria de San Telmo

Apparently every Sunday this fair takes place in Barrio San Telmo, bringing hundreds of merchants selling all sorts of stuff from antiques through jewellery, clothes, leather items, gadgets and food. Locals and tourists gather to walk up and down the street and experience this festive vibe. There is music and tango on the street and clearly everybody is having a great time.

As I mentioned earlier, we are now on our way to Bariloche and then further down into Patagonia, returning to Buenos Aires toward the end of the month. One thing that I am looking forward to experiencing in Buenos Aires, if we manage to stay up past midnight, is the nightlife. I read online that most clubs open around 1:30am and stay open until 7am. Apparently it is vibrant with people who love to dance without taking themselves too seriously. That screams Noel and I ! Please let us know if you have any other suggestions of things we must see or most do.

View from our Balcony

Too Relaxing of a Layover

Noel and I stayed in San Jose for a night before starting our Argentinian Adventure. The price was right so we chose one of the big box hotels by the SJO airport which was characterless, and nice and easy at the same time. We were up early the next day on our way to Panama and then onto Argentina. The flight from SJO to Panama was one we purchased as it was not a part of our scheduled around the world ticket. What was great is that they upgraded us to first class which surprised Noel considering we were wearing flip flops, shorts and TShirts.

Our 5 hour layover in Panama didn’t seem so bad knowing we had access to the first class lounge and could catch up on emails and work. We got comfy, drank coffee, did a bit of work and watched planes take off. At some point, we got tired of eating Copa’s prepackaged lounge snacks so we went to grab a quick bite downstairs in the airport. After eating lunch I took my phone off of Airplane Mode to check my emails and the local time adjusted itself. We thought that we knew what time it was, but we must have had it wrong. We spent way longer than we thought in the lounge and rather than having over an hour left we were about to miss our flight to Buenos Aires. After a long run through the airport we made our flight with only a few minutes to spare. I am so glad that we didn’t miss our flight to Argentina as I didn’t want to spend the night in Panama.

Our next flight was about 6 hours and for the first time it felt like what I always imagined First Class to be… It was very comfortable. The seats reclined to a level that made it more than easy to sleep, the food was surprisingly delicious and the landing as smooth as it gets. We landed at 1am and after a quick cab ride we checked in to our hotel in Recoleta, a nice neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Since then we have spent our days discovering this super cool city, taking it in as much as we can before leaving to the mountains of Patagonia. I absolutely love Buenos Aires and could easily see myself spending a much longer period of time here. The weather is about 32 degrees everyday with a mix of sun and clouds and a nice breeze which makes it very enjoyable for walking around. The sun stays up until about 8:30pm and the humidity level has been very tolerable. I haven’t bought many things as of yet, but the shopping here is amazing and I’m in bikini and purse heaven!

Buenos Aires has a very romantic vibe and I witnessed a lot of people kissing passionately at restaurants and in the parks, which makes for a great stop for our honeymoon. The three neighbourhoods where we hug out the most: Palermo, Palermo Soho and Recoleta remind me of New York in a less busy way. The fact that there is not much traffic makes it possible to steel a quick kiss from your lover in the middle of the street as you are crossing. More photos of Buenos Aires to come real soon!

Goodbye Costa Rica, thanks for the laughs.

Another wonderful year has come and gone and I’m stoked for what’s to come in 2013.

A few of our many goals for 2013 are:
– Search out new fun and profitable business ideas
– Continue to grow FreeBird Agency
– Buy a house
– Build my photography business
– Start a new business and or launch a new product

The reports I’m getting from back home is that the snowboarding has been great this season, but when I’m able to jump into my board shorts and surf every day I haven’t missed it in the least. I love never being cold and for me surfing is my meditation. It’s where I can clear my mind and focus only on the the surf. It enables me to turn my brain off and in those moments I gain a deeper understanding of what’s important and a clearer outlook on life. While I’m stoked to be going to Argentina and then eventually back home to Canada, I know that my soul will always long to go for a surf each and every day.

We have just finished packing our bags and are ready to leave to San Jose tomorrow morning. We will stay there for the night before starting the next leg of our adventure in Argentina. More of that story to come as it unfolds.

It was great having Josi’s parents join us here in Costa Rica for Christmas. I’m pretty much with my mom and family every Christmas so having them here made it seem a little more like home. They brought a small plastic Christmas tree with them from Montreal and when we had our Christmas dinner we lit it up and placed it on our table over looking the bright orange setting sun and the surf far below. Mixed seafood grill replaced my usual turkey dinner and the warm breeze off the Pacific was a welcome change of scenery from the wet snow that I’m used to. If only my whole family would have been there it would have been perfect.

We went on a hike the other day and had our good friend Jesse not lent us his prized Swiss Army knife for our world adventure I likely would have had to carry Josi for 6K out of a snake and panther infested jungle. Salt water and lots of walking had gotten the better of her old leather flip flops and they were in bad shape when we took off on our quad in search of adventure. We drove toward the edge of Cabo Blanco National Park along a small dirt road when we stumbled upon the park’s visitor centre at the foot of a trail head that leads through the jungle to a remote beach. I always knew that there were monkeys, huge Boa Constrictors and poisonous spiders in the area, but at the park we learned that there are also panthers, other big cats, a number of poisonous snakes and lots of strange furry animals that I had not heard of or seen before. We didn’t see Panthers or snakes, but we did see lots of pretty much everything else. As you can see I’m not a National Geographic photographer in any way shape or form, but I did manage to snap off a few shots of the wildlife that we saw along the way. The trail we took was about 8k in and 6k out which was a lot more than we were planning considering we hadn’t intended on hiking at all. Right when we started to come back along the 6k trail Josi’s stubbed the toe of her flip flop and the soul was all but removed from it’s thin top. I had some bright pink string that I had found some time back and kept because I thought that it might make a good fly for fishing. Jesse’s knife was perfect for puncturing through both the soul and it’s upper which enabled me to bound them back together. Why I say I would have had to carry her out is that there was no way she was going to walk back with bare feet. One of the photos I posted is of a spider. You can’t tell in the picture, but that thing is huge! To get an idea of how big it is, in the picture you can see a really small spider behind it’s back two legs. That little spider is about the size of a typical spider back home. I asked Josi to stand closer to it so you could get an idea of it’s size, but she wasn’t interested in that idea and there was no way I was going to give her the camera so I could get close to it.

The only thing that I didn’t do was catch a fish on my fly rod! I lost one, had a few other chase my fly, but that’s it. At least we had a great time fishing with Dougy and we all caught a lot. I love fishing and I love eating fish. Lots of time over the next month for catching fish on the fly in Argentina. San Jose tomorrow and Buenos Aries the day after!